When is the best time to buy appliances?

Posted at 9:11 PM, Oct 12, 2017

Major home appliances are often expensive, but they can be more affordable at certain times of the year — especially around holidays. Before you buy a dishwasher, refrigerator, range, washer or dryer, check if one of these sale seasons is coming up. If you can wait to make the purchase, you could save some money.

After a new release

Why: As with most products, prices on year-old appliance models drop when the ones with the latest and greatest features are introduced. New appliance technology is often announced in January at CES, an annual tradeshow, though products are sometimes released later in the year, too.

What to expect: You won’t have the most up-to-date components if you opt for an older appliance model, but that could be beneficial, says Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance, a national appliance repair company. He’s not a fan of purchasing appliances with significant updates until they’ve been out for a while. That way, there’s time to see if anything goes wrong.

Memorial Day

Why: Retailers concentrate appliance sales around Memorial Day. The holiday also coincides with May is Maytag Month, an annual rebate promotion from appliance brand Maytag.

What to expect: Appliance deals generally take the form of percentage discounts or rebates. On Memorial Day 2017, Lowe’s marked down select appliances by 30%, while J.C. Penney discounted major appliances by up to 40%. Maytag gave shoppers up to a $600 prepaid debit card by mail with the purchase of select kitchen appliances.

Fourth of July

Why: Electronics stores, home improvement stores and department stores tend to host sales at the beginning of July, and these deals often extend beyond the holiday. Some Fourth of July refrigerator prices have beaten Black Friday prices, according to a pricing analysis by Consumer Reports.

What to expect: In July 2017, a handful of major retailers offered incentives for purchasing multiple appliances at once. Best Buy gave a $300 gift card to shoppers who bought three qualifying appliances totaling $3,000 or more, or $400 in gift cards to those who bought four or more appliances totaling $4,000 or more. Home Depot offered $50 off two appliances, $100 off three appliances, $200 off four appliances, $300 off five appliances or $450 off six or more appliances.

Labor Day

Why: Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Stores host closeout sales on summer clothing and patio furniture, but larger items, such as mattresses and appliances, are often included in the seasonal promotions as well.

What to expect: Retailers have been known to discount select appliance models, plus throw in free delivery to sweeten the deal. On Labor Day 2016, for instance, both Best Buy and Sears took up to 35% off major appliances and offered free shipping on orders of $399 and up.

Veterans Day

Why: Veterans Day is the last major shopping event before Black Friday. As with the previous holidays, stores capitalize on it with limited time discounts. Some also offer savings exclusively for current and former members of the military.

What to expect: Savings will be impressive, but likely not as deep as they’ll be a few weeks later. In 2016, for instance, NerdWallet found a Kenmore Elite 29.8-cubic-foot french door bottom-freezer fridge at Sears for $2,199.99 (regularly $3,899.99) on Veterans Day, but it cost $1,999.99 on Thanksgiving.

Black Friday

Why: Retailers reduce prices on just about everything in November, and home appliances are no exception. In fact, the average price of a dishwasher over one year steadily dropped as Black Friday approached, according to the pricing analysis by Consumer Reports. The analysis found a similar pattern for ranges.

What to expect: Appliance deals are typically teased in Black Friday advertisements that leak throughout November. Use this advance notice to scope out potential savings, but read the fine print — many doorbusters (limited time deals on the front of Black Friday ads) are sold in small quantities, and you might only be able to buy so many of the same item.

If you’d rather skip the crowds, Rogers says you can also expect good deals after Christmas, as long as stores have leftover inventory.

Appliance-buying tips

Timing is important, but it isn’t everything. Before you purchase an appliance, keep these savvy shopping strategies in mind:

  • Buy on your own terms. If you suspect your current appliance is on its last legs, don’t wait until it breaks before you buy a new one, recommends Rogers. This will help you avoid making a purchase at an inopportune time. “It’s better, obviously, to shop at your own convenience than to wait for something to break and then go buy one,” he says.
  • Compare prices. Many appliance retailers match each other’s prices. For example, at Lowe’s, that means “… if someone finds a lower price on an identical item at a local or online retail competitor, we will match their price,” Jenny Popis, a company spokesperson, said in an email. Consult the Lowe’s Price Match Guarantee for full details, including some exclusions. Best Buy and Sears also have price matching policies.
  • Have funds ready. Similar to an emergency fund, Rogers says he and his wife have a savings fund set up specifically to pay for replacement appliances. Consider putting aside some extra cash each month for when it’s time to upgrade.

More money-saving tips from NerdWallet