How to Find the Cubic Feet of a Refrigerator

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Your refrigerator's cubic feet represents how much it can hold.
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If you plan to purchase a new refrigerator, you likely want to know how large the models you're considering are. Depending on the size of your family and how much food you like to buy on each shopping trip, you may require a very large or a much smaller refrigerator. Calculating the cubic feet of your current refrigerator is a good way to get a sense for how much space you have now and how much you might want or need in the future.

What Is a Cubic Foot?

A cubic foot is defined as the height times the width times the depth of an item. In the case of a cube, these three numbers would all be the same, since a cube has equal sides. Most refrigerators, however, are rectangular in shape. This means you would likely have three different numbers in your calculation.

Say your refrigerator was 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep. To calculate the cubic feet, you would multiply 6 x 3 x 2. In this example, your refrigerator would be 36 cubic feet.

Of course, the issue with a refrigerator is that the inside is not completely empty — there are many shelves, drawers and compartments that change the available cubic feet for storage space. Some refrigerators will not account for this lost space in the cubic feet calculations they display when the model is for sale. Just be aware that there is most likely less room in the unit than the manufacturer states, due to this unusable space.

Refrigerator Sizes in Cubic Feet

A good way to calculate the cubic feet of your refrigerator is to use a tape measure to get an accurate height, width and depth measurement of the unit. You can write down the measurements as you take them so you don't forget.

Then, do mental math or use a calculator to multiply the three measurements together. If you'd like to account for unusable space, you can find the cubic feet of each individual region inside the refrigerator by splitting the interior compartment into squares and rectangles. Deduct any areas that you deem wasted space from the overall cubic foot calculation to find out how much room you really have inside the refrigerator. The same method can be used to find available cubic feet in your freezer.

Purchasing a New Refrigerator

With the current cubic feet measurement of your refrigerator in mind, you can begin the process of finding a new unit for purchase. Once again, be aware that manufacturers may not deduct wasted space in their cubic foot calculations. Be aware of this when looking at a refrigerator sizes chart or when using a refrigerator size calculator.

However, refrigerators and freezers have become more and more versatile, and many compartments, drawers and shelves are adjustable or even removable. In this way, you can minimize wasted space and make storage solutions truly work for you.

For instance, if you buy a lot of tall containers, like milk, soda or orange juice, you might wish to lower the top shelf and make room for your liquids there. Alternatively, you might be able to use movable compartments on your refrigerator doors for these taller items, maximizing otherwise unusable space in that way.


Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (

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