Appliance Buying Advice From a Wise Repairman

maytag man

photo credit: Maytag

I had an appliance repairman named Danny over to fix my dryer today.  He was a wealth of knowledge.  What started out as idle chat quickly turned into an interview.  Here are a few thought-provoking things that I learned.

Where to buy appliances:  At a certified appliance store. Only. “You wouldn’t buy your car at a grocery store as you shouldnt buy your appliances at a ‘lumber’ store” (I won’t name names here, but we all know the large stores that this term implies…).  For a few reasons- if the appliance breaks, the large “lumber” stores will direct you to handle it yourself with the manufacturer.   Also, even though you may think you are buying best of the brand you trust the most at one of these large “lumber” stores or wholesale superstores, you are actually buying a version made specifically for those stores to carry (usually a lesser model than they otherwise manufacture to sell).  So, if you want the quality you anticipate from a specific brand, buy from the appliance stores. Who knew? The appliance stores want your repeat business so they will gladly help you if you need repairs.

How to choose appliances that will last:  This is where it gets interesting all over again: avoid the new high-tech computer panels and touch screens.  They have a short life expectancy and will cost you routine repairs and early replacement. My repairman went so far as to even suggest that these high-tech models are planned revenue generators for the manufacturers because of their higher replacement cycle. Hmmm.  Opt for knob controls over touch screens whenever possible. Another pointer from Danny- buy from US-based companies rather than foreign competition if you want easy to repair appliances with accessible parts.

Decoding the brand choices: Did you know that: KitchenAid, Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Magic Chef, Estate and Roper are all owned by Whirlpool?  Or that Whirlpool now manufactures the Kenmore brand for Sears? News to me.

Deciding which brand to buy: Be careful who you ask. To quote Danny, “if you really want to know what the most reliable car to buy is, you should ask a mechanic, not a car dealer for x,y or z brand car — same goes for appliances”.  If you ask a hardware superstore or your favorite wholesale club, the answer will of course be one of their in-stock items. If you want a legitimate answer, ask an appliance repair specialist or go to an actual appliance store who has equal loyalty to a wide range of brands.

His most highly recommended brand:  I had to ask. Whirlpool brand, it will be the best of the best in the way of parts, technology and lifespan.  Sounds good to me.

Danny certainly knew what he was talking about. I appreciated his appliance buying advice, as I’m sure you do. We can all think of more fun things to spend money on than repairs or replacements. If any of you in the Dallas area ever need a repairman, let me know.



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