Buying a used fridge can be great for the pocketbook. Our tips will help ensure that you are equipped to buy one that fits your needs.
Used Amana fridge, $300
There are used refrigerators and refurbished refrigerators and there is a big difference between the two. A refurbished refrigerator (also known as a "reconditioned refrigerator") has been thoroughly inspected and had its worn parts replaced. Further, refrigerators, unlike all other appliances, work 24-7, non-stop, throughout their lives, so finding a reliable model and make is essential. Here are a few things to think about before you buy a used refrigerator.
State of the Refrigerator: If possible you will want to see the refrigerator in cooling mode, so hopefully it’s operating when you arrive. Check to make sure it’s cooling on the top and the bottom, as well as in the freezer. There shouldn’t be any ice build-up in the vegetable drawers or behind them. If you’ve brought a thermometer, you can always leave it inside and on the top shelf towards the front for a few minutes to see what it reads (The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 35F/1.5C but anything between 33F and 40F is fine. The temperature will likely vary depending on the area of the fridge – coldest at the back and bottom, warmest top and near the front). Look for signs of wear beyond normal wear and tear. If there is any rust it would be better to pass.
One thing to keep in mind once you decide to purchase a used fridge. Once you get it back to your place, do not plug it in for 8-12 hours. The refrigerants need time to settle.
For more tips on how to buy, sell and maintain a fridge, check out our other articles on the Refrigerators page.
¹ Test a fridge door seal by turning on a flashlight (your smartphone will also work), put it in the fridge or freezer and shut the door. If you see any light protruding from the fridge, the door seal should be changed.