As part of my cheap kitchen renovation, I had decided to replace my 20-year old appliances for more efficient, functional, and quite frankly, better looking ones that actually match the rest of the kitchen. I had inherited all of the previous ones when I moved in 7 years ago.
In the process, I learned a lot. Earlier this week, I highlighted 10 tips for buying new appliances that will save you money. But the biggest money saver of all is simply having time on your side. If you’re not in a rush to go out and buy something, you have flexibility. And the more flexible you are around when you purchase (patience for big sales is a virtue), the delivery date (stock availability), and the model – the better price you will be able to get.
But even if you follow all of those tips, your savings could be capped because you are shopping at the wrong appliance retailers. Here’s the deal – retailers have certain pricing structures that they rotate through like clockwork. This is good if you have time on your side, know what you want, and know where to look.
What I found was there are two retailers that can rarely be beat. With a little effort between these two retailers, there is no reason you should not be able to get AT LEAST 25% off retail price every time (I’ll share how towards the end of this post). In fact, I was able to get an average of 40% off of retail, with none of the appliances being the rare clearance, closeout, or scratch/dent models. And none of the appliances were high priced, high margin models.
Before I get to that, lets rank order the big five appliance retailers on price…
Ranking the Appliance Retailers on Price:
There are 5 national chains with locations near me that would allow for delivery. Here are my general observations on each (in order from generally the worst to the best appliance deals):
5. Costco: Costco is my favorite retailer in many areas, but lets be honest – they kind of suck at appliances. As with most things, they offer a very limited selection and few sales and discounts. That works well with bulk foods, but not when you’re trying to score a great deal on appliances. They do offer some bundle discounts on higher priced collections, but you’re better off focusing on finding deals on specific models elsewhere.
Update: Costco has significantly improved their offerings, including more models, free installation (most states), free delivery, free haul-away. Additionally, the Costco appliance warranty is unmatched (1 extra year beyond the manufacturer warranty plus 2 years if you purchase with the Costco Visa card). If I were re-ranking this list, this might bump them up to the top spot.
4. Home Depot: Home Depot frequently alternates between three pricing promotions:
- full price with discounts of 10-25% off on a few select models.
- 10% off appliances $399 and over, with higher discounts on a few models.
- a tiered savings where you get more cash back the more you buy. Unless you spend over $2,500 (far more than necessary), you’re better off with the 10% off promo.
3. Best Buy: On special seasonal sales (i.e. 10-25% off Memorial Day sale) you can find a good deal. Other than that, it’s full price or 10% off with a few models at higher discounts. And if you can hold out for a seasonal sale and pair it with its 10% off “Best Buy Mover’s Coupon“, you can find a really good deal.
Best Buy is a big step above Costco and comes in comfortably ahead of Home Depot. But there are two retailers that are really head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to appliance pricing.
2. Lowe’s: the same three alternating pricing promotions as Home Depot (these guys love to copy each other in just about everything they do).
1. Sears: Wait! Sears still exists? Yep. They weren’t even on my radar when I began my appliance search, but in the end, they have earned my nod as the king of appliance retailers. Here’s why:
- varied promotions that are often stackable and much more than 10% off
- free delivery on orders over $399
- easy to schedule and accurate delivery
- additional promotions and incentives when you sign up for their Shop Your Way rewards program (which is free)
- plenty of online coupon codes, including “Sears50”, which is also stackable and gets you $50 off any order over $300
- additional bonus savings of 5-10% when you order 3 or more appliances (also stackable)
The Ultimate Cash Back Rewards Card for Appliance Shopping
Sears (2%), Best Buy (5%), Home Depot (5%), and Lowe’s (5%) all offer store credit cards with notable cash back rewards. But there’s one problem: the rewards are non-existent on any purchases outside of their own store. Who needs that kind of lock-in?
Fortunately, there is one credit card that offers significant cash back for online purchases at Best Buy (4%), Sears (5%, sometimes higher), Lowe’s (5%), and hundreds of other stores – the Upromise World MasterCard (check out my previous Upromise card review for more info.). Given it’s flexibility across each store, the Upromise card is the best credit card for appliances.
By the way, it has no annual fee, a cash back sign-up bonus, minimum 1% cash back everywhere, and other higher-tier cash back categories. There is no need to sign up for a store credit card with this card available to you.
How to Get At Least 25% Off New Appliances Every Time
Between Lowe’s (with their frequent 10% off promotion, 10% mover’s coupon, and 5% cash back from the Upromise card) and Sears (with their stackable discounts that often exceed 20% plus 5% cash back from the Upromise card) – there is never any reason why you should not be able to get at least 25% off the purchase of any and every new appliance.
If you’re patient and wait for just the right sale (take this week’s Memorial Day sales, for example), you can even kick that up to 30%, 40%, 50% and beyond. Just promise me you won’t go out and start replacing your perfectly functional and efficient 5-year old appliances or drop $12k on new appliances, mmm-kay? That would defeat the purpose of this post and much of what I preach here. 50% off of $20k in appliances is waaaaay more than you need to pay, and drifts in to ridiculous wants territory. I was able to land 4 new, efficient, stainless appliances for about $1,500 total.
In an upcoming post, I’ll detail the specifics of how Sears discounts allowed me to get a new gas range for more than half off of retail price on a brand new model. Pretty sick.
Who is your favorite retailer for the best appliance deals, and why?