Refrigerator Buying Guide: How to choose a refrigerator?

Rashmi Malhotra

Are you buying a new refrigerator for your home? Do you feel completely lost looking at all the options available out there? If yes, then you just landed on the right page.

Before, refrigerators used to be one giant boring box resting at one corner of the kitchen, but now, times have changed.

Today you can choose refrigerators from ever-increasing style options, colors, and sizes. These meticulously designed units have equipped themselves with features and technologies that tempt us to get our hands on it.

Being all confused with so many options, customers often ask, ‘how to choose a refrigerator?’ which is not an easy job as you need to consider a lot of factors like fridge capacity, design, type, technologies and features, brands, etc.

Without any help, this can be a tough job. This is why we have created a Refrigerator Buying Guide to help you narrow down your choices.

We will help you understand and compare the factors to end up investing in a good unit. So, without investing any more time, let’s get into it.

How big a fridge do I really need?

Family MembersRefrigerator Capacity Refrigerator Style Options
Single 40- 150 litersMini, Single Door
2 adults 1 child170 to 250 litersSingle Door, Double door frost free
2 adults 2 children250 to 350 litersDouble Door,  Bottom freezer
4 to 5 adults350 to 500Double Door, French Door,  Side-by-side door
6-7 members550 to 850Double Door, Side-by-side door, French Door

How big a refrigerator you will need will depend on two factors-

  1. The number of family members and
  2. How much food you will keep inside.

For example, a small refrigerator with 190 to 250 liters of capacity is the best refrigerator size for a family of 3 (two adults, and one child). A family of 4 (two adults, two children) needs a slightly larger capacity of 250 to 350 liters.

For a family of 4 to 5 adults, you will need a refrigerator of around 350 to 500-liter capacity. Not less than this.

Even larger Indian conjugated families of 6 to 7 members will, of course, need an even bigger refrigerator of 550 to 850 liters capacity. Some families consider buying two separate refrigerators. But 550 to 850 liters of storage space is the ideal size.

Some of us need larger capacity refrigerators regardless of the family size. On the other hand, some of us stay alone; for them, a mini-fridge with 40 to 100 liters capacity might be sufficient.

So, it’s always important to decide on how much food you have to keep inside the fridge.

What style Refrigerator should I pick?

Depending on the size, door style, and configuration, there are a total of five different types of fridge styles—namely Single door, Double door, Side-by-side door, French door, and Mini.

Single Door Refrigerators:

As the name suggests, single-door refrigerators have a single door and have a capacity of around 160 to 280 liters. Because of their small size, they have limited shelves and an average size freezer.

Most single door refrigerators are direct cool type which requires manual defrosting ( Exception: Some high-end brands offer digital auto defrost option). They are compact in size and are the most economical types.

The price of a single-door refrigerator ranges from 10,000 INR to 20,000 depending on the capacity and features offered.

Double Door Refrigerators:

Double door refrigerators have two doors, one on top of another. They are bigger in size, thus offering more fridge and freezer space.

Usually, double-door refrigerators have a capacity of 200 to 600 liters. They are the ideal size for a family of 4 to 5 people. All double-door refrigerators are frost-free, so there’s no need to defrost your refrigerator every now and then.

The energy consumption is higher with double-door refrigerators, but they come with energy-efficient star ratings. The prices of double-door refrigerators vary from 20,000 to 50,000 INR and above.

They are of two types: Top-freezer refrigerators and bottom-freezer refrigerators.

Side-by-side Refrigerators:

Side by side refrigerators spit the refrigerator from the middle and have two separate doors on both sides- a freezer and a fridge. They are big in size, and the capacity ranges from 550 to 800 liters.

A few side-by-side refrigerator models have equal space in both compartments, but most of them have some extra inches inside the fridge. They are equipped with high-end technologies, making them the most expensive of all.

These units help with better organization and easy access to everyday items. You don’t need to bend down every time to grab them. They have more freezer space. And they need less space to swing open compared to other styles, which makes them an ideal choice for small kitchens.

A majority of side-by-side refrigerators include a water and ice dispenser in the front.

Top freezer refrigerators:

They are the most common types where you have the freezer compartment on top of the fridge.

Bottom freezer refrigerators:

They are slowly becoming a trend in India. Here the freezer compartment sits at the bottom, and the freezer is slightly bigger in size. The main advantage of having the freezer at the bottom is, most commonly used things like veggies, fruits, and spices are kept at eye level.

French Door Refrigerators:

They are the latest designs of refrigerators with two refrigerator doors and a freezer at the bottom. While most french door-style refrigerators have two drawers for the freezer, some of them have two doors that open outwards, similar to the fridge.

These are slim and sleek models and are around 30 to 36 inches in width. The capacity ranges from 450 liters to 800 liters. Because of their slim and sleek appearance, they save floor space, making them ideal for narrow and galley kitchens.

The doors can open together or individually and thus minimizes the escape of cool air. The bottom freezer with two drawers makes it handy, as most commonly used items are kept in the fridge. Also, the drawers provide more organized storage space.

Mini Fridge:

Mini fridges have a capacity of 50 to 100 liters. They are tiny in size, making them a more popular choice among students who live in hostels, tenants, or in small offices. They are great for keeping drinks, canned foods, and perishable foods fresh. Some of them come with a small freezer, while

Will the refrigerator fit my space?

With the rise of small apartments, kitchens are also getting smaller and smaller. You might want a big and incredibly stylish refrigerator, but it might not fit into the space that is left. So, before making any wrong decisions read the measurements of the refrigerator.

Then measure your space, the width, the depth, and the height. Don’t forget that the doors will need some space in front of them to swing open. You must leave at least an inch of clearance on the back and top, ensuring proper airflow.

Finally, take a measurement of the doors too. Very often,  bringing the refrigerator in through doors, staircases or elevators becomes a struggle.

Defrosting: Direct cool vs. Frost free

CharacteristicsDirect CoolFrost Free
CostInexpensive. Price ranges between 10,000 to 20,000 INR.More expensive. Price starts from 2,0000 and can do above 50,000 INR  
DefrostingManualNo need to defrost
Electricity consumptionLowHigher
Capacity50-200 liters250- 850 liters
Family Size1 to 3 members4 plus members
Cooling TechnologyConvectionVia electric fans
Refrigerator TypesSingle Door, MiniDouble door, Triple Door, Bottom freezer

Direct Cool Refrigerators:

Direct cool refrigerators cool the air inside through the natural process of convection. As a result of the natural convection process, water freezes into ice inside the refrigerator surface which requires manual defrosting. Another disadvantage of direct cool refrigerators is that they are not able to deliver uniform cooling.

They are priced lower compared to their counterparts frost-free refrigerators. As a matter of fact, they are getting obsolete with time. Almost all single-door refrigerators are direct cool type. A few exceptions are there, where brands are equipping their models with digital auto-defrosting technology.


  • Inexpensive
  • Consumes less electricity
  • Ideal for smaller families
  • Takes less space


  • Needs manual defrosting
  • Cannot provide uniform cooling
  • Less advanced and less features

Frost-free Refrigerators:

The entire cooling process is different in frost-free refrigerators. As the name suggests, these units always remain frost-free. It delivers uniform cool air circulation throughout its compartments via electric fans using the same convection process. It doesn’t form any ice on it’s surface; hence, you are free from manual defrosting. Uniform cooling also means that your food is safe from freezer burn.

Frost-free refrigerators come with double, triple, and multiple door styles. They are more advanced thus more expensive. They also have larger capacities and serve best to larger families. They consume more electricity due to the electric fans.


  • Modern refrigerators with advanced features
  • No need to defrost
  • Provides uniform cooling and keeps food fresh for longer
  • Comes in many styles
  • Large capacity
  • More organized space


  • Costlier
  • Consumes more electricity
  • Takes more space

How energy efficient is my refrigerator?

Refrigerators are given BEE Star Ratings based on the terms held by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. It determines how energy efficient the refrigerator is. The ratings go from 1 star to 5 stars.

1 star means your refrigerator is not energy efficient and consumes a lot of electricity, while a 5-star BEE rated refrigerator signifies itself to be the most energy-efficient refrigerator.

Even though a 5 star rated refrigerator initially costs more than the one with a lower rating, it ends up saving a lot on the yearly electricity bill.

For example, let’s compare two 250-litre capacity refrigerators, one with a 3-star rating and another with a 5-star rating.

Suppose the 3 star rated variant consumes around 650 kWh yearly, and you pay 10 Rs per unit of electricity; then the annual running cost will be 6500 Rs.

On the contrary, a 5 star variant with the same capacity initially costs 4000 to 6000 more, but it consumes around 400 units. So, the annual electricity bill is 4000 Rs, and you can save 2500 rupees more. Hence, the extra initial cost is recovered within 2 to 3 years.

Here is a table that schematically represents how much you end up saving each year:

Star RatingsUnits ConsumedAnnual Electricity BillSavings
No Star Rating1100110000
1 Star Rating98298201180
2 Star Rating77077003300
3 Star Rating65065004500
4 Star Rating51051005900
5 Star Ratings40040007000

What’s up with the Inverter compressor?

A compressor is responsible for the cooling and temperature regulation inside the refrigerator. Previously, there was only one type of compressor known as the rotary or general compressor. But now, larger refrigerators (mainly double door and triple door) are coming up with the latest Inverter Compressors.

General Compressors:

General compressors can run at a single speed. They are either ‘on’ or ‘off’, and there is no regulation in speed. They start running at a very high speed and maintain that speed until it reaches optimum cooling. This is why you get to hear the ticking sound from your refrigeration going on and off.

Their speed is made to handle the maximum cooling load that is during the summers when the temperature is maximum. This also means, even in winters when there’s no cooling loss, they run at their highest speeds and only stop after a certain time which results in consuming more energy than what is required.

Inverter Compressor:

Inverter compressors can run at variable speeds. They regulate their speeds depending on the amount of cooling that is required at that moment. It starts at low speeds and then speeds up when there is a loss of cool air. Thus, Inverter compressors make refrigerators more energy-efficient.

It ensures energy-saving during winters when the outer temperature is low and cooling load is lesser. In summers, during the day, it keeps running at variable speeds depending on the rise in temperature. During the night, when there is a fall in temperature, it again adjusts it’s speed, thus saving energy whenever it can.

What features to look for in a refrigerator?

Voltage Stabilizers:

If frequent voltage fluctuation is a problem in your area, a refrigerator with an in-built voltage stabilizer should be your first preference. It will safeguard your expensive appliances from getting damaged during a high voltage fluctuation. Luckily, most double-door refrigerators come with this option.

Convertible freezer:

You won’t understand the value of a convertible freezer unless you have it. A convertible freezer can transform the freezer into a fridge in case you run out of space. If you often run out of storage space, this is a great feature to have as a backup.

Water and ice dispensers:

This feature comes with the more expensive side-by-side models. Having this feature, you don’t have to open the fridge to grab a glass of cold water or some ice cubes while having a get-together. Everyone can get quick access without taking a sneak peek inside the refrigerator.

Toughened glass shelves:

Toughened glass shelves are a hundred times better than plastic shelves. They can handle a huge amount of weight and don’t get scratched so easily. If you want your refrigerator to last a long time, make it a priority.

Adjustable shelves:

A huge birthday cake, a pan full of leftover biryani, and no place to keep it inside the refrigerator- sound familiar? Adjustable shelves will come to your rescue in those times. It allows you to remove and make extra room for bigger containers.

A deodorizer:

A deodorizer is a filter that absorbs unpleasant smells from inside the refrigerator. With time the fridge starts to smell like the foods that are stored inside. And sometimes bacteria and mould grow in them. A deodorizer makes sure your fridge doesn’t have any foul smell and keeps food fresh.

Cool Pack:

The cool pack is a feature that will keep your freezer cool during power cuts for up to 12 hours. This is one beneficial feature if you have frequent power cuts in your area.

Instant Ice Making:

The best brand refrigerators feature instant ice-making technology in which it can freeze the water in less than an hour.

LED Bulbs:

LED lights are not necessary, but they are more durable, more energy-efficient, and they emit less heat compared to ordinary yellow bulbs.

Best refrigerator brands and their prices explained

The budget is the ultimate deciding factor of your purchase. And it should. With the rise of newer technologies, it’s now possible to have a refrigerator of your choice within your budget.

The price of a single-door refrigerator generally starts from 10,000, whereas double-door refrigerators start from 20,000, and for triple doors, the starting range is around 50,000. But the price will vary depending on the size, available features, and brand.

Talking about the brands, there are two many to talk about. But we are listing some of the best refrigerators in India that come with a warranty, trustworthy after-sales service, and repair. Some of them are:

  • LG
  • Samsung
  • Whirlpool
  • Bosch
  • Godrej
  • Haier
  • Panasonic
BrandsSingle DoorDouble DoorSide-by-side DoorMini Fridge
LG12,000 to 22,000 INR21,000 to 70,00075,000 to 1.5 lac INR
Samsung11,500 to 26,000 INR19,600 to 70,000 INR70,000 to 1.2 lac
Whirlpool10,000 to 24,000 INR20, 000 to 53,000 INR60,000 INR9000 INR
Bosch25,500 to 68, 500 INR1 lac to 2.5 lacs
Godrej10,000 to 24,00017,000 to 52,000 INR—-7000 INR
Haier10,500 to 20,000 INR21,000 to 35,000 INR50,000 to 80,000 INR9000 INR
Panasonic11,000 to 20,000 INR22,000 to 62,000 INR60,000 to 1.2 lac

Should I buy a smart refrigerator?

If you ask the question because you have set a budget, well then we must say you can surely live without it. Smart refrigerators are not cheap, and whether the investment is worthy or not, totally depends on you.

In India, we have a couple of smart fridges from brands like Samsung, LG that come with huge screens, showing tasks, menu, videos, playlist, etc. It can add a cool factor to your refrigerator. For some, these features matter as they use their refrigerators every day. For others, ‘smart’ means a gimmick. If you are one of them, spending Rs 20,000 extra or more just to have a vogue-worthy kitchen might seem like a total waste of money.

But don’t judge too quickly on the features that you can have as there are many of them which live up to the name. And recently, manufacturers are putting more effort into bringing more options for you to choose from.


Samsung or LG, which makes better refrigerators?

In terms of design, sleek and stylish appearance, Samsung refrigerators are better looking than LG’s. LG put more effort into innovating technology and features. A 260 L 3 star LG double door refrigerators have Smart Diagnosis, which can troubleshoot a defect in functioning and provide immediate support.
On the contrary, the same price double-door Samsung refrigerator will offer features like a digital display, recess handle, and a deodorizer. Both are equally energy efficient, and the cooling methods used by both brands are very similar. So, which brand is better is subjective. It depends solely on what matters to you most.

LG vs. Whirlpool, which makes better refrigerators?

LG and Whirlpool refrigerators are exemplary in terms of almost every aspect, be it the cooling systems, after-sales service, and warranty. The significant difference between both the manufacturer brands is the initial cost. In any segment, the starting price of Whirlpool is slightly lower than LG.
An LG 260-liter 3 star refrigerator is priced at 30, 690 INR with features like Smart Diagnosis, built-in stabilizer, etc. A Whirlpool 265-liter 3 star rated refrigerator, on the other hand, has a recessed handle and possibly a better design and few other extra features.

How do I determine which refrigerator to buy?

1 .First, decide on the capacity depending on the size of your family.
E.g., for a family of 2 adults and 1 child, a refrigerator with 170 to 250 liters of capacity, for a family of 3 to 4 people, 250 to 350 liters of capacity will do fine, for a family of 4 to 5 people 350 to 500 liters of capacity and for even larger families choose a refrigerator with more than 500 liters of capacity.
2. Now, pick a style depending on the options available.
3. Make measurements and make sure your refrigerator fits your space.
4. Make sure it has at least 3-star BEE Energy Efficiency ratings.
5. Choose from a reputable brand that offers decent customer support and a 10 years warranty on the compressor.

Which is better, a single door or double door?

Most single-door refrigerators are direct cool type means they need manual defrosting. They are small in size and are best for small families consisting of 2 to 3 members. Due to their small size, they consume less energy compared to double-door refrigerators.
Double door refrigerators are becoming more popular in India. It’s due to the features that come along with them, like inverter compressor, various cooling technologies, inverter connect, cool pad, deodorizer, smart connect, etc., and the fact that they are frost-free. They offer better-organized storage space and a larger freezer space. They consume more energy compared to single doors but are energy-efficient.
If the budget is not constraining you, choose a double door refrigerator to make it futureproof.

How to clean a refrigerator?

Your refrigerator will need cleaning from time to time, preferably once a month. It’s minimal maintenance that you will do to prevent bacterial or fungal growth and any kind of food contamination.
1. Wipe away minor spills and drips immediately. As liquids are easier to clean before they dry out and stick onto the surface.
2. Wipe the shelves and the interiors using a cloth soaked with soap and water. If possible remove the shelves to make the work easier.
3. Thoroughly clean the door seal, as clogged dirt and debris can enter hot air. Wipe them down using a cloth wherever they get dirty.

The Bottom Line:

So, these were the most important factors that one needs to consider when buying a refrigerator. You might still ask, “ Do I really need a bigger fridge” or “ Do the features really matter?”

Well, given that people have lived with refrigerators that offer nothing other than cooling that too for generations. And if you eat what you cook daily then a smaller fridge will just do fine. So, the answer is no, you don’t really need the additional features and a giant capacity refrigerator for the ‘chic’ statement that cost thousands and thousands more.

That being said, brands are doing their best to excite you with their high-end designs, and loading them with tempting features: like water ice dispenser, LED display, Mobile Apps, see-through glass door, automatic door open, touch screen panel, and many more. You will do fine without any of these, but at the same time, you can’t blame yourself for waiting for them.

Fortunately, brands competing with each other have left us with plenty of options to choose from different price ranges. And without spending much you can get access to a top-notch refrigerator that can make you feel upgraded and future-proof.

With tons of options out there, there is no stopping you from buying the best refrigerator that you will adore. But remember to buy it from a reputable brand, because it’s going to be with you for decades. You can compromise on a few features and designs but never on the quality.

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