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10 Refrigerator Buying Mistakes to Avoid

by Pam Silvia

Whether your refrigerator is on the outs or you’re looking to outfit your new kitchen with a brand-new appliance, there are many factors to consider when making this purchase. Because of this, there are also plenty of refrigerator buying mistakes to avoid.

Our experts at Aztec Appliance sympathize with your dilemma, which is why we’ve channeled our collective wisdom to present you our top 10 fridge buying mistakes. Check them out below!

Related Article: Top 6 Refrigerators San Diego Locals Love

Measuring Incorrectly

We’ll start off with an obvious one. Check and double-check your recorded dimensions when you measure the available space you hope to fill with your new refrigerator. As you assess and reassess the height, width, and depth of the space, be sure to take several measurements from different locations in case your cabinets or floors are uneven.

In addition, don’t forget to account for the door outswing and drawer path (if you opt for a French door or bottom-freezer model), allow room for the door hinge, and discover the minimum clearances for ventilation. To learn how to factor these extra calculations when taking your measurements, check out our refrigerator buying guide .

Not Doing Enough Research

The research that goes into shopping for a new refrigerator should be as comprehensive as possible. Prioritizing just a couple of variables, such as price and appliance width, could lead you to a detrimental purchase. For instance, you might be left with a refrigerator with a drawer path that blocks entry toward the pantry or a door outswing that doesn’t clear the edge of the kitchen island.

Besides, it goes without saying that an informed purchase ultimately results in a satisfactory experience. Maybe you didn’t initially consider a model with an ice and water dispenser, but now you can’t imagine going back to your water filter pitcher (and the upkeep that comes with it).

Not Considering Energy Efficiency

Whether you’re looking to do right by the planet or your checkbook, the truth is, you can’t go wrong with an energy-efficient refrigerator. Since energy savings come down to the amount of cold air escaping your appliance, you should invest in a model that has air-tight gaskets on the doors and/or drawers.

An easy way to scope these out is to look out for the Energy Star logo when browsing for contending options. With an Energy Star certified refrigerator, you can save at least 200 dollars over its 12-year lifetime.

The Energy Star certified LG 27.60 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator (LMXS28596S and LMXS28596D) does you one better. Most impressively, this model comes stocked with a sleek glass panel that allows you to see inside the easy-access door after knocking on it twice, illuminating the contents within. That’s right—you can raid the refrigerator without losing your cool.

Not Setting a Budget

As is the case with shopping only by brand, sometimes your taste for the finer things can steer you toward financial irresponsibility; however, that said, our catalog won’t have you settling for less. Mass-premium brands like KitchenAid, Bosch, Café, LG, and Samsung—and even mass brands like GE, Frigidaire, Maytag, and Whirlpool—offer luxe features at an affordable cost. 

Case in point: the GE® 19.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Top Freezer Refrigerator (GIE19JSNRSS). Not only does it have edge-to-edge glass shelves that are equipped to store bulk purchases, but it also has upfront temperature control, LED lighting, and modular bins right on the door. With a sliding deli drawer that can be positioned wherever you prefer, you can enjoy greater flexibility in your fridge and easily create more space for tall items. The best part? The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a stainless-steel model is set at a fair 1,189 dollars—and it often sells for a lower price.

Not Accounting for Capacity

When you have many mouths to feed, not having enough fridge or freezer space is a major inconvenience. To determine the ideal capacity for your prospective refrigerator, consider the following questions: Does your household size exceed four people? Will your family be growing soon? Are you always the host for gatherings?

According to industry experts, each adult will need at least four to six cubic feet of refrigerator space, and a typical family of four will need at least 20 cubic feet of capacity—and likely more as your family grows and as long as holidays continue to be celebrated.

For reference, large-capacity fridges are typically evaluated as such if they offer 25 to 29 cubic feet of volume. And if your space can afford your ambitions for more, ultra-large capacity starts at 30 cubic feet.

Not Having Enough Storage Space

After calculating the ideal refrigerator capacity according to your household size and lifestyle, in addition to filtering for that minimum requirement, consider which styles complement your storage needs.

If your kitchen space can afford it, built-in refrigerators literally expand your culinary possibilities, as these can be customized to be wider than 40 inches and roomier than freestanding models. Speaking of which, side-by-side refrigerators, followed closely by French door refrigerators, offer the most storage space compared to top-freezer and bottom-freezer configurations. Among the least capacious options, counter-depth refrigerators inherently sacrifice storage space to achieve a flush inset look.

Buying the Wrong Refrigerator Style

It may not be immediately obvious, but your selection of refrigerator style goes beyond appealing to aesthetic preference. To avoid a fridge buying mistake with your choice of style, read our refrigerator buying guide to assess some pros and cons of owning each. We’ll recap a few here.

French door refrigerators conserve more energy compared to other models since usually one of the vertical doors in the fridge compartment is opened at a time. In addition, they require less clearance on either side of the appliance when you need to retrieve or replace an item. On the downside, if your freezer drawer is equipped with an ice dispenser, your storage for frozen goods could be more limited.

Related Article: All About Our Top Rated French Door Refrigerators [FAQs!]

Side-by-side refrigerators are great for storing bulk purchases since they offer greater interior capacity in the freezer compartment. Like French door models, these fridges require less space on either side of the appliance for door outswings. A drawback of this option is that this style’s narrow compartments may enable awkward organization since the shelves may not accommodate wider items, including food trays and pizza boxes.

Bottom-freezer refrigerators offer a more convenient organization, as the fridge compartment is accessible without forcing you to strain your neck and back; however, the same cannot be said about the freezer drawer at the bottom.

Top-freezer refrigerators pose the inverse problem since you would have to contort your body to use the most-accessed compartment.

Related Article: Top Freezer vs Bottom Freezer Refrigerators: Which are Better?

Shopping Only by Brand

While the custom hardware of Café appliances and Tuscan stainless-steel finish of Samsung products entice us, too, we implore you to expand your worldview as you’re shopping for your new refrigerator. Instead of filtering for appliance brands as you scour our catalog, we recommend filtering by features, including capacity, width, and energy-efficiency.

It can be easy to be swayed by what mass-premium and luxury brands offer in terms of appearance and a handful of exclusive features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and a built-in Keurig K-Cup, but all the same: Be sure to check out what other brands offer on the other side of your tunnel vision. You never know what you could be missing out on.

Not Keeping an Open Mind

By the same token, prior to any research, you may think you know exactly what you’re looking for. But keeping an open mind as you’re shopping could lead you to a more compatible purchase, even if it’s not what you wanted initially. For example, if you were hoping to upgrade to a French door refrigerator to keep up with trendy homeowners, you might be missing out on the extra storage space a side-by-side model can provide for your large family.

Not Knowing Where Your Home’s Hookups Are

We know that refrigerators need power (i.e., an electric outlet) to run, but it should also be noted that models with built-in ice makers and water dispensers need to be connected to a water source to operate. While water can be provided to a fridge manually by refilling a reservoir, it is most convenient to connect it directly to plumbing via a water line. After all, who doesn’t want water and ice on demand?

First, check around where the refrigerator would be placed to see if there is an existing water supply line extending from the wall or up from the floor. If there is a water supply valve already installed behind your fridge, simply connect the supply valve to the refrigerator valve.

If there isn’t an independent water supply line, you’ll have to use the one that feeds the sink or dishwasher. If you decide to go for a refrigerator with a water or ice dispenser, you’ll need to map the shortest path from this supply line to the rear of the refrigerator.

Overall, to avoid despair, make sure that your purchase reflects what your home can offer. If you have questions regarding installation, our service technicians may be able to help.

Let Us Help You

Here’s an unmistakable approach: Shop our Refrigeration catalog or browse our in-store selection! Whether you call or visit us, our friendly staff at Aztec Appliance is always happy to help. More available than ever, our experts are also reachable via chat!