A few years ago, I moved into a rental house just out of town. It was an older split level with a few weirdnesses it had acquired over the years, including a very unfortunate situation with the fridge. From what I could tell, judging from the crude attempt at carpentry work on the cabinets, the old fridge had been replaced by another larger (also old) fridge. It may just be my memory embellishing the details, but I think it might have been avocado or mustard in its paint color. However, the paint wasn’t the most important “unfortunality” of this icebox, unfortunate as it was. No, instead it was its door, that only opened 60 degrees before it hit the counter across from it that was truly sad. As a college student who is wont to house large pizza boxes in his refrigerator, this situation created a series of difficult scenarios for my roommates and I. Accordingly, here are a few pointers for those in the market for a new fridge. Save yourself (or your tenants) some headache.
1. MEASURE YOUR SPACE
Don’t just measure the height of your fridge alcove, but also measure the depth, insuring you will be able to open the door all the way. Be sure to also consider that some doors need room near their hinges to open. Furthermore, consider the path you will be taking to get the fridge into the house and make sure it will fit through.
2. CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET AND NEEDS
What you need (or would like) and how much you can spend will define the type of appliance you should get. Fridges vary greatly in price with the cheapest being minifridges or compact single door units and French door or custom units generally being the most expensive.
3. PICK A TYPE
- Minifridges and Compact single door units:
Minifridges are a must have dorm accessory for the college student and could maybe work for a single person who doesn’t cook much. The compact refrigerators are great for apartments as they can accommodate a single person or a couple. Again, these are the most affordable types available. Personally, I have my old dorm fridge next to my bed to hide food from roommates and I can tell you, there is nothing like ice cold water in the morning without having to leave the bed.
- Top-Freezer Refrigerators:
Also an affordable choice, top-freezer models are generally simple and less flashy and therefore quite reliable. Shelf space is wide and often adjustable, but the user often has to bend over to reach into the fridge, making it slightly less “comfortable”, so to speak.
- Side-by-Side Units:
These models are a nicer looking and often include ice and water through the door, which makes them more convenient but also more repair prone. If you do consider a model with ice in the door, be sure your space is equipped with plumbing fixtures. There is a bit more freezer space in these units, but once again, fitting lager pizza boxes or pans can be difficult with the narrow compartments.
- French-door Models:
These newer models, with their bottom drawer freezer and side by side upper doors, are gaining popularity for many reasons. Beyond simply looking nice, they are very utilitarian. With the drawer freezer holding the cold air in and the ability to only open only half of the fridge at a time, more cold air is retained and energy bills get smaller. The over under scheme is both nice and wide but also at waist level, making it easier to use. Some even come with ice and water in the door and many are customizable and can be made to blend in with cabinetry.
4. GET IT
Check out what Vann’s has to offer online or check head into one of their stores where they have many models on display in their live kitchens.