When it comes time to buy a new refrigerator, many people simply go to the store and pick out the biggest one they can find. But there are several factors you should consider before making your purchase. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before buying a refrigerator:
10 Steps to Buying the Perfect Refrigerator
1. When was your old fridge made?
Depending on when a refrigerator was manufactured, it may not be as energy efficient as a newer model would be. Energy Star-qualified refrigerators consume about 10% less energy than standard models. A new refrigerator can pay for itself in just two years of increased efficiency through lower electric bills. Newer models are also more water-efficient.
2. What size is best?
Purchasing the wrong size refrigerator can not only be frustrating, but it can also actually be less energy efficient than a smaller one. When purchasing your fridge, consider how you’ll use it and where you’ll place it to determine which size will work for you. If possible, try to have a refrigerator with an adjustable interior so you can customize the layout. Drawer and door bins also allow for more customizable storage.
3. Will your new fridge fit?
In smaller kitchens, space management is very important when buying appliances, including refrigerators. Measure your kitchen before heading to the store to see if your planned purchase will fit. The location of your electrical outlet can also be a problem if the cord won’t reach the receptacle. Make sure you’ll have room to open and close your new fridge, especially with wider models.
4. Are energy-efficient features important?
Once you’ve determined what size of the refrigerator is right for you, check the Energy Guide label on the appliance. Energy-efficient models will probably cost you more, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial cost. Look for a model with an automatic energy-saver feature, which automatically shuts off the compressor if the refrigerator is not being used frequently enough to maintain optimal temperature levels.
5. What about space?
Look at the inside of the refrigerator to determine how much room you have for storage. Some models have more space at the top while others are designed with large freezers. Drawer and door bins will allow you to customize your space better than shelves. Before buying, make sure all of the shelves can be adjusted or removed to fit any items that typically go into your refrigerator.
6. Is door space important?
The doors of your fridge are often the most used part, so consider how much space you have for items like milk jugs or soda bottles. A built-in temperature alarm is also a useful feature since its function is to warn you if the temperature rises too high inside the refrigerator which can damage food.
7. Will a French door refrigerator fit in your space?
A French door model might be a good choice as it can free up valuable shelf space as you’ll have one less door to open. In addition, the freezer is typically larger on a French door unit, thus giving you more room for frozen foods.
8. Can you save countertop space?
If you don’t have much room on your counter, consider a side-by-side refrigerator. These units are similar to French door models but are more compact. They also have two doors instead of one which saves even more space on the inside of your fridge. Plus, you’ll have additional shelf storage outside the fridge which is perfect for items like butter containers.
9. What features are important to you?
Once the size of your refrigerator has been determined, think about what features are most important to you. A meat keeper drawer will keep food fresh longer since it has separate temperature control so it maintains 40°F even when the rest of the fridge goes up to 45°F. The additional cold helps keep the food below 40°F so it stays fresh longer.
10. Do you want a water dispenser?
Water fountains are convenient for family members of all ages, but they can require more cleaning than other water deliveries systems since moisture is continually entering the unit. A water dispenser reduces the amount of moisture in the refrigerator. Look for a system with an antibacterial treatment since this will help keep mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing inside your fridge.