The Pros & Cons of Buying Used Appliances

A washer in a laundry room

There are three ways to buy your appliances: new, refurbished, or second-hand (used).

Refurbished appliances have been returned to the manufacturer or retailer, repaired, and put back on the market.

Buying a used appliance is self-explanatory; you’re buying a machine that has already been owned and used by someone else. Maybe the prior owner maintained it well, and maybe not. Unless you know the owner, it’s a roll of the dice.

There are pros and cons to all three choices, but for this article, we’ll focus on second-hand and refurbished appliances.

The Pros

The clearest advantage of buying a used appliance is the cost savings. Used appliances sell for significantly less than their new counterparts. If you’re on a tight budget, purchasing a used appliance may be your only option.

Another advantage of buying used is that you may have negotiating power. You can haggle over the price with an individual seller, whereas most stores and retailers have fixed prices often set by the manufacturer.

You also have a wider selection of used appliances. Appliance stores typically sell the same few brands, whereas with used appliances, the internet is your market. It’s easy enough to find dozens of people in your area selling brands and styles that may better suit your needs and preferences.

The Cons

But with a used appliance, the cons are fairly obvious.

  1. You don’t know how the appliance has been treated.
  2. There’s no manufacturer warranty. The cost of repairs comes out of your pocket.
  3. Generally speaking, older appliance designs are less durable.
  4. Older appliances are less energy efficient.
  5. Every appliance has an age and use limit. After a certain amount of use and after a certain number of years, it will give up the ghost. You’ll be shopping for a replacement again.
  6. You can’t be certain of the appliance quality.
  7. You’re taking someone else’s word for it that the appliance is in good working order.
  8. If something goes wrong, good luck getting the seller to take responsibility or help you pay for repairs.
  9. There’s always a risk of being scammed.
  10. While most people are honest, some unscrupulous individuals will try to sell you an appliance that doesn’t work or was stolen. Once you hand over the cash, you have little recourse.
  11. In short, buying a used appliance can be a great way to save money — as long as you know what you’re doing and are willing to accept the risks. Do your homework and inspect the appliance thoroughly.

Whew! That’s a long list of cons! We hope you’re getting the deal of a lifetime on that washer dryer combo you found on Facebook.

Where to Find Used Appliances

The obvious place to find a used appliance is the internet. After all, that’s where you found this helpful article (which already has you thinking in terms of financing, and not a cash transaction for something second-hand).

But if you’re in a financial bind, there’s a possibility you may not have considered: giveaways.

Sometimes people will give things away for free or a nominal amount for the environment or simply to do a good deed.

Maybe their new kitchen has been remodeled and the old appliances don’t match the color scheme. But they’re still in perfect working order!

If you’re happy to scour the internet and local free papers to find a giveaway near you, then your only problem is transporting that old appliance to your address and having it safely installed.

Installation is no hassle at all for a dryer — a DIY affair — but for a dishwasher or range, you may want to call us at Chief.

Private Sales of Appliances

The second cheapest way to acquire an appliance (the next cheapest after “FREE”) is to buy privately from classified ads or sites like Facebook and eBay.

This comes with the greatest risk but can offer the greatest reward.

“Buyer beware” is the operative phrase. Once money has changed hands, you have little recourse.

  • Always ask to see the appliance working and do as many tests as possible.
  • Be prepared to walk away empty-handed. If the seller won’t cooperate with you, there’s probably a reason.
  • Take note of the condition of other things in the house. If the sofa is treated badly, it’s likely the washer has been treated badly as well.
  • Ask why the item is no longer wanted. If you don’t get a straightforward plausible answer, think twice.

Reconditioned Appliances

Some companies are in the business of acquiring used appliances from various sources and reconditioning, repairing, and improving them cosmetically. They’ll retail these reconditioned appliances with a limited warranty.

It’s possible to find a bargain this way, but be mindful of the problems with this business model.

Mass production methods have advanced dramatically in the 21st century. Margins are smaller for retailers because cheap imports depress the prices of new equipment.

When margins are squeezed, corners are cut.

Sometimes the savings of buying reconditioned aren’t worth the problems that await when the limited warranty has expired. Check the reputation of the seller on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites offering reviews before you commit.

Some Appliances Last Longer Than Others

Appliances like microwave ovens have delicate electronics. Washers and dryers have moving parts that wear out with heavy use.

Dishwashers have a lot of small parts that can break. Ranges have igniters that can go bad. Refrigerators use compressors that are expensive to repair or replace.

But some appliances last nearly forever — if they’re well-made and well-maintained.

Stoves, for example, will last decades as long as you keep the seals tight, burner grates clean, and the surface free of scratches that could harbor bacteria.

If you’re considering a specific brand of used refrigerator, check the expected lifespan online. A 15-year-old fridge purchased on the cheap may not be such a deal after all, while a 5-year-old fridge may chug along for another 20, if you treat it right.

Appliance Care & Maintenance

As with anything, if you take care of your appliances, they’ll last longer and take care of you in return. Call West Coast Chief Repair for professional installation — or, if you decide at the last minute that a second-hand appliance doesn’t suit you and your lifestyle, you can buy a new one from us!

We offer financing, and we’ll give you a screaming deal on a long-lasting, energy-efficient appliance that will help our home run like a top.

But if you’re set on going the used appliance route, here are some tips on how to take care of them so they’ll take care of you:

  • Get professional installation to ensure everything is properly hooked up and won’t cause any damage to your home.
  • Check seals and gaskets regularly to make sure they’re tight and not leaking.
  • Clean burner grates and surfaces often to prevent scratches and bacteria buildup.
  • Be mindful of how much you use your appliances. Overloading them can cause wear and tear that will shorten their lifespan.



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