Up to 40% off AND up to an additional $500 off? Sounds like a great deal . . . and it likely is. That said, when buying appliances, it’s important to consider the TOTAL cost of appliances. The cost of that $1,979 gas convection rage can increase by as much as 15 – 25% when you factor in things like delivery, installation, conversion kits, disposal of the old appliance and extended warranties.
We recently shopped around for appliances across a handful of popular retailers to get a sense of what that total cost of appliances looks like.
Total Cost of Appliances
As you’ve probably experienced or figured out by now, there are several fees to consider beyond the item itself. Our app for iOS, Home Manager by UpsideDoor, is focused on the smart way to maintain and shop for appliances, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to get you familiar with the replacement costs. Before you get overwhelmed, let’s remember, you need functioning appliances. Get ready to pay variable rates on
- removal of an older appliance
- installation of the new appliance
Let’s break it all down…
The Actual Appliance
While we found that the cost was relatively competitive from retailer to retailer, it pays to shop around. We didn’t even have to leave our desk to do it.
Keep in mind that many of the large retailers have a “price match” guarantee. Don’t be afraid to ask.
In our quick round of research, we found that most of the large retailers offer “free delivery” on appliances over a certain price threshold – usually in $350 – 500 range. This means that most large appliance purchases will qualify for free delivery, or it can be thrown in as part of a promotion.
However, as you are shopping around, make sure you check the estimated delivery date. Depending on inventory (and delivery availability), you could find yourself waiting a couple weeks or more for your new appliance. If you need it fast, check multiple retailers.
While the big box retailer may not be charging you for delivery, as the saying goes, there are no free lunches. It is customary to tip delivery people for hauling your new washer and dryer up two winding flights of stairs in the dead of summer. Putting custom aside, it just feels like the right thing to do. We found that the amount of the tip ranges between $10 – 20 per person involved in the move.
This is where the specific type of appliance matters. Some (like refrigerators) are literally “plug-and-play” (when it doesn’t involve hooking up water lines). Other appliances require a specialized installation as it involves gas lines, plumbing, ventilation, and perhaps mounting.
We found that most big box retailers offer installation services that are contracted out to local providers. The advantage here is that you can get everything taken care of at one time. Two of the three retailers allowed you to put installation services into your cart when purchasing online. It is possible that you can save some money by hiring your own contractor, but you’ll be the one doing the searching and scheduling.
As for the cost of installation, we found there to be a decent variance across retailers. For example, the high install cost for a gas convection range was $304 and the low was $173. Be sure to read the fine print on the installation agreements. Some may include standard conversion kits while others may list them as an additional cost.
Finally, almost all installation agreements include a provision that allows for additional charges if they get into the job and find that more is needed (e.g. gas line needs to be re-routed, flooring needs to be reinforced, etc.). For most, it’s difficult to know whether you’ll run into issues like this until the technician is in your home. So we’ll put this in the cross your fingers and hope for the best category.
Disposal of Old Appliances
At the time of our survey, we saw that most included disposal into the cost of delivery (even when delivery was “free”). If, for some reason, you decide to dispose of an appliance on your own, there will likely be associated fees, increasing, you guessed it, the total cost of appliances.
We recently disposed of an old refrigerator and received quotes from “junk haulers” in the $150 range. If you decide to haul an appliance to the dump, you can expect to pay based upon the weight of the appliance as well as an environmental fee for items that have components that need special treatment (e.g. removal of Freon).
Extended Warranties / Protection Plans
I’ll start by saying that I have NEVER made a major appliance purchase without the sales person trying to get me to purchase a three or five-year “protection plan.” While I’m not (at this point) going to give a definitive answer on whether such protection plans make sense, we did find that this is another place where it appears to pay to shop around.
As with installation services, it’s important to dig into the fine print of the different plans. A higher cost may, in fact, be justified as it might cover more components or have a lower out of pocket maximum.
What we did see were wide swings on both the three and five-year plans. It’s also important to note that not all retailers offered the five-year plans in all cases.
Below is a sample of what we found in our total cost of appliances study.