How to Shop for a Large Appliance Now

A variety of forces, some pandemic-related and some decades old, have created kinks in the supply chain. After relying on stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators at home more than ever for more than a year, many Americans are trying to replace or repair these expensive items. Record-low mortgage rates have spurred home buying and building and further fueled demand for equipment. Manufacturers who have maintained lean, cost-cutting inventory for decades have not kept pace. And they and their parts suppliers are working with COVID-19 safety protocols that slow production.

Other factors influenced the offer. When record-breaking temperatures crippled much of the Texas power grid in February, the state’s oil production was temporarily suspended, delaying the production of petroleum-based products like plastics, which are used in many appliances. Lack of shipping containers as well as computer chips used in many devices; congested ports on the west coast; and a random accident in March that blocked an important shipping route did not help.

“Things got better, and then someone decided to block the Suez Canal,” said Ken Miele, CEO of Appliance Dealers Cooperative in New Jersey, which sells equipment from manufacturers to 210 independent retailers mainly on the east coast.

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