Just because an appliance is more expensive than the others, doesn't mean it's better or that it will be absolutely trouble free.
Specialty built-in products such as ranges and refrigerators are sold in smaller quantities then standard units. This in itself will increase the cost because of the limited production. Additionally, they will often be more expensive to have repaired because of the added labor involved (see Time and Money Saving Appliance Installation Tips).
When deciding between a built-in model or standard, you should also take into consideration that sometime in the future the appliance may need to be replaced. Built-in products are not standardized in size (except dishwashers) and you may have a difficult time finding a replacement that will fit, down the road.
Check with your local hydro or natural gas supplier before you purchase. Frequently they will offer a rebate on a refrigerator, dishwasher, air conditioner and washer purchase when the model meets certain efficiency standards or when replacing and electric model with a gas range or gas dryer. With these you can save at both purchase time and in the long run.
Be aware that most new refrigerator models are noisier than older units. This is due to the foam thermal insulation used to increase energy efficiency but makes a poor sound barrier. This is especially noticeable in kitchens with ceramic tile and hardwood flooring. For more about refrigerator noises, see "My new refrigerator is making strange sounds. What is wrong with it?" from our Appliance Links section.
If you are considering an icemaker for that new refrigerator, you had better keep a little money left over for the water hookup. Professional installation of the water supply could add in the area of a hundred dollars or more to the cost of the appliance. The final cost will be even higher if you purchase the icemaker as an option accessory that will first need to be installed into the refrigerator.
If your new refrigerator purchase will include a builtin water filter system, you should also budget for replacement filters. Each manufacturer uses a slightly different, unique design of filter that will need to be replaced up to 4 times a year. Since these filters are unique to the appliance manufacturer, you will be required to purchase them from the appliance manufacturer for the life span of the appliance.
If you purchase an electric range with a glass cooktop or solid surface burners, you may have to replace your cooking pots and pans as well. For these types of elements it is critical the bottom surface of these utensils be absolutely flat.
Range models with a glass oven door can become hotter to the touch than conventional designs. If you have small children in the household, you might want to read the article "How hot should my stove be to the touch?"
Most people don't need or even use all the features on top of the line models. The more options there are, the more chance of requiring service in the future.
Don't be swayed by buzzwords. Have you ever seen a washer that wasn't marked 'Heavy Duty'?
Read some purchasing guides before shopping for a new appliance. Links to some helpful on-line guides can be found in the 'Links' section.
Just because the estimated life span of a new appliances is said to be from 10-15 years, doesn't mean that they will be trouble free for that length of time. The longer the warranty, the longer you won't have to face any unexpected bills. Don't be mislead by commercials, all appliances break down sometime, even expensive or 'top of the line' models.
If you have required service in the past and found the service company reliable, find out what brands they do factory service for. If you buy one of those brands, you'll be able to deal with the same servicer for your new purchase. You can avoid having to deal with someone new or two different service companies, should problems arise.
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