Should You Buy a Used Appliance? Here Are Some Things to Consider

What to know before buying a secondhand replacement

NBC Universal, Inc.

Maybe you’re looking for a bargain or just don’t need something brand new. The marketplace for used appliances is huge, with online selling platforms like eBay, Facebook and Craigslist making it easier than ever to shop around.

But is it a good idea to buy used appliances? The answer: It depends. The experts at Consumer Reports can help with appliance-buying advice and the potential pitfalls to look out for when shopping the used market.

CR says when it comes to secondhand appliances, skip yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Those types of sellers usually can’t offer you a guarantee or warranty on appliances.

Instead, hit a reputable local 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.

If you’re spending a couple of hundred dollars on a 10-year-old refrigerator with an average useful life of 12 years, you need to 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 that some brands are more reliable than others. CR’s surveys of thousands of members have found that LG, GE and Kenmore earn a rating of "good" or higher for the reliability of their fridges, ranges, washers and dryers.

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

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could end up saving even more. And CR says always find the manufacturer’s sticker and check to see if the appliance has 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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