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Ultimate Refrigerator Buying Guide

From wireless TV fridges to vibration-free wine storage units, here’s everything you need to know about buying your next fridge.

Please don’t call them iceboxes. Some refrigerators today are home-information centers with LCD screens for watching cooking shows, while others are customizable storage units that might change from fridge to freezer with the push of a button. Whatever the bells or whistles, the first step toward deciding which model to buy is to figure out how much space you need: Multiply the number of people in the household by five, and that’s the number of cubic feet you require. Multiply by six or more if you buy in bulk at warehouse clubs; multiply by four if you shop for produce daily.

It seems that every appliance company is now making a wine fridge as well. Our wine-refrigerator buying guide explains why some models are better than others for storing a serious collection.

LG’s TV refrigerator.
LG’s TV refrigerator.

Interactive Fridges

LG’s TV refrigerator includes a small LCD screen that shows real-time weather forecasts and contains a recipe database. An HDTV version is due out this spring ($3,600; 800-243-0000 or www.lgusa.com).

Samsung recently introduced its Wireless ICE fridge with a touch-screen LCD TV that’s detachable and wireless ($3,500; 800-726-7864 or www.samsung.com).

Big Chill Fridge
Big Chill’s fridge

Retro Style

Big Chill’s fridges come in a variety of colors, and the company just added matching stoves (from $2,700; 877-842-3269 or www.bigchillfridge.com).

Elmira Stove Works’ retro Northstar line has a modern touch: a bottom freezer (from $4,000; 800-295-8498 or www.elmirastoveworks.com).

Limited-Edition Import
Limited-Edition Import

Coming Soon: Beyond Stainless Steel

Jenn-Air is introducing an oiled-bronze finish this April with a warm, rustic feel that looks at home in a country kitchen (from $2,950; 800-688-1100 or www.jennair.com).

Dacor is debuting a line of glass-front appliances this spring, including 42- and 48-inch-wide refrigerators. The pretty colors, such as a pale blue or green, would work equally well in either a retro or supermodern kitchen (from $5,250; 800-793-0093 or www.dacor.com).

Limited-Edition Import

La Glacière, from the Corner Fridge company of England, looks like a 19th-century oak cabinet but has a stainless steel interior with distinctive details like meat hooks. Only 2,000 units are being built (from $16,000; www.cornerfridge.com).

Panasonic’s refrigerated pantry
Panasonic’s refrigerated pantry, only in Japan.

Innovations Abroad

Sold only overseas, here are two fridges that we hope make their way to the United States:

Panasonic sells a fridge—in Japan—with a narrow, slide-out drawer created specifically for holding jars and bottles.

Electrolux has introduced a range of wild exteriors, such as a patterned-leather design, for its Screenfridges, which are available only by special order in Europe.

Sub-Zero’s supercool all-stainless Pro 48.
Sub-Zero’s supercool all-stainless Pro 48.

Flexible Fridges

Sub-zero’s Pro 48 has six stainless steel compartments—three fridge and three freezer— to help keep the contents organized ($12,000; 800-222-7820 or www.subzero.com).

Thermador’s new Freedom Collection divides the fridge and freezer into independent parts, which can then be installed in different areas of the kitchen (from $2,900; 800-656-9226 or www.thermador.com).

Samsung’s QuatroCooling side-by-side refrigerator includes four compartments, each with its own thermostat. The two bottom drawers can switch from fridge to freezer with the push of a button (from $2,500; 800-726-7864 or www.samsung.com).

Published February 2007
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