A refrigerator is a major appliance and you want to make sure youíve thought about the basics before you go out to buy one.

Here are two simple questions to consider before you begin to compare brands and prices.

We know: Two Important Tips for Buying a Refrigerator

What are the basic styles of refrigerators and the advantages of each?

Itís all about the Freezer.
Think about how much you use the freezer on your refrigerator. Why? Because that is the feature that has the most influence on modern refrigerator design. Youíll find it located in three different places:

Freezer on Top
Makes the freezer easy to reach, but means you have to bend down to get into the fridge. They tend to be economical and less expensive than the two other styles.

Freezer Down Low
This design makes more sense, unless youíre an ice cream addict. Most people use the freezer less than the fridge, so you donít have to bend down so much. A little pricier that the freezer on top style, these models come with either a door that opens under the fridge door, or a drawer that pulls out from the bottom.

Side by Side
This style gives you two full-length doors, one opening in each direction. That eliminates some of the bending issues, but now youíve got narrower, more limited storage space. If you eat Ďwideí foods like cheesecake or watermelon, itíll be a tight fit. Side by sides cost more to buy and to run.

Freezer on topFreezer on bottomSide-by-side

What's the energy efficiency of each style?
Refrigerators are one of the most expensive energy-using appliances in your home, just after the furnace, air conditioner and hot water heater. Not unlike the family car, the more you pay for the style you want, the more it costs to run the silly thing. Refrigerators with the freezer on top are the least expensive to run, and side by sides are the most expensive to run.

So think about freezer location---it not only predicts the cost of your new appliance, but how much youíll have to spend on your electric bill afterward.

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