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Appliances What to look for in new home appliances

Published on May 13th, 2013 | by Staff


What to look for in new home appliances

In the market for new home appliances? Know someone who is? Here’s our best advice about things to keep in mind while you’re shopping:

Modern new refrigerator


  • Non-drip, removable and repositionable shelves enable you to fit more items and make it easier to add and remove items
  • Separated fruits and vegetables compartments with temperature and humidity adjustments will keep these foods fresher longer
  • Units with bottom freezers are more efficient
  • Unnecessary bells and whistles are cool but the more features it offers, the more things there are that will break and require repair
  • Check the water dispenser speed; some are faster than others
  • Study your current refrigerator. What works well for you? What doesn’t work well for your needs?
  • Avoid trendy colors, as they go out of style quickly
  • Stainless steel models show fingerprints and you can’t hang your child’s drawings on them. As an alternative, consider a stainless look instead.

Baked chicken in oven


  • Commercial ranges don’t offer many benefits over conventional models. They can be much more expensive to repair and often are more difficult to clean
  • For safety reasons, avoid models with knobs located in the front if you have small children living in your home
  • Be sure the oven is large enough for your cooking needs; oven sizes do vary greatly
  • Pros and cons associated with gas and electric models: Speed: Gas ranges are faster to turn on and immediately off. All things being equal, gas burners with a higher BTU rating will heat faster. Electric is slower to turn on and very slow to cool down. – Cleaning: Electric smooth-top ranges are easier to keep clean. When off, they can also serve as extended counter space
  • Heavy, cast-iron gas range grates are more durable than the steel variety
  • In the event of a power outage, a gas range burner can be lit with a match. With an electric range, you’re out of luck!
  • Large windows on oven doors are helpful for easier monitoring of baked goods
  • A convection oven can speed cooking times. It also enables you to fill the oven full because the heat is distributed evenly throughout the oven

Post-purchase tip: Always install the anti-tip device that accompanies your new range; it can help prevent a dangerous range tip-over if a child sits or stands on the oven door.

You might also be interested in this post: Range cleaning 101

Microwave oven

Microwave Ovens

  • Many microwave ovens feature sensor cooking, which enables the oven to more accurately determine the necessary cooking times
  • Fancy features add unnecessary complexity and cause more things to break. Most people find that they rarely use these features at all

Open Washing Machine

Washing Machines

  • Most front loaders have longer wash cycles than traditional top loaders
  • Most front loaders need to be emptied soon after a load is finished to avoid the development of a moldy odor on the clothes and inside of the machine
  • Front loaders can utilize normal washing machine detergent but they work better with specialized “HE” (high efficiency) detergent
  • If you buy a front loader, get the pedestal option to avoid having to unload while kneeling

Post-purchase tip: Most suburban homes with first or second-floor laundry rooms are not designed with enough strength in the floor for a fully-loaded washing machine. We strongly recommend that you install ¾-inch plywood under both washer and dryer and fasten to the floor with screws.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Four things that hurt your dryer

Nine tips for washing machine care

Five fast appliance fixes

Dishwasher toprack


  • If you expect the dishes to be bone dry at the end of the cycle, look for a heated, forced-air dry feature. Not all units have this
  • Study the rack sizes and layouts as well as the silverware basket location. This varies greatly model to model to serve different needs
  • A separate wash arm beneath the upper rack is more effective than a center tower
  • Some units have a timed fill cycle for the wash water rather than a depth fill. Depth fill is better because it eliminates the problem of low pressure and old water fill valves

You might also be interested in this post: The right way to load a dishwasher

Before you make buying decisions, we also recommend that you read testing results conducted and published by Consumer Reports.

When you ask your family and friends about their experiences with recent appliance purchases, be mindful that not everyone will have the same needs as you.

Any other advice to share? Please leave your comments below.

Good luck!

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Since 1999, three and a half million people have purchased replacements parts and accessories from RepairClinic and saved more than $260 million in repair costs by fixing appliances, lawn equipment, power tools, and heating & cooling equipment on their own. From the beginning, RepairClinic has provided free troubleshooting and how-to resources on its website.

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RepairClinic’s free, advanced online repair help system empowers do-it-yourselfers to fix common problems associated with home appliances, lawn equipment, power tools and heating & cooling equipment. DIYers can enter a model number to choose from a list of common symptoms for that particular model, troubleshoot and watch award-winning, expertly-produced videos to learn the most likely causes and conditions and purchase the correct part. stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of lawn mowers, small engines, snowblowers, string trimmers, furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, power tools and many other products.

Since 1999, the company has served more than three million customers including homeowners, first-time and beginner DIYers, advanced DIYers, appliance repair professionals, small engine repair shops and landscaping and lawn care business owners. RepairClinic orders are backed by a 365 Days. Period.® return policy that enables customers to return any part. Of the more than one million parts available on the website, 95 percent of parts ordered are in stock and guaranteed to ship the same business day. RepairClinic ships within the United States, U.S. territories and military bases and Canada.

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About the Author staff members enjoy dozens of daily conversations with RepairClinic’s customer community every day. We're inspired by our customers' stories of successful DIY repairs, major money savings and empowerment to tackle many repair projects on their own. Every day, our 2,200+ free how-to videos are viewed 60,000 times. Visit and join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

12 Responses to What to look for in new home appliances

  1. Joan Ressin says:

    LOVE Repairclinic! The tips keep me informed and aware, and for the price of parts and a little study time I fixed our front loading washing machine when the latch broke–for the price of parts cheaper than I could have gotten them locally. We saved a couple of hundred dollars for a service call and the machine ran like new.

    • Jody Lamb says:

      Hi Joan,

      Thank you! We love you, too! Congrats on the successful washing machine repair and saving money. Have a great summer and thanks for sharing!

  2. Kondratowitch says:

    As usual another great set of ideas to help us make the right decisions. Thank you!

  3. Rust says:

    Very good info! I’ve changed my own heating element in my dryer and when I disassembled it I really realized how much lint collects inside the body. I’ve done a complete vacuuming, with a new awareness of how important it is to regularly clean out the vent and also the screen area with a vacuum.

    • Jody Lamb says:

      Great! You’re a DIY dryer-cleaning pro! Most people don’t realize how important it actually is to clean out the entire venting system – and inside of the machine itself! Nice job and thanks for reading!

  4. karen hunter says:

    thanks helpful tips

  5. Valerie C. says:

    I appreciate these tips. I’m shopping for a new dishwasher and never knew about the heated forced air feature!

  6. Susan P. says:

    I used info from to replace the belt in my dryer and found out I had to take off the front of the dryer rather than the back to access the and replace the belt. Thanks for the tips on getting new appliances. My Maytag side-by-side fridge, dishwasher and washer/dryer are 18 years old but still humming along. I am researching ahead of time since I may have to replace them sooner than later.

  7. Jeff R. says:

    More tips from a technician:

    If your new oven has a “hidden” bake element, make sure you don’t put any kind of liner (foil, etc) on the bottom or it will melt onto the bottom of the oven!

    New oven not heating like your old one? Try giving it an extra 10-15 minutes after the preheat signal before you put your food in. If this doesn’t help, check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to recalibrate the temperature.

    Use rinse aid in your new dishwasher or there will be so much water left on the dishes they will not dry properly.

    If your new microwave has a metal rack, don’t leave it in there all the time. Only put it in when you will be cooking on it. An empty metal rack in the microwave while you are cooking on the glass tray will cause the magnetron to burn out faster.

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