A guide to buying a refrigerator

Unsure what to consider when buying a refrigerator? This refrigerator buying guide will show you key factors that make it right for your home. Here's what you'll need to do:

  • Consider kitchen space before you buy a refrigerator
  • Choose refrigerator features you'll use
  • Select your desired color and finish
  • Pick specialized storage and capacity
  • Choose your style and layout
How to buy a refrigerator that fits your kitchen

Consider kitchen space before you buy a refrigerator

A refrigerator should make good use of kitchen space. Before shopping, know:

  • Measurements of where it’s being installed
  • How much room to leave for doors to open
  • Distance to nearby islands

This measuring guide walks you through the entire process.

You'll also want to consider whether you want a standard-depth or counter-depth refrigerator. Standard-depth refrigerators stick out further in front of your counters, while counter-depth options in every style sit virtually flush. Have more questions? Learn more.

Choose refrigerator features you'll use

Before you buy a refrigerator, think about the features you’ll use most, like:

  • Ice and water dispensers
  • Specialized storage like infinity slide shelves to accommodate tall items, platter pockets to store wide, flat items like pizza boxes and adjustable gallon door bins for loading flexibility
  • Performance features like dual cooling, in which dedicated cooling systems make sure fresh and frozen food is stored in the right environment
Buy refrigerator features that fit your needs.

Select your desired color and finish

Refrigerator finishes vary from the traditional black and white to stainless steel in different hues. Explore all colors available to find the right fit for you. And if you're looking for a finish that easily wipes clean, Whirlpool offers two fingerprint-resistant finishes:

  • Fingerprint-Resistant Stainless Steel
  • Fingerprint-Resistant Black Stainless

Feature shown: Infinity Slide Shelf

Buying a refrigerator with the correct capacity

Pick specialized storage and capacity

When you're buying a refrigerator, look to capacity, measured in cubic feet (cu. ft.), to compare total size. While shopping, you should consider:

  • How much you bring home from the grocery store and how many people are in your family — this will help you determine your needed cubic feet.
  • Quick access to favorites and who needs to reach them — exterior drawers or storage zones on the door's interior let you store snacks where they're easy to reach.
  • Whether you need to store extra tall items or large platters — certain styles like French door and side-by-side usually have specialized storage solutions like sliding shelves and wide trays.

Choose your style and layout

Models shown: WRF954CIHZ, WRX735SDHV & WRQA59CNKZ

Refrigerator buying guide for French door refrigerators

French Door Refrigerators

French door refrigerators put refrigerated food at eye level and freezer items below. The standard French door design features two doors that open to a single refrigerator compartment on the top, plus a deeper freezer drawer on the bottom.

If you have a busy household or kids, consider fully-featured 4-door options with easy-to-access external drawers. Snacks are stored where you can reach them without opening the main doors.

French door fridges are a higher-end choice because they usually have the most features. Whirlpool® French Door Refrigerators often offer:

  • Water dispensers, single and double ice makers and dual cooling
  • Specialized storage like customizable drawers, slide-in shelves for taller items and organized freezer storage
  • Ample space for wider items like platters and pizza boxes
  • Comparable door swing to a side-by-side of the same width

Model shown: WRSA71CIHN

Buying a side-by-side refrigerator

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-side refrigerators position the freezer on the left and the refrigerator on the right. With easy access to both sides and a selection of the same features available on French door refrigerators, characteristics of this classic include:

  • Performance features like humidity-controlled crispers to create ideal fruit and vegetable environments
  • Specialized storage like can caddies to organize soda
  • Plenty of usable capacity 
  • Space-saving ice maker and water on the freezer door
  • Often less door swing room than top-freezer models of the same width

Model shown:  WRT541SZDZ & WRB322DMBM

Buying top- and bottom-freezer refrigerators

Top- and Bottom-Freezer Refrigerators

Top-freezer refrigerators have the freezer on top and a single door refrigerator on bottom, making the freezer easier to access.

Bottom-freezer refrigerators have a single door refrigerator on top and a deeper freezer drawer below—like a French door. The refrigerator compartment is more accessible on these models.

Both top- and bottom-freezer models tend to be lighter on features and smaller in size than French door and side-by-side models. They may be the fit if you appreciate:

  • Thinner widths for small spaces, with good capacity for the size
  • Fitting into spaces without a water hookup, since ice and water dispensers are less common

Model shown: WUW55X24HS

Refrigerator buying guide for beverage and wine centers

Undercounter Refrigerators

Undercounter refrigerators are a popular option for storing food and drinks. They are often available with reversible doors, temperature-controlled zones and spillproof shelves.

Beverage and wine centers are undercounter refrigerators designed to store wine and craft beer at ideal temperatures. They can also work as a secondary fridge for soda and water.