Buying Cheap Appliances
We’re all on the lookout for the cheapest appliance we can find, but we also want great features and quality which is built to last. Buying the perfect fridge, cooker, washing machine or any other appliance is a careful balancing act, but it is possible to get great white goods for a great price.
What Affects the Price of White Goods?
Prices have come down in recent years, with appliances costing much less than they did in the 80s and 90s.
The cheapest 5 kg load washing machine would once have cost well over £600, but it’s now possible to get a great model for less than £300. This is a result of technological advancements, increased competition in the marketplace and the outsourcing of production abroad. Now is the perfect time to bag a bargain with some cheap appliances.
Why Do Some Models Cost More Than Others?
Why is one cooker £250, and another ten times the price?
Whatever the appliance you’re looking for, there are likely many differences between models. The quality of the materials and build, size, features and energy efficiency all play a part in the RRP:
Now is the perfect time to bag a bargain with some cheap appliances.
One of the largest factors affecting the price of washing machines and tumble dryers is the load capacity.
A 5 kg machine is fine for couples, but if you have a big family or do lots of washing you’ll require a bigger drum. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a larger capacity may mean you can do fewer loads, which is kinder on the environment and will save you money on your bills.
Cheap washing machines and tumble dryers may also have a lower spin speed. With less power, it can take longer to do a wash from start to finish, but spin speed could be one of the areas you compromise for a cheaper appliance.
A machine with an eco friendly setting might be worth considering; these use less water and power to save you money on your bills. Laundry appliances’ energy efficiency ratings also matter for this reason.
Vented dryers are often cheaper than condensers, and they also cost less to run. They require venting through a wall or window, but if you can do this, you can cut costs by opting for a vented model.
More expensive washing machines and tumble dryers may have more features to choose from. If you have a tight budget, ask yourself whether you’ll really need all those programmes for different fabric types: will your loads be mixed anyway? If you tend to wash items on the same settings every time, you may find fancy features are a waste of money.
A machine with an eco friendly setting might be worth considering; these use less water and power to save you money on your bills.
With fridges and freezers, price is largely dependent on size.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a larder is any cheaper than a tall fridge freezer; nett storage capacity is the thing which matters. Cheap fridges may look large on the outside, but have awkwardly shaped interiors to accommodate for the electrical components. If there’s just two or three of you with a small kitchen, storage capacity may be a good thing to compromise on for a lower price. A table top appliance may be a great solution – half empty fridges or freezers just waste electricity cooling unused space. If you have a large family or store a lot of fresh or frozen foods though, capacity is key.
Whatever size you require, the energy efficiency rating should have a big impact on which appliance you choose. A+ rated fridges and freezers are much kinder on the environment and your household bills. While an efficient fridge or freezer can cost more to buy, it could actually save money in the long term.
The cooling system also affects price. Static cooling is found in low volume fridges and freezers. It creates less even temperatures, and so lends itself to cheaper appliances. Dynamic cooling means the appliance has more air movement and better ventilation to keep foods fresher for longer. It does, however, increase an appliance’s price.
Frost-free features are handy for time saving, but not essential if you don’t mind defrosting your fridge or freezer yourself. Cheaper fridges and freezers may be noisier, which may not be an issue if your appliance is being kept in a utility room or garage. Finally, a freezer’s star rating may be something you cannot compromise on. Only a four star freezer is suitable for freezing fresh foods.
A freezer’s star rating may be something you cannot compromise on. Only a four star freezer is suitable for freezing fresh foods.
Dishwashers are priced largely depending on their internal volume, so make sure you check the place setting capacity if you are expecting to wash large loads at a time.
The number of programmes on a dishwasher doesn’t necessarily affect its price, but machines which cost more tend to offer more powerful washing. It might be worth splashing out if you are planning to wash pots and pans.
Cheap dishwashers are often energy efficient; it is possible to find an A rated machine for less than £200. While an A is good on the scale of A to G, more expensive A+ and A++ rated appliances are even more environmentally friendly and will cost significantly less to run.
Slimline designs aren’t necessarily cheaper than standard sized dishwashers, but they do fit better in small spaces. If you really want an integrated look in your kitchen, you’ll need to spend a little more on a built-in design. Brands like Blomberg and Bosch offer stylish dishwashers which will neatly fit in among your units. Stainless steel dishwashers also cost more than those with plastic exteriors.
The number of programmes on a dishwasher doesn’t necessarily affect its price, but machines which cost more tend to offer more powerful washing.
If you really want an integrated look in your kitchen, you’ll need to spend a little more on a built in design.
Standalone cookers or built in hobs and ovens, budget and expensive cooking appliances can vary greatly.
While it’s possible to bag a bargain with gas or electric, flexibility with cooking functions often means paying a higher price.
Conventional ovens are cheaper because they don’t have a fan. This means they are likely to be hotter at the top than the bottom, although this doesn’t matter if you’ll usually be cooking one dish. If you regularly cook different types of food at the same time (like roast meat, veg and potatoes) you may actually find the variation in temperatures useful.
Fan ovens circulate air for a more even cooking temperature. Top-of-the-range ovens may let you switch between conventional and fan or combined cooking, and specific functions like grill, slow cooking and defrost offer extra flexibility. Cooking functions are important, but if you just want a basic oven, a cheap conventional model will do the job.
Electric ovens cost more to run than gas, but it is possible to limit your household bills and impact on the environment. Look at the appliance’s energy rating – aim for an A rating for peace of mind.
With standalone cookers, it’s worth considering how many ovens you need. Appliances with both main ovens and top grill/ovens can cost a lot more than those with a single cooking space, so consider how much you’ll actually use it. Most hobs have four burners; more than enough for even the most adept cooks.
Some cookers also benefit from timers. In cheaper models this may be a simple timer alarm to let you know when a set time has passed, while digital displays let you programme start and finish times and are ideal for when you’re out of the house. Fingerprint free stainless steel finishes look great, but generally cost more than enamel. This aesthetic feature may be the perfect place to cut costs if you’re on a budget.
I’ve found an appliance with everything I need for a great price. Anything else to consider?
Efficiency is definitely worth considering. While an A+ energy rated appliance may cost more to buy, you could save more money on its running costs.
Tests by consumer advisory agency Which? showed fridge freezers can cost anywhere between £14 and £102 to run for a year. All laundry appliances, refrigeration appliances, dishwashers and electric ovens must carry an EU efficiency label, so this is worth looking out for. Older appliances, especially those bought before September 1999, can cost significantly more to run. Energy efficiency really matters, for both the environment and your bank account.
You’ll also need to estimate an appliance’s lifespan – how long will it last before you’ll need to pay for a new one? This can be difficult, but take a look at the product’s brand. Have you heard of it? Have you owned other items by the brand? While top name items may cost more, you are paying for this reputation and the peace-of-mind that you are buying quality. More expensive models may come with a warrantee and/or guarantee to back this up. Would you rather buy a throwaway appliance or something which is built to last?
There’s also the added complication of combination appliances. Separate fridges and freezers or washing machines and tumble dryers cost less individually, but cost more than a combi when you add them together. Your decision will depend on your current setup, how much space you have available, the storage space you require and whether or not you’ll need to wash and dry separate loads of washing at the same time.
Lots of factors affect an item’s price, and not everyone needs top-of-the-range. It’s important to carefully consider what you need from your appliance before making a purchase.
Fridge freezers can cost anywhere between £14 and £102 to run for a year.
You’ll also need to estimate an appliance’s lifespan – how long will it last before you’ll need to pay for a new one?