Author Topic: Large Appliance Buying Strategy  (Read 1445 times)


  • Stubble
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Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« on: December 03, 2020, 11:16:44 PM »
I'm about to buy my first house and it doesn't come with a washer and dryer. All of the people I've talked to seem to approach buying large appliances differently, but I trust my fellow Mustachians the most when it comes to optimizing the money spent for a purchase. Here are the various strategies I've been recommended so far:
  • Pick what Consumer Reports recommends
  • Buy used from a local dealer
  • Buy used off of Craigslist or similar
  • Buy dent and scratch from a place like Lowe's or Sears
  • Buy the cheapest (because they all break down roughly the same amount according to the washer repairman who gave this advice, which I just realized is a little suspicious...)
So, how would you approach it?


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 12:00:43 AM »
Because of the pandemic, supplies are tight. I would look for something simple and used on CL, Next Door or FB. Get something that's in proper working order and call it good. You can search for something "perfect" when supplies normalize, and sell the used ones for what you paid for them.

Also, many W/D repairs are super easy. YouTube is your friend.


  • Bristles
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 12:18:45 AM »
This summer bought a house, needed washer and dryer.
Found the cheapest available ones with horizontal loading to have the option to stack them if needed.
Not cheap by any means, 1500 for the pair, but I hope we will get ten years out of them.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 04:19:27 AM »
I buy all of my appliances from a local used appliance store.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 04:31:46 AM »
Simpler is better, especially for washers. The less electronics to go bad the better.

Right now, youíll probably have fewer options.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 08:27:29 AM »
We just moved into a place without a washer/dryer. It was looking like $900-1200 was the cheapest new option we'd be looking at new. Maybe a little less from a scratch and dent, but that's kind of hit or miss since you've just got to wait for something you're interested in to get scratched or dented.

I cruised Craigslist for a bit and reached out to a few, but didn't really hear back from many. I think there may have been some screaming deals (like $200 for the set) if we waited. I was also a little concerned about going into people's houses with the pandemic, and it seemed like a lot of the options were no longer installed, so no way to confirm they actually work. Since we don't have a truck, renting one was looking like $75 or so between the base charge, mileage, and insurance Uhaul's aren't covered by your car insurance), so that added to the cost.

We ended up buying a "set" for $500 from a used appliance place figuring we should at least have some recourse if it didn't work when we got it home. They also offered delivery (free within 10 miles, for a charge beyond that), and claimed a 30 day repair or replace (with another set -- no refunds) warranty and a lifetime labor, but we haven't tested those claims. The "set" we bought don't actually match (same brand, but different models), which definitely seemed to make it easier, so I would suggest not worrying about making them match. Selection wasn't great, so it was pretty much a few options to choose from or wait for them to fix up more. Definitely stick your head in them and smell. We nixed one set because the washer smelled like a wet dog. We checked out two places, both found by searching "used appliances" on google maps and looking at the reviews. The one we went with had better prices

Our electric dryer came with a cord (note that some houses have 4 prongs and some 3 prongs, so take a picture of your outlet or just remember it in case your store will give you one), but I'm not sure they always do, so factor that in. I don't think washer's ever come with hoses (maybe if you buy used from an individual, but I'd probably still replace them). We bought this pair from Home Depot for $20. You might save a few bucks with rubber hoses, but I'd just spend the extra $5 for braided. You might need the dryer vent hose and clamp things (not sure what they're called, I can find a link if needed), but our place already had them.

Install was easy enough. The delivery people weren't going in the house (which I totally understand and probably would have preferred anyway), so if that's the case for you'll definitely want something wheeled (we used a 4 wheeled furniture dolly we have, but the two wheeled kind with the handle would be easier). A strong helper would have been nice, but I managed with my wife only able to pull the dolly out from under. You'll need to get behind the dryer to attach the vent, so account for that, but the washer will be heavier, so I'd install that first unless it will mean you can't squeeze behind the dryer.

Our place had thread seal tape on the water outlets, but I asked the guy repair guy at the used appliance place and he said that was more likely to get mess up the seal with the rubber washer than to help, so I took it off and didn't replace. Read the instructions on the washer hoses and don't over tighten -- hand tight plus 1/4 turn (I used vice grips properly adjusted to not over-clamp, but any pliers or just strong hands would probably do the trick). We ran and empty load with bleach, checked the water hoses and drain hose for leaks and all was good

I'm not sure I'd want to hook up a gas dryer, but if you take your time and watch Youtube videos I'm sure it's doable. Make sure you follow instructions on checking the gas lines for leaks (probably soapy water and look for bubbles).


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 08:37:43 AM »
If I was doing it again today I would buy one step up from bottom of the line top loading washer and equivalent front loading dryer.

The less electronics the better as this is the cause of probably 95%+ of problems people have. My wife and I bought the cheapest set we could find when we first moved in together almost 10 years ago; it was somewhere around $650 for the set (Admiral brand).

It has been almost completely problem free; I had to replace the dryer timer (~$80) a few months ago but I was able to easily diagnose and replace it myself. (I would estimate I am of medium handiness lol)

Mr. Green

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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 11:41:32 AM »
If you are buying anything close to new, you'll find that digital electronics feature heavily in most appliances now. However most of the "low end" stuff is still simpler. Mechanical switches or analog mechanisms that operate the machine. Generally speaking, circuit boards and digital components allow machines to be more complex but this also typically means repair costs are higher and something in the unit breaks sooner. So you might ask yourself whether you need a washer or dryer that does something super snazzy. You can still get simpler appliances that have today's energy efficiency standards though.

A good example would be Samsung's entry into the appliance market. All their units heavily use electronics and the convenience features on them are pretty cool, but when they break it's a real hit to the wallet, especially if you're not handy enough to self-repair.


  • Bristles
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2020, 12:43:08 PM »
Simpler is better, especially for washers. The less electronics to go bad the better.

Agreed. There are only so many settings that a person really needs. These companies add extra "features" to justify a higher price. Probably not worth it.

One option is to go the ERE route and simply learn how to repair these appliances yourself and find some free ones placed out in front of somebody's house. Just make sure they are new enough you can still buy parts for them :) (and some of those still work! sometimes people just don't want the hassle of getting rid of them) . There are, I suspect, quite a few appliances that get scrapped because of something minor and easy to fix, but because knowledge of these is scarce, people just assume it's unfixable. Just a thought.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 12:56:40 PM by thesis »


  • Bristles
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2020, 01:22:40 PM »
Might I recommend not using a clothes dryer? We hand (edit: hang) dry our clothes and it saves electric not to mention not having to buy / repair one. Better on the clothes too. I find hanging clothes a very meditative activity and not a pain in the neck at all. If the one that came with our house wasn't installed in such a way to make it a pain to remove, we probably would have sold it.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 01:24:37 PM by maisymouser »


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2020, 02:15:09 PM »
Ditto the advice to get a relatively simple machine from a used appliance store. When buying appliances new I look for in stock models and will never again buy from a big box store that doesn't actually have the unit in stock. This is because if the unit you order arrives damaged getting it replaced is an enormous headache.

Washers are pretty easy to repair. I repaired our old one several times. The one feature I like on a washer is the ability to unclog it easily when you accidentally wash a pocket full of change or too many baby socks. Our old washer required bailing out the drum of wet clothes and water and then disassembling the front of the machine to reach the rubber boot that collected these treasures. The new machine has a simple trap I can unscrew to retrieve these items.


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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2020, 04:40:49 PM »
I bought scratch-and-dent machines from Sears Outlet back in 2006. The dryer had no cosmetic issues at all, and I was told it had been returned by a customer. The top of the (front loading) washer was scratched up when the delivery guys stacked machines in their truck with no padding between them, and that customer refused delivery.

At around $600 for the pair, I've gotten my money's worth.

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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2020, 05:51:59 PM »
Iíd also check the Habitat for humanity restore.  I know that is where the set that came with my house went since I had my own.  I was busy at work so didnít want to bother trying to sell and I got a donation credit.

As for repair.  My washer is 12 years old and my dryer is 7 (set is split because I went from electric to gas power on the dryer).


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2020, 02:50:47 PM »
I have done all of the above.
I like best buying used from a local dealer, because they are repaired and running well (you get 30 day warranty to that), and the price is only at most $100 more than CL comparables.   It is also a fast way to look at many different units at once.

Buying new is also a lot of fun, when you have the extra cash to buy something enjoyable and for fun.  I just would get upset very quickly when delivery was slow, it was dented during transport to my place, or if it failed within the first two years in some way.  That disappointment totally negated the fun of buying new fancy appliances for me.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 03:24:39 PM by Goldielocks »


  • Stubble
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2020, 03:18:43 PM »
My last washer and drier came from the returns aisle at a big-box store and bought when I got my first house. I had planned on just watching Craigslist but they cut a good enough deal (50% off new and were barely used with warranty) that it was simpler to go that route. I also like used appliance stores - good deals to be had there.

This was close to 15 years ago and they've been mostly fine. They are completely digital controlled so I was worried about controller failures but, so far, the few issues I've had have been mechanical and easy to fix.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2020, 04:33:52 PM »
I bought used from a local dealer, gas oven, refrigerator, washer and dryer. A couple of years into ownership the dryer needed a repair and our repair guy told my husband he was only able to repair the machine because it was older and better quality than the cheap ones made now. I made sure to buy all my appliances from the same dealer (except the oven) so I didn't have to pay a bunch of separate delivery fees.


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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2020, 04:49:49 PM »
I replaced my washer a few years ago and just bought the cheapest new one. The expensive ones are no more reliable these days, but I guess in some cases it may be easier to get parts.

I'd purchased secondhand prior but the issue is that you don't know how long you have until failure and even if buying from a store, warranties are short. This one had a couple of years warranty, and has been OK.

I probably could have fixed the previous one but I didn't have the space at the time. Paying for a repairer would have cost almost as much as a cheap new one.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 04:54:00 PM by alsoknownasDean »


  • Bristles
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Re: Large Appliance Buying Strategy
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2020, 01:56:23 PM »
I've bought and sold multiple sets of appliances over the years for flip houses, personal use and rentals.

I've only bought mechanical type top loaders for washers.  Super easy to repair yourself and much cheaper up front.  For my rentals, I've bought probably 4 or 5 washers and dryers off craigslist. I don't think I've ever paid over $125.  When I have bought new I have twice waited for big box store sales (Memorial day, black friday, etc) and have gotten great deals.  I've heard brand quality matters very little anymore from my appliance repair guy. 

I'd rather spend my money on something fun than on a fancy washer/dryer