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Which retro refrigerators are best?

Refrigerators are a necessity whether you live in an apartment or house. For more of a nostalgic feel, retro refrigerators can keep items freshly stored while giving off a great unique look. Retro refrigerators can feature classic style handles, and old-fashioned finishes that give these appliances a sleek yet retro look. Retro refrigerators come in all sizes, so if you want a small compact one for a dorm room, or a large one for the entire family, there’s an ideal size for you. If you’re looking for a spacious and stylish retro refrigerator, the RCA RFR786-RED 2 Door refrigerator is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a retro refrigerator


The capacity of retro refrigerators are measured in cubic feet, where you’ll find your compact models with a total capacity of 3 cubic feet or less. If you want more of a mid-sized model, they will generally have a total capacity of at least 7 cubic feet. Then if you want larger sizes, i.e. if you have an entire family, you’ll want to go with a refrigerator that at least has a total capacity of 10 cubic feet. 

Door type

Common types of refrigerators include a french door, side by side, top freezer and bottom freezer. French door refrigerators have two doors on the top that open outward, with a bottom compartment that tends to be the freezer. A side by side refrigerator features two doors next to each other that open outward, where one section could be a freezer and the other can be a refrigerator. Then top or bottom freezer models will have a freezer compartment on the bottom or top of the appliance. Choose a style that fits your preference. 

Energy efficiency

Even though refrigerators in recent times have been built with more energy efficient technology, some models can spike your electricity bill. A great way to determine how much a refrigerator will cost you in electricity. Look for a yellow sticker labeled Energy Guide and it will give an estimation of yearly operating costs.

What to look for in a quality retro refrigerator

This section should detail the primary features available in different models of this product, both fundamental features and optional features (upgrades). On average, expect to have 3-6 features. If there are a few key players that are synonymous with the product type (e.g. with smartphones, there is Apple and Android) — cover their key points of differentiation.

Water/ice dispenser

Having a water and/or ice dispenser can save you the time of having to buy water bottles or having to manually freeze ice. These dispensers can be especially helpful if they are built with filters, that way they can provide the cleanest water and ice, free of harmful chemicals and metals. 

Adjustable shelves

Whether it’s shelves or bins, having a retro refrigerator that has interior adjustability allows you to organize items the way you want to, and prioritize which foods you want closer to the top or bottom of the refrigerator. In some models you can simply switch one shelf with another, allowing that shelf to have its humidity be more under control while setting aside other items that don’t need temperature-regulated shelving. 

Smart features

Just because retro refrigerators have a retro design, does not mean they can’t have the latest technology. Smart features such as WiFi and Bluetooth capability allow you to remotely operate the refrigerator and possibly even browse the internet and applications through your refrigerator. Having a smart retro refrigerator can make work around the house easier and more fun. 

How much you can expect to spend on a retro refrigerator

Retro refrigerators can range from approximately $200-$3,000, where you’ll find more compact refrigerators from around $200-$500. Midrange models cost around $500 to $1,500, where you’ll find bigger sizes, and fridges that have features such as full-sized freezer compartments and LED interior lighting. High-end retro refrigerators will cost approximately $1,500-$3,000, and these models will have a generous total capacity with high-end features such a Wi-Fi capability and an exterior touch screen.

Refrigerator FAQ

What is the lifespan of a refrigerator?

A. The average refrigerator can last up to 13 years and even more if properly taken care of. 

What temperature should I keep my refrigerator at?

A. It’s recommended to keep your refrigerator temperature at 40° F or below. If your refrigerator has a freezer, it’s best to keep that compartment at 0° F or below. Monitor temperatures occasionally just to make sure items aren’t too warm or frozen in the refrigerator. 

What are the best retro refrigerators to buy?

Top retro refrigerator



What you need to know: Having a generous total capacity of 7.5 cubic feet, RCA provides some of the best old-school designs in appliances

What you’ll love: The spill-proof shelves help contain potential spills. The reversible door hinge allows you to adjust the door for right or left-handed people.

What you should consider: Vulnerable to scratches. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top retro refrigerator for the money

FRIGIDAIRE EFR376 Retro Bar Fridge

FRIGIDAIRE EFR376 Retro Bar Fridge

What you need to know: With there being a variety of colors offered, you can find a compact retro Frigidaire fridge that can handle large amounts of items. 

What you’ll love: Although it doesn’t have a separate freezer door, it makes up for it by having a freezing tray that can freeze items

What you should consider: Smaller than the typical retro refrigerator.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Galanz GLR46TBKER Retro Compact Refrigerator

Galanz GLR46TBKER Retro Compact Refrigerator

What you need to know: Featuring a glossy finish, this retro refrigerator combines modern touches with an old-fashioned style. 

What you’ll love: Save on energy consumption with the low-energy consumption compressor. The freezing compartment allows you to freeze items. 

What you should consider: It can be noisy occasionally.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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