If you've walked into an appliance store recently, you will know there are seemingly unlimited choices available. We have created a cheat sheet to help you decode the plethora of features, gimmicks and extras available.
1. Washers: Choosing an energy efficient washing machine will save you lots of money in the long run. Most energy efficient models today are front loading and use far less water than older, top loading styles. The money you save each month by conserving water could pay for your new machine within the year! Pay attention to spin speeds as well; the faster the machine spins, the more water is removed and the less drying time your clothes will need. Look for a model with the setting between 1100 and 1200 for optimal water removal.
2. Dryers: Whereas washing machines have a multitude of styles and options, dryers are basically made similarly. You can skip the bells and whistles of extra features, such as wrinkle prevention cycles. They do not dry your clothes any better than normal cycles. What you should look for is an automatic dry cycle which senses when your clothes are dry and keeps the machine from expending extra energy.
3. Range/Oven: Choosing a stove will first depend on whether your kitchen is set up for an electric or gas appliance. If you're in search of an electric stove, you will likely find an overwhelming amount of smooth surface tops. These are known to be easier to clean than traditional stoves, but be aware that special products may be needed. Look for an oven with a self-cleaning feature; they provide extra insulation, cook more efficiently and save you lots of elbow grease and cleaning time!
4. Dishwasher: New models are generally all going to be energy efficient. Look for a dishwasher with a light cycle and a heavy/scrub cycle, but do not be too concerned with extra features and cycles beyond those. It will be important that the inside racks are nylon coated as they are far more durable than the vinyl options.
5. Refrigerator/Freezer: The biggest consideration when choosing a combination refrigerator/freezer is size. Buying a smaller model may save you money, but we warned that over filling your machine will make it malfunction. Choose a size that will be adequate for your family's needs now and in years to come.
6. Microwave: For general purposes, most any microwave will do so long as it is big enough for your needs. Most models are inexpensive and even the most basic ones come loaded with options. As long as you choose the correct size, you should be all set.