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What Refrigerator Size do you Need? How Big is Big Enough?


August 16, 2017

What refrigerator size do you need? I wouldn’t ask an American a question like this.

Americans tend to want the largest refrigerator sizes they can afford and still fit in their kitchens. Newer American homes normally have a galley kitchen size to work with and a fridge that barely fits.

Country homes have, of course, a country kitchen size and can fit larger refrigerator sizes in the kitchen area.

What about the rest of the world? The average resident in the Philippines doesn’t have any refrigerator at all. I’ve been to other countries where it’s just like that as well.

Tiny Refrigerator Sizes

I’m sure you’ve seen them. Perhaps you’ve seen them and ignored them. For whatever reasons, refrigerators come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. I’ve often wondered who, in their right mind, would buy one that’s barely large enough to hold a gallon of milk. I’m not kidding because those sizes exist.

Some small sizes serve a distinct purpose: Refrigerating things outside of the kitchen. I’ve seen kitchenettes in motel rooms with those sizes, which makes sense since they’re only designed to temporarily keep things cold. Some people keep small refrigerators in their bedrooms and it makes sense in some cases. One example would be a bedroom that doubles as an office.

Refrigerator Styles

I have what I would call a standard refrigerator in my house. It’s called a top mount refrigerator because the freezer portion is on top. It stands to reason that one with a freezer on the bottom would be then be called a bottom mount refrigerator. It is, but it’s also called a bottom freezer model. A side-by-side refrigerator is one that has the doors open from the middle and the freezer compartment is on one side or the other.

An interesting combination, and I think it’s a newer style, is the French door model. The upper refrigerator portion swings open like French doors while the lower freezer portion is just like the bottom mount style. I can see it as being useful in a kitchen design where the door width might be an issue. You may want to consider that when doing any kind of kitchen remodeling.


Refrigerators Outside of the United States

Refrigerator sizes and styles are important in cultures like those in the United States or the United Kingdom, where we need to keep most food items cold or frozen. In other areas of the world, they aren’t as important. Dairy fresh milk is very rare in places like the Philippines. UHT milk comes in liter-sized packaging and has a long shelf life, not requiring refrigeration until opened. Generally, an opened container of that size doesn’t last long enough to worry about refrigeration.

I don’t know how long eggs will normally last without refrigeration, but it isn’t important in the Philippines either. We can get any number of fresh eggs on any day of the week and it’s usually from the local “sari sari” stores. I’m an American and I’m spoiled and that’s why I have a large size. It’s rarely full. Actually, I think my wife wanted one more than I did when we had the house built. I think she’s been spoiled by American life.

I think people take refrigerators for granted as something they need, when that may not even be the case . How many homes have you been in where the refrigerator was practically empty (except for ice)?

Originally published in January of 2014. Updated for readability and minor corrections.

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