Consumer Reports: Should you buy a used appliance?

Maybe you’re looking for a bargain or just don’t need anything new. The marketplace for used equipment is huge. Online sales platforms like eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist are making shopping easier than ever. But is it a good idea to buy used equipment? The answer: it depends. Consumer Reports experts can help with advice on purchasing equipment and the potential pitfalls to look out for when shopping in the used market.

CR says when it comes to used equipment, skip yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These types of sellers usually cannot guarantee or warrant equipment for you.

Instead, contact a reputable repair facility or used equipment store early and frequently for the best deals. You could save 50 percent or more even if the appliance wasn’t used at all.

Your best bets for buying used ones are washing machines, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators. No matter what you’re shopping for, find out how old the device is so that you can calculate how long it still has and whether it’s worth the price.

If you are spending a few hundred dollars on a 10 year old refrigerator with an average useful life of 12 years, you have to wonder if you have only two years of it is it worth it.

The brand you buy also often makes a difference. Data shows that some brands are more reliable than others. CR’s surveys of thousands of members have found LG, GE and Kenmore rated Good or higher for the reliability of their refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers.

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

After all, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could end up saving even more. According to CR, always find the manufacturer’s sticker and see if the device is in a safety recall. If the machine does not have a model number and serial label, skip them. It could have been recalled or scrapped and rescued illegally.

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