What to consider when shopping for appliances

Many of the best modern inventions are the everyday appliances that make our lives easy and our households happy. Certainly our forebears survived eating unrefrigerated meat – but where would we be in modern times without a fridge and freezer to store our deli meats and gourmet cheeses? And how did they cope pre air conditioning in the often unbearable Australian summer?

Imagining life without a refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine and clothes dryer is difficult. Yet the range of choices in brands, designs, prices and features makes the decision making process rather complex. It’s important to understand what needs to be considered when making an appliance purchase. We’ve come up with some useful criteria to help you judge which appliance is the one for you.

Value for money

Major appliances can have a significant price tag attached. A new fridge, freezer, dryer, washing machine or air conditioner can cost anywhere between $400 and $4000 so it’s important to set your budget early. However, you’ll also need to consider the features that are important to you, such as – are you looking for just a fridge, or a fridge/freezer? Is a timer necessary for your washing machine, or are you happy to manually start the machine each time? You’ll need to weigh up the ‘must have’ criteria with how much you’re willing to pay.

Advice

When it comes to deciding which appliances you might want to buy, it can help to talk to family and friends about their experiences. Use the lessons they’ve learnt to help shape your own decisions about features, brand and design. And of course, you can talk to the retailers of different appliances to find out the pros and cons.

Warranty

Warranty conditions can vary between brands and appliances and you should understand these before making your final decision. In some cases, extended warranties will be available and you will need to assess whether the additional coverage warrants the added cost.

Quietness 

The noise produced by an appliance can be overlooked in the purchase process. As appliances like fridges and freezers are constantly running, this factor could impact how happy you are with the purchase. Ask for an in-store demonstration of the appliance so you’re aware of the noise levels produced.

Design

Often considered a more trivial factor there are some design features that need to be considered before deciding on your new fridge, freezer, washing machine or any other appliance.

  • Size matters – will the new appliance fit where you want it to go?
  • Can the doors open properly when it’s in place?
  • Is it important that the washing machine is still functional when the lid is lifted?
  • Is the wall strong enough to mount your air conditioner or clothes dryer?

And when it comes to the look of your new machine, there are a few things to think about. Consider the cleaning – does the surface show fingerprints? Does the colour match any other appliances in the room? Sometimes a compromise between style and practicality may be necessary.

Energy Efficiency

Most large appliances come with a star rating to indicate how energy efficient they are. The more stars an appliance has, the less energy it uses and the more money you will potentially save on electricity bills over the lifespan of the appliance. Considering some appliances can last upwards of ten years this can mean significant savings.

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