Kitchen Shopping + Thrifting

A MUCH NEEDED UPGRADE

samsung counter depth fridge

This past weekend, Greg and I made our very first big appliance purchase…

A refrigerator! A full-size one! No more mini-fridge here. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. Since we are currently in the middle of our kitchen “reinstall”, we finally realized there’s nothing stopping us from going ahead and buying a refrigerator. So we put the pedal to the metal and started our refrigerator-buying exploration.

We ended up purchasing Samsung’s Stainless Steel Counter-Depth French-Door Refrigerator (RFG238AARS) and we are in l.o.v.e. with it! It has a lot of great features, and we can’t wait to stock it up. Once we do that, we’ll come back with a refrigerator tour (MTV’s Cribs style) without all the protective packaging. I haven’t had it in me to take the plastic off yet. It’s kind of like getting a new cell phone and keeping the protective screen cover on for as long as you can. Yep. I’m one of THOSE people. Here’s a view of the inside (courtesy of Samsung).

This particular model is 4 cu. ft. roomier than other counter depth models but with the same footprint. Apparently, that’s like adding a mini-fridge to a standard size refrigerator!

Another favorite of ours is a feature that’s in most professional-grade refrigerators. It’s called the “Twin Cooling Plus” system. This system has two separate evaporators that cool the fridge and freezer separately to maintain ideal temperature and humidity in each. A positive side-effect of this is that no air transfers between compartments. Therefore, “flavors” don’t mix and food always stays super fresh.

If that wasn’t cool enough, check out the Power Cool button! This is probably our favorite feature. When you put a bunch of room-temperature stuff into the fridge or freezer, it takes a while for everything to get cold. Power Cool temporarily lowers the temperature in the refrigerator (or freezer) in order to get everything nice and chilly fast.

Not only is there an ice maker in the door, but there’s also a second ice maker in the freezer drawer. This will be great for when we have a lot of people over. On another note… Bentley hasn’t gotten used to the ice maker sound yet. He barks every time it releases ice into the bin… Hopefully he’ll get used to it soon!

As for the dollars and cents, the refrigerator was originally priced at $2,999, but Lowe’s had it marked down to $2,699 as their regular price. We asked the sales rep if it was going on sale anytime soon. He looked down at his paper, typed a few numbers into a calculator and said if we purchased it before the 17th (the next day) he could bring it down to $2,186.19. After thinking it over (for a fraction of a second), we said, “Sold!” When it was all said and done, we ended up coming out spending $2,475.21. This included tax, delivery, installation, and an extended 5-year warranty. Overall, we saved $512.81. Not bad, not bad at all.

Throughout the purchase process, we learned some useful tips along the way. Here are our top 4 tips for buying appliances:

1. Know your options. The refrigerator market is jam-packed with options: side-by-side, french door bottom freezer, single door bottom freezer, counter depth, top freezer, stainless steel, cabinet front, energy star rated, freezer-less… you get the picture. In order to pick the right options for you, think about how you use your fridge. Do you entertain a lot? Do you like to buy in bulk? Do you have kids? Since we love to entertain, we knew we had to have something spacious and configurable. We also knew the bottom freezer with movable shelves was going to be great for storing all sorts of items of different shapes and sizes.

2. Measure twice, buy once. In our case, we didn’t have to measure too much because we are seriously lacking in the kitchen cabinet department. For everybody else, though, measuring is essential. However, it’s not just the height, depth, and width that are important. Also make sure you have enough clearance around your fridge so that you can open the door all the way. This may influence your door configuration decision.

3. Read what others have to say. Before we even set foot into a store looking for “the one”, we did a lot of research online. There’s no real way to “test drive” a refrigerator, so we feel like online reviews by people who have actually used the refrigerator you’re interested in are the best way to go. Make sure you look at the one- and two-star reviews as much or more than the 4- and 5-star ones. Typically, the people that hated a fridge will be more than happy to point out all the flaws. You just might find a deal-breaker in a negative reviewer’s rant. It definitely helped us weed a few out. By the time we walked into the store to make a purchase, we had our decision narrowed down to two options and had a thorough knowledge of the features and specs.

4. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Remember when your 5th grade teacher used to tell you that? Well, the same goes when buying a major appliance. You’re not going to know unless you ask. First of all, be sure to ask what we call the magic question: “Is it going on sale anytime soon?” This simple question can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Here are some other questions you need to be sure to ask the salesperson before you hand over your debit card: How long is the warranty, and what does it cover? Do you offer an extended warranty? How often will we have to change the water filter? If for some reason we want to return the refrigerator, will we have to pay a restocking/pick-up fee?

That wraps up our four cents when it comes to purchasing a major appliance. If you have any tips to add to the list, leave a comment and share your appliance buying experience!

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Brittany M
    April 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I don’t know how you guys have lived with a mini fridge this long! Looks like you made a great decision!

  • Reply
    Lalya S
    April 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the new Samsung appliances. Jealous!!

  • Reply
    Elle
    April 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Ditto, ditto, a thousand times ditto to the note about measuring. We were all set to move in to our new house when the fridge died. We ran out after work to go fridge shopping only to realize we hadn’t measured when we were standing in the first store. We drove across town to the house, measured, then went to every appliance store in town. Good thing we measured – our cabinets and the kitchen door meant that we were very limited in our options!

  • Reply
    Susannah
    April 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Oh my gosh, you’ll LOVE it!!! We moved into our house last July and have the side by side version of this! It’s WONDERFUL!!! And I’m pretty sure there is also a button in there to make the ice extra fast as well, for if you are having a party or something. Def read that part of the manual for all the bells and whistles! Congrats on the upgrade!

  • Reply
    Holly
    April 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Ooo, it is so pretty! I love it!

    http://www.ourlittleplacecalledhome.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    My mom has this fridge and she’s “in l.o.v.e. with it” too. Haha! I’m very envious! And thanks for the tips, we’re getting ready to start shopping as well!

  • Reply
    Diane P
    April 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Great choice!

  • Reply
    Shari
    April 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I HAD to read your post to my husband about keeping the protective plastics on. I drive him crazy because I leave it on my cells, laptops, etc until it will barely hang on anymore. He thought I was the only “crazy person” out there! πŸ˜‰
    We have a very similiar fridge. You’ll LOVE it for sure!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

      That’s so funny! Glad I could help state your case πŸ™‚ But let him know he’s not the only one — Greg can’t understand it either!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I’m not sure I’d agree that there’s no such thing as a stupid question in the fridge department. This one time, I asked the fridge guy at Home Depot, “Is it okay to use an outdoor bug zapper *indoors*?” and I’m pretty sure he just thought I was on drugs.

  • Reply
    play therapist mom
    April 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

    That is a great deal!! The fridge looks so fancy! Have fun with it.

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Yay, great buy! We have a slightly older, non-counter-depth version of this fridge, also purchased from Lowe’s on sale, and we love it. The layout is very intuitive, tons of space, everything stays fresh forever. The only thing that we’ve ever had a problem with is the ice maker, it’s been replaced twice under warranty. I think it’s bad seals or bad design but with any luck it’s been fixed since 2009 πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Barb
    April 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I have a SAMSUNG side-by-side and love, love, love it. BUT….the repair man has come out a fair share of times to fix it. Did you buy the extra warrenty? GOOD IDEA. I wouldn’t buy an appliance without one.

    Enjoy…it is a pretty one!!!

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Hungry Child in the City
    April 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    This post is actually really helpful for me because my bf and I need to buy a new fridge! This one looks awesome, I am going to look into it.

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