Tips for buying new appliances

A man and his son looking at appliances
September 26, 2018 | Maggie Tomasek

I recently purchased all new kitchen appliances for the first time – refrigerator, dishwasher, range, microwave, washer and dryer – and honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the process. I had a ton of questions, and now, through research and my own experience, I’m able to share some great tips. Here’s everything I learned about how to buy new appliances to help you through the process from start to finish.

Before you buy your new appliances

  • Measure and then measure again. I put together a list of the height, depth and width of the spots for my appliances before I even looked at a single new one. Also, don’t forget to measure your doors. Just like with any furniture, it’s not any good if you can’t actually get it into your home.
  • Find the best deal. I could dedicate a whole blog post to just the shopping around phase of buying new appliances. In short, you’ll want to look at different models, features and finishes to fit your needs, and then find the best deal to help you stay within your budget. Try making a list or comparison spreadsheet to help you keep everything organized throughout your research. Some places offer rebates, 0% financing or discounts if you sign up for their in-store credit card. If you just moved into a new place and are going be making frequent trips to the hardware store on other projects too, that retail credit card might be worth it for you. One of the appliance experts at my store of choice also told me that the Fourth of July and Black Friday are usually the best sales of the year for appliances, but sales are happening all the time. Also, ask if the store participates in price matching, and if so, do a quick search online to see if you can find lower prices at other retailers.
  • Delivery and installation. Delivery might be included in your purchase, but there could be an additional fee for installation, especially for appliances like dishwashers or dryers. Be sure to include those costs in your comparison spreadsheet.
  • Accessories. If you’re not sure what kinds of accessories you’ll need for each appliance, ask. New water line for an icemaker? New gas line for a range or dryer? You’d be surprised at just how many “extra” parts are required for hookup or replacement, especially if you’re in an older home.

Is an appliance warranty worth it?

As with most product warranties, extended appliance warranties come with a lot of fine print that could allow them to deny coverage for a whole host of reasons – and they can also exclude a lot of specific parts. For example, things like icemakers, door seals or lighting might not be covered on a refrigerator’s extended warranty. Rather than purchasing warranties, put the money you'd spend on one into a high-rate Supplemental Savings Account dedicated to any appliance repair and replacement.

After you buy your new appliances

  • Sweat the small stuff. For example, one snag I ran into was with my refrigerator door. New high-tech appliances can require more customization, such as the way your door swings open. This never occurred to me that this could be an issue, and the people at the store didn’t ask me if I had a door swing preference, so it came to me the wrong way. Long story short, it wound up being a huge hassle to get it swapped, when I could have just stated my preference from the get-go. I’ll definitely remember that next time!
  • Prep your space before delivery. Clear everything out from under your sink if you’re having a dishwasher installed. Move any furniture out of the way, and do one last drawer and compartment check on your old appliances. I nearly forgot about my pizza stone in the bottom drawer of my old range. That would’ve been tragic. You’ll also need to empty your refrigerator and freezer. Pro tip: get your coolers ready, but wait until you get the call from the delivery folks that they’re actually en route before putting your food in the coolers. 
  • Haul away or recycle services for old appliances. Nearly all appliance retailers offer to haul away service for a small fee, but there might be charitable donation or recycling options to investigate as well.

Maggie Tomasek is the Social Media & PR Specialist at Alliant. She began her career as a journalist for newspapers in Utica, N.Y., Des Moines and Cincinnati before moving to Chicago in 2009. Maggie is a seven-time Chicago Marathon finisher and a lifelong creative writer with a passion for comedy. Her mom instilled in her a great sense of fiscal responsibility, and her big sister told her to throw that responsibility out the window every once in a while in the name of life experience. So far, that combination of financial advice has worked out pretty well for her.

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