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How to Shop Online for Household Appliances [Buying Guide 2020]

by Albert Lee Appliance

Shopping for major appliances online doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. With Albert Lee’s expansive catalog of thoughtfully selected, energy-efficient kitchen and laundry appliances, every purchase will be an informed purchase.

We’ve rustled up a buying guide to make shopping for luxury and Energy Star certified appliances even easier!

With self-quarantine guidelines in place due to COVID-19, Albert Lee’s digital catalog and contactless delivery make shopping for appliances online as breezy as possible. Visit our COVID-19 resource page for timely updates pertaining to our business.

Modes of Shopping

Our website features a tab for every appliance category, including cooking, refrigeration, dishwashers, laundry, outdoor appliances—and more. Simply click on the desired appliance category and scour the many models and amenities our selection of luxury brands offer. Our “store-to-door” point of service (POS) will ensure your brand-new appliance arrives just in time.

As you look through our catalog for any given appliance, here are some features for which you can apply filters:

  • Cost range (i.e., price)
  • Brand (i.e., “manufacturer”)
  • Dimensions (width, depth, and height)
  • Appliance finish or color (i.e., "overall color")
  • Energy efficiency (i.e., Energy Star certified)

And if you don’t know where to start, our appliance experts are available for any questions you may have! You can click on the chat icon at the bottom-right side of Albert Lee’s homepage. You can also give us a call at any of our six store locations or our toll-free number at 1-866-966-2110.

Without further ado, here is how to shop online for household appliances and how to buy energy-efficient appliances.

Buying Considerations: Kitchen Appliances

Cooking

House flippers and modern homeowners concur: wall ovens are the height of culinary sophistication. Here is a list of subtypes:

woman opens wall oven to check on her baked goods

As evidenced in this list, wall ovens are predominantly electric, which narrows wall-oven options for gas users. To help you determine whether you should invest in a wall oven versus a range, take space constraints into account. While a wall oven does not take up counter space, when it’s coupled with a separate cooktop, your cooking appliances occupy more square footage than a standard range.

Regardless of whether you choose a wall oven or range, there are similar considerations to take, including cooking style. Savvy home cooks know that convection cook settings save time and ensure an even toast, roast, and bake for every meal, so why not splurge now?

Or perhaps you’ve heard of steam combination ovens. If you like to make sure your meals are packed with vitamins and nutrients, steam cooking will ensure these are retained, as the highly moist cooking environment requires less fats or oils to cook through food. If you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades appliance, KitchenAid’s double wall oven comes with interchangeable attachments to enable grilling, stone cooking, and steaming.

And this is where we enter the luxury-appliance realm: bonus features and appearance. Invest in an oven as smart as you are—teeming with features such as a sleek touchscreen display, WiFi connectivity, remote preheating, recipe management apps, timer push notifications, and self-cleaning cycles, smart ovens are the next wave of culinary sophistication and will integrate perfectly into any smart home. And, before you ask, yes, there are Energy Star certified versions that won’t sacrifice energy efficiency for home automation.

Any way you look at it, the possibilities are endless.

young girl and mother remove freshly baked cookies out of the range

We can’t forget cooktops. Counter cooktops are categorized as follows:

closeup of cast iron cooktop as a woman prepares a meal

Refrigeration

Next stop: the fridge aisle!

Here are some of the most popular freezer-fridge configurations on the market:

  • French-Door Refrigerator–This style entails two side-by-side fridge doors and one or two bottom freezer drawers.
  • Side-by-Side Refrigerator–This style entails a vertical freezer next to the fridge compartment; this setup is ideal if you’re looking for a slim appliance.
  • Top-Freezer Refrigerator–This style entails a larger fridge compartment at the lower level; the top-freezer style is the most popular by virtue of its affordability.
  • Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator–A highly popular model, this style entails a drawer freezer at the lower level.
  • Built-In Refrigerator–This style is a departure from freestanding fridges; this appliance is built into your kitchen cabinetry to promote a seamless look.
  • Counter-Depth Refrigerator–This style has reduced appliance depth so that your fridge easily blends into your kitchen layout; this style is ideal if you are looking to create a less intrusive look.
  • Freezerless Refrigerator–This style only entails a fridge compartment; the freezerless fridge is ideal if you’re looking to maximize fridge space and keep a separate freezer.

Other features to consider when purchasing a refrigerator include whether or not it’s Energy Star certified and if you’d like an external ice and water dispenser. If you’re primed to splurge, you might be pleased to learn that there are also smart models with interior cameras you can access from your phone at the grocery store.

As is the case with most  kitchen appliance finishes, stainless steel, black stainless steel, and slate are king. For refrigerators, there are also glass-panel models and options wherein you can customize the fridge exterior to match your cabinetry!

young woman navigates the touchscreen on her smart fridge

Dishwashers

Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Leave the dirty work to your brand-new dishwasher! Here’s a quick rundown of dishwasher styles:

  • Built-In Dishwasher–This style is built into your kitchen cabinetry.
  • Portable Dishwasher–This style is freestanding and can be wheeled into a separate storage location when not in use.
  • Drawer Dishwasher–This style is a pull-out dishwasher. You can spring for a single or double-drawer version; if you opt for the latter, you can run one or both of the drawers at the same time!

Smart dishwashers allow you to remotely monitor and control wash cycles using your smartphone and, if you don’t want to lift even a finger, voice command options are available.

young woman loads dishes into dishwasher

Kitchen Appliance Packages

If you're designing a kitchen from the ground-up or are looking to give the heart of your home a complete makeover, Albert Lee offers appliance packages so that you don’t have to stress over the uniformity of your space. Check out energy-efficient options and what stylish brands like GE Café and relentlessly modern brands like LG have to offer!

Buying Considerations: Laundry Appliances

Washing Machines

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to choosing between a front-load and a top-load washer.

Front-load washers are said to deliver a more hard-hitting wash while still being gentle on your laundry—and use less water to do so, making them the more energy-efficient appliance. On the other hand, top-loading washers are less prone to mold, wash clothes more quickly, and don’t force you to bend over to load and unload laundry.

Regardless of what type of washer you prefer, if you’ve got a big family, a large-capacity washer is a must. On average, washer capacities vary between 3.1 and 4.5 cubic feet—but some can hold more. The Samsung FlexWash machine can hold up to 6.0 cubic feet! What’s more, this laundry appliance enables mobile-app connectivity so that you can remotely monitor your laundry.

If space is a concern, many washers are compatible with a pedestal attachment to tackle even more clothes and linens without having to opt for a wider appliance. Plus, some GE washers come with an auto-dispense feature that automatically puts in the right amount of detergent every time, saving you shelf space and from messy pours.

senior woman loading clothes into washing machine

Dryers

When it comes to dryers, there's an age-old debate: gas or electric? In the name of energy efficiency, gas dryers win.

Electric dryers use heating coils while gas dryers use a gas burner to generate heat. So, while gas dryers typically cost more upon initial purchase, in the long run, they may cost you less, since the price of natural gas is generally lower than that of electricity.

In another head-to-head dryer battle, condenser dryers, including heat-pump dryer models, collect the moisture from the drying clothes in a reservoir that must be emptied when the machine signals that it’s full—making it more energy-efficient than their vented-dryer counterpart, which uses a hose attachment to vent the water outside of your house and requires in-wall installation.

Dryers aren’t left high and dry in the “connected home” front—smart models with WiFi connectivity and automatic power-off are available. And if you’re really looking for a machine that goes the extra mile, some Samsung dryers come with a steam-sanitizing cycle to disinfect your laundry.

young woman putting laundry into dryer

Laundry Pairs

Yes, matching sets for your laundry room are available, too. Design tip: matching appliance sets give the rooms they occupy a sleek look. Check out what family-trusted brands like Maytag and Whirlpool have to offer!

Buying Considerations: Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

Outdoor Cooking

The outdoor kitchen is an underrated gem; it is an opportunity many homeowners miss, which is why we invite you to turn up the heat in your backyard. So, here’s a question for you: free-standing or built-in?

Free-standing grills are transportable whereas built-in grills, of course, stay put. It really comes down to aesthetic preference when selecting a style—for optimal sophistication, we cast our vote for a silver built-in grill against a brick wall. The more decisive factor, however, is probably the type of fuel you’d like to use.

Here are the most common fuel types:

  • Charcoal
  • Gas–This method is the most eco-friendly mode of grilling.
  • Wood Pellets–Experts preach that this grilling method adds the most flavor to meats.
  • Electricity

man cooking meat on a free-standing charcoal grill for his family

Outdoor Refrigeration

And, of course, no outdoor barbecue is complete without refreshing beverages.

We’ve got options in spades with under-counter, under-grill, and panel-ready refrigerators and freezers. And if you want to go all out, we offer outdoor ice makers with uniform cubes, beverage dispensers, and sink prep packages for a fully functional kitchen in your backyard!

Keys to Successful Online Appliance Shopping

1. Figuring Out Which Styles You Like

As we wrap up our guide, we want to leave you with a few final notes. A buying guide means nothing without independent research—there is a wealth of online information from appliance and home-design experts (including our blog!) to help you find finishes and features that suit your taste and needs. Be sure to take your time scouring the Internet and our catalog before committing your card number to checkout. We can guide you over the phone or via chat to help you find the best appliance to meet your needs.

2. Must-Have vs. Nice-to-Have Features

Budget is the most decisive factor when determining whether or not to splurge on luxury appliances with high-tech features and customizable accommodations, so be sure to keep an eye on the limits you set. But if you’re finding yourself on the fence, we say, go for it: we get a lot of mileage off large appliances, and getting what we pay for is always a joyful prospect.

3. How to Set Filters on a Catalog

As previously discussed, you can filter through search results based on personal specifications like cost range, brand, and whether an appliance model is Energy Star certified.

Simply hover over to the left pane of the results page and expand filter options by clicking on any of the “+” buttons. There, you can mark your preferences (several at a time) and narrow your potential purchase to selections that fit your criteria.

screenshot demonstrating how to apply search filters for online catalog

4. Measuring Your Space

For our final tip, we’ll keep it short and simple: take, check, and double-check measurements of the available space you hope to fill with your new appliance.

Let Us Help You 

For any and all appliance needs, contact our experts at Albert Lee—we’re always happy to help. Call or chat with us today!

Regarding COVID-19, our appliance delivery teams are taking precautionary steps to help minimize the current public health emergency and, as such, have taken proactive steps such as disinfecting themselves between customer deliveries and wearing rubber gloves while performing deliveries at our customer's homes. 

We are taking every precaution to clean and disinfect our stores throughout the day above and beyond the normal cleaning process, including professional disinfection, as well as ensuring our customers and employees can maintain a safe social distance. For more information, please visit https://www.albertlee.biz/ala-covid19.