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 years back, when architect Elizabeth Roberts told us she found her Wolf range on Craigslist (see page 82 of the Remodelista book). Now we’re noticing more and more appliances sourced at a discount on sites like this (see, for example, The House that Craigslist Built and A Buzzfeed Founder’s Renovated Rowhouse, Budget Edition). 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.
Everything but the House
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. (For example: A J. Corradi commercial-grade range got snapped up in a Chicago sale for $353.)
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.
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 Thermador Warming Drawer is on offer for $275, and a Bosch Double Drawer Refrigerator is $1,399.
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.
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.
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.
More tips and insider secrets for sourcing (on a budget) online:
- Expert Advice: An Insider’s Guide to Sleuthing Antiques and Housewares in Paris
- Expert Advice: What to Source from Salvage, with Zio & Sons
- Expert Advice: 7 Tips for Sourcing from Salvage with Architectural Designer Tom Givone
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 27, 2016.