Refrigerator Guide

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In this refrigerator guide I am not going to go into which refrigerator is a better top freezer or bottom freezer, or which brand is better because I just don't know. When I buy a refrigerator I check consumer reports, and retailers for real reviews. 

I will go into how to install refrigerators, the different types, and sizes of refrigerators, and how to have the cabinets set for different refrigerators. Every refrigerator is different please read the installation instructions for the specific leveling procedure, and electrical placement.

There are three different types of refrigerator as far as installation goes, The built in, The counter depth non built in, and regular depth.


                                               Built In Refrigerators

The Built In refrigerator is the kind that looks built in by having a lip over the cabinet refrigerator panels. Built in refrigerators are not very deep so they need to be as wide as possible, and the compressor is usually mounted on top. 

Built in refrigerators usually come in 36" or 48" and are very heavy. Before ordering or installing the cabinets know the exact opening needed for your refrigerator of choice. There is really only a 1/8" of play, if that, so the refrigerator cabinet panels need to be exact, and perfectly plumb!

Install the built in refrigerator by using a refrigerator dolly and a buddy to get it in the house, and in the hole, (5 buddies for a 2nd floor). The built in fridges almost always have a way to level the refrigerator from the front. After the fridge is level screw the sides into the fridge panels. Hopefully you remembered to plug it in, and hook up the water supply.

In most cases there is not room for a cabinet above the refrigerator in 8' high ceilings because of the compressor. The refrigerator plug also has to be high up close to the compressor, check the manufacturers specs, and do the plug placement during the rough electrical stage.

built in refrigerator picture


                                           Counter Depth Refrigerators

The Counter Depth non built in refrigerators are going for that built in look, but without the lip over the refrigerator panel. They most often stick out more than the owner wants, but definitely less than a regular depth fridge.

Installation of a counter depth refrigerator is the same as a built in but it is not screwed to the sides of the fridge panels. The electrical placement for the Counter depth fridge is the typical height for fridge plugs, around 4' high.

The counter depth refrigerators are going for maximum width because of the loss of depth, so they are often only a 1/8" less than the normal 36" refrigerator opening at 35-7/8". Again make sure your openings are perfectly plumb.

Counter Depth Refrigerator Picture

                                                           Regular Depth Refrigerators

Regular Depth refrigerators can stick out as much as 4" to 10" from the cabinetry. It is possible to get wider fridge panels so the refrigerator surround ends up deeper to try and hide more fridge. The fridge sticking out is the obvious trade off to having a lot more storage capacity, which for anybody with a large family is the only option. 

Regular Depth Refrigerator Picture

If you want decorative panels then make sure the refrigerator is the model that accepts panels, and the type of panels from your cabinet company will jive with each other. This picture is of a 48" built in with decorative panels from the cabinet company.

refridgerator with panels



                                        Shopping for Refrigerators

The online retailers have driven appliance prices down forcing the local retailers to also drop the prices. Appliances are best bought from a local storefront in case there is a problem and the appliance needs to be returned. Installation if done by a certified installer will qualify the buyer for an extended warranty with some appliance manufacturers. Appliances really are one of the first things to figure out with a kitchen remodel because the cabinet layout is done around the appliance sizes.