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What Refrigerator Size Do I Need? | Size Chart Included

by Pam Silvia

When you have many mouths to feed (or just several very hungry family members), not having enough refrigerator storage is a major inconvenience. For reference, each adult needs approximately 4 to 6 cubic feet of refrigerator space. That said, industry experts assess that a typical family of four needs at least 20 cubic feet of capacity to house a healthy amount of groceries. These factors and more are what you need to consider before choosing your refrigerator size.

 family dances in kitchen in front of bottom freezer refrigerator

What Refrigerator Size Do You Need?

To determine the ideal storage capacity for your new refrigerator, evaluating the size of your family is a great start, but since a refrigerator’s lifespan is around 13 years, it’s also important to look ahead to the future. Mainly, will your family be growing soon? In addition, are you one to host dinner parties often? The answers to these questions may lead you toward a refrigerator with extra storage space.

Check out this refrigerator sizes chart to determine which refrigerator sizes offer enough storage space for your household’s needs:

Family Size Minimum Refrigerator Capacity Our Top Picks
 
1 or 2 people 4–13 cu. ft.
Whirlpool 12.7 Cu. Ft. Bottom Freezer Refrigerator
3 or 4 people 14–24 cu. ft.
LG 22.5 Cu. Ft. Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator
5+ people 25+ cu. ft.
Samsung 26.7 Cu. Ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator

And now, here are our top product recommendations for every family size:

Best Refrigerator for 1 to 2 People

Top-freezer refrigerators and bottom-freezer refrigerators entail a larger fridge compartment with a smaller freezer, making it the perfect style refrigerator for families of 1 to 2 people. These refrigerator types remain popular not only for their tried-and-true configurations but also by virtue of its affordability; however, it should be noted that top- and bottom-freezer refrigerators do not offer as much storage space as French-door or side-by-side refrigerators, which is why they are mostly recommended for smaller families or households of one.

Product Suggestion: The affordably priced Whirlpool 12.7 Cu. Ft. Bottom Freezer Refrigerator (WRB543CMJZ) helps you make the most of every inch, thanks to the adjustable hide-away shelf, Drink Loft™ overhead storage, and flexible sliding bins that keep items organized and easy to access. In terms of nice-to-have features, this bottom-freezer refrigerator offers an Auto Hibernate mode that ensures your appliance operates efficiently while you’re away, and a Fast Drink freezer option that chills drinks fast and then reminds you after 30 minutes so you can grab your cooled beverage.

product image of Whirlpool WRB543CMJZ top freezer refrigerator

Best Refrigerator for 3 to 4 People

Top-freezer, bottom-freezer, French-door, and side-by-side refrigerators are all viable options for households consisting of 3 or 4 people; however, if you have a family of four, we recommend exploring French-door refrigerators and side-by-side refrigerators, as these models start at around a mid-sized capacity.

Product Suggestion: Going beyond the call of duty, the spacious LG 22.5 Cu. Ft. Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator (LRMVC2306S and LRMVC2306D) offers luxury-tier amenities, like the dual ice maker that creates slow-melting, round Craft Ice™; the Full-Convert™ drawer with five temperature settings; ThinQ® Technology with Proactive Customer Care; and the tinted InstaView™ Door-in-Door® glass panel that is illuminated after two swift knocks.

product image of LG LRMVC2306S French door refrigerator

Best Refrigerator for 5 or More People

As we mentioned in “Our Favorite Large-Capacity Fridges for Big Families” blog, French-door refrigerators and side-by-side refrigerators offer the most storage capacity of all freestanding refrigerator types. Side-by-side refrigerators, specifically, are a great option for families who purchase groceries in bulk. With a freezer that takes up roughly half of the appliance, you can expect side-by-side fridges to hold more of your frozen-food favorites, including meats, ready-to-cook meals, ice cream, and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Product Suggestion: The Samsung 26.7 Cu. Ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator (RS27T5561SR and RS27T5561SG) is beautifully designed with a minimal display dispenser, modern design that blends beautifully into your kitchen and a finish that withstands everyday smudges. In terms of maximizing storage, this Samsung refrigerator is stocked with adjustable shelves, an in-door ice maker, and gallon door bins. But perhaps most conspicuously, this fridge also displays an interactive Family Hub™ control panel that allows you to surf the web, create family memos, listen to music—and more.

product image of Samsung RS27T5561SR side by side refrigerator

Standard Refrigerator Sizes by Type

Along with accounting for refrigerator capacity, it is important to account for refrigerator dimensions as they pertain to your kitchen space.

Here are standard refrigerator sizes across our four most popular configurations:

French Door Refrigerators

  • Width: From 29-1/2 to 36 inches
  • Height: From 67 to 70-1/8 inches
  • Depth: From 29-3/8 to 34-5/8 inches

Side by Side Refrigerators

  • Width: From 32-3/4 to 39-3/4 inches
  • Height: From 65-7/8 to 71-1/4 inches
  • Depth: From 28-3/4 to 30-1/4 inches

Top Freezer Refrigerators

  • Width: From 28-3/4 to 32-3/4 inches
  • Height: 61-3/4 to 66-1/4 inches
  • Depth: Around 34-1/4 inches

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

  • Width: From 29-1/2 inches to 32-3/4 inches
  • Height: From 67 to 70 inches
  • Depth: Around 33-3/8 inches

What to do Before Buying a Refrigerator

Measure your entryway – Determine the height and width of your principal doorway and any subsequent hallways to easily transport the merchandise toward its destination without running into tight turns.

Measure your refrigerator space – Look out for the section (and video!) below to learn how to measure a refrigerator. Most importantly, check and double-check your refrigerator measurements!

Do your research – An informed purchase ultimately results in a satisfactory experience, so be sure to explore features beyond refrigerator dimensions and price. Look at product reviews and brand buying guides, too.

Consider energy efficiency – With an ENERGY STAR refrigerator, you can save at least 200 dollars over its 12-year lifetime.

Set a budget – Sometimes, your taste for the finer things can steer you toward financial irresponsibility, but that said, mass-premium brands, like KitchenAid, Bosch, LG, and Samsung, offer luxe features at an affordable cost.

Account for capacity – Refer to our refrigerator sizes chart to determine which refrigerator sizes offer enough storage space for your household’s groceries.

Consider your household’s space and needs – Beyond aesthetic preference, your choice of refrigerator style should also depend on the size of your kitchen and your family’s needs. In terms of the latter, for instance, if a family member suffers from back pain, a top-freezer refrigerator may not be the most ideal purchase.

Know where your home’s hookups are – If your new refrigerator has an ice maker or water dispenser, check if there is an existing water supply line extending from the wall or up from the floor. If not, you’ll have to use the one that feeds the sink or dishwasher and map the shortest path from this supply line to the rear of the refrigerator.

Keep an open mind – Keeping an open mind as you’re shopping could lead you to a more compatible purchase—even if it’s not what you wanted initially.

family hangs out in kitchen next to their stainless steel French door refrigerator

How to Measure for a New Refrigerator

Step 1: Measure the width of your refrigerator space at the countertop, beneath the upper cabinets, and the base of cabinets. If there is molding at the base, measure at the thinnest points. If your fridge is meant to rest against a wall without any cabinetry surrounding it, your choice of refrigerator width is not restricted.

Step 2: Measure the height of your refrigerator space from the floor to the lowest point under the upper cabinets. Generally, a fridge needs at least one inch of overhead space for ventilation, so be sure to account for this minimum clearance by subtracting one inch from your recorded measurement.

Step 3: Measure the depth of your refrigerator space starting from the back wall and toward the front edge of your cabinets of the neighboring wall. Since at least one inch of space between the back of the appliance and the wall is required for ventilation, subtract one inch from your recorded measurement.

Measuring Pro Tips

  • If you’re considering a French-door or bottom freezer refrigerator, make sure that the path of the freezer drawer is not obstructed when is being opened. To do this, visualize your body position relative to the front of the opened drawer so that retrieving food is not a potential hassle.
  • If you’re considering a French-door or side-by-side refrigerator, check that the doors clear any surrounding cabinets on either side, making note of your body position relative to the front of the opened doors.
  • If you’re considering a standard-depth refrigerator (i.e., not counter-depth), the height to the top of the case (rather than the hinge) is the most critical height measurement because the hinges are usually at the front of the appliance, rarely interacting with cabinets or enclosures.
  • If you’re considering a counter-depth refrigerator, the hinge height should be considered when measuring your space and narrowing your selection.

Check out this video for a visual step-by-step guideline: 

Shop for Your New Refrigerator at Spencer’s

Be sure to explore our wide array of refrigerator sizes and types on our product pages as you scroll through our catalog!

And if you have other questions about any of our top-rated refrigerators, please feel free to call or visit your friends in the business at Spencer’s TV & Appliance. Proud to have served our customers since 1973, we have 10 locations in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale regions. Call or visit us today!