Organization & Cleaning

Factors to Consider When Buying Kitchen Appliances

What should I look for when buying appliances?

Photography: iStockPhoto

Organization & Cleaning

Factors to Consider When Buying Kitchen Appliances

The workhorses of our homes, appliances like laundry machines, ovens and cooktops, dishwashers and refrigerators are essential items that are hard to live without!

When they break down, it can cause a hiccup in our routines and put a major dent in our wallets. If you’re in the market for
a new appliance, there are tons of things to consider. Here, we’ve got tips for choosing the best options for you.


Photography: iStockPhoto



Top Freezer

  • The top-freezer refrigerator uses less energy than the bottom equivalent
  • Usually the cheapest option, and often provides the most usable space compared to other styles
  • Traditional aesthetic compared to other models
  • Hard-to-reach spaces can put strain on the body

Bottom Freezer

  • Brings the refrigerator to eye level, creating easy access to everyday items
  • Drawer-style freezer allows for better organization
  • Freezer on the bottom may consume more energy
  • More expensive than top-freezer refrigerators


  • Doors require less sweep area— great for small spaces
  • Can be organized so that both frozen and refrigerated daily use items are at eye level
  • Usually comes in very basic model
  • Lack of space for larger items

French Door

  • Easy access to refrigerator
  • Wide shelves and large door bins offer extra space
  • Often consumes more energy than other options
  • May require wider installation area
  • Refrigerators with water and ice dispensers can be more expensive, and also require more upkeep.
  • If a refrigerator is poorly maintained, it can consume more energy than it needs to.
  • It’s advisable to dust under the fridge and clean the condenser coils once or twice a year.
  • Clean the interior of your fridge seasonally, and don’t forget to wipe down the rubber door seal.
  • Pay attention to the recommended distance between the appliance and the wall.
  • Check for extra features that can make your life easier—like smart sensors that tell you when you’re running low on groceries. Yes, please!


Dish Washers


  • Directly connects to your home’s plumbing system
  • Sound is buffered by surrounding walls or cabinets
  • Standard size is 24 inches, but compact 18-inch models are available


  • Compact freestanding unit on wheels
  • Smaller models can be placed on countertops and use less water and detergent
  • Easy hookup to kitchen faucet
  • Perfect for small space kitchens and smaller households


  • Integrated dishwashers are aesthetically pleasing because they are customized to blend seamlessly into your cabinetry design
  • If accessibility is a concern, a drawer dishwasher may be an option, as they are loaded from the top, which can reduce strain on the body
  • Dishwashers with superior water filtration are known to be more efficient.
  • To maximize your dishwasher’s life span, use high-quality detergents, and machine cleansing treatments when required.


Stoves / Ovens


  • Aesthetically pleasing, most newer models come with sleek cooking surfaces that are also easy to clean
  • Tend to come equipped with extra space under the oven for storage, not often included in gas models
  • Affordable price range, with little setup or additional adjustments needed in the kitchen
  • Slower cook times than gas counterparts
  • Affected by power outages and not as energy efficient as gas


  • Provides a consistent flame that can quickly and easily be adjusted for temperature
  • Food is cooked faster with greater consistency and more control
  • More energy-efficient and cost-effective than electric, if your home is already equipped with a gas line, but initial purchase price and installation fees can be pricey
  • Potentially dangerous to health if a gas line develops a leak

Separate Wall Mounted Oven and Cook Top

  • Greater flexibility in choice of oven and stovetop since they are bought separately
  • Can be tailored to your particular cooking habits: If you mostly cook meals on your stovetop, you can opt for larger six-burner cooktop and a more modest single oven
  • Customizable positioning in the kitchen uses space effectively
  • Oven can be situated more accessibly so you don’t have to bend down to open it
  • More expensive to buy two separate appliances and will likely involve greater installation costs


  • An induction cooktop has the highest and lowest temperature options; it’s also the safest and most energy-efficient, and it’s the easiest option to keep clean.
  • Duel fuel ranges offer the best of both worlds with gas cooktop and electric oven, but tend to be on the pricey side
  • Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated and more efficient.
  • Clean the inside of the oven regularly, at least once per season.
  • Avoid covering the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil. Instead, consider placing a larger baking sheet on the bottom rack when baking a full casserole or pie to prevent spills onto the bottom.
  • If you’ve had a gas range for a while, take the time to inspect the line. If it looks worn at all, replace it.
  • Regularly inspect and replace door gaskets (the rubber piece that runs along the oven door) to maintain efficient heat.


Washers & Dryers

Front Load Washer

  • This machine can handle up to 10 lbs of clothing and bulkier items like comforters
  • The more efficient option, studies show front load washing machines clean clothing more thoroughly than top loaders
  • Greater spin speeds mean your clothes will dry faster
  • Most front load washers have doors that open left to right
  • Water accumulation makes this type of machine more susceptible to mould growth around the bottom of the door

Top Load Washer

  • Often the less expensive option
  • Newer versions are available that don’t have the inner agitator, so they can handle higher spin speeds than the ones with the agitator
  • Less likely to grow mould
  • Leave the soap drawer and door open to prevent mould growth.
  • Follow the usage directions on your laundry detergent bottle—don’t use too much soap, as leftover residue can be the culprit of unpleasant odours.
  • Measure out your space and be sure to account for your new machine’s door clearance, and that you’ve got enough space behind the machine for hookups.


  • Newer machines can be wifi-enabled and have digital touch screens
  • In terms of capacity, the best way to choose a dryer is to make sure it holds double the capacity of your washer
  • Dryers come in both gas and electric hookups; make sure you check what kind you need before purchasing
  • Check the machine’s Energy Star rating—one with heat and dryness sensors will use less energy.
  • Be sure to check if the option you want is stackable—some front loaders aren’t!


Old versus New

Should you repair or replace a broken machine? Repair should be carried out if the device is in good physical condition, without any other problematic component and if it is less than 15 years old (manufacturers generally keep parts for a period of 10 to 12 years). Tip: Repair costs should be less than 50 percent of the cost of a new machine with the same characteristics.

A complete set of appliances—fridge, dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer purchased in 2020 can use 50 percent less energy than a similar set purchased in 1990.

Newer machines that have the Energy Star logo are among the most energy efficient appliances in their category. The estimate of annual energy consumption is indicated on the EnerGuide sheet for certain devices, which allows you to make comparisons.


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Organization & Cleaning

Factors to Consider When Buying Kitchen Appliances