The Secret to Finding the Best Deal on Any Appliance

Photo credit: Hero Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hero Images - Getty Images

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If you're making a big (or even small) appliance purchase, you obviously want to make sure you score the best deal. So whether you're looking to upgrade your refrigerator or finally buy that air fryer that's been sitting on your wish list, then you're in the right place: We asked the Good Housekeeping Institute's sales and deals team — as well as some of the country's top shopping experts — for their tips and tricks to make sure you're always getting the deepest discount possible on appliances.

The first step when it comes to never paying full price again is identifying what brands and models you’re interested in. First, think about what size appliance you need to fit your space, as well as the features that you can and can’t live without, then start researching products online from trusted brands (like Good Housekeeping!) that offer unbiased reviews.

When is the best time to buy appliances at a discount?

There are several big sale holidays throughout the year, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but no matter what time of the year you're shopping, it’s best practice to be armed with a basic knowledge of pricing, so you’ll be sure to score the best deal possible on the machine you want. Once you know which appliance you have your eye on, look up its price at multiple retailers, and continue checking periodically. That way, the second the appliance you're considering — like an oven, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, TV or even a coffee maker — goes on sale, you'll be ready.

That said, there are certain times of year when you will find the lowest deals on most appliances. Here are the periods that experts agree are the best time to buy appliances:

Holiday weekends

Finding the best deal depends on the time of year and what you're looking for, since retailers and appliance brands are constantly changing up their promotions. "You’re most likely to save big if you can line up your appliance shopping with a savings holiday," says Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping Institute Deputy Director. "I recommend shopping for appliances around Black Friday or over Cyber Weekend for the steepest discounts."

But you can also find great discounts on smaller shopping weekends. “Most people have time off of work over long weekends, and this leads to increased foot traffic at the mall and a boost in online activity,” says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at “Retailers understand that they will lose out if they’re not offering special promotions.” Major holidays are ideal for getting great sales on items that don't normally see big discounts, like appliances:

When is the best time to buy small appliances?

Whether you're looking for a coffee maker, air fryer, vacuum or another smaller investment item, "small appliances are on sale all year long but the best time to buy any appliance is usually around holiday promotions and sales," says Carolyn Forte, Executive Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care & Cleaning Products Lab. There are special deals during seasonal trends like discounted cleaning appliances in March and April. "Spring cleaning season is often a promotional time for vacuums, carpet cleaners and other cleaning appliances."

When is the best time to buy large appliances?

If you're in the market specifically for a new washer, dryer, dishwasher or another large appliance, the best sales tend to happen on Presidents Day weekend and Black Friday, says Forte. By simply waiting until the next three-day weekend to shop, you'll probably find decent options on sale. "If you have your eye on brands like Frigidaire, GE, Samsung, LG or Bosch (to name a few), you might see some extra deals beyond the rebates that retailers offer during the rest of the year," says Jessica Petrino, educator and appliance expert at AjMadison. "These holiday rebates are short-term, meaning there is a finite window in which you must buy and take delivery of your appliances to get the savings."

What's the worst time to buy appliances?

The worst time to buy is when you're in a scramble or rush. “The best time to buy large appliances is before your old one breaks down,” says Petrino. If you notice one of your appliances is on it's last leg; it may be time to start looking for an upgrade. “Shopping proactively will give you the best selection and savings,” says Petrino. “It’s best to plan and order early. Not only will you be less stressed, but you’re also more likely able to line up the installation professionals to get the job done right."

Other than emergency buys, there isn’t a “bad” time to buy appliances, as sales happen all year round. If you're in search for the latest on the market, there are annual trade shows like the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and the Kitchen Bath and Industry Show (KBIS) that announce new products at the beginning of each year, but to cut costs, “you want to avoid buying something as soon as it launches since that’s usually when it’s the highest price,” says Nicole Papantoniou, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances & Culinary Innovation Lab.

When should I buy an appliance online?

For those who'd rather skip out on busy in-person shopping during the holidays, online deals will be your best option. Online sales and in-store sales are sometimes different, so make sure you are choosing the best option for your wallet. After doing your research — and even visiting the store during a less busy time to see your options in person — you can always make your final purchase online.

At Good Housekeeping we've seen deals from Lowe's that included $200 off the Robam portable steam oven and up to $700 off of appliances from Whirlpool, Samsung and LG. We’ve also witnessed brands that rarely offer big discounts go on sale (like select Dyson vacuum) up to $200 off for Cyber Monday at Walmart. For Presidents Day, Amazon's deals on small kitchen appliances included 45% off Cuisinart stand mixers, and retailers like Wayfair took up $220 off GE washers and dryers.

More of the best ways to save on appliances

✔️ Check price history before you buy: Knowing the true MSRP means that when you're ready to shop, you'll be able to sniff out gimmicks from a mile away. “Sometimes retailers will mark up the original price of an item and then advertise it as 30% off, when in reality, you’re maybe only getting an extra 5% savings,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. Since prices vary from site to site, when shopping online it’s best to use price comparison sites to get the steepest deals. Price Grabber and Google Shopping allow you to compare different deals across the web to ensure you are getting the best online discount at the moment.

✔️ Strategically shop at Amazon: "To snag the best deal on Amazon, sign up for price alerts, so that you get an email whenever there’s a great discount to be had, and finally, crosscheck the sale on CamelCamelCamel to get a look at any product’s pricing history," says Teich. Our pros also recommend shopping Amazon Warehouse for huge discounts on open-box items, and don't forget to shop deals on Amazon Prime Day: This year, we saw mega-discounts on popular products, like the coveted robot vacuum from Eufy, which was marked down 43%.

✔️ Watch out for exclusive retailer sales: A fairly effortless money-saving strategy is to follow brands on their social media channels, where they often offer promo codes or announce flash sales. You may even discover annual sales you hadn’t heard of before, like Maytag Month, which is when Maytag offers rebates on certain products throughout the month of May. WayDay is also an annual savings event with huge site wide deals at Wayfair — in 2021 WayDay took place in April and had discounts up to 80% off. Another exclusive discount day is from Walmart, known for its door-busters during the holiday season and its new Deals for Days campaign that offers customers weekly in-store and online deals throughout the month of November, not just Black Friday.

✔️ Consider floor models: Floor models and/or appliances that contain physical imperfections, like dents or scratches, are often sold at crazy-low prices. As long as you’re okay with the idea of bringing home a perfectly functional yet less-than-pristine product, take advantage. To save even more, pick a plain white machine. "White appliances tend to be about $100 less than 'high-fashion' colors," says Forte. All of these small savings can make a big difference to your bottom line.

✔️ Negotiate: It may feel a little awkward, but it's worth trying to negotiate, says Woroch, who once haggled with various brick and mortar retailers for discounts on appliances as part of an undercover TV segment. She found that you can sometimes negotiate free shipping, a discount if you buy a second appliance or price cuts for expensive models (on which the store's profit margin is higher). In her experiment, Woroch negotiated a 10% savings on average.

✔️ Pick a model with the features you need: When picking an appliance be aware of the features you consider most and least valuable. Be mindful of the specific features included in each model, there may be comparable units that are distinguishable only by some features and could cut additional costs.

✔️ Shop when new models hit the market: Companies often release major appliances during fourth quarter (late September through October), which means you’ll see some aggressive discounts around that time. “Large appliances take up a lot of space and retailers need to make room for newer models,” and explains Bodge. While you may not be getting the latest model’s bells and whistles, older models have plenty of online reviews that can give you a clearer picture of a machine’s pros and cons. Plus, you don't need to worry about compromising on quality. "The washing and drying performance of a mid-tier model is often comparable to that of a newer, higher-end model," says Forte.

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