Your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home. When it is time to buy a new one, there are important factors to consider. But what should you know before buying a refrigerator? Just like buying a car, we sometimes let ourselves get taken by our emotions without much thinking. And as fun as that is, it often results in inadequate purchases. So, before you get too excited about a new model you have seen, it is important to do your homework to ensure you end up with a successful purchase.
Before you buy a refrigerator, you need to know the size of the space you have, the setup that will work best for you, your budget, and any options you might want. Next, you can consider the energy efficiency and you can research smart refrigerator options. Finally, you should know the best time to buy a refrigerator.
If you go to the appliance store or search online after you do your homework, it will be much easier to find the right refrigerator for your home. Continue reading to learn what to know before buying a refrigerator.
Measurements Are Critical When Buying a Refrigerator
Before you buy a refrigerator, the first thing to consider is the size you need. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a particular refrigerator that doesn’t fit in the space you have in your kitchen.
Measure the space, not the old refrigerator – If you are replacing a refrigerator, you will need one with similar measurements. But, while it is tempting to measure the old refrigerator, you should measure the space that occupies for better results.
The old refrigerator may not have been the best fit for the space you have. You should measure the width, height, and depth of your space to understand the size you are looking for.
Capacity vs size – Although the refrigerator will give you the size in terms of capacity, you need to know the dimensions to make sure that it will fit in the space in your kitchen.
Most manufacturers will tell you the size in terms of capacity. This measurement will be in cubic feet, which gives you an idea of how much food your refrigerator can hold, but two refrigerators with the same capacity can be of different sizes.
Capacity may not be critical information for most people but may be important to you, especially if you have a large family. Generally speaking, a refrigerator with 19 to 22 cubic feet can fit the basics for a family of four. If you have more than four people, you will want to add two to three cubic feet per additional person.
Room for ventilation – When you take the measurements, add an inch so that your refrigerator has room for ventilation. Refrigerators work by transferring heat from inside through the coils to the outside, so there should be room.
Make sure you can get it to the kitchen space – Once you have measured the space, make sure that you measure the entry to your kitchen and the path the new refrigerator needs to take to get inside your kitchen. You need to know that the refrigerator will fit through the doors and entries.
Also, make sure there is enough room to open the doors of the model you choose without hitting something in the kitchen.
Refrigerator Measurement Video Guide
Here is a very good video from Home Depot on how to measure for a new refrigerator.
Choosing the Layout for Your Refrigerator
There are four common layouts for refrigerators and you will want to choose one before you go out to buy a refrigerator.
Presently, the French door style is the most popular, but it can be more expensive. The French door style usually has a freezer on the bottom with two doors that open above. They run from 30 to 36 inches wide.
Side-by-side refrigerators have the refrigerator on the right and the freezer on the left. They are far less popular than the French door style and they are usually between 33 and 36 inches wide. However, they are great for people who need a lot of freezer space and are less expensive.
Next up is the top freezer style. They have a freezer on top and one door to the refrigerator on the bottom. They are very popular and they range from 24 to 33 inches in width. This is a great option if you want a refrigerator on a budget. They don’t normally have a lot of extra features, but they are usually energy efficient.
There are bottom freezer models that are basically the opposite of the top freezer style, but they are not very common and smaller than other types. These are the basic layouts that are available, and you should decide which is best for you before you go refrigerator shopping.
Refrigerator Buying Video Guide – Consumer Reports
This Consumer Reports buying guide video can help you decide which type of refrigerator to buy from a top-freezer, bottom-freezer, or side-by-side, to a French-door or multi-door.
Features That You Should Consider for Your Refrigerator
There are certain features that you should consider before you decide on the refrigerator that you want. Start with the finish. The most popular is stainless steel, which is durable and matches the decor in most kitchens. Stainless steel is not magnetic, so keep that in mind.
You will want to consider your other appliances. If they are all stainless steel, they will match well. If they are black, white, or another color, you might want to consider matching the color. You should also look at the different handles and choose the ones that you like best.
Another factor to consider is the drawers and shelves inside the refrigerator. Some drawers will have rollers on them, while others will have plastic glides. Some shelves are spill-proof, and others are folding or can be pushed back when you need more space. You can get a refrigerator with door storage that is large enough to hold your gallon jugs of milk and more.
You also need to decide if you want an ice maker and an ice and water dispenser. Many people love them, but you have to go into it knowing that you should look for a model that is known for reliability. You can also look at the noise level. Some refrigerators are loud and people don’t love them. If a refrigerator has complaints about the noise level, you might want to consider a different model.
What Is a Smart Refrigerator?
A smart refrigerator can come with different smart features. The most basic might be WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled, while the top-of-the-line models can come with a touch screen, cameras, and apps. You can control the temperatures with the apps or you can make a grocery list. You need to decide how important this is to you, but they are new and the technology is likely to be outdated in a few years, which could shorten the lifespan of your fridge compared to other models.
Energy Efficiency and Lifespan
New refrigerators are always going to use less energy than older ones. Generally speaking, you will save about $30 a year if you replace a ten-year-old refrigerator with a new one. Look at the Energy Guide sticker to learn how energy efficient it is.
Most refrigerators will last between ten and fifteen years. However, it is important to read customer reviews to see if they are satisfied with the fridge. Make sure that you read more than one review, and if there are a lot of complaints, then it is best to avoid that model.
When Is the Best Time to Buy Refrigerators
You may have heard that the end of the year, around September, October, November, and December are the best months to buy big appliances in general, but refrigerators are special.
Spring, from April through early June, seems to be the best time to buy your refrigerator. Some think that this is because manufacturers want to introduce new models with the expectation that old refrigerators will fail as summer gets near.
Of course, holidays are usually a good time to buy. Therefore the Memorial Day weekend could be one of the best times to buy your new refrigerator. May is also Maytag month. So, if you happen to be interested in this brand, you may want to keep that in mind.
When looking for a refrigerator, you need to do your research before heading to the store. The most important factor is the dimensions. The refrigerator needs to fit in your kitchen, and it needs to fit through your doors and entry ways. Once you know the size, you should choose the layout that is best for you. Then, consider the other features.
Make sure that you check the customer reviews to make sure that people are happy with the model you are considering. You can expect a new refrigerator to last between ten and fifteen years, so make sure that you take your time and choose one that has everything you need.