According to recent research, most new refrigerators last an average of 15 years. This is good to know, considering most new, Energy Star-rated fridges cost upwards of $1,000 these days. $1,000 split over a 15-year lifetime doesn’t seem so bad...but $1,000+ upfront can be a huge cost for most consumers.
Not everyone has $1,000+ just laying around to spend on a new appliance, and it can be tempting to just settle in with your broken fridge and deal with its quirks. Ice machine stopped making ice? That’s fine. Water dispenser sometimes sticks and puddles all over your floor? That’s all right.
But in the end, your fridge will need to be replaced someday.
So, how do you save the most money and when is the best time of the year to buy a fridge without breaking the bank? Here are some tips and tricks for the best time of year to buy a refrigerator.
While most appliances release their new models in January or February, refrigerator manufacturers are unique in that theirs are released in the spring.
May is usually around the time new fridge models come out, and you can combine the savings for “older” models on top of Memorial Day savings that just so happen to be in May as well. Don’t be swayed by this year’s newest models, which are probably not that different from the ones being put on clearance from last year. Save yourself some money and buy last year’s model if you can.
Can’t wait till May? At least try to hang on until a major holiday. Retailers will try their best to discount fridges, along with other large appliances, for big holiday events, because they know we’ll all be shopping on those days and looking for bargains.
If you can hold out, Memorial Day is obviously the best time for this, since it coincides with refrigerator brands rolling out new models and discounting the older ones. Cyber Monday is a great time to buy online, while Black Friday often has amazing discounts on refrigerators in stores like Sears and Best Buy.
End of the Month
Many local appliance stores still work off commissions for their sales, and they have monthly quotas to fill. So if you walk in looking for a fridge at the end of a month, you may have some bargaining power to lower the price a bit.
Any Time...with Select Models
Need that new fridge right now? Try one of the following ways to save any time:
- Refurbished: Buying refurb means saving upwards of 60%. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable retailer, and if they can offer you a warranty, take it!
- Scratch & Dent: Best Buy and some others have scratch and dent refrigerators available to buy at major discounts. These might include otherwise-perfect fridges that just happen to have a mark or two from shipping, or they were floor models that got opened and shut a lot by customers.
- Open Box: Like scratch and dent models, open box models can also save you a ton. These might be returned items that were never used or brand new machines where the box got ripped open.
- Used: Craigslist has always been a solid go-to for used goods, and refrigerators are no exception. There are also a ton of local sale apps like OfferUp, which allow you to rate your buying experience and chat with the seller first to ensure the fridge is exactly what you need. Just beware--there’s no warranty with these purchases!
Other Ways to Save on Refrigerators
On top of the best times to buy a fridge, there are other ways to save year-round. Combine these savings with the best prices you can find, and you’re sure to save a ton!
- Manufacturer Rebates: These are kind of a hassle, but they work! If a manufacturer offers a mail-in rebate, take full advantage of it. Don’t forget to mail the papers in, and follow up after a month if you haven’t heard back or received your savings.
- Monthly Energy Savings: Don’t just think about the cost of a new fridge in terms of what you’re spending today: also think about what you’ll save over that 15 year lifetime, in terms of electricity. Buy Energy Star-certified products if you can, and also look for CEE Tier certification, which is labeled by local utility companies to promote energy savings.
- Don’t Fall for Add-Ons: You may think that you absolutely, 100% need the bells and whistles that come with some new refrigerator models, but think about it rationally before you buy. How often will you use the feature? Is it something you have lived without this long? Will it be worth the cost?
When NOT to Buy a Fridge
If you follow our guide for the best time to buy a fridge, you already know the answer to this, but here are a few additional tips:
- Don’t buy the newest models--they’re pricey only because they’re new.
- Don’t wait until your fridge dies to buy a new one--that only means you’re at the mercy of whatever time of year it is and likely to overpay.
- Don’t ever feel pressured by salespeople--there are hundreds of retailers, local and otherwise, happy to get your business. You don’t need to spend in a hurry. Shop around, find the right fridge for you, and buy when you’re ready.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand when to purchase a new fridge. Make sure to do your research on the models you like and shop around. You’re sure to find a great deal on the perfect fridge for your needs.