Most refrigerators (also called a fridge) have a cooler and a frozen section.
The freezer and cool sections usually both have temperature adjustments. They will interact. Turning the freezer to the coldest temperature will also make the cool section cooler.
The temperature is around 3°Celsius or 38°Fahrenheit - or in other words above, but fairly near freezing. (A range from about 35-40° is probably ok.) Freezing will damage some foods and make others difficult to eat or drink. But near freezing will preserve those foods for a longer time than warmer temperatures.
Many refrigerators also have compartments. Sometimes the compartments are just to make storing and finding things easier. But, because of the restriction of airflow and their placement (and sometimes a separate adjustment), these compartments may be a slightly different temperature from the rest of the refrigerator's interior. They may also be used to adjust the humidity. At cold temperatures water tends to condense outside of the food, so the food can be dried out. A fruit or vegetable compartment is designed to hold in moisture.
On many refrigerators the door and hinges are designed so they can be changed with the doors opening to the left or to the right. This does not apply to "side-by-side" refrigerators where the two doors are next to each other and usually open from the center.
- side by side (one side cool; the other side frozen)
- freezer on top
- freezer on the bottom
- size - internal (cubic feet or meters) and external (will it fit in the kitchen? under the cabinets?)
- energy efficiency
- ENERGY STAR about Refrigerators
- TLC on What is the ideal temperature for a refrigerator?
- The Difference Between a Wine Cooler and a Regular Refrigerator
- reviewfantasy.com on How to Choose a Refrigerator
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Refrigeration and Food Safety
- repairclinic.com on Refrigerator Troubleshooting