If you’re renovating your home, moving into a new one or looking for reliable assistance with your household chores, it may be time to consider new appliances. They form the backbone of the working home, so you want to be sure they meet your needs.
You’d undoubtedly like them to be reliable, affordable and attractive, with appealing features. Take note of these handy tips that will allow you to select the appliance most suitable for you, whether it’s a stove, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washer or a dryer:
1. Measure, measure, measure.
Size does matter, and that means not only the length, width, and depth of the space where your appliance should fit, but the passageways and corners you’ll need to navigate as you install it in your abode. Buying an appliance that fits properly is much easier than buying one that’s too large to get through the doorway or nicks the walls as it’s carried in.
Also, when it comes to stoves, be sure to consider the space required to connect any pipes at the rear; with refrigerators, ensure that you account for the depth of the bulky door. Why go through the hassle of trying to exchange when you can get it right the first time?
2. Do Your Homework.
The best way to learn about an individual appliance and its various brands is from people who own them. Ask your friends about their refrigerators and the pros and cons; take note of any horror stories.
Look online for reviews, too; most major retailers have reviews posted on their websites, and people aren’t shy about sharing their experiences. Consumer publications, such as Consumer Reports, can also be a good resource. If a certain brand of dryer is extremely noisy, you’ll want to know it, just as you’ll want to know that the ice maker on a particular refrigerator often needs repair.
3. Seasonal sales.
Often, appliances go on sale during the fall, so plan ahead if you know you’ll need to replace older models. Check out our detailed blog post on The Best Time to Buy Appliances.
4. Know yourself.
Think about features that you’ll really need and use for each appliance. Sure, that glamorous stovetop is appealing, but if it’s only suited to copper pots, it may not be practical for your kitchen.
Don’t be seduced by mechanisms or design features that add cost but will sit idle or be a nuisance once the appliance is sitting in your home. Love at first sight fades quickly when the appliance doesn’t work properly or suit your lifestyle.
5. Compare, compare, compare.
Research the various models that appeal to you and see where you can get them at the best price with the most service included. This may mean visiting retailers AND looking online. Generally, stores can only fit a certain number of models into their showrooms – sometimes the priciest — and you may be missing out on an item that is ideally suited to your needs.
You may also find better deals online, especially with promotional codes and flash sales.
6. Energy efficiency.
If you’re concerned about the environment – and who isn’t these days? – compare Energy Star ratings for various models and brands and review the number of kilowatt hours they use and the cost in running them. If energy efficiency is important to you (and why wouldn’t it be), check out our Guide to Choosing Energy Efficient Appliances.
7. Do you comprehend?
Review the manual, including the fine print, before you sign up for complicated mechanisms or additions. Be sure you can understand the directions for working them or you’ll have wasted your hard-earned money.
8. Extras aren’t special.
Find out if you need additional parts or must make special adjustments in order for your appliance to work properly. Does it need a special hose? Will your fancy stovetop require a more powerful exhaust fan? Factor those into the cost and into your installation plans.
You can ask your retailer with installation help for your new appliances, but that’s a sure-fire road to additional expenses. Instead, consider doing it yourself – there are YouTube videos for all kinds of skills these days — or tap into the expertise of friends and family. It might cost you a meal or a case of beer, but you’ll enjoy the camaraderie and you’ll learn something valuable for the future.
Most retailers promise to match the competition’s price, but that often refers to in-store prices only. Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate the best deal you can. If you can’t lower the price, ask for some sweetener for the deal, such as an extended warranty or removal of your older model.
11. Out with the old, in with the new.
Ensure that your purchase includes free delivery; most retailers include delivery for sales over a specified dollar amount. In addition, have a plan for your old model, other than taking it to the landfill – the environment will be grateful. If it works, advertise it online, or sell it for scrap metal.
12. Prepare to repair.
Even the best appliances can have hiccups over time. Be sure to ask your dealer for the names of some reliable repair people, so you have them on hand when a crisis occurs. Make sure you can have the appliance serviced locally; don’t buy a fancy foreign brand if there is no-one within 1,000 kilometers trained to fix it. Visit our helpful guide on Maintaining your Appliances.
It’s fun to own shiny new appliances with labor-saving features. Just make sure you get what you need and what you can handle!