Five Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Refrigerator

Buying a refrigerator isn’t something you do every day. If you buy one of the best-rated refrigerators, it’s likely it’ll last you a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re looking for the best qualities when you’re buying a refrigerator. Not all refrigerators are created equal. And the best fridge for you really depends on your needs and your space.

Refrigerators aren’t cheap, especially if you’re buying one with the best refrigerator reviews. Making a mistake that costs you upwards of $1,000 is no fun.

To save you from some serious appliance-purchasing regrets, we’re breaking down the five most common mistakes people make when buying a refrigerator:

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Size

buying a refrigerator | measure twice, buy once

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Forgetting to measure the amount of space your kitchen has for a refrigerator is the most common mistake people make when buying a new refrigerator. Buying a fridge is a huge expense; don’t forget to pull out the measuring tape and get accurate measurements before heading to the best place to buy a refrigerator. What measurements do you need?

You need to know exactly how much space you have to fit the fridge between other appliances or against the wall; this is the width. You also need to measure the height if you have low ceilings or other appliances like a microwave shelf above. Even when people remember those two measurements, they usually completely forget this next one:

Don’t forget to measure how much space you have to open the refrigerator door!

Another common measuring faux pas? Forgetting to measure how much space you have in door frames you’ll be pushing your new fridge through. Measure the width and height of your front door and any door frames your new appliance will be passing through. Trust me, you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a fancy new fridge and get home to realize it’s the perfect fit for the space in your kitchen, but it doesn’t fit through the front door!

Mistake #2: Not Considering Energy Costs

buying a refrigerator electricity cost

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Understanding energy efficiency can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long-term. Buying a refrigerator that’s cheaper will save you money short-term, but it’s more likely to eat up electricity and rack up a higher monthly electric bill. Of course there are other factors to consider.

A larger fridge uses a lot more electricity than a smaller one. Stay tuned for an article on a great refrigerator for small spaces. But a cheaper fridge the same size as a more expensive, energy-efficient one isn’t a better investment. A less energy-efficient fridge can add an extra $60-100 a year to your electric bill. This can amount to thousands of dollars more in energy costs if your fridge lasts over 10 years, which the best refrigerators should. With a good warranty, your fridge should last you a lifetime.

When buying a refrigerator, check the labels for energy efficiency and ask for help understanding the fridge’s energy costs. Almost all refrigerators are labeled for energy efficiency. Don’t forget to check and consider your monthly electric bill when buying a new fridge.

Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Home Water and Electricity Hook Ups

buying a refrigerator | checking hook ups

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Another common mistake people make when buying a refrigerator is not knowing their home hook ups. You need to know where your water hook ups are if you’re going to buy a refrigerator with an ice maker or water dispenser. You also need to make sure the water line is up to code.

In the United States, the law requires you to have a water shut off valve installed to save you from the hassle of a leaky fridge gone awry. Enter flood insurance! If you don’t have a water line with a shut-off valve, don’t worry. The best places to buy a refrigerator, like Sears and Best Buy, will help you out.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad will install a shut-off valve on your water line up to 30 feet from the existing water source. Sears and Lowe’s also offer the same service. Make sure you also know where your electric sockets are located in the kitchen. You may need to purchase an extension cord to properly plug in your fridge, although most homes have sockets conveniently located behind the space where your refrigerator would go. If you’re remodeling your kitchen, you might have to add in a new electric outlet where you want your fridge.

Mistake #4: Worrying Too Much About the Brand or Aesthetic

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The Kitchen Times

When you’re buying a refrigerator, you want to make sure it looks good in your kitchen, but worrying too much about the aesthetic can come back to haunt you. Yes, that retro fridge looks cool, but does it have all the features and storage you really need? You need to consider all of your refrigerator needs and not just the style or the brand name.

In the age of high-tech appliances, there are refrigerators that act basically like an AI assistant. Features like Wi-Fi-connected cameras can even show you the inside of your fridge! You’ll be able to check if you have milk left on your way home from work. So cool—but it comes with a hefty price tag. Consider how much you’ll use the extra features when buying a new refrigerator.

It’s also important to consider the color and style of your new fridge (just don’t overdo it). A lot of people are concerned with getting a fridge that matches the cabinets, counter tops or other kitchen appliances perfectly. While it might look good now to get that retro blue fridge, your taste might change in a few years. A refrigerator is something you want to keep a long time. At the most you might a buy 2-3 new refrigerators in your lifetime. Sticking with a simple stainless steel model, for example, will allow you to fit your fridge into new homes or a remodeled kitchen without having to upgrade and spend extra money.

Mistake #5: Not Doing Your Refrigerator Research Before Heading to the Store

buying a refrigerator | do your research

Slick Bucks

Do your refrigerator research before heading to the store! It could potentially save you hundred of dollars, maybe even thousands if you’re considering a luxe model. What kind of research should you be doing?

Look into things like the best place to buy a refrigerator and the best refrigerator brand, and don’t forget to check out the best refrigerator reviews. The internet is saturated with information, and it can be overwhelming to know what refrigerator information is actually going to help you save money and pick the best refrigerator for your needs. Luckily, we’ve got your covered on the basics.

The first step is understanding what your refrigerator needs actually are. Consider things like storage capacity, what refrigerator has the best ice maker and refrigerator repair issues. Yes, the store employees will be able to answer your questions, but if you have no idea what kind of fridge you’re looking for, it’s going to be hard for them to steer you in the right direction.

Familiarize yourself with the most common refrigerator styles. The most common styles are fridges with a freezer on top, refrigerators with a freezer on the bottom, side-by-side freezer and fridge models and french door styles. Check out our reviews on the top five refrigerator models (coming soon!).

After looking into the different kinds of refrigerator models out there, checking out the reviews and understanding your refrigerator needs, it’s time to make a budget. When you’re making a budget for a new refrigerator, you also need to consider the monthly electric bill. Sometimes cheaper isn’t actually cheaper in the long run. Make sure you factor in the new fridge’s energy efficiency before purchasing.

Closing Thoughts:

Another factor to consider is noise. Some cheaper refrigerators make a lot of noise. Even the expensive ones tend to make a little humming sound once in a while. Refrigerators aren’t usually plugged in and running in the store, so it can be hard to tell how much noise they really make.

It’s important to ask the salesperson about the noise and test it out before purchasing. It’d be a real bummer to get home, plug your new fridge in, and be driven crazy by a constant loud noise. Ice makers can also make a lot of noise. Testing the refrigerator in the store is key.

Here’s a wrap up of all the important factors to consider when buying a refrigerator: 

  • Choose a fridge that’s the right size for your needs and your kitchen space. Don’t forget to measure.
  • Make a budget! Remember to factor in energy efficiency.
  • Don’t go for design over storage capacity and functionality.
  • If you’re buying a refrigerator with lots of new tech features, factor in how often you’ll really use them.
  • If you’re kitchen is party central, you need a refrigerator with the best ice maker.
  • Consider the cost of refrigerator repair.
  • Make sure you know where your water and electricity hook-ups are in your home. Adjust as necessary.

Good luck finding the refrigerator that’s perfect for you! Stay tuned for our top five suggestion for refrigerators to consider.

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