How to Hack Your Kitchen Appliance Purchase
An industry insider reveals tips for savings big and small.
Ahhh.. the dark arts of finding deals on kitchen appliances. It’s not easy, and it’s not without caveats, but there are a few ways to find great prices on appliances. If your budget is limited and you don’t mind doing some hunting, this article will provide a good starting point in your search for deals on home appliances.
Floor Model Appliances — Lowest Risk
Floor model appliances are units that are on display in a retail location. After a certain period of time (depends a lot on the make and model), the retailer may be ready to replace that unit. This is the best type of discounted appliance because it hasn’t been installed in a home yet, and likely will come with its full factory warranty because it technically hasn’t been sold. You can expect to get between 5% off (for higher end brands) to up to 15% off (for lower end brands).
How to find floor model appliances
Let’s say your looking at purchasing a new refrigerator. You like the LG French Door Refrigerator, but your not entirely married to the brand. A good place to start would be the LG Appliances website. Every manufacturer’s website will have a dealer directory, or a “places to buy” link where you enter your zip code and it will return a list of stores in your area.
Visit those stores.
At each store, when talking with the sales person, indicate you are interested in purchasing a floor model and ask which of the appliances on the floor they would be willing to sell. Don’t expect every salesperson to immediately jump at the chance to sell you a floor model. Selling a floor model is actually more work for less money as far as the sales person is concerned, and manufacturers impose strict limits to the amount of display units a dealer can purchase. But if you are vigilant, and your timing is right, you can get lucky.
Your chances of getting them to sell you a floor model increases significantly if your buying a package of new appliances to furnish a whole kitchen. For instance, you tell them you’re buying a new range, hood, and dishwasher, but you want a floor model refrigerator to “save money”. This often gives them more incentive to give in and sell a model off the floor to close the deal.
Scratch and Dent Appliances — Medium Risk
What happens when an installer slips and drops an oven or a truck loader bumps into the side of a refrigerator with his forklift? These units are taken back. Usually the unit is tested to make sure it is functioning and then sold at a decent discount as a “scratch and dent” unit with limited or (in some cases) no warranty.
There is more risk in buying a scratch-and-dent unit as opposed to a floor model, so the savings is greater. Expect to get between 10% off (higher end brands) to 30% off (lower end brands).
How to find scratch and dent appliances
Get out the phone book (or Google) and start searching for appliance stores in your area. Call each one and ask if they’ve got any scratch and dent appliances they are looking to sell. The larger the store, the more likely they will have a few units sitting. In fact, some big box retailers consolidate their scratch and dent appliances to one location where they can be easily displayed and sold.
Finding a scratch and dent appliance is the easy part. Knowing whether to risk the purchase is something else entirely.
My advise, stay away from high-end, exotic appliances when searching scratch and dent.
Expensive ovens with touch control LED interfaces and multiple fans have many delicate parts. It’s just not worth the risk in my opinion. Good appliances for scratch and dent search are: Gas Ranges, Refrigerators, and even dishwashers. These appliances are built pretty rugged from the start, so any damage to the housing is less likely to have caused internal harm.
Appliance Outlet Stores — Medium Risk
Appliance outlet stores have some of the best deals for appliances you will find. Depending on whether the products are “returns”, “refurbished”, or brand new “clearance” items, the discounts range but are usually very substantial. Expect 40% or more off MSRP pricing on returns and refurbished appliances. Less on clearance, new in box items.
You will only find low-end appliance brands like Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE and the like, but if your trying to furnish your Kitchen on the cheap, these discontinued models are well worth checking out. A couple of the top outlets this year, 2016:
- Sears Outlet Store: (http://searsoutlet.com) Tons of selection, mostly refurbished appliances. Crazy low prices, sorted by zip code, mostly Kenmore, Whirlpool, and GE.
- GE Outlet Store: (http://www.geoutletstore.com); Little selection but all of it is New, Clearance Items GE is trying to move. Great resource.
- AJ Madison Clearance: (https://www.ajmadison.com) Nicer brands, some high-end, almost entirely open-box returns.
Used Appliances — High risk, higher reward
You’ve heard it before: “Buy the seller.”
If a deal is too good to be true, it always is. No one is selling an “barely used” 2014 model Sub-Zero at 50% off retail. Know what a unicorn looks like and avoid getting scammed. A quick browse of Craigslist will reveal many dicey listings. In fact, these days it seems like there are far more “questionable” sales listings than legit ones. So be careful.
When shopping used appliances, this is very difficult. Therefore I advise taking things one step further:
Make them plug in and allow you to test the appliance before purchase.
Obviously, a used appliances is any type of appliance that was originally sold to a buyer and is now being sold again. Therefore, the warranty is almost always void at this point. This is where the real deals can be found, but also where you must be the most careful. This is a high risk, high reward game and requires much more patience and research.
Savings should be more than 50%.
Used appliances to avoid: dishwashers and ovens.
Best places to hunt for used appliances:
Still the “go-to” site for most bargain hunters, but due to its popularity there is a lot of scams (like this one) and junk to wade through to find the good listings, but there are deals to be had here. Always ask to test the appliance before completing your “transaction” and NEVER pay upfront no matter how good the supposed “deal” is.
I also recommend against buying ovens used unless you can test them before purchase. This is usually not possible because most people list them after they’ve been removed from a Kitchen and since ovens run on 220V power they are not easy to fire up for testing.
This new little social network is under appreciated and under utilized as a bargain hunting tool, but it is a powerful one indeed. Next-door is a neighborhood social network that, upon signup, immediately connects you with all the neighbors in your immediate 2–3 mile vicinity. While the amount of people you may be able to connect with will obviously be smaller than what Craigslist or Ebay can offer, it is the noise level that is much lower here and gives you the edge.
My advise, sign up and browse the “for sale” message boards. If nothing is listed lately, you can always post a note (which will be emailed out directly to all your neighbors) asking if anyone has any appliances for sale, new or used. You’ll be surprised by how effective this little social network can be in locating sellers.
Scammers disappear when they’re on the hook through Paypal. My advice, modify your search by location and just type in “appliance” and see whats for sale within 20–30 miles from your home. My recommendation: Only shop from sellers in your direct area, this way you can always request to test the appliance before purchasing and many sellers will still take Paypal as a payment method, which does offer you some bit of buyer protection should the unit you buy found to be not as described.