What to think about when buying appliances

Dream kitchen

I wish…! By: WalkingGeek

Recently I attended a focus group where we got to talk about shopping. Specifically, shopping for whiteware. Although my experience with buying appliances has been pretty dang limited to date, I anticipate buying a crapload of them in the next 1-2 years as a freshly minted homeowner.

The only new appliance I’ve ever purchased was our Samsung washing machine in early 2015. Aside from that, I’ve only ever bought cheap secondhand washing machines and fridges at a pinch, when our old one died or a house move forced a change of some sort. A new kitchen is in my future at some point – rangehood, stove/oven and definitely a dishwasher. I want a gas stove for sure, but efficiency will be a consideration for the fridge and dishwasher.

In that session, we discussed things like brands, reliability, efficiency, design, functionality, upfront cost and running costs. In particular, when it makes sense to go for the option with a better energy rating, whether it’s worth calculating annual running costs, calculating the break even, etc.

Being a broke student and then a broke journalist for most of my adult life, upfront cost was always paramount. Not only did I have a limited budget, I never knew what the future held or how long I would need that appliance for. Efficiency and the longer term view just didn’t play into it then. The ability to be pound wise rather than just penny wise assumes a certain level of privilege.

Have you renovated a kitchen? What do you take into account when buying appliances?

8 thoughts on “What to think about when buying appliances

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial July 19, 2016 at 09:12

    I read The Sweet Home and Consumer Reports when figuring out kitchen appliances last year. I went for upper-mid tier brands that are known for breaking less often in their respective appliance category. Energy efficiency wasn’t really something I looked into since the difference within my price range was marginal.

  • Reply Dividends Down Under July 19, 2016 at 15:59

    I’d love to read how you do decide to pick/buy appliances for your new home (congrats on home-ownership!) Energy saving ratings vs initial outlay is something I’ve wondered about and to see how you navigate that would be very interesting.

    We are renters and the only brand new appliance we’ve ever bought was a washing machine, one of the cheapest/smallest ones we could find to fit in our tiny laundry.


  • Reply Linda July 20, 2016 at 04:05

    Yes, I have remodeled a kitchen, and choosing the appliances was perhaps one of the easier tasks. I focused on mid-range appliances that provided a good balance of features, energy efficiency, and affordability. One thing to check is if your local utilities offer rebates for purchasing energy efficient appliances. Sometimes that can help make an efficient appliance more affordable to you, but not always. Also, you may have to work within limitations (such as a small space, or ease/availability of water hookup) that will make it easier to decide which appliances are best for you.

    I found making decisions about cabinetry, countertops, backsplash tile, and fixtures much more time-consuming and challenging than the appliances, actually.

  • Reply Cassie July 20, 2016 at 14:21

    I don’t think I can add anything to the general conversation that the other commenters haven’t already mentioned. One thing I will note though is make sure you get a fridge door that opens the right direction for your kitchen layout. Fridges can be ordered to open in either direction, and I bought one that swung the wrong way. It made prepping food slightly more awkward than it needed to be.

    • Reply eemusings July 21, 2016 at 09:04

      Ah great point – ours currently opens the right way, will have to maintain that! Didn’t know you could choose (clearly I’ve never bought a brand new fridge…)

  • Reply Carrie July 21, 2016 at 08:18

    I have been a homeowner for 20 years. I have bought a few appliances over the years. The main thing that I looked for was a basic appliance with a decent price. I have avoided appliances with too many extras/options that could fail. My fridge does not dispense water or make ice and my oven does not clean itself. I still have the chest freezer I bought in 1992 and my stove I bought in 1996. Both have worked great through the years and I have no intention of replacing them until they are no longer working. I am on my second fridge, I have had it since 2004 (I replaced it so I could have a more efficient model).
    I did remodel my kitchen this year but I did not replace the appliances, I just put the old ones back in. If the appliances fail I will replace them. I just can’t see discarding a perfectly working appliance just to have something “new”.

    • Reply eemusings July 21, 2016 at 09:03

      I will feel slightly guilty about getting rid of the stove I think, but it won’t be going to landfill as I’ll sell or give it away. Having gas cooking is a priority. Fridge is on its last legs already, and we don’t currently have either a dishwasher or rangehood!

      I don’t see us getting a self cleaning or water dispensing fridge, either. I am wary of bells and whistles – more things to break.

  • Reply Funny about Money July 25, 2016 at 02:03

    All of the above.

    My main requirement is a gas stove. I won’t buy a house that doesn’t have a gas connection. Hate electric stoves, especially the glass-top variety.

    Have consistently looked for mid-range appliances that are reasonably well reviewed by several sources. Nothing is ever perfect, and these days with so much of the stuff made in third-world countries, quality control is poor. An appliance repair guy once told me that kitchen and laundry appliances in all price ranges are now engineered to give out in seven years. So you’d be crazy to buy higher-end models.

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