Why Are Refrigerators So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Brandon Porter

Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

Nothing makes a house feel more like a home than a stunning refrigerator filled to the brim. So, if your current refrigerator is failing in this respect, you will want to buy a new one.

However, a quick canvas at the prices of refrigerators might instantly change your mind. Why are refrigerators so expensive? Here are 11 reasons that will help you understand why!

Why Are Refrigerators So Expensive?

Refrigerators are expensive because newer models have numerous features like ice makers, organization drawers, and automatic temperature controls. Technically, this means that refrigerators are built with better quality and larger quantities of materials. Smart refrigerators are now available in the market, and the more reputable the brand, the higher the cost.

If you are interested in learning more about the new features that come with the latest refrigerator models and how factors like branding impact the price of refrigerators, keep on reading!

1. Better Brands Warrant Higher Prices

The brand name brings so much to the table regarding the reputation and price of refrigerators. After all, consumers rely on brand names to determine the refrigerator’s quality.

Moreover, you have to remember that branded refrigerators offer better guarantees in terms of customer support, warranties, and the overall functionality of the fridge.

Naturally, more prominent brands sell more refrigerators, and as stocks become limited, their already-expensive refrigerators can become even more expensive.

2. Refrigerators Are Made With Expensive Materials

A refrigerator is a complex machine that performs multiple functions. To perform those functions safely and excellently, refrigerators need to be made with the right materials.

At its most basic, refrigerators are made of sheet metals, polystyrene plastics, and stainless steel.

However, that does not account for materials like rubber gaskets and glass trays that need to pass a certain standard to be used safely in a refrigerator.

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Moreover, the bigger the refrigerator, the larger the quantity of these materials, and the more expensive the refrigerator becomes.

3. Refrigerators Require Non-Automated Processing

While automated processing is an integral part of producing refrigerators on a commercial scale, there are still aspects of the job that cannot be fully automated.

Depending on the manufacturer, these jobs could be minimal or extensive and may require skilled or unskilled workers; often, these manual tasks happen during the assembly process.

Regardless, the more manual labor involved, the higher the cost of producing refrigerators and the higher the cost of buying them.

4. Most Refrigerators Come With Built-In Features

One of the biggest reasons behind the rising prices of refrigerators are the built-in features refrigerators come with.

Further, among the most sought-after features in refrigerators today are ice makers, edge-to-edge shelves, automatic temperature controls, and organization drawers.

That said, these features elevate a homeowner’s food storage and preparation, and manufacturers understand the immense value that brings.

Naturally, these features will drive up the cost of refrigerators.

5. Modern Refrigerators Consume Less Energy

5. Modern Refrigerators Consume Less Energy

Refrigerators manufactured in the last two decades are notorious for consuming a lot of energy. Meanwhile, new refrigerators consume only half the energy that older models do.

For consumers, this means greater energy savings for the next 13 years, which is the estimated lifespan of newer models.

So, with refrigerators marketed as a long-term investment, manufacturers and sellers feel confident about placing a heftier price tag on their refrigerators.

6. Most New Refrigerators Have Dual Compressors

New refrigerators usually have two compressors, one cooling the top or bottom freezer and the other cooling the refrigerated compartment.

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Further, dual compressor refrigerators keep food fresh for more extended periods, mainly because the airflow is more concentrated.

Nevertheless, compressors are not cheap, and having two of them in one refrigerator is enough reason for a price hike.

7. New Refrigerators Use Halogen Light Bulbs

Old and lower-quality refrigerators typically use incandescent light bulbs, which give off an orange light. Meanwhile, halogen light bulbs give off white light.

That said, what light color your refrigerator’s light bulb produces sounds trivial, but knowing the difference can help you tell the lifespan of each.

For example, incandescent light bulbs typically last for only 1,000 hours, while halogen light bulbs can last for 2,500 hours.

Also, with double the lifespan of lower-quality refrigerator light bulbs, halogen light bulbs tend to cost double the price, which affects the selling price of refrigerators.

8. Refrigerators Can Come With Additional Smart Features

As previously mentioned, new refrigerator models can be so high-tech that they can function like smartphones. However, these smart features can vary per brand.

For example, most smart refrigerators can connect to the Internet and provide voice-controlled virtual assistance.

Also, you can see what’s inside without opening the fridge and keep track of your goods’ expiry dates through a screen on the refrigerator door.

Moreover, these features increase the convenience and functionality of refrigerators, and the more advanced the smart refrigerator you buy, the higher the price you will have to pay.

9. Refrigerators Come In Various Styles

Refrigerators come in various styles to meet consumers’ varying demands and lifestyles everywhere.

Today, some of the most common styles are top-freezer, bottom-freezer, french-door, and counter-depth refrigerator.

Further, each style has its advantages, and one may benefit you more than others, and since these refrigerators offer more convenience, they naturally cost more.

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10. Newer Models Need More Marketing

Some of the changes that newer refrigerator models are undergoing might seem excessive to consumers, so marketing these refrigerators correctly is essential.

Through great marketing efforts, consumers begin to see themselves using these high-tech refrigerators and understanding the hefty price tags they come with.

However, effective marketing is costly because they often include TV commercials, YouTube advertisements, and celebrity partnerships.

Essentially, all these marketing efforts make refrigerators more expensive.

11. Refrigerators Are Expensive To Ship

Refrigerators are big, heavy products that require plenty of care to be shipped undamaged.

Technically, the bigger and more sensitive the product, the higher the shipping fee because this kind of shipping uses more fuel and human resources.

Therefore, covering the entire shipping fee necessitates an increase in the refrigerator’s cost.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Dutch ovens are so expensive, why espresso machines are so expensive, and why batteries are so expensive.


Refrigerators are some of the most important appliances you have at home, and manufacturers know that.

To provide better aesthetic and functionality, newer models come in larger sizes and more features, some of which are so advanced they resemble smartphones.

Therefore, with these advancements come additional costs in materials and skilled workers. Consequently, the prices of refrigerators today are much higher than they were before.


  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

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