Chill on a Budget: Finding Quality Used Refrigerators

Is your old fridge wheezing its last cold breaths? Does it groan louder than your teenagers when asked to clean their rooms? Maybe the 1970s avocado green hue just isn’t jiving with your modernized kitchen. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided it’s time to start searching for a replacement refrigerator. But new fridge prices make you shiver more than the frozen foods aisle. Not to worry – picking up a used refrigerator can be an extremely cost-effective solution.

When shopping for secondhand fridges, it’s important to thoroughly assess options and know what features to prioritize. In this guide, we’ll cover the top affordable refrigerator models to keep on your radar. We’ll also provide tips for inspecting used units, maximizing deals, and avoiding lemons. By the end, you’ll be equipped to chill like a savvy shopper even on a tight budget.

Frigidaire FFTR2021 Top Freezer

Frigidaire’s top freezer models offer excellent bang for your buck when shopping used. The FFTR2021 20 cu ft refrigerator is particularly ideal – compact yet roomy enough for most households. Expect to pay around $300-600 for a used unit in decent shape.

Pros of used FFTR2021 models:

  • Proven reliable and long-lasting
  • Simple mechanical design usually easy to repair
  • Affordable replacement parts if needed
  • Adjustable door bins and shelves

Look out for: some reported issues with compressors, door gaskets needing replacement after many years of use.

GE GTE18LMHES Bottom Freezer

For a basic bottom freezer config, GE’s GTE18LMHES 18 cu ft model is widely available used. These tend to go for around $400-700 depending on condition.

Pros of this used refrigerator:

  • Slide out spillproof shelves
  • Tall bottle door storage
  • Bright interior lighting
  • Reversible door option

Potential issues include leaking ice makers and complaints about freezer temperature regulation in some units.

Whirlpool WRT318FZDW Side-by-Side

Side-by-side refrigerators like the Whirlpool WRT318FZDW are excellent for fitting in narrow spaces while providing ample chilled storage. Used prices are about $600-900.

Benefits of this refrigerator:

  • In-door water and ice dispenser
  • Snack bins and gallon door storage
  • Fingerprint resistant stainless exterior
  • Adjustable temp control

Watch for freezing issues in the refrigerator section and water/ice dispenser leaks.

LG LTCS24223S Top Freezer

If you want a used refrigerator with smart features, look no further than the LG LTCS24223S. This WiFi-enabled 22 cu ft top freezer retails around $300-700 used.


  • Remote monitoring via smartphone
  • Digital temperature controls
  • Interior LED lighting
  • Reversible door

Potential flaws include finicky wifi connectivity, touchpad issues, and ice maker failures.

Samsung RT18M6213SR Side-by-Side

On the higher end of the used market, you can score smart side-by-side fridges like the Samsung RT18M6213SR for around $800-1,200.

Notable features:

  • Integrated Family Hub touchscreen
  • Fingerprint resistant finish
  • External filtered water and ice
  • FlexZone adjustable storage

Watch for ice maker or cooling issues, WiFi connectivity problems, and glitchy touchscreens in used models.

Sniffing Out the Best Used Fridge Deals

Once you’ve narrowed down target models, it’s time to start the hunt! Here are tips for finding and selecting the perfect secondhand refrigerator:

Set Your Budget

Used refrigerator prices can vary widely. Determine what you can reasonably afford before falling for a flashy unit outside your limits.

Size Up the Space

Carefully measure the height, width, and depth of your kitchen space. This ensures your chosen fridge will fit.

Do Your Research

Learn which brands and models tend to be most reliable and widely available used. Focus your search here.

Inspect Thoroughly

Test all functions, seals, fans, compressors. Look for leaks, odors, damage. Cosmetic flaws are OK if operation isn’t impacted.

Ask Questions

Inquire about age, prior maintenance, repairs needed. Any service records? Why are they selling?

Haggle Respectfully

Politely negotiate pricing in your favor without lowballing. Compromise is key.

Transport Carefully

Use straps, dollies, and furniture pads to move the unit safely. Protect the doors!

Consider Repairs

Factor in potential costs of repairs and maintenance like gaskets, fans, compressors etc.

Explore Warranties

Some used appliance shops include short warranties. Otherwise refrigerators are usually sold “as-is”.

Chill Out

Finding a quality used refrigerator takes effort but pays off with significant savings!

Used Refrigerator FAQs

Used appliances come with their own unique caveats. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about purchasing and owning a secondhand refrigerator:

How much should I pay for a used refrigerator?

Expect to spend $200-$1,000 based on brand, age, condition. Exceptional deals do exist if you’re patient!

Where are the best places to find used refrigerators?

Classified ads, thrift stores, used appliance shops, and some scratch and dent or outlet retailers.

What are red flags to avoid when buying used?

Excessive rust, odd smells, leaks, loud noises, and refrigerant lines badly covered in insulation tape.

What features should I inspect before purchasing?

Thoroughly test cooling, door seals, compressor functionality, fan motors, lights, storage bins.

How can I maximize value when negotiating price?

Research fair going rates. Point out flaws needing repair. Be friendly but firm. Offer to pay cash or remove the unit immediately.

What’s the safest method for transporting a used refrigerator?

Use moving straps to prevent toppling. Furniture pads protect exterior. A dolly prevents damage to legs and doors.

Is it worth buying a used fridge with cosmetic damage?

Yes, minor dents and scratches rarely impact function. Just ensure interior is clean and mold/odor free.

What if the refrigerator stops working shortly after purchase?

Consult any warranty provided by the seller or used appliance shop. Otherwise, repair or replace unit yourself.

How many years can I expect a used fridge to last?

With proper maintenance like gasket/coil replacement, 5-10 years of service is reasonable for a quality used refrigerator.

What maintenance does a used fridge require?

Regular cleaning and changing water filters. Yearly condenser coil cleaning improves efficiency. Lubricate gaskets to preserve seal.

How much energy do older fridges consume?

Much more than new ENERGY STAR models. If electricity cost concerns you, look for a newer used unit.

Can I get a warranty on a used refrigerator?

Most are sold “as-is” but some retailers offer short 90 day to 1 year replacement warranties on their refurbished units.

What should I do about odors in a used refrigerator?

Thorough cleaning, new filters, baking soda boxes, and charcoal bags help absorb stubborn smells.

Can I find replacement parts for older models?

Yes, many sites sell parts for major brands and models, new or refurbished. DIY repairs can save substantially.

Stay Cool While Saving Cash

Don’t sweat buying used – with caution and common sense, secondhand refrigerators offer quality and value. Target reputable budget brands, thoroughly inspect units, and transport carefully. Maintain your new-to-you appliance and it will keep your food fresh for years while staying easy on your wallet. Happy chilling!
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