When purchasing a refrigerator keep in mind that
- It will have the large surface exposed to everyone, perhaps two surfaces (front and side) - pick a finish that you like. We've gotten used to the wooden cabinet/metal appliance look, but plain old white works fine. Black adds a level of heaviness to the kicthen, but all this is very personal.
- People will be touching it very often - matte white is the most resistant to this. Silver finish needs to be wiped down often to hide fingerprints.
- The door will swing out very often - the side-by-side design is interesting, but I find the regular single door the best. Locate it where the door doesn't block an entrance way when you open it.
- It will be sitting in a place (e.g a dine-in kitchen) where the family might gather to do work or talk - attention to the noise the fridge makes when starting and running is in order. In general, however, one gets used to fridge noises very quickly.
- It will work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, gulping electricity. Look for energy star compliant ones. Also, this page suggests:
- Buy top-mounted freezer type (i.e. the plain old type). This makes sense as the Freezer compartment is the coolest, and the cool air from the freezer will settle down, making cooling the regular compartment more efficient. You don't get this benefit with bottom-freezer or side freezer designs.
- Consider 4-6 cubic feet per-person. Which comes to a 18 cu-ft size for a family of three and 20-21 cu-ft size for a family of four.
- Ice-makers and dispensers - because they make a break in the door insulation - make the fridge less efficient.
- Random fact - the most energy is consumed when the compressor starts.