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Young couple shopping for a new refrigerator.

Need a New Refrigerator? How to Determine the Size You Need

If you’re a homeowner or a renter who’s responsible for their own appliances, you know how much of a hassle shopping for a new one can be. Finding just the right new appliance—one that meets all your needs—can be a challenge.  

When it comes to buying a new refrigerator, you’ve got to find one that closely matches the dimensions of the space where you’re going to put it. But that’s not enough, it also has to have enough room inside to fit all the items your family needs. To avoid going through endless options before you find the right one, we’ve put together some tips on how to choose the right size refrigerator for your space, and your needs. 

Start With the Right Dimensions  

To measure the size of your current refrigerator, you’ll need to get three measurements: the width, the depth, and the height.  

  • The Width  

The width of your refrigerator is how wide it is from side to side when you’re facing it. To get an accurate measurement, use a tape measurer. Measure your refrigerator from one side of the door to the other and write down the measurement.  

  • The Depth  

The depth of the refrigerator is the distance from the front of the fridge to the back of it (don’t forget to take into account any coils or feature that extend beyond the back of the fridge). To get this measurement you’ll have to pull the refrigerator away from the wall if it’s boxed in. If you have easy access to all sides of the fridge, simply measure the distance from the backside of the fridge to the front. This will be the refrigerator depth.   

  • The Height  

Next, measure the height of the fridge (how tall it is). Stretch your tape measurer from the top of the refrigerator to the bottom. Again, make sure to account for any pegs, or adjustment knobs located on the bottom of your current refrigerator.  

Once you have these measurements, you’ll have a better idea of what size refrigerator to look for. If your new refrigerator is going into a pre-existing custom area, make sure your measurements are precise to avoid a major headache later on. There is nothing worse than coming home with a new refrigerator, only to discover it’s an inch or two too big for the space you have (Ugh!). 

Measuring Your Refrigerator Space 

Maybe you don’t have a refrigerator yet, but are ready to purchase one and install it in a specific space in your home. To get started, measure the space where you want the new frig to go. A common option is to install the refrigerator in a pre-existing built-in corner of the kitchen. The last thing you want to do is purchase a fridge that is too big for your space (see above). 

Measuring your available space isn’t difficult, but accuracy is extremely important. This is where a ½" can make a big difference.  

If you’re installing it in between two counter tops, you’ll need to measure the distance in between them to make sure your refrigerator fits the space. If you have low ceilings and height in your kitchen is limited, measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling and leave some room at the top to maneuver the refrigerator into place, and for ventilation. If you’re inserting your fridge into an alcove in your kitchen, measure the width, depth, and height of your alcove. Use a tape measurer to ensure the accuracy of each measurement.  

Remember to Include Ventilation Space 

One thing that often gets overlooked when measuring for a refrigerator is ventilation space. In order for your refrigerator to be a long-lasting and reliable appliance, it needs about 1 inch of ventilation space above it, 2 inches behind it, and 1/8 of an inch on either side. Ventilation space is necessary for your refrigerator to breath. A lack of ventilation space can lead to overheating, which can causes your refrigerator to work harder and possibly give out prematurely.  

What Size Fridge Does Your Family Need?  

After you have all your measurements, another important detail to keep in mind is to purchase a refrigerator that’s the right size for your family. There are many different refrigerator sizes, made to accommodate various needs. The average refrigerator size is 30” wide, 66” high, and 33” deep. Standard refrigerator sizes, however, can run anywhere from 24-40 inches wide, 62-72 inches tall, and 29-36 inches deep.  

To determine what size refrigerator works best for your family, take into account the size of your household, and your available space. Keep in mind that refrigerators are measured in both feet and inches, and in cubic feet. When it comes to cubic feet, the average size refrigerator ranges between15-25 cubic feet. However, you can find sizes that are both bigger and smaller than this average. When trying to determine the best size refrigerator in cubic feet, a good guide to follow is to plan for 5 cubic feet per person. So, for 1-2 people, a refrigerator of at least 10 cubic feet is needed. If you have 3-4 people in your family, you’ll need a fridge that is around 20 cubic feet. For families of 5+, at least 25 cubic feet is best.  

When applied to a refrigerator, cubic feet are determined by the width, depth, and height of your refrigerator on the inside (total area inside the fridge). So choosing a refrigerator with enough cubic space, and one that fits well inside your kitchen, should help narrow down your choices. The final decision may come down to a matter of style, color and features (some fridges are pretty high-tech).  

Determine the Best Refrigerator Style for Your Family 

Although determining the right size refrigerator for you and your family may come down to a few simple measurements, keeping your major appliance up and running for years to come is not as easy. To make sure your refrigerator and all of your other major appliances continue to operate efficiently, call your local appliance pros at Mr. Appliance. We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to keep your appliances running smoothly all year. We work on all major makes and models and can quickly diagnose and fix most problems the same day. To setup a maintenance plan, or to schedule an appointment call us at, 888.998.2011 or visit us online today!