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What to know before buying a fridge

My husband and I just went through a six-month ordering process of buying a new fridge and I wanted to share all that I learned. Although refrigerators in Texas are NOT considered part of the real estate, they often get included as part of the real estate transaction anyway.

The type of fridge you buy will have little bearing on the sales price for the property – but it’s still important to understand the varieties of refrigerators and brands and what is trendy versus a true consumer demand.

PICK A BUDGET

There’s roughly three categories of refrigerators in terms of budget.

  1. Your Basics: Under $1,600
  2. Your Basics Plus: $1,600-$4,500
  3. Your Fancy AF: $5,000+

Your basics tend to be the freezer on bottom or freezer on top fridges and are offered by brands like GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, etc. They are GREAT functional fridges for anyone on a budget but you definitely usually end up sacrificing something, such as a front-facing icemaker. Also, many of these brands also offer fridges of the “Basics Plus” variety.

Your Basic Plus are brands like Kitchen Aid, LG, Cafe, Bosch and Samsung. You often get more bells and whistles with these fridges, such as icemakers and water dispensers, and a more upscale look, such as this Kitchen Aid fridge with the wood-like trim. Also, Consumer Reports tends to rate LG fridges very highly. We ended up liking Cafe but our first choice was Bosch – but Bosch discontinued the exact fridge we were interested in.

The next level up – which I am calling Fancy AF – are brands like Miele and Thermador and Jenn-Air. This is definitely suitable for homes in the luxury market or for folks who are REALLY serious cooks and need a kitchen with A+ appliances. They tend to offer more space and higher-end materials with better lighting. But be prepared to spend some big bucks! A Miele fridge, for instance, can cost almost $10,000. (Then I had some fun Googling around for the most expensive fridges in the world and came across something called the Meneghini La Cambusa fridge, which is $41,000!!!)

PICK A TYPE

There are a couple of refrigerator “types” on the market these days: side-by-side, french door with freezer on bottom, and freezer on top or bottom. There’s also whether you want a front-facing icemaker and water dispenser in the door of the fridge versus an icemaker in the freezer or none at all.

Beyond these categories, there’s also counter depth versus standard depth. Counter-depth fridges run about around 25 inches deep and do not have as much depth as standard, so you can’t fit as much food inside. But they have become popular because they are very visually pleasing because the fridge aligns with the counter tops instead of sticking out. So think about how important aesthetics versus space is to you. It’s just my husband and I in our household, so we didn’t need a ton of fridge space.

My husband and I ultimately chose a Cafe brand counter-depth french door refrigerator with a freezer on bottom and an icemaker in the freezer. We had set a budget of $3,000 and this fridge fit within that budget. We didn’t use our old icemaker very much and found that it took up space in our refrigerator. So now we have freed up more space while also creating a more visually-pleasing aesthetic to our kitchen.

STUDY THE TRENDS

There are some color trends happening now that I wanted to discuss. I’m starting to see more “black” stainless steel and more Fancy White. This type of white is different from your Basic Fridge white, and I’ve linked an example here.

For color, definitely aim to pick a color that matches the rest of your appliance – with one exception. If the rest of your appliances are of the older black or white variety, go for the stainless steel fridge and then over time update the rest of your appliances to stainless steel. You will have SO MANY more choices if you go for stainless. I’m curious, though, how long stainless will remain popular and if it will ever be overtaken by “black” stainless or the Fancy White or any of these other color trends.

Then there’s the tech trends! Such as “smart” fridges that connect to the Internet and show you what is your fridge when you aren’t at home, to the see-through door fridges that allow you to more easily check on the fridge interior without opening the door. Personally I am just not into the idea of connecting the Internet to everyday household appliances. I think it’s a trend that will fade and doesn’t have much use right now.

BE PREPARED TO WAIT

Fridges are taking an epically long time to be delivered right now, due to mostly the pandemic. So if you think there is even a *chance* you want a new fridge in the next six months to a year, start your shopping and research now! We ordered our fridge in October and it was supposed to arrive in January. Then January became April and then we actually got it a month early in March. If you’re in Austin, highly recommend Wilson’s Appliances because they also have a service department that can do repairs if your appliances break.