Estimate Time6 min

10 ways to save on appliances

Key takeaways

  • Some ways to save on appliances depend on the time of year. Others work year-round.
  • Discounts aren’t always advertised. You may need to ask outright or negotiate.
  • Factor in not just the price of a major appliance but also the energy costs to run it over time.

In an ideal world, major appliances would last forever or at least would need to be replaced only when there happens to be a fire sale. In the real world, your air conditioner starts wheezing right before an infernal heat wave or the dishwasher springs a leak when it’s your turn to host Friendsgiving.

The good news: As inflation cools, prices for major appliances have dropped about 10% from April 2022 to April 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 Want to save even more on appliances? Try the following tips.

1. Shop during the best time to buy appliances

Buying on sale is a no-brainer, but with so many seasonal sales, when is the best time to buy appliances? “We see some of the most aggressive pricing around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas holiday season,” says Shirley Hood, appliance specialist at Abt, an appliance and electronics retailer near Chicago. So it may pay to wait to buy until the end of the year when retailers may be motivated to clear out inventory.

2. Consider scratch-and-dent appliances

The machine equivalent of ugly produce, some major appliances work fine but have cosmetic imperfections from, say, damage during delivery or being a floor model on display. Dings mean discounts—you could reap savings of 20% to 50% off, according to Hood. And while the more obvious the flaw, the bigger the savings, some discounted floor models, open-box items (returned by a customer), and discontinued items may be in perfect condition.

Just make sure what you buy is covered by the full manufacturer’s warranty. “Try all the cycles and features, like self-cleaning on an oven, before the warranty expires,” so you can get something repaired for free if it’s busted, says Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab.

3. Consider the middle of the top of the line

Forté suggests looking at a mid-range model from a great brand instead of a high-end model from a not-so-great brand. “Often, they have comparable performance to higher-end models,” she says. “They will usually perform better than lower-end models and still have some nice extras without being overly high priced.”

4. Shop around

Knowledge is power. Research costs so you can negotiate with a retailer, which may have price-match policies. And don’t just look at national chains. “Regional merchants often offer deep discounts, especially when they’re trying to make room for newer inventory, so keep an eye on local stores’ appliance sales while also monitoring larger players,” says Jordan Carter, a market analyst for Gap Intelligence, which provides business intelligence to manufacturers and other clients.

Consider asking for freebies such as free shipping, installation, or haul-away of your old appliance, along with a lower price. Consumer Reports found 64% of members who haggled successfully negotiated deals on major appliances at independent and local appliance retailers.2

Still, keep expectations in check. “Luxury brands are not historically discounted,” Hood says. “In this case, consumers can save if the manufacturer offers rebates and incentives, so ask about those.”

Another potential place to save: Warehouse-club memberships and membership programs at other retailers may charge you a yearly fee to belong, but may also offer lower prices on appliances than you’d find elsewhere. Plus, you may score perks such as free installation and haul-away of your old appliances. Weigh the costs and savings there against other retailers’ prices.

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5. Look for other cash-back opportunities

If you have a cash-back credit card that issues higher rewards for certain categories at certain times of year, check their calendar and consider timing your appliance purchase for then. Or check whether a retailer offers a credit card with cash back on the appliance you want to purchase. Then do the math: Would the price they offer plus those rewards make buying there more worth it than buying elsewhere?

Shopping portals may also offer deals or rebates, and airline shopping portals offer miles for purchases. If your frequent-flier miles are about to expire, buying something you were going to anyway via the carrier’s shopping portal may extend your rewards’ expiration date—and give you a chance to earn more.

6. Hang onto receipts

If the price of an appliance you bought drops within a certain amount of time, such as 30 days, check whether the retailer will refund you the difference. They may even grant a price adjustment if you found it cheaper at a competitor, Hood says. “Most will let you know the store policy on this upfront. If not, ask what the grace period is for a price adjustment on a lower price before you make the purchase.”

Some credit cards offer similar price protection, so check your credit card’s agreement for benefits.

7. Bundle up

Buying multiple appliances at the same time (aka bundling) could lead to lower prices—or even free items—than if you buy them separately. “Historically, many bundles applied when consumers bought 3 or more appliances,” explains Carter. “However, because of the correlation between major appliance sales and the housing market, increasingly, bundles apply to packages of 2 appliances as a way for manufacturers to drive sales during these less-opportune home-purchasing times.”

Just make sure you’re buying multiples for good reason: “If you need a new washer and your dryer is old, it could be worth getting both to get a better discount,” Forté notes. But if your dryer has many more years in it, bundling might not actually save you a bundle.

8. Go green

There are benefits not just for the planet, but also your wallet. The Inflation Reduction Act offers up to $840 rebates for low- to moderate-income households for buying energy-efficient appliances, such as an electric stove, range, or oven, or a heat-pump clothes dryer. Search online for state or local incentives as well.

The other cost to consider is how much you’ll pay to run the machines over their lifespans. Newer appliances with energy-efficient tech can save money in the long run vs. aging energy hogs. Take a look at federally mandated yellow-and-black EnergyGuide labels that estimate how much it will cost to operate an appliance every year. Here are other ways to save on utilities.

9. Or go white

The white appliances you might have grown up with fell out of favor once stainless steel became all the rage around Y2K—and the shiny finish has managed to reign supreme even as trendy colors such as black stainless steel emerged. But “buying white appliances instead of high-fashion colors can save $100 or sometimes more,” says Forté. Think of picking white appliances as going retro—both in design and price.

10. Flash your ID

Ask HR or your benefits department if your employer has discount partnerships with retailers. Some stores and manufacturers also offer discounts to certain professionals, including active military and veterans, teachers, medical personnel, and first responders.

Bonus tip: Had your appliance for a while and warranty’s expired? Consider fixing it yourself instead of replacing it. Online videos can show you how to replace a broken dishwasher latch or a microwave motor when the turntable no longer rotates.

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1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index Summary (Table 2),” May 10, 2023. 2. Tobie Stanger, updated by Justin Krajeski, “Best Places to Buy—and Bargain for—Large Appliances,” Consumer Reports, April 11, 2023

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