When your washer breaks at the most inconvenient time, consider a buying a refurbished washer. We have tips to help you know what to look for.
In the majority of cases, a refurbished (or reconditioned) washing machine has had its worn pieces replaced has been completely cleaned and will operate as well as a new one. Depending on its age, it should last another 5 to 10 years and cost between 1/3 and 1/2 as much as a new one. A reputable refurbished store will identify worn parts and replace those that need it before selling it again (this is completely different from buying a used washing machine). Because of the substantial cost difference, you may be able to afford a higher-quality refurbished washer over a new cheaper model that just might break too soon. There are a few drawbacks to buying an older machine, so consider whether those points are important for you.
Here are some points to consider before going out to buy a refurbished washer:
As with any major appliance, measure the doorways, hallways, landings, stairways, and the space the washer is going into to make sure it will fit. It will also help you select the models you are able to consider.
Front-load or top-load, compact or standard? These are the common types of machines and both are widely available as refurbished models. Narrowing this down will help you determine which options are available to you.
Use Craigslist or Kijiji to locate local vendors of refurbished machines. If you have very specific dimension requirements you might want to call vendors first to see if they carry machines that fit your needs. Take a tape measure to check dimensions of potential candidates. (Check out our resources page for more options.)
If you see a machine you like, you might want to do a quick search of the model number to check out reviews. In particular, check out repair sites to make sure the model overall doesn’t have any glaring problems and to find the year it was manufactured. You can also see if there are complaints about noise, vibrations, cycle time, and other factors that might influence your decision. Check the model hasn’t been discontinued or getting parts in the future may be difficult.
Check to see how solid the washer is. Open doors and turn the drum with your hand to make sure everything works smoothly. Look on the body for rust, check the hoses (on a refurbished machine, they are often replaced with new ones), check the hose joints to make sure they’re in good condition (or new). On newer washers with electronic panels, it will have buttons – make sure the buttons work and are not too worn or you will end up having to replace the panel in a few years.
Ask how long a warranty the vendor offers. This will vary widely among refurbished model vendors. It can range from three months to one year depending on the store. Also, check to see if they service the machines themselves or partner with a service company. One clue will be if you can see old machines waiting for refurbishment in the back of the store.
Most vendors will provide transportation of your new-to-you machine and removal of the old one for a fee.
For more information on buying and maintaining a washer check out our washers page.