The Best Home Appliances on a Budget
It happens to every one of us sooner or later: an appliance breaks down, you move, buy a house, or simply want to upgrade. There are lots of reasons why people need to buy new appliances, in fact, Americans spend an average of $500 on a new appliance each year.
Appliances aren't cheap, especially as inflation has caused prices to increase by 7.8 percent. If you're doing an entire kitchen renovation and want to replace everything from the fridge to the dishwasher, this is a major part of the budget. Replacing even just one large appliance can set people back hundreds of dollars, or more.
The good news is, there are deals to be found and ways to cut the cost of new appliances. This article will go over some tips on how to find the best home appliances on a budget, with a few links on where to find them.
Where to Find Budget Appliances
Most people head to big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, or other home furnishing retailers. These places will carry different options for different budgets, and can be a good way to browse inventory. Waiting for sales or "appliance events" will often score a high-end brand at a better price, otherwise you'll be paying full price.
Holiday sales like boxing day or black Friday are another great way to find brand name appliances for a fraction of their original price. While these are mainly ways for stores to clear inventory and make way for the next year's models, you can still find great deals on practically brand new items.
Both of those options are good if you are set on buying a brand new appliance that's in perfect shape, but you can also find perfectly good appliances used. Many items like washers and dryers, stoves, and refrigerators can be found used on sites like Kijiji, Craigslist, or even online stores that specialize in scratch and dent models.
Factory outlets and independent, local appliance stores may also have deals on older appliances or showroom models that may be in perfectly good shape at a budget price.
What to Look For
Shop around online and browse through brick and mortar stores to get an idea of what inventory is available and at what price. Know your budget and if there's any wiggle room for a more expensive model that's on sale. Carefully monitor what your ceiling is for spending, especially if looking at multiple appliances.
Once you have this part figured out, finding a combination of quality at the right price is key. Realistic expectations will be important, and even though you may not be able to get all the bells and whistles you had hoped for, you shouldn't settle for anything that isn't good quality, either.
Consider what appliances are must-haves and which aren't. Would you rather have a lot of different appliances that are basic models or only a few appliances that are high-end? Can you forgo an expensive coffee maker to get the stove you want? Do you need a dishwasher?
These questions will be important to know ahead of time, as often salespeople can talk you into something you didn't realize you can't afford. Know your stuff, and do your research, too. While retail workers are there to help you, they're also there to make sales.
Is ENERGY STAR Worth It?
Often a new appliance will be more energy-efficiency than an older appliance, or a standard model. This can be a way to save money in the long run. ENERGY STAR appliances will have a big sticker label on them notifying you of their energy score and other important information. But are they worth it?
ENERGY STAR appliances go through specific testing before they are labeled as energy-efficient. Testing is done by the EPA to make sure that each unit meets the current standards for energy efficiency, as well as other forms of performance testing. A standard model will not go through this same testing.
So yes, ENERGY STAR appliances will end up saving you money if you are upgrading from an older model that wasn't rated. On average, they can save you between 20-50 percent on yearly energy costs to run the appliance, often offsetting some of the initially higher costs compared to a standard model.
If you can afford it, it's recommended to go with an energy-efficient appliance, as they can recoup most of the cost difference in the first or second year of use.
They are also better for resale value. A home with ENERGY STAR rated appliances will be much more attractive to potential buyers as potential buyers are more environmentally-conscious than ever before, especially when it means they will save on monthly energy bills, and not have to worry about upgrading old, worn-out appliances from the previous owner.
Should You Replace or Repair?
While upgrading your appliances is often recommended, sometimes you have to wager whether it's better to repair instead of replace. Can you fix or restore an older model? Will it be worth it?
It's often cheaper to do small repairs instead of buying an entirely new appliance, but this also depends on many factors like the age of the unit, and how long the repair will keep it going. Labor costs are also expensive on top of buying replacement parts.
A good way to make this decision is to follow the "50 percent rule". If the appliance in question is more than halfway through its expected lifespan, and the cost to repair it is more than 50 percent of the amount it would cost to replace it, then you should opt for a newer model.
This is a good general rule, but sometimes each situation brings unique factors. Manufacturers recommend replacing appliances once they are over eight years old, but if you have a high-end model that's working just fine, then maintenance is your best bet while you put some money aside for the eventual replacement cost of the appliance.
If your refrigerator's motor is working too hard to keep the temperature consistent and it's almost ten years old, then it's safe to say you should get a replacement instead of fixing the motor. If it's only a few years old and needs new lining, that replacement may be worth it to keep a good fridge around for a few more years.
Budget Models Can Still Work Great
Just because an appliance is cheaper than others or is considered a budget item, this doesn't mean it can't be a good quality purchase. Budget appliances come in ENERGY STAR rated models, and perform well, they just may not have as many features or look as good.
Instead of a fridge with French doors, perhaps a simpler model will suffice. Figure out what's most important to you and search for good deals on something that fits most of your criteria. If the size is important, you can still find a good fridge with enough cubic feet to store your food, but maybe there's no ice dispenser.
If you're a student, or just living on your own for the first time, a large fridge may not be necessary when furnishing a dorm or an apartment. Look for smaller models that will do the job.
Washer and dryers come with a lot of extra gear these days, but do you really need to do two loads at a time with two separate bins? Sure, it's convenient to do a load of darks and whites simultaneously, but this feature raises the price substantially.
Stoves and ranges also come with a variety of features, but its most important job is heating and cooking your food, and having the right connection for electrical or gas. Self-cleaning is usually a given even with older models, but newer ones will be more energy-efficient which is important to keep overall costs down.
Smaller or portable options are growing in popularity, as well. With more people living in small spaces like tiny homes and cabins or urban apartment spaces with limited square footage, companies are coming out with different sizes of appliances to fit these needs.
Lagan Dishwasher at IKEA
For only $399, this IKEA dishwasher is a steal compared to most other entry level dishwashers that start around $550-$600. The 24-inch white model won't win any awards for beauty, but it looks sleek enough that it could fit in with a variety of kitchen designs.
There won't be any bells and whistles, but as the website description even says, it's "a reliable dishwasher that has all the basic functions you need to get the job done." When you're on a budget, those words are all you need to hear.
The "Lagan" series also includes other budget appliances that all match, so if you want a one-stop-shop for a complete kitchen reno, there's a fridge and range for $750 each, an over-the-range microwave for $279, or under-cabinet range hood for a mere $69.
Streamlining your appliances can also save you money on the design of your kitchen, as contractors can easily configure appliances that come from the same manufacturer.
KRIB BLING 3.5Cu.Ft Compact Refrigerator at Amazon
Ranked #8 in Amazon's Best Seller's category for refrigerators, this retro fridge is a steal right now at $169.99. It has a door for the fridge and freezer which isn't always a given for smaller, compact refrigerators but is much more convenient.
It also has a 7 level adjustable thermostat for both the fridge and freezer so you have a lot of options for getting the right temperature.
This refrigerator may not be great for a large family, but it can be an excellent second fridge, or for someone living on their own. It's recommended for dorm rooms, garages, offices, bedrooms, or small apartment living.
It looks nice, too with a sleek all-black finish and a slightly modern shape, plus it comes in four other colors. It's not a huge fridge, but it has 2.3 cubic feet fridge area and 1.2 cu. ft freezer area, so you can fit in a variety of foods, and enough to last you throughout the week.
It's not ENERGY STAR rated, but small fridges usually aren't. Keep in mind they don't use as much energy as larger models do.
Amana - 4.8 Cu. Ft. Freestanding Electric Range - Stainless steel
The Amana brand is a very popular discount name that sells a variety of appliances, including this electric range. They're available in a few different larger retailers like Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, and even discount appliance websites.
You won't be amazed by this electric range, but it has all of the basic functions and necessary features that you need for cooking. It's a great choice for apartments and rentals because the coils are raised, meaning you won't have to worry about anyone scratching the glass cooktop surface.
You can get the smooth glass surface, but the price increases a bit. There's an option in white for both smooth and raised coils surfaces. Since sales on these rotate so often, check out all of the major retailers and do price checks. At the time of writing there were two different sales going on, so if you can be patient, wait for one to come around.
While you're browsing different retail websites, look for deals on other Amana appliances like their dishwasher or washer and dryer sets, as some of these appliances are ENERGY STAR rated and go on sale often, as well.
You could do a whole kitchen with this budget brand and end up with a great-looking space.
LG Smart WIFI Enabled Electric Dryer
If you're in the market for higher end appliances with a big discount price tag, check out budgetappliances.com for rotating deals depending on what's in stock.
You won't have as many options like you would at regular big box retailers, but if you don't have your heart set on a specific brand or item, you can find deals like this LG electric dryer that's regularly $1,010.00 on for $549.99.
This is a great way to snag a large, 7.4 cubic foot dryer that has a ton of features like WIFI connectivity, LG's patented turbosteam technology, voice-activation, Google-assistant and Alexa compatibility, as well as 14 programs to choose from.
It looks great, too, if you like the black steel finish.
While there isn't a matching washer from LG available on the site, there's a similar looking black steel Samsung washer for $689.99 instead of $1,099.00. It's another great deal on a high-end model, and means you can have a brand new almost-matching set for under $1,250 before taxes.
The best home appliances on a budget will be the ones that fit your needs, as well as your spending limit. While you may not always get all of the features you want if money is tight, you can always find an appliance that will perform well - and sometimes a great deal will come around where you can get it all.
Finding these kinds of deals on appliances will take a little bit of time and patience, but if you are a savvy shopper that doesn't mind browsing different websites and stores, you can easily save yourself hundreds of dollars on quality models.