Pros and Cons: Appliance Repair vs. Purchasing a Used Appliance

When an appliance breaks down it can be hard to make the decision: should I pay a repair technician to come and fix it, or do I purchase a used appliance? It’s not always a clear-cut answer, and you may have different voices in your household cheer for one or the other.We’re here to make things a little more clear and hopefully brush away some of the misconceptions about the process.


What is the Hourly Rate for Appliance Repair?

One of the first things that you’re going to want to get out of the way right up front is to figure out what the hourly rate of the appliance repair is going to be. This cost will often be the bulk of the price of your appliance repair, and even if the part is relatively cheap, if it is hard to replace or install, requiring many hours of work, then those repair bills are going to add up.


On the other hand, when you have a qualified and certified appliance repair technician working on your appliance, they are often charging those rates because it reflects the training and skill that they have. When you are buying a used appliance, you have no guarantee about its condition. Think about it this way: you’re always told that when you buy a used car you need to take that car into your own mechanic--someone you already trust--and get them to inspect it to make sure that it’s good quality.


The same principle applies to appliance repair, except that when people buy a used appliance they almost never consult a repair technician to see if that used appliance is as good as the seller says it is. 



How Accessible is the Appliance?

Another thing to keep in mind is that appliances are not always easy to find, especially not the appliances that you’re looking for. If you have an entire appliance set that matches perfectly, replacing the broken appliance with a used appliance can be a pretty steep task. Getting the exact make and model to match your perfectly decorated kitchen or laundry room is going to be difficult. It’s not impossible, and sometimes you can luck into getting exactly the right appliance for exactly the right price. 


What is often much more practical is the realization that when you’re repairing a broken appliance that is part of a set, you’re not just paying for that specific dishwasher or range--you’re paying for maintaining the look of the entire kitchen. So while a specific appliance repair might be more money than buying a used appliance, if that used appliance you’re buying isn’t the appliance of your dreams then it might be worth it to spend the extra to fix your existing appliance.



Are the Parts Easy to Find?

Another factor when trying to repair an appliance is determining if the parts are easy to find, or if locating them (and purchasing them) is going to take too long and cost too much. It could very well be that an old, reliable appliance would be perfectly fine if it just had a specific motor or heating coil, but that motor or heating coil is all but unavailable. 


In a case like this it is probably a better decision to buy a used appliance, rather than going days (or weeks) waiting on a missing part and hoping that it will arrive--while all of your kitchen is in disarray because your appliances are unusable. 


Is Shipping or Delivery Going to Be An Issue?

Finally, when looking at repairing an appliance versus buying a used one, you’ll want to look at the costs of shipping the part versus the cost of delivering the appliance. You might very well have a perfectly good stove that would replace your stove for a good price--but if you live in a four-story walk-up, and you don’t have burly friends to carry it, springing for the extra price of repairing the existing appliance might be worth it (and this is to say nothing about if the used appliance is across town and you don’t have a truck or a van to bring it to your house.)


On the other hand, shipping parts--even hard-to-find parts--is often a much cheaper option, assuming that you can get them in a reasonable period of time.


Conclusion


No matter what you decide when you are choosing whether to repair your existing appliance or purchase a used one, you need to go into the process with your eyes open to the pros and cons of each.