How to shop for major appliances

Woman's Day

Learn what major appliances to look for—and what to skip—to get the best value on dishwashers, dryers and more.

Photo: Thinkstock

Appliance-Shopping Do's

If you’re in the market for a major appliance, you know how overwhelming the options are. But investing in a top-of-the-line model loaded with bells and whistles isn’t always your best bet.

By knowing what features to look for, and which you can ignore, you can score a high-functioning appliance without blowing your budget.

Read on to learn how to get the most value for your money.

More from
Woman's Day:


Sneaky Ways Websites Get You to Spend More

7 Things That Are Cheaper in 2012


Credit: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Washing Machine

Don’t scrimp on this purchase, says Steve Ash, appliance expert for PartSelect.com. So how can you get more for your money?

Ash recommends looking at energy-efficient models, most of which are front-loading, to score long-term savings as well as environmental kudos.

According to Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, “saving a few dollars each month on your water and energy bill may seem minimal, but it can add up to hundreds or thousands per year.”

Another feature to look for: a spin speed between 1,100 and 1,200 rpms. Matt Sarkela, owner of Mr. Appliance in Wilmington, NC, says this faster spin cycle removes more water from your laundry, which in turn shortens your drying cycle. A washing machine needs less power to run than a dryer, so a few more minutes of a washer’s spin cycle conserves more energy (and cash for paying energy bills) than running the dryer for longer.

 

Credit: Thinkstock

Dryer

“Added features drive up the cost of higher-priced models,” says Ash. “But wrinkle-prevention cycles, steam functions and other bells and whistles won’t dry clothes any better than a regular dryer.”

As Serkela echoes, most of the high- and low-end dryers use the same heaters and motors anyway, so no need to go for broke here. Unlike washing machines, dryers don’t offer many energy-saving features, but one add-on will save energy: An automatic dry cycle prevents the machine from running for longer than it needs to. 

Credit: Thinkstock

Range/Oven

Though they’re often pricier than their counterparts, smooth-top stoves have become popular because they’re easy to clean. But don’t be fooled, warns Ash.

Cleaning’s only simple if you tend to spills right away; otherwise, the grime just gets burned onto the surface. Plus, “these stoves are designed to work with flat-bottomed pots and pans. If you don’t already have a set, you may have to shell out to stock up,” he notes. “And while these stoves look nicer than standard ones, they don’t heat up much faster.”

Ovens are similar—you won’t need many extras, but definitely go for a self-cleaning feature. Not only are self-cleaning models more efficient cookers thanks to better insulation, according to Ash, but they’ll also save you from purchasing chemicals to clean the oven by hand—not to mention the elbow grease!

Credit: Thinkstock

Dishwasher

Dishwashers are relatively energy-efficient, says Sarkela, so loads of features won’t necessarily lower your bills.

“You want a regular cycle, a light cycle and a heavy or scrub cycle, but you don’t need a full electronic panel,” says Ash.

One thing to spend on, he says: nylon-coated racks. The alternative, vinyl coating, may be cheaper, but it's more prone to damage. “A replacement rack for a dishwasher can run around $200. At that point, you may as well replace the dishwasher,” says Sarkela.

Credit: iStock

Refrigerator/Freezer

A smaller model may save you upfront, but make sure you pick one that has enough room—and some to spare—for your family’s needs.

“Refrigerators and freezers don’t work as well when they’re jam-packed,” says Ash. “With no room for air flow they won’t cool properly or be as energy-efficient.”

As for what you likely won’t need, Sarkela advises skipping multi-temperature zones or digitally programmable temperature controls, since they won’t cool your food any better and can up costs and hassle. 

Credit: iStock

Microwave

Unless you plan to use your microwave like an oven/range for baking cakes and browning meat, there’s no point in splurging, says Ash.

Almost any microwave is fine for reheating meals, cooking frozen dinners and making popcorn.

Countertop models are so cheap that they’re basically a throwaway item,” says Ash. “Hardly anyone even services them anymore.” As long as the microwave is big enough for your needs, you likely won’t need any fancy features. 

 

 

 

More from Woman's Day:

Surprising Things You Can Get for Free

10 Things Your Husband's Friends Won't Tell You

Take Charge of Menopause

8 Sex Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask

 

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Red Bull heir enjoys jet-set life 4 years after hit-and-run

      BANGKOK (AP) — The Ferrari driver who allegedly slammed into a motorcycle cop, dragged him along the road and then sped away from the mangled body took just hours to find, as investigators followed a trail of brake fluid into the gated estate of one of Thailand's richest families.

      Associated Press
    • Reheating Rice Can Give You Food Poisoning If You Don't Do This

      Although reheating takeout when you're too busy to cook is one of life's great pleasures, leftover rice can actually be scarily bad for you, the NHS say. Because if you didn't already know, you can get a pretty grim case of food poisoning from eating reheated rice; it's not the reheating that causes the problem, but instead the way the rice has been stored after being cooked the first time. So uncooked rice often contains spores (cells capable of reproducing quickly) of Bacillus cereus — a bacteria strand that can cause food poisoning — that can survive when rice is cooked. And if the rice is left standing at room temperature after it's been boiled, the spores can grow into bacteria, which will

      House Beautiful q
    • Eminem’s daughter Hailie is all grown up, because time is the weirdest

      If you came of age in the late ’90s or early-aughts, then you heard an Eminem song or two (or 50) in…

      Hello Giggles
    • Trump rails against Hillary Clinton in a late-night tweetstorm amid Russia investigation

      President Donald Trump went on a tweetstorm on Monday night, railing against a bipartisan...

      Business Insider
    • Reality Show Set in Wilderness Canceled, But No One Tells Contestants for Months

      LONDON – The contestants of a British reality show that marooned them in the wilderness for a year as a social experiment have returned to civilization – only to discover the series was canceled several months ago and no one bothered to tell them. The Channel 4 program, “Eden,” assembled 23 men and women and dispatched... Read more »

      Variety
    • Eminem's Daughter Hailie Doesn't Look Like This Anymore

      Eminem’s daughter Hailie Jade Scott Mathers isn’t the little girl from his “Mockingbird” music video anymore. Hailie is now a 21-year-old college student and is a spitting image of her rapper father. According to E! Online, she is studying at Michigan State University after graduating Summa Cum Laude from high school with a 3.9 GPA. A post shared by Hailie Scott (@hailiescott1) on Jan 23, 2017 at 4:18pm PST It appears as though she is dating a tall and handsome young man. And she has a really cute dog named Lottie. After graduating high school, Hailie credited her mother and father for being “most influential” during her lifetime. “They have pushed me to be the person I am and have given me all

      Celebuzz q
    • United responds to critics after barring 2 teens for leggings

      United Airlines responded to criticism it received on Sunday after it barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight because they were wearing leggings. The story came to light after Shannon Watts, an activist who witnessed the exchange at an airport in Denver, tweeted about it early Sunday. "A @united gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?" she wrote on Twitter.

      Good Morning America
    • United Airlines stopped girls in yoga pants from boarding flight — even after promoting leggings as travel wear

      As boarding incident gains social-media traction, airline explains the passengers in question were flying on passes typically used by employees and their families.

      MarketWatch q
    • Video evidence shows LaVar Ball is worse at basketball than you could ever imagine

      Lonzo Ball must have gotten his basketball genes from his mother. Famous dad LaVar Ball has been telling anyone who’ll listen that he would beat Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on-1. Men lie, women lie, ball don’t — well, now that we have video of LaVar playing, we can safely say that this Ball did lie.

      SB Nation q
    • Baby on Board! 12 Boy Band Members Who Are Reporting for Daddy Duty (12 photos)

      Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson: Boy Band Members with Babies

      People
    • No One Told These Guys Their Show Was Canceled

      "Hey, guys, guess what? So this isn't gonna air and also Donald Trump is president now!"

      Cosmopolitan
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Here’s a Map of the Sanctuary Cities Jeff Sessions Has Threatened with Funding Losses

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a press conference Monday that the U.S. government planned actions—most notably the pulling of federal funds—against so-called sanctuary cities and states for undocumented immigrants. The attorney general was reaffirming a longstanding position for the administration of President Donald Trump. In the news conference, Sessions painted a picture of violent criminals on the loose, stating that "countless Americans would be alive today" if it weren't for sanctuary cities and states.

      Newsweek
    • John Oliver introduces us to some absolutely horrifying elected Republicans in Texas

      The Republicans have an image issue. On Sunday night's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver introduced us to two individuals who ran and were elected under the Republican party in Texas and who are, in short, terrifying. Oliver points out that while the GOP has made statements to let us know that these elected officials do not represent the viewpoints of the party, Oliver also couldn't help but mention the most obvious blight on the Republican's public image: the president himself. Take That Carpool Karaoke is 15 minutes of sweet, sweet happiness Fake VHS ad for Star Wars 'Rogue One' looks straight out of the '70s The new 'Justice League' trailer is here, omg, omg, breathe, please everyone just breathe,

      Mashable q
    • NASA just captured a photo of Jupiter that you won’t believe is real

      NASA has managed to capture some pretty stunning photos of all the cool stuff they've spotted over the years, and rarely does it fail to amaze. There's images of planet surfaces, the rings of Saturn, and even black holes flying through space totally unchecked . Rarely, however, does a photo look so unreal that at first glance you'd be likely to mistake it for a work of Earthling art. A new photo captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft falls into that category, and oh what a sight it is. The image, originally taken by Juno's "JunoCam" camera, was taken in early February and shows Jupiter's ever-swirling mass of storm clouds from an altitude of roughly 9,000 miles. The storms which continually rock the planet take on a milky appearance when captured up close, and a citizen scientist named Roman Tkachenko took the liberty of enhancing the photo's colors to bring out even more of the defining lines and edges. The Juno craft, packed with all kinds of fancy monitoring equipment, made its fifth flyby of the planet on Monday, which is also the fourth "science orbit," which is the name they give the flybys when all the instruments on board are up and running. The craft's next flyby won't happen until late May 2017, so it's a rare and exciting event when one of these close passes goes by without a hitch. The craft's data is currently being sent to Earth where researchers will continue to mine it for precious information about our solar system's most intimidating planet.

      BGR News
    • Kristin Cavallari Shows Off Her Bikini Body on Vacation with Husband Jay Cutler

      Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler jetted off to Mexico for a romantic getaway

      People
    • The Street q
    • Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock Are Reportedly Dating

      There are new rumors suggesting that Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock could be dating.

      International Business Times
    • People are freaking out that United told women they couldn't wear leggings on a flight — here's what really happened

      United Airlines refused to let two women board a flight on Sunday because they were wearing...

      Business Insider
    • Eminem's Daughter Hailie Is All Grown up

      The rapper's daughter, Hailie Jade Scott Mathers, is now 21 years old and living life as a normal college student. Take a look at her life!

      Yahoo View