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Refrigerators Buying Guide – Glossary

Your refrigerator says a lot about you. Top mount, bottom mount, side-by-side; each type is made to suit individual cooking styles & food storage needs.



Cooling Coils Location

The zig-zag shaped coils located on the back or bottom of the refrigerator are part of the cooling system. Coils located underneath the refrigerator are out of sight, allowing you to move the refrigerator closer to the wall. For best performance, clean the coils twice a year by lightly running a vacuum brush over them.

Cutout Depth (In.)

Refers to the depth of the kitchen cabinetry or counter opening required for installation.

Cutout Height (In.)

Refers to the height of the kitchen cabinetry or counter opening required for installation.

Cutout Width (In.)

Refers to the width of the kitchen cabinetry or counter opening required for installation.

Door Panel Options

Easy-to-clean tempered glass shelves allow you to see the food stored in the back half of the refrigerator. A spill-proof shelf has a ledge around it to help prevent food and beverage spills from dripping off one shelf and onto another.

EnerGuide Rating (kWh/Year)

The EnerGuide rating is your guide to energy efficiency. It tells you how energy efficient a particular model is. The label provides information on the amount of kWh per year the model will use under normal circumstances. The lower the number, the less electricity the appliance uses.

Product Depth (In.) - Excluding handle

The measurement from the front to the back of the refrigerator. Door handles are not included in this measurement.

Product Height (In.) - Excluding hinge cover

A measurement of the height of the refrigerator from top to bottom. Hinge covers are not included in this measurement, an important factor to note when kitchen cabinetry is being designed around a refrigerator.

Product Width (In.)

A measurement of the width of the refrigerator. Not all refrigerators are the same width, so it's important to note this measurement when buying a replacement to fit an existing space in your kitchen. Some models require extra width (1 to 2 inches) to provide ventilation for the coils on the back of the refrigerator. Before making a purchase, measure the width of all doors through which the appliance will have to pass on its way to a final location. If the depth of the refrigerator is less than the width, it can be used as a comparison measurement.

Rollers / Wheels

Adjustable rollers on the bottom of the refrigerator make it easy to move it away from the wall for quick clean-ups. Adjustable rollers can also serve as levelers when a kitchen floor is uneven.

Temperature Control(s)

The temperature control automatically keeps your refrigerator at the optimal cooling temperature.

Total Capacity (Cu./Ft.)

The amount of space available for food storage in the fresh food and freezer compartments. All space is measured in cubic feet.


Fresh Food Section

Adjustable Door Bins

Whether it's a carton of milk or hamburger fixings, door storage space can be customized to fit your family's needs. Bins are adjustable and can be taken to table or to the sink for cleaning.

Adjustable Shelves

Shelves for the fresh food section of a refrigerator can come in full or partial widths, as well as a combination of the two. This allows you to customize the look and function of the refrigerator.


Crispers keep perishable fruits and vegetables fresher for a longer time. Optional humidity controls are available. Clear crispers offer easy visibility, while white crispers must be opened to view the contents.

Dairy Compartments

Storage for butter, cream cheese and other dairy products.

Fresh Food Capacity (Cu./Ft.)

The amount of food storage space available in the refrigerator's fresh food section compartment. All space is measured in cubic feet.

Food Storage Accessories

Wine Rack: This rack attaches under a shelf to provide convenient storage for large wine bottles or pop bottles.

Can Rack: No more moving pop, juice or beer cans around to make room for other food. This rack attaches to a shelf to provide storage for up to 8 cans. Many compact refrigerators have can dispensers built in the door.

Egg Bin: A plastic storage container designed to hold eggs.

Meat Keeper

Compartments keep meats fresher for a longer period of time. Some models offer temperature controls.

Pull-Out or Tilt-Out Baskets

Pull-out baskets store more food and provide easier access to items. Tilt-out baskets are a space-saving way to store small items, which can be accessed by tilting the basket forward when needed.

Shelf Suspension

Fixed Shelf: Glass or wire shelves that cannot be moved.

Adjustable Shelves: Customize the interior by adjusting the shelves. Some limitations apply. With this kind of flexibility you can make the most of your storage space.

Cantilever: Oversized containers can easily be accommodated when these bracket-supported shelves are adjusted for a custom fit.

Crank Adjusted: A turn of a crank quickly changes shelf height to accommodate large food and beverage containers. Shelf height can be adjusted without removing the food.

Shelf Type

Wire Shelves: Feature a rust resistant coating. Offer durability.

Glass Shelves: Tempered glass shelves.

Spill Proof Shelves: A spill-proof ledge on the tempered glass shelves keeps liquids contained, preventing a small mess from becoming bigger.

Snack Bin

This multi-purpose plastic bin holds a variety of food items. Items that are small can be organized neatly into one bin instead of cluttering up the main shelves.

Freezer Section

Defrost System

Frostfree: Ice never builds up in this maintenance-free refrigerator.

Manual Defrost: Turn the refrigerator off to let warm air melt any build up of ice.

Auto Cycle Defrost: The defrost system automatically turns on and off during timed cycles. The freezer compartment must be manually defrosted about once or twice a year depending on usage.

Freezer Capacity (Cu./Ft.)

The amount of food storage space available in the refrigerator's freezer compartment. All space is measured in cubic feet.

Freezer Light

An interior light automatically goes on when you open the freezer door.