Are used appliances a real bargain? Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — Maybe you’re looking for a bargain or just don’t need something brand new, but is it a good idea to buy used appliances? The answer? It depends. Fortunately, the experts at Consumer Reports can help.

Buying your next appliance second hand can be a win-win: You’ll save money and the planet, according to Consumer Reports’ Perry Santanachote.

“Maybe you’re on a tight budget or you’re just trying to prevent yet another hunk of metal from entering the landfill. But you could also be getting a high end appliance with features you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise,” Santanachote said.

Consumer Reports says when it comes to second hand appliances, skip yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. These types of sellers usually can’t offer you a guarantee or warranty on the appliance. Instead, hit a local, reputable repair shop or used appliance store early and often to nab the best deals. You could save 50 percent or more, even if the appliance hasn’t been used at all!

Your best bets for buying used are washers, dryers, ranges, and refrigerators. But no matter what you’re shopping for, find out how old the appliance is so you can calculate how much life it has left and if it’s worth the price.

Santanachote said, “If you’re spending a couple hundred dollars on a 10-year-old refrigerator with an average useful life of 12 years, you need to balance that value in your mind. Ask yourself if it’s worth it if you’re only going to get two years out of it.”

The brand you buy often makes a difference, too. Data shows some are more reliable than others.

“Consumer Report’s reliability surveys of thousands of members found that LG, GE, and Kenmore all earned a good or higher reliability rating for their fridges, ranges, washers, and dryers,” Santanachote said.

If you find something you love, Consumer Reports says take a closer look before you buy. Plug in the machine. Look for any damage, rust, check the buttons and knobs, do a smell check for mold, and read the manual to make sure all the parts are included, too.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could end up saving even more!

Consumer Reports says always find the manufacturer’s sticker and check if it’s been included in a safety recall. If the machine doesn’t have a model number and serial sticker in place, skip it. It could have been recalled or scrapped and illegally salvaged.

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