Some appliances can last forever. We all have a relative who’s been using the same refrigerator for thirty years with no problems whatsoever. Unfortunately, durability doesn’t necessarily mean efficiency, with regard to energy bills. New home appliances have gotten bigger, but they also meet efficiency standards that the older models couldn’t hope compete with. And if you live in a multi-generational household, you’ll want all the space your refrigerator can hold. If they are Energy Star approved, they can also save you big bucks on your gas, electric, and water bills in the long run. If you are more concerned with saving money than saving our environment, don’t worry—you can also find refurbished models that meet energy standards without breaking the bank.
It’s a running joke that refrigerators keep getting bigger, yet the rule of thumb when buying a new refrigerator is to buy the smallest one to suit your needs. Kitchen space is a factor, of course, but you should also consider how much food usually fills your refrigerator. If your current model is generally only half-full, then downsize. A full refrigerator will use less energy, as food maintains low temperatures longer than air does. You should also consider how long you plan to wait to buy a refrigerator. If you intend to start a family or otherwise expand the number of people in your household, buy according to your future needs.
New dishwashers vary less in size than do refrigerators, so you should instead focus on what sort of dishes you have when selecting one. If, for example, you aren’t a wine drinker, there is little reason to buy a dishwasher with attachments that hold wine glass stems in place. If you, for whatever reason, don’t own anything that’s dishwasher safe, you might not want to bother. Be honest with yourself. If you never have the time to cook at home, a dishwasher would be a waste of space and money. You’d be better off spending your money an an appliance you would actually use, like a refrigerator to hold leftovers.
If you only use your oven to heat things up and bake the occasional batch of cookies, you’ll be fine with a basic model. If you actually know the difference between an oven, a broiler, and a convection oven, you can upgrade to a model that does all three. If you’re only in the market for a new range, be sure to get an accurate measurement of your countertop before making a purchase.