If you drive a secondhand car, you’re well aware of the pros and cons of buying used machinery. But did you know you could shop the same way for a fridge or a stove or a mixer? We didn’t until architect Elizabeth Roberts told us she found her Wolf range on Craigslist (see page 82 of the Remodelista book). So we started delving into the world of used appliances ourselves and discovered a network of sources for remodelers’ castoffs.
Buying out-of-the-box goods takes legwork, flexibility, and a willingness to live with imperfection (and often no warranty). In return, you can find top-of-line, built-to-last appliances at a fraction of their retail cost. A few general tips: Zero in on sellers near you and find a handy friend who has a pickup truck—secondhand goods don’t typically include delivery or installation. Look for known brands that have been little used, so what you’re getting is likely to last a good while (and have replaceable parts)—refrigerators and ranges have an average lifespan of 20 years and dishwashers, 10 years. Look up the specific model on Consumer Reports; ask the seller a lot of questions, including whether the item is still under warranty; and, if possible, give the appliance the equivalent of a test-drive.
Here’s where to look for used kitchen appliances. These sources also stand ready to take appliances off your hands. So save that unwanted microwave or toaster oven or bread machine from the landfill, and instead send it to a new home.
1. Craigslist is one of the best sources for finding local private sellers who are looking to quickly offload equipment they no longer need. (I speak from experience; when our out-of-warranty Frigidaire stainless-steel side-by-side developed a crack in the freezer, my husband sold it almost overnight to a landlord who was furnishing a loft.) DIY remodelers Ada Egloff and Rick Banister bought their Viking range (shown above) from a Craigslist seller near them for $500; see the whole kitchen at Philadelphia Story. “It needed some updating and some parts, but it was a steal,” she says. Photograph by Michael Persico.
2. Filter eBay listings by geography (click “Advanced” on the upper right of the site’s home page), and you can zero in on sellers offering used appliances in your area. Ebay’s reach is vast and confusing: The site itself offers a helpful guide to buying used appliances. Always plentiful: used Vitamix blenders and stand mixers, like a KitchenAid K45SS Classic in new condition for $211.48. (N.B.: Vitamix and KitchenAid themselves sell reconditioned blenders and mixers.)
3. Green Demolitions was founded in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 2005 as a way to recycle luxury kitchens and raise funds for charities—see nonprofit companion site Renovation Angel. The company now has a 43,000-square-foot showroom/warehouse in Fairfield, New Jersey, and a nationwide reach via Kitchen Trader. In addition to selling entire fully-equipped secondhand kitchens, it offers used appliances, sinks, and bathtubs. Current inventory includes this never-used La Cornue Range in Gloss Black with brass detailing. It’s priced at $6,800 (retail is $10,500) but Green Demolitions also accepts offers.
4. A haunt for New York remodelers, Big Reuse is a nonprofit dedicated to giving used building materials, appliances, doors, and furniture a second life. It has warehouses in Brooklyn and Queens where you can find a steady supply of Sub-Zero and other high-end fridges. At the moment, a stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator is on offer for $1,900, and a 24-inch Viking dishwasher is $295.
Chances are good there’s a Big Reuse counterpart in your area: Search for building reuse centers. And if you’re in need of missing parts, go to Repair Clinic.
5. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore store and donation centers across the country sell used appliances and apply the proceeds to building low-income housing. Each outpost is independently owned and operated, so the size of the stores and the pickings vary.
6. Everything but the House stages estate sales online, and appliances of all sorts appear in its 150 monthly sales; find one near you and you can preview the goods firsthand (shipping quotes are also available). Everything is sold by online auction and bidding starts at $1. On the EBTH site, go to Appliances to see all the current offerings. A J. Corradi commercial-grade range (shown) recently got snapped up in a Chicago sale for $353.
7. ApplianceXChange is an appliance classified site. In addition to posting listings for free, it offers a directory of appliance stores and dealers around the country that sell secondhand goods.
8. Portland, Oregon, startup ApplianceSwap is dedicated to “building a better way for people to buy used appliances.” Partnered with a nationwide network of used appliance dealers, the site invites shoppers to make requests. In response, ApplianceSwap sends photos and descriptions of available goods; when a match is made, one of its affiliates delivers the appliance and, on request, carts away the old.
Antiques to go with your recycled appliances: See Editors’ Picks: 10 Favorite Sources for Bargain Vintage Furniture.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 27, 2016.