How long should my appliances last?

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It’s a sensible question to ask when you’re buying a new appliance for your home – how long will it actually last? Cheap microwaves or vacuum cleaners may last for just a year or so before they break down, while high-end ovens and refrigerators could last for decades. With many appliances, you will generally get what you pay for, so choose wisely. Consider whether you’re happy with a short-term fix, or want to invest in an appliance that will last the test of time. Some might have you paying top dollar, so you’d hope it will go the extra mile. Let’s have a look at some of the most common home appliances and their typical life expectancy.

Appliance Type – Life Expectancy

In Canstar Blue’s recent customer surveys, we’ve asked thousands of Australian households about how long they owned their appliances before replacing them. Based on these findings, here is a guide to the average life expectancy of several major appliances:

Appliance Type Average Life Expectancy
Portable Air Conditioners 3 years
Clothes Dryers 7 years
Vacuum Cleaners 7 years
Dishwashers 8 years
Front Load Washing Machines 8 years
Top Load Washing Machines 9 years
Air Conditioners 9 years
Ovens 12 years

Source: General guide only based on Canstar Blue customer surveys

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are a good alternative if a permanent air conditioner is not in budget or simply not an option in your home. According to our survey, users were found to have their portable air con for about three years and this is typically how long a manufacturer’s warranty for these bad boys lasts.  

Portable air conditioners can range in price anywhere from $400 to $1,000+, so it’s certainly not a light decision if you’re looking to buy a new model. Regular maintenance of filters and exterior might allow you to keep using one for longer.

  • Life expectancy: 3 years

Clothes Dryers

A clothes dryer is another major appliance that can be a huge burden to the bank account. On average, consumers keep their dryers for around seven years, our research shows. While your dryer might have a lengthy lifespan, older models can be huge energy suckers, so investing in a new, more energy-efficient one might be a smart move.

There are certainly parts that you can replace such as doors and hinges, interior lights, thermostats and heating elements. Vented clothes dryers are the most basic of the lot and can be cheap to repair as well as replace. Heat pump dryers, on the other hand, are much more complex and in turn, might be notably more expensive to fix.

  • Life expectancy: 7 years

Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum icon

You typically get what you pay for with vacuum cleaners, so you might find cheaper models to not last as long as high-end options. Our survey found consumers keep their vacuum for around seven years before replacing it.

Unlike barrel vacuums, stick vacuums have few parts, making it easier to fix any minor problems they might have, such as blocked filters, dead batteries, or jammed brush rolls. Regular maintenance might help increase the longevity of your beloved cleaning machine and get your money’s worth, especially if you spend close to $1,000 on a new one.

  • Life expectancy: 7 years

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are a household appliance that don’t get the credit they should. Washing dishes is not an easy job, especially after a dinner party! A dishwasher has an average life expectancy of eight years, our survey found. It might require some repairing in the interim though, such as replacing spray arms, worn out belts, as well as unblocking pumps.

Newer models are known to be more energy-efficient and quieter when operating, so if it’s time, you might like to consider investing in a new machine.

  • Life expectancy: 8 years

Front Load Washing Machines

Washing Machine Icon

The life of a washing machine depends on many factors, including how often you use it. Respondents to our survey indicated that they owned their old front loader for eight years. However, if your front loader goes through numerous big washes each week, then perhaps it might have a shorter lifespan.

Common problems can typically be repaired to increase its longevity. Replaceable parts include washing machine belts, pressure systems, pumps, drums, fans and door gaskets. With a majority of front loaders on Appliances Online sitting between $400 and $900, it might be worth considering a repair before you go out and buy a new one.

  • Life expectancy: 8 years

Top Load Washing Machines

Similar to a front loader, the life expectancy of a top load washing machine will depend on several aspects, including how often you use it. Our survey indicates a top load washing machine might last you around nine years – almost a decade. Given that this is a long time, your top loader might be in need of a face lift to help keep your energy bills down.

Expect to pay anywhere between $400 and $1,400 for a new top loader, with the more energy-efficient models costing towards the higher end of the spectrum, plus they are typically packed with extra wash programs.

  • Life expectancy: 9 years

Air Conditioners

An installed air conditioner isn’t cheap to buy, so you’d hope it will last you for a few years. On average, consumers owned their previous air conditioner for nine years, our research found. There are parts you can replace but it may be hard to find parts for older models. In addition, after nine years, an air con unit might be worth replacing if it’s not preforming to its full capacity.

These appliances are very energy-intensive, so upgrading to something new might help reduce on running costs, plus upgrade to some new features such as Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to turn your air-con on remotely. Regular maintenance is key, so you might like to consider cleaning filters periodically and ensuring outdoor units are clear of obstructions for optimum operation.

  • Life expectancy: 9 years

Ovens

Ovens usually come with a home or apartment, so it’s not an appliance that is always on the buying list unless you’re renovating or in the process of building a new home. On average, consumers replace their old oven after 12 years, our research shows, making it a fairly long-life appliance.

The good news is that there are also numerous parts well worth repairing before you simply replace an oven. These include fans and electronic panels, thermostats, and broken doors. It’s also important to keep an eye on the door seal as a well-sealed oven helps to maintain temperature to its ideal capacity.

  • Life expectancy: 12 years

Microwaves

A microwave can last anywhere between 9 and 10 years for most households. Common problems when you know a microwave is coming to the end of its life include not heating food adequately, the carousel not working properly, or the touchpad no longer functioning.

While parts can be repaired, there are a number of cheap microwaves that you might like to consider as a replacement. However, budget-friendly options might need replacing sooner than higher-end models.

  • Life expectancy: 9 – 10 years

Fridges

Fridge Icon

The beloved fridge is a hard-working appliance. It’s always on auto-pilot to keep the inside at the right temperature. While it does work hard, it typically has a fairly long lifespan of up to 13 years, and you’d hope so as prices typically sit between $500 and $3,000 for new fridges, according to Appliances Online, which can be a fair hit to the hip pocket.

Some households stick to the same fridge for many years and as long as it’s the right size for your family, you can get away with it. Most parts that wear down over time such as thermostats, compressors, door seals and handles can easily be replaced if needed. However, if a fridge has a fairly low energy-efficiency rating, it might be worth considering a replacement after it has served its time, saving you in electricity costs.

  • Life expectancy: 9 – 13 years

TVs

TV brands are constantly innovating and upgrading their models, so it’s quite common for a family to buy a new TV every few years, although it might still be in great condition. Typically, companies use hours instead of years to indicate the lifespan of a TV, according to CNET. However, even if a TV is boasted for 30,000 to 60,000 hours of use, it doesn’t mean it will die once you reach that limit, it’s simply indicating how well the image will appear to you.

If you watch five hours of TV every day, that’s around 30 years of working time (60,000 hours). So, a vintage TV might still work, but you might be missing out on high definition quality. With this in mind, you might find you’re likely to replace a TV between five to 15 years.  

  • Life expectancy: 5 – 15 years

What to consider when buying a new appliance

Major home appliances are usually expensive, so you’d expect them to last a while. With proper care and maintenance, you can certainly help to extend their life expectancy. When your appliance breaks down and is out of warranty, you might like to consider what’s cheaper – to fix or replace? But keep in mind that under Australian Consumer Law, shoppers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund if a product is faulty, even outside the official warranty period. Whatever you decide, we hope this guide has provided a helpful insight into how long home appliances should last.

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