Buying a new refrigerator seems simple enough until you actually start installing it. Moving an item as bulky as a fridge into your kitchen space can pose problems, particularly if you aren’t sure the refrigerator will fit into its designated spot.
That’s why the RC Willey team put together this quick guide on how to measure your refrigerator and make sure it fits. By adhering to these tips, you’ll have your shiny fridge up and running (queue the “is your refrigerator running” jokes) in no time flat.
Size Guide for Measuring Your Refrigerator
First thing’s first: before installing a new refrigerator, you have to decide which one to buy. Standard fridge sizes typically fall between 30 to 36 inches wide and 67 to 70 inches high. However, it’s not enough to go off these standard refrigerator sizes alone — this big of a purchase requires certainty.
Knowing how to measure a refrigerator is absolutely key when thinking about buying a new one. Before throwing out your old fridge, take a tape measure to it. Focus on measuring the height, width, and depth of your existing refrigerator. Make sure to calculate your measurements using inches instead of other metrics, particularly if you’re in the U.S.
A small array of standard fridge sizes is featured in the image below. Of course, many other options exist in the market today, so make sure to conduct more research on what’s available based on your kitchen’s specific needs.
Perhaps the trickiest part of getting an accurate sense of the space your refrigerator will occupy is determining its cubic feet (sometimes denoted as CuFt). If you’re not a math whiz, you may want to pull out your calculators for this one. To calculate cubic area, multiply the three measurements you took (reminder: width, height, and depth) together. Once you have your solution, divide THAT number by 1,728. Why 1,728? Because that’s what smart people say is the number of cubic inches in one cubic foot.
The answer to this division problem gives you an accurate reading of your fridge’s cubic area. As a point of comparison, most refrigerators will measure between 10 and 35 CuFt. If your answer isn’t in this general ballpark, double check your math.
Once you have your measurements, you’re ready to begin shopping for refrigerators that will fit. Other sizing related characteristics to keep in mind include the following:
- The model’s total capacity
- Appliance fit width
- Door hinge height
Depending on your refrigeration needs and design preferences, these measurements can also impact how your new fridge looks once in place.
The most important thing when measuring refrigerators is to not solely rely on manufacturer size guides. In this case, a little manual work goes a long way, and the odds of your new fridge fitting perfectly the first go-around increase exponentially when you invest some time and energy into measuring.
Measure Your Kitchen Space
The next step in measuring your refrigerator is to focus on the area surrounding it. All kitchens are different, and the fridge that looks great in your neighbor’s house may not work so well in your space. This means thinking about how the surrounding cupboards, drawers, and kitchen islands may interfere with your new fridge’s movement and overall ability to function.
Although the actual dimensions of your new refrigerator certainly matter, its designated space in your kitchen does too. Before measuring, keep in mind the total amount of space your fridge will occupy. This includes the space open doors and drawers will take up as well as appropriate ventilation space (more on that in a minute).
You can get an idea of how to accomplish these measurements by following the same process you did before: using a tape measure to figure out the length, width, and depth of your fridge’s intended resting place. Refer to the handy graphic below for a visualization of these key spaces.
Try to identify both the maximum and minimum width for your potential new fridge. There’s a big difference between a fridge with some breathing room between enclosed cupboard spaces and one jammed in. To be on the safe side, measure from the front AND back of the upper cabinets to the floor. Occasionally, cabinets are not perfectly square and taking two measurements will ensure non-aligned edges don’t catch you unawares come installation time.
Finally, take the extra time to measure the space between countertops, walls, cabinets, and baseboard trim. When in doubt, err on the side of the shortest measurements you read to ensure your new fridge will fit. When measuring a refrigerator, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Measure Space for Ventilation
One little-known fact about measuring refrigerators: they need room to breathe. Most recently manufactured fridges require at least 1 inch above and ⅛-inch per side of space between the refrigerator and the surrounding walls. Perhaps even more critical, fridges need at least a 2-inch buffer between their backs and the adjoining wall.
Why are accounting for these spaces necessary when measuring a refrigerator? Because fridges need regular air circulation in order to run efficiently. Also, without adequate air flow, many refrigerator brands will fail to last their entire lifespan. Fridges don’t come cheap, and nobody wants to replace one just a few years into its installation.
When measuring, subtract this buffer space from your previous solutions to get the most accurate dimensions for your new fridge. Before purchasing, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the brand you’re interested in to make sure your space will work.
Consider Space for Fridge Doors and Drawers
Knowing how to measure needed space for refrigerator pull-out drawers and doors can be a bit tricky. Most fridges with pull-out drawers need doors that swing open at least 90 degrees. If you don’t account for this range of movement, your new fridge may not open wide enough to allow easy drawer access.
If your doors still do not open all the way after installation, you can typically address this by pulling the fridge further away from the wall. Again, keep in mind how high your fridge’s hinges measure (see graphic above). Having accurate dimensions for drawers, open doors, and door hinges is key in making sure the fridge you’re interested in works for your kitchen.
Plan Delivery Path
Finally, once you purchase your new fridge, you need to make sure it can get into the kitchen. Depending on the layout of your home, you may need to plan out a specific, direct path to the new fridge’s spot. Measure the height and width of all hallways and doors that you or the delivery team will pass through on the way to your kitchen. If your new refrigerator’s height doesn’t clear these entrances, strategize a new path.
Sometimes a longer, seemingly more convoluted path to your eventual destination is better than a short, more direct one. If the longer option avoids narrow spaces and staircases, it’s probably worth the extra effort. Worried about your floors getting scratched? Purchase or rent a floor protector and consider using furniture slider pads when moving your new fridge.
Know that the RC Willey team is available for any questions or concerns you have when learning how to measure a refrigerator. Our experienced delivery teams and sales associates can help calculate the dimensions needed for your new fridge to fit as expected. Also, RC Willey provides the option for delivering and installing new refrigerators. Visit one of our showrooms today for more information and to check out the latest refrigerator models in-stock.