The cold truth about buying a fridge, part III

The cold truth about buying a fridge, part III

Purchasing the right refrigerator in Mexico can be stressful.  In the last two editions of The Vallarta Tribune, I offered advice on how to take the correct measurements, the different styles available, and how to select the best one for your needs.  This week, we finish off with what you need to know about fridge capacity, energy efficiency, and where I recommend as the best place to purchase a fridge in Vallarta.

Fridge capacity

The good news is you don’t have to become an expert on fridge capacity.  As a rule of thumb, for a family of four, most manufacturers recommend 18 to 22 cubic feet. For each additional person, add another two cubic feet.  Far more important is a good layout when it comes to the drawers and shelves.

Energy Efficiency


With growing concern about our carbon footprint, energy efficiency is often an essential factor.  New refrigerators are far more efficient than they were twenty years ago.  There are still some variances depending on the brand.


Look for fridges with an EPA Energy Star rating since this designation means it is rated as one of the best for its efficiency.   Check out the Energy Guide label as well.  It will show you the estimated annual operating costs and kilowatt-hours used per year.


Overall, top-freezer fridges are considered more energy efficient compared with other fridge door styles.

Where to purchase?

There are two options when it comes to where you purchase your fridge -your local appliance store or a big box chain.

Big box retailers have national buying power, so their prices on specific models can sometimes be a little lower than local appliance stores.  Today, many local appliance retailers belong to a buying group so they can buy in bulk and offer about the same prices as big-box retailers.  Regardless, what most people do not realize is that the price difference is often quite low, sometimes only MXN 500 or MXN 1000 (UD 25 or USD 50).

I always recommend supporting local stores.  It keeps money in Mexico and supports local jobs and families.  Local retailers have service technicians to work on your appliances should they need repairs. Don’t under-estimate how important this is.  Appliances are a lot less expensive than they used to be, but they generally only last five to seven years, ten at the most.  Many have sophisticated features as well.  You are likely to need it serviced or repaired at least one to two times during its lifetime.

Another reason to buy from your local retailer is the knowledge of their staff.  They sell appliances, not a warehouse of thousands of items.  Salespeople receive regular product training and updates.  As a result, they are far more knowledgeable than big box store employees.  They also hear feedback daily from their customers about features, advantages, disadvantages, problems, etc. after the sale, so they know which products to recommend.

Finally, remember to factor in the cost of delivery. Most big-box retailers do not offer free delivery, whereas most appliance retailers do.  You can hire an independent delivery company, but they usually do not unpack and install the appliance. Sometimes, they won’t even bring the product inside the house or remove it from the box.  Since local retailers deliver fridges every day, they have more experience and can make sure that your appliance will get into your home without damage.  Should you hire a third party for the delivery, with limited experience in handling fridges, you will likely end up holding the bag if the refrigerator gets damaged.

Need appliances for your home in Mexico?  Email me at for coupons to get special pricing.

Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over ten years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico – the online furniture store for your home in Mexico and The Furniture Store by SOLutions Mexico, a brick and mortar show store in Bucerias. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico.