8 Tips for Buying Kitchen Appliances

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated September 23, 2022
A family cooks together in a kitchen
Photo: miniseries / iStock / Getty Images

The kitchen of your dreams is only a shopping spree away

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Whether buying kitchen appliances to add the finishing touches to your kitchen renovation or to upgrade for a quick and easy makeover, your kitchen appliances are key to a functioning kitchen. No one likes having a dishwasher that doesn’t clean the dishes or a microwave that leaves your food cold in the middle. With this in mind, here are eight kitchen appliance tips for your next shopping trip.

1. Set Your Budget

Shopping for appliances may be fun, but before you set your heart on stunning appliances that are costly, it’s important to reel in your budget. New appliances cost anywhere from $350 to $8,000 on average, meaning the sky is practically the limit for a complete kitchen renovation. Setting a budget before jumping into how to shop for kitchen appliances—and sticking to it—can help you avoid the temptations of fancy smart kitchen appliances that you may not need. 

2. Measure Your Space

When the time comes to install that fridge or dishwasher, the last thing you want is for it not to fit. Imagine the difficulties of shuffling a heavy appliance up a few flights of stairs! That’s why it’s important to use those long-forgotten geometry skills and measure the area so you can choose appliances that will fit your space.

But the final space isn’t the only important part: You’ll also need to measure the doorway for large appliances like a standard refrigerator or dishwasher to ensure you can even get the appliance into your home. It’s also a good idea to measure your entire kitchen for large remodeling projects.

To measure your space:

  • Measure the width of any entry points from one jamb to the other.

  • Make sure there are at least 1 or 2 inches of extra space between entryways.

  • Measure the height, width, and depth (if needed).

  • Factor in an extra 1 to 2 inches for refrigerator, freezer, range, cooktop, and dishwasher installations.

  • Include any protruding parts in your measurements.

3. Know Your Style and Finishes

A couple shops for a refrigerator
Photo: hedgehog94 / Adobe Stock

You know what they say—different strokes for different folks. Several styles and finishes are available for homeowners looking for those personal touches. Be it technology features that make appliance use easier or that stainless steel finish that adds to your modern kitchen, choosing appliances that are right for you can make all the difference in your kitchen experience.

The budget you set in place earlier really comes in handy when shopping for the best appliance finishes and colors, as some materials and features can significantly increase the price of your appliances. 

4. Understand Energy Efficiency 

Your kitchen appliances are bound to consume energy in the home, but you can save money in the long run by choosing energy-efficient appliances. These appliances may have a higher upfront cost than conventional ones, but you’ll save overall by opting for one of these more sustainable options. 

To choose an energy-efficient appliance, look for the Energy Star logo as you shop. Energy Star-certified appliances exceed strict government testing to meet your energy conservation goals. Some appliances, like Energy Star-certified refrigerators, can save you around 9% in energy use compared to standard models. 

5. Read Reviews

That sleek fridge you’ve had your eyes on could have poor reviews despite how nice it looks, so always read online reviews before buying a new kitchen appliance. It’s a good idea to consider user and editorial reviews to get the full picture of the appliance in question. Always take negative user reviews with a grain of salt and pay close attention to consistent complaints about issues with the appliance in question. 

6. Visit a Retail Store

A man shops for a dishwasher
Photo: hedgehog94 / Adobe Stock

Face it: appliances can be a major investment, so you may not want to purchase a product you haven’t seen in person. Once you’ve found an appliance you like, visit an appliance store to get a better idea of how it would look in your home.

Take this opportunity to ask a store representative about the appliance. They may have helpful information that can solidify your decision, or they might refer you to an option that suits your needs. Some retail stores also repair kitchen appliances, making it easier to hire an appliance repair pro for future issues.

7. Ask About Warranties and Return Policies

The fine print of any policy is enough to feel like you’re reading an encyclopedia; however, you’ll want to read through the warranty and return policy for any appliance you buy so you know what’s covered by the manufacturer and the retail store. Most appliances have a one-year manufacturer warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee from retail stores. 

You might have an option to extend your warranty for up to three years if you feel an extended warranty is worth it for your appliance. Since warranties vary by brand and even credit card perks, check the policies to be on the safe side.

8. Measure Again

It never hurts to double-check measurements, and doing so could save you from making a costly mistake. So before you buy your new appliance, check the measurements again and the appliance's specifications.

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