By Karyn Cooper
Photo: Courtesy of Soda Pop Design
With an overwhelming number of options on the market, shopping for appliances can be something of a headache — unless, of course, you go in with a plan. During the appliance scouting process you’ll likely realize that brand new items are often outrageously priced, and begin to ask yourself, “Should I buy a refurbished appliance instead?” The short answer is: It depends. Whichever route you choose, consider these five easy yet important refurbished appliance shopping tips, to ensure you’re equipped to make the best decision for your home.
1. Location is everything.
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Buy refurbished appliances for your home’s ‘low-maintenance’ spaces, like your garage or basement. A few dings on a refurbished, overflow freezer or washer and dryer will hardly be noticeable, and they’ll help drive down the price.
2. Check the warranty.
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This is the golden rule of appliance shopping. Warranty periods can be significantly shorter for refurbished appliances versus brand new appliances, but they shouldn’t be too short. Be wary of any refurbished appliance with a short warranty period (less than 90 days), as it could be an indication that the product has limited longevity. Always review the warranty terms in detail prior to making a purchase, and if you’re in the store, take the time to verify that all parts are in working order.
3. Don’t pay more than you have to.
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Technology evolves constantly, and as a result appliance manufacturers frequently come out with newer versions that can actually be more affordable than refurbished options. Poke around online for deals and discounts on new items, and compare those prices with the depreciated value of the refurb you’re considering. You don’t want to shell out for a refurbished appliance only to find out later that you could’ve gotten a better deal on a newer model. Pro tip: Don’t forget to ask about shipping and delivery costs as those can sneak up on you.
4. Look for floor models.
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Okay, so technically floor models aren’t refurbished appliances, since they’ve never been used or repaired, but sometimes they’re sold at refurb prices — and who doesn’t like that? Given that floor models primarily function as selling tools, the variety can be relatively limited. However, with a little internet savvy you can usually find a few options from almost all major appliance brands on sale. Bear in mind that when a display item goes on sale, it usually means that the manufacturer has released newer versions — so do your due diligence to make sure you’re not purchasing something outdated.
5. Shop around.
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Thanks to the magic of the internet, it’s easier than ever to make sure you’re getting the best deal on appliances, refurbished or otherwise. It pays to shop around for refurbished appliances in particular, as some stores will match or beat a competitor’s quoted price in order to win your business. Compare prices on refurbished models from a handful of retailers with the cost of new appliances. Keep in mind that although shopping online is convenient — and there are certainly some good deals to be found there — the best way to purchase a refurbished appliance is to go into the store and visually inspect the item yourself.