Angie's List: Choosing a refrigerator

When large appliances, like the refrigerator, don't operate properly or break down, homeowners often face a difficult decision: do I repair or replace it? If it's older and inefficient, chances are it's using a lot of energy.

"A good rule of thumb on whether to repair or replace your refrigerator is to consider how old your refrigerator is," said Angie's Lists' Angie Hicks. "If it's more than ten years old and it's broken down you might want to consider a new one especially if the cost for repairing it is half the cost of a new refrigerator."

When buying a refrigerator, there are a lot of different styles and types you can choose from.

First you want to consider what you want in your refrigerator because you could end up paying for lots of bells and whistles that you may never use. An average refrigerator may cost about $400, but you can spend up into the thousands for a refrigerator. Also remember you want to be sure that it matches your current appliances because that is going to help with your resale value.

While shopping, keep in mind your refrigerator is the most used appliance in the kitchen.

"Stainless steel is probably the number one seller. They have several stainless finishes now," said Vernon Schmidt, an Appliance store manager. Some of them show less fingerprints and stuff. True stainless steel is not an easy material to keep clean, especially if you have small children, but it's probably our number one seller," Schmidt said.

There are a lot more things that can go wrong with a new one because of the electronics, but you some a ton of energy with them.

Along with that you are getting better temperatures in different sections of your unit so your crisper is keeping a more precise temperature. Your refrigerator overall is keeping more precise temperatures than the older ones. You don't have the big fluctuation so your food stays better longer.

It pays to comparison shop when buying a fridge.

Don't be afraid to negotiate on the price, or haggle on additional fees such as delivery, installation or an extended warranty. You could also find a scratch and dent refrigerator for hundreds less.

Most are brand new and come with a full warranty. Some dings are barely noticeable, but make sure the dents won't prevent the appliance from running properly.

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