How to Buy a Refrigerator

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Buying a refrigerator can be a time consuming and frustrating task for some. Research and patience are key, as choosing the right refrigerator can cut energy costs, reduce your grocery bill and even increase the resale value of your home.

  • Figure out how much food storage capacity you need. Generally, smaller families require 18 to 22 cubic feet of refrigerator space, while large families or people who entertain frequently need 25 to 28 cubic feet.

  • Measure the space where the refrigerator will sit. Note the height, width and depth of the refrigerator with doors open and closed. It's important to avoid buying a refrigerator that is too big or small and looks awkward in your kitchen.

  • Decide on a door configuration. Refrigerators are available in side by side with freezer and refrigerator compartments next to each other, bottom mount with freezer below the refrigerator and top mount with freezer over the refrigerator.

  • Determine which features are important to you. Many side by side models feature in-door ice and filtered water dispensers. Some refrigerators have humidity controls on storage bins to prolong freshness of meat and vegetables. Buy a refrigerator that best fits your eating, shopping and living habits.

  • Compare prices and look for sales. Whether you plan to buy a refrigerator online or in a local appliance store, you can save money by doing some research. Remember to factor in shipping costs if purchasing online and delivery and installation costs for all retailers.

  • Read ratings and reviews of models that suit your needs. Consumer watchdog organizations test appliances and generate ratings and popular websites that sell refrigerators allow customers to post written comments about the products they purchase.

  • Ask for warranty information. A good refrigerator warranty will cover parts for one year and the sealed refrigeration system for five years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refrigerators are available in white, black, almond, and stainless finishes. Stainless steel appliances give kitchens a professional look and can increase the resale value of your home, particularly if you plan to leave your appliances behind when you move.
  • Check out scratch and dent sales to save a lot of money on a refrigerator. Retailers will discount appliances by as much as 70 percent for minor cosmetic damage.
  • Purchase an Energy Star refrigerator to significantly reduce energy costs.

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