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What to look for when you're buying a new appliance

How to make an energy-efficient choice

The amount of choice when you’re buying any new appliance is incredible. There are dozens of different models with all kinds of baffling features. So how do you find a reliable appliance that does a great job and uses as little electricity as possible? Whether you're browsing in a store, or doing in-depth research online, answering these 4 questions should help you pick a winner.

4 questions to consider

  • 1

    Is it ENERGY STAR rated? Obviously, saving energy is key if you want to be power smart. ENERGY STAR appliances are certified to be the most energy efficient appliances you can buy.

  • 2

    Is it made by a reputable brand? Do plenty of research and read reviews to find out which brands offer the best reliability and features. Find out about warranties and customer service based on reviews from people who’ve already experienced them.

  • 3

    Is it the right size for the job it needs to do? It’s easy to get excited about a huge, double-door refrigerator. But what size do you actually need? Remember, if you buy something too big, you’ll be paying bigger electricity bills, too.

  • 4

    Is it simple to use? Many appliances come with a dizzying array of features and functions. Some of them save energy. But many of them just use more energy and offer very little utility. Appliances are designed to do very simple jobs like cleaning, heating or cooling. So make sure you buy one that's equally simple to operate.

Tips for buying specific appliances

The considerations above should help you find a great appliance. But we’ve also got some tips for buying specific types of appliances:

  • Freezers: Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers because of the airtight seal on the lid. Additionally, if you have a power outage, chest freezers will keep food frozen for 2-3 days, while uprights might only last 1 day.

  • Refrigerators: Avoid refrigerators with ice and water dispensers built into the door. They use more energy.

  • Electric ranges or stoves: Electric induction cooktops transfer 85-90% of their heat to the food, compared with 65-70% for normal electric cooktops. This makes them much more efficient.