A house is not a home without quality major appliances
What are major appliances?
Major appliances help you accomplish essential tasks like cooking, cleaning, washing, and preserving food in the home.
They use electricity or fuel, though they may have special electrical connections, or require connectivity to plumbing, ventilation, or a gas supply. Unlike small appliances, like stand mixers or coffee machines, major appliances are not portable.
How to go about purchasing new major appliances
If you’re moving into a new build home or renovating, consider where each appliance will, or can, go, and measure the space to see what size and design makes sense. Will it be slide-in, for example, or freestanding? And what size and finish, like silver stainless, black, or white, will fit or look best with the overall decor?
Then jot down the features that are most important to you, like space saving, organization, or high-tech add-ons.
What considerations should you make when selecting major appliances?
Refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers
If you’re getting all three, you’ll want these to match in fit and finish, or if you’re getting one, you’ll want it to match with what you already have.
There are plenty of options with refrigerator/freezers, including 2-, 3-, and 4-door, and French door designs or traditional. There are different cubic foot options, as well as side-by-side designs, and models that have a door-within-a-door panel so you can easily access frequently used items like sodas, juice, milk, and snacks without opening the main door and letting the cold air out. Some have a middle compartment as well, which can come in handy for providing kids with easy access to snacks and drinks. There are ones with slim doors that don’t open too wide if you have limited space, or full width doors if you have the room to accommodate them. You’ll also want to consider the interior: are you okay with fixed shelves and bins, or would you prefer adjustable designs that would allow you to occasionally fit tall, upright bottles, for example?
Other features to consider include built-in water/ice dispensers, special food storage technologies, like smart cooling systems that keep food fresher, longer, and even touchscreens and Wi-Fi connectivity so the refrigerator becomes part of your smart home.
With a dishwasher, you’ll want to look at not only the exterior design and size to ensure that it fits, particularly in a built-in space, but also the rack design inside. Some, for example, have an extra rack that can be used for hard-to-place items, like spatulas and measuring cups. Many offer different wash cycles, so you can tailor a wash to just rinsing some glasses after a party, or use more powerful jets to clean heavily-soiled pots and pans. Some even come with Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can use an app to control a wash cycle remotely.
Ranges, Range Hoods
For cooking, there are ranges and range hoods. Do you want the finish/style to match the refrigerator and dishwasher?
Along with a variety of sizes to choose from, you’ll also need to select either an electric stove or gas if you have a gas line. How many cooking elements do you need/want at the top? Do you want a smooth top? Induction cooktop? How important is it to have features like a warming zone or storage drawer?
Ranges include freestanding, slide-in, or even wall ovens that might fit nicely with a new kitchen renovation to provide a truly seamless (and space-saving) look. Some ovens allow you to cook two things at the same time and at different temperatures, which is great for entertaining, or saving time since you can roast a turkey on the top while also simultaneously baking a delicious pie on the bottom. Consider all of the options before you select the right range.
There are options to go high-tech with a range as well, if you seek out features like touchscreens and Wi-Fi connectivity.
With a range hood, your primary concern will be the size, ensuring that it fits properly beneath a cabinet and above the range, and that the design meshes with your overall decor.
Just like other major appliances, you’ll be using your washer and dryer at least weekly. So pay close attention to the design, including the drum size (larger for big families or if you often do large loads), front- or top-load orientation, and whether you want them to be positioned side-by-side or stacked to save space and make it easier to access without constantly bending down, which will be important if you have mobility issues or sore joints.
Look through the technology options to find what best meets your needs. Some, for example, boast really quiet operation and vibration reduction, which will be essential if your laundry room is upstairs, nearby a baby’s nursery or kids’ rooms and you do laundry a lot at night. While they all have various wash cycles, including energy efficiency options, some washing machines have special cycles to combat common allergens, which will be useful if you or your family members suffer from allergies.
Also consider features like steam technology that can help reduce wrinkles if you want to avoid having to iron dress clothes; high-efficiency washing; LED displays; and Wi-Fi connectivity or smart diagnosis for connecting directly with the manufacturer via your smartphone if you run into an issue. Chances are if you’re on the market for a new washing machine, you probably need a new dryer as well, so check out washer dryer combo options that consist of a matching pair for one price.
Other things to consider
Kitchen packages provide more than one appliance from the same brand in the same style so you can outfit an entire kitchen at once. This will ensure that everything looks seamless and, in the case of connected smart appliances, works seamlessly together and/or can all be managed through the same app.
Parts and accessories
Take into account the cost and availability of parts and accessories for appliances. There are some that might be worth getting right away, like pedestal stands for washers and dryers that you plan to position side-by-side, or a side trim accessory kit for a range, if one is required based on where you want to place it in the kitchen. And there are others you’ll need down the road, like a new filter for the refrigerator’s water/ice dispenser, or a replacement sealing ring for the washing machine.
Open box appliances
On a budget? Save money by opting for open box appliances. In some cases, a major appliance might have been returned simply because the customer realized it didn’t fit in a desired space, or they decided to go with another design. In other cases, the appliance might just have a small scratch or dent that would end up being hidden based on where you’d position it in your home anyway. Inspect and ask questions before ruling them out.
Want more info on major appliances? Check out some of our resources:
Smart features that will make you want to upgrade to connected appliances
3 tips when shopping for a major appliance at Best Buy
Ovens 101 – Oven shopping made easy
Dryer buying guide
Should you choose a French door or a side by side refrigerator?
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