Buying new appliances for your home is a major investment. When you’re shopping around for big-ticket items like a new refrigerator, there’s a lot to consider. It’s easy to take expensive items like a laptop or a tablet back to the store if you want to return them. But a refrigerator isn’t as easy to haul back if you aren’t happy with your purchase. To save you from expensive buyer’s remorse, we looked into the best place to buy a refrigerator in 2018, and the result is surprising.
Stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot and Sears have long been thought of as the best places to buy new home appliances, but according to Consumer Reports, in 2018 people are shopping elsewhere. Subscribers to Consumer Reports still spend about a quarter of their major appliance purchases at Lowe’s. Home Depot and Sears account for about 18% and 17% of appliance purchases.
So where are the majority of people choosing to buy a new refrigerator in 2018?
The highest-rated major appliance retailers are Abt and Amazon. This is according to a Consumer Reports survey asking people to rank over 30 major appliance stores. The best place to buy a refrigerator in 2018 makes it easy to purchase from your own home. Participants in the survey love how user-friendly Amazon is. Big purchases like a new refrigerator can easily be ordered from the comfort of your home. They also gave Amazon high scores for prices, selection and shipping.
But Amazon didn’t take the prize for the best place to buy a refrigerator. It was Abt Electronics and Appliances that took first place. Abt is a huge appliance store based in Chicago that ships all around the country. The trend of online shopping is thriving, even for expensive items over $1,000.
While it might seem like going in person to a physical store would be the best way to choose new home appliances, you’re actually less likely to fall for scams shopping online. Online shoppers are able to find the best refrigerator reviews and understand sale prices in a more realistic way. According to the Washington Post, a lot of stores use fake sales prices.
Shopper are often misled in stores where sales associates push appliances that haven’t sold well. Those “sale prices” you often see on refrigerators in stores are usually a scam. Some refrigerators in stores are on constant sale and buyers are actually paying too much instead of getting a real deal.
Here’s a guide to help you decide where the best place to buy a refrigerator is for you:
So that you can weigh all your fridge options before dropping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new fridge, here are the best and the worst places to shop. Remember it’s also important to consider things like the best refrigerator reviews, energy efficiency, and how much you might have to spend on refrigerator repair. Sale prices aren’t always the first thing to consider. They may even be misleading you.
Best place to buy a refrigerator in 2018:
Abt: Appliances and Electronics Store
- Rated the best place to buy a refrigerator by Consumer Reports.
- Top marks across the board, especially on selection, shipping and delivery.
- Didn’t get the highest score on price, but still earned a very good score.
- Rated the second best place to buy a refrigerator by Consumer Reports.
- Participants in Consumer Reports’s survey like the prices, selection and shipping options.
- Website usability also got high scores.
- Rated the third best place to buy a refrigerator by Consumer Reports.
- Scored the top rating for price.
- Got bumped down to third place for it’s lack of selection compared to Amazon and Abt.
Worst places to buy a refrigerator in 2018:
- Rated the worst place to buy new home appliances by Consumer Reports.
- Poor marks for selection, service and store atmosphere.
- Scored ok on price, but remember, sale prices can be misleading.
- Rated the second worst place to buy new home appliances by Consumer Reports.
- Poor marks for selection, service and store atmosphere.
- Scored decently on installation and delivery.
Here’s some more advice for getting the best deal on a new refrigerator:
- Sales prices aren’t always sales prices. Just because the price reads 50% off, doesn’t mean it really is. Many stores and even online retailers use fake sale prices to mislead shoppers. Instead of focusing on sales prices, focus on making sure the refrigerator you buy meets your checklist. A new fridge is a long-term investment; spending to make sure you’ll want to keep it for life is worth the extra cost.
- Do your research andshop around. The best-rated refrigerator could cost you $3,000 at one retailer and $2,500 at another. Browsing a few different online retailers and even stopping by stores in person to check out the same model could save you a few hundred bucks. You can also try telling salespeople that you found a cheaper price online and they’ll often reduce the price in store for you. Don’t be afraid to haggle when it comes to big-ticket items like a refrigerator.
- You don’t have to pay more for better service. Checkbook‘s undercover shoppers found that online retailers and stores with better customer service asked for similar prices than those with the lowest-rated customer service. Don’t assume you can find a better deal at a store with poor reviews.
- Remember to consider the cost of delivery and installation. Delivery and installation costs aren’t usually quoted in the price tag. It’s important to factor this cost in before deciding where you want to buy your refrigerator. Some retailers don’t offer installation for home appliances. If you buy your new refrigerator from a store that just drops it off at your door, you might have to factor in the cost of hiring a handyman. That can cost you an extra $150 or more.
- Don’t skip the extended warranty. A new refrigerator is an expensive purchase, and you want to be covered if any problems pop up. There are some refrigerator repairs that you can easily do yourself. But big repairs can rack up an expensive bill. A warranty through the retailer you buy your refrigerator from will cover most repairs in the first four years of ownership and replace your fridge if it can’t be fixed.
What’s the best time to buy a new refrigerator?
According to experts, the best time to buy a refrigerator is in the spring, when retailers are putting out new models and cutting the price of old ones. The best month? Experts say May. If you need a new model now and don’t have time to wait for the best season, shop on major holidays.
You’ll often find blowout sales on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Black Friday. Check out Wirecutter’s guide to general prices for different fridge models. It will help you make sure you’re not overpaying even when a model is advertised as “on sale.” Remember sales can sometimes be misleading.
How long should your new refrigerator last?
The lifespan of a refrigerator can vary. Typically a new fridge will last you 15 years, but with a good warranty and maintenance, it’s possible it can last longer. According to experts, there aren’t consistent reliability trends for refrigerators based on brand, but there are based on model. The American Customer Satisfaction Index put the LG French door style and side-by-side fridge as the models at the top for satisfaction ratings.
The amount of time your refrigerator lasts you also depends on the quality of the warranty. The general guideline for buying a warranty is to pay about 20% of the cost of the fridge. Here are a few more things you should look for in a good warranty:
- Food spoilage reimbursement. If your fridge is on the fritz, it’s possible a lot of fresh food will go bad. Most fridge’s take at least a day to repair. A food spoilage reimbursement will cover up to $200 worth of spoiled groceries. (Be sure to set your fridge temp correctly, too, so that you don’t lose good food that way, either.)
- Reimbursement for an unused warranty. If you don’t end up using your warranty for repairs, replacement or food spoilage, some retailers will refund you up to 50% of what you spent.
Other features worth considering:
- A warranty that pays for new filters. Some warranties will cover the cost of new filters. Filters need to be replaced every six months to a year, and the cost can add up quickly.
- Free, yearly preventive check ups. Just like going to the doctor can prevent you from getting sick, some warranties will cover a check up for your fridge. Having a handyman check how your new refrigerator is running every year can save you hundreds of dollars in refrigerator repair bills.
- 4-year warranty: $100
- 5-yearwarranty: $150
- A warranty from Abt Electronics and Appliances will cover up to $165 of food spoilage costs and reimburse you if your warranty goes unused.
- 3-year warranty: $155
- 5-year warranty: $235
- Warranty covers 50% of new filter costs, free yearly preventative checkups, 30% reimbursement if warranty goes unused and up to $200 of food spoilage reimbursement.
- 3-year warranty: $120
- 5-year warranty: $210
- Warranty covers 50% of new filter costs, 30% reimbursement for an unused warranty and up to $300 of food spoilage costs.