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3 tips for saving on appliances

By Paula Pant ·
Monday, January 28, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

My partner and I are remodeling our kitchen right now, which includes buying new appliances. This project, as you can imagine, comes with a steep price tag.

We'd like to find good overall value. We define this as reliable, high-performing and aesthetically pleasing appliances that don't come with "OMG, that's a month's pay!" price tags.

Here are some tips we've gathered along the way.

1. Read reviews

You want appliances that will last. You'll pay more in the long run if you get something that needs frequent repair or replacement.

Consumer Reports reviews appliances for performance and reliability. It's a great resource. But if you're not interested in paying for a subscription, check out reviews on Amazon and other websites. I like running online searches for "brand name, model number," plus the word "review."

2. Know what you want

It's easy to get upsold when you start shopping around. Knowing exactly what you want before you start looking could prevent you from paying extra for features you didn't really want.

For example, if you stir-fry often, you might want a triple-ring gas burner with 18,000 or more British thermal units, or Btu, of heat. That's a reasonable request from someone who frequently cooks Asian food.

If your idea of "cooking" is reheating pizza in the microwave, you don't need a high-performance burner. Instead, opt for a lower-end, stainless steel appliance, which offers the aesthetic look you crave without all the added features. (To save even more money, opt for black or white appliances.)

3. Search discount and outlet stores

Find out which types of appliance outlet and discount stores are in your area. We've done a lot of shopping at Sears Outlet, which carries many well-reviewed items at a discount price. Items include a one-year warranty.

The main drawback? Limited selection. There's only one floor model, and when it's gone, it's gone.

In some cases, a long drive to the outlet store can be another drawback. Fortunately, we live close enough to an appliance outlet that the time and gas spent in transit still makes this a good investment, even if we have to make repeated shopping trips. If you live far away from an appliance outlet, driving several hours to save $100 might not be a good use of your time.

Paula Pant blogs at about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @affordanything.

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February 06, 2013 at 2:25 am

Depending upon your circumstances, and what is available near you, you might want to consider some "gently used" appliances. I never thought I would consider "used" appliances until my 3 year old "high end" GE washing machine needed a new motor, which cost a small fortune to replace! If I had bought a used washing machine for half the price, how much worse off could I have been? After that experience I bought a used dryer, with a 30-day warranty (some come with 90-day warranties) for a place that we were moving out of shortly afterwards, and a friend also bought all used appliances from a reputable dealer, for a fraction of the price new, and we have all been very happy with them.

Paul Drane
January 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

The problem with shopping outlets is the fact that you do not know if the appliance you are looking at was returned from a customer who had an issue with it. Been repaired. Some might be floor models,some took a ride ane did not fit in someones house.

Outlets are not always a good option, ask for the facts.

Jerry Saks
January 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I recently had to use a service repairman for a refrigerator that was only ten years old.
He informed me that I can't buy a unit that will last much longer at any price. He told me that I should not spend the money on repair because we would be right in the same spot in 6 months. I have trouble understanding this as we always had many more years of service from our appliances. Doesn't any company build a reliable appliance any more?