What's the Best Refrigerator for that New Home?
Many Home Buyers will find that it is not uncommon for a newly purchased home to come with almost all of the appliances except the frig. Why? Refrigerators have become one of those highly-personalized, chic items that some people don't want to leave behind. So what makes THAT refirgerator so special?
Well, that depends... space, size, type and how you use it.
The Four Types of Refrigerators
- The Plain Jane, Top Freezer Model. Makes a great second frig for the garage or when limited on space
- The Bottom Freezer Model. Larger than Top Freezer models, they make it easier to reach frozen foods, but still pretty basic models.
- Side-by-Side Models. Great at saving space, these models also require much less clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow kitchens.
- French Door Models. Highly popular, a huge variety in style, color and ability to be built in, these are some of the most expensive models on the market.
How Big of a Frig do I really need?
It varies, but a general rule of thumb is that you'll want 4 to 6 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of refrigerator space per adult in your household, along with a little bit of extra contingency room. With full-size refrigerators ranging from 10 to 32 cu. ft., this means that a family of four probably won't want anything much less than 20 cubic feet, and might prefer something even roomier. That said, a bigger fridge means a bigger energy bill, so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you aren't actually going to need. You'll be paying more both upfront and down the line as you continue paying the power company to refrigerate that wasted space alongside your food.
Other Features to consider in my New Frig.
Are you a devoted foodie who always wants a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your fridge that can help you keep a variety of foods fresher for longer -- LG's Push & Seal Crisper Drawer goes so far as to vacuum the air out of your produce bins whenever you close them. Do you live off of TV dinners and frozen leftovers? Look for advanced defrosting features like GE's Frost Guard, designed to help eliminate freezer burn. Love a nice glass of pinot grigio? Look for a fridge with a built-in wine rack.
Refrigerators have been dispensing water for years, but now GE boasts a "PreciseFill" smart dispenser on several of its models that will dispense the exact amount you need, or automatically detect when your pot or water bottle is full. Other models have water dispensers designed to easily accommodate tall or bulky containers. Some will dispense hot water on demand, perfect for a quick cup of tea or a bowl of soup. Samsung recently teamed with SodaStream, unveiling a refrigerator capable of dispensing fresh seltzer water.
Other extras to look for
- Quieting systems that can make for less humming and buzzing
- Anti-bacterial interior coatings to help keep your leftovers germ-free
- LED lighting
- Steel-reinforced hinges to support door storage
- Rimmed, "spill-proof" shelving to help keep messes from dripping throughout your entire fridge
Of course, you will also find refrigerators with touch screens and built-in Wi-Fi, and plenty of bold manufacturer claims about smartening up your kitchen.
What? A SMART Refrigerator? Well, they aren't cheap and can cost you up to $1000 more. However, they are more energy efficient, greener overall, and can even think for themselves. Some models can text you when they need a filter replaced or alert you of open doors, warm temps, etc...
More than one manufacturer has introduced models with Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and LCD touchscreens built right into the door. Samsung has even incorporated popular apps like Google Calendar, Twitter, and Picasa into its high-end models, opening up a whole new world of fridge functionality. Want to check the weather and the morning headlines while you wait for the coffee to boil? Looking for step by step risotto-cooking guidance? Want to stream your favorite Pandora station while baking cookies? With an entertainment-minded smart refrigerator, all of this and more is just a tap away
So, do your homework, shop around, and find that perfect frig for your new home that will become a member of the family. Who knows? You may love it so much that you take it with you when you purchase that next perfect home!
Happy Appliance Hunting!
Clark Ransom | Realtor