K-State Research and Extension News
February 24, 2011
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Save When Buying Appliances

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Shopping for kitchen and laundry appliances often is prompted by the failure – or anticipated imminent failure – of an older appliance.

The need for an immediate replacement may leave little time for comparison shopping, yet would-be buyers are urged to take the time needed to compare features; energy efficiency; availability of service; warranty, and extra charges, said Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension financial management specialist.

While many new appliances offer sophisticated electronic features, a basic appliance is still likely to get the job done, said Young, who encouraged shoppers to identify must-have features and compare costs, either in person, on the Web or both.

“Be sure to look at all costs,” said Young, who shared the example of a big-box store that offers a lower initial sale price, but charges more for delivery, installation and hauling off the old appliance in comparison to a locally-owned business that may provide the same services for free and even deliver a gently-used appliance to your daughter’s house.

An out-of-town retailer also may contract out service and repairs, while a local retailer may have a technician on staff or call, the financial management specialist.

In comparing prices, remember, however, that the lowest price still may not be the better buy, said Young, who encouraged buyers to check floor samples and newly discontinued models reduced for clearance; scratch-and-dent reductions, in which performance is not affected and the scratch or dent will be hidden from view or comparable to the first time a toddler might scratch it with a toy, and manufacturer’s rebates.

Here’s an example: A woman planning to replace an ailing dishwasher, well-worn range and refrigerator prior to retirement found a top-rated dishwasher on sale, and, when checking prices at a second retailer, a range as a floor model closeout and a bargain-priced discontinued model refrigerator. She saved enough on the range and refrigerator to cover more than half the cost of the new, extra-quiet model dishwasher; all three appliances were made by the same manufacturer, so she’ll also apply for a rebate for added savings.

More information about saving and spending is available at local K-State Research and Extension offices and online.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Nancy Peterson
K-State Research & Extension News

Carol Young is at 785-532-5773