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. 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.
4. 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.
3. Lowe’s: the same three alternating pricing promotions as Home Depot (these guys love to copy each other in just about everything they do).
2. 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)
Update: with Sears filing for bankruptcy, I would be cautious about buying appliances from them moving forward.
1. Costco: Costco has significantly improved their appliance 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 more 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.
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?
Don’t forget to also check used gift card reseller sites like Gift Card Rescue or CardPool which typically offer 8=10% off Home Depot and Lowe’s cards. Since these are Gift Cards they can be combined with any of the offers you’ve mentioned.
I looked in to this, but never saw one as high as 10% (typically 5-7%) and you literally have to buy dozens (from questionable websites) to get the level you need to purchase appliances. And they could only be used in store.
To me, getting the 5-7% cash back with the Upromise card online and not dealing with the hassle for 20 different gift cards made more sense.
You also get better purchase protection by buying with a credit card instead of gift cards. Since appliances aren’t returnable, I like knowing I have extra avenue if there’s an issue.
The free Discover shopping portal offers 5% back at Lowe’s and Home Depot and 10% at Sears. Their 5% cash back category this quarter is Home Improvement stores so you’d get an additional 5% back (although it’s capped on spending up to $1500). The Chase Freedom card offers a similar shopping portal and rotating category bonus at Lowe’s. That was my plan for this month until I decided that a broken water dispenser does not justify the need for a $1500 fridge.
Also, the website retailmenot.com sometimes has Lowe’s promo codes posted. When I was at the post office a couple weeks ago told me they are no longer doing paper moving coupons and instead you have to do it online.
Great point. Mastercard offers to double the manufacturers warranty, up to one year: http://www.mastercard.us/card-benefits/
Would never recommend buying pre-owned or sketchy gift cards, but a good option is to use Discover card rewards dollars to buy Lowe’s gcs ($50 or $100) at 10% off,.
I like your ideas. One thing that is left out is service after the sale. Most of the big box retailers offer NO service on appliances after the sale. You have to call the manufacturer & wade through the phone prompts to get the service department. Then they send you to an “authorized” service company. Many times that company is also a retailer. I have experienced them putting me at the bottom of the list because either I didn’t buy the appliance from them or I didn’t buy the extended warranty which would have put me at the top of their list. As I mentioned in my earlier post, shop the big box stores, but give the local dealer the chance to compete. Many times the small difference in price is more than made up by better service after the sale. (And cheaper service calls).
Greg – I agree. I go to the local dealer to avoid dealing with the big retailer. I feel that I get better customer service and it seems like you pay the same amount as you would at a big retailer.
I once bought a fridge from Lowes and it was missing covers, on the inside and I had to call customer support to get it resolved. :|
I’m surprised that Sears came up as #1 on the list, but more surprised that the Sears Outlet stores aren’t even mentioned.
I looked in to Sear’s Outlet, but the prices did not blow me away enough to be mentioned here. I was able to get just as significant discounts on the regular sears website, with a full selection of product, and non-damaged goods. Now, you might be able to find a rare steal for exactly the product you wanted, but it’s a total crapshoot.
Honestly still get our appliances at Sears. But that said, is the credit card you mention worth it? Do most people really buy enough appliances to merit having a credit card that’s worth the cash back returns?
On its own? No. However, the card has its other benefits, which I’ve reviewed previously. This is just an added hack with it.
I recently bought a washing machine from Lowe’s. Just wanted to add that their price advertised online was $175 less than what was shown in the store for the same model. They did give us their online price when we mentioned that to the salesperson. So, make sure that you do your research/check online before going into the store. They also had free delivery and pick-up of the old machine (ours was broken), which I liked.
found ao much info looking for new dishwasher thank you
How do I get bigger discount on major appliances at Sears. I couldn’t find your next article that says you were going to talk about that.
iI live in Fairfax,va and have been looking for a 10 cu ft frige .IThe stores you mention said they give no additional discounts .I feel that you shouldn’t pay more than $300 for a good one . Every store here is charging $350 to $500. for them which is rediculuse
Great and insightful article. Do you have any recommendation on no interest financing for appliances? Which companies offer it? Which cards do you recommend?
Guys, I work at Whirlpool (which owns KitchenAid, Maytag Amana etc.) and we can give out our employee discount code. I’ve never seen it not beat one of the big box retailers you mentioned but you guys can ask me for the link and see for yourselves. I’m all for saving people money
I’ll bite – what is the link?
I would like the discount code please!
David Camp: Would you be willing to share your discount code with me, please? Many appliances are old enough to vote, & two are old enough to buy alcohol! My 18 year-old fridge is on it’s last legs, and my washing machine is 23, and the water heater is over 25! Thank you!