Large Appliance Dealer Comparison

In depth comparison of appliance selection, warranties, and service available at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco.

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When you buy a large appliance, from a stove to a refrigerator, it is important to look at a few factors. Price is the first thing people tend to compare: what location has the best price? However, you should also look at store warranties, service programs, financing options, selection, and basic knowledge of the staff. Large appliances require some expertise in order to get the job done right and get something that works perfectly for you. Being so much more efficient than old appliances, new appliances are one of the best home improvements you can do with your house if only by saving money on electricity to run them.

Best Buy

Appliance Prices

Discounts/Coupons

Right when you log onto the Best Buy webpage, there is a large banner that says appliances are 30% off. There are also rebates available for some locations and appliances to help reduce the cost. Best Buy does a nice job of advertising their open box discounts, which I’m sure every store does but Best Buy really makes it a feature. There is also a large banner saying that they price match either in store or online to any competitor for similar items.

Financing Options

Like most stores, Best Buy offers interest free financing through the application for a store credit card. The financing provides a generous 18 months of interest free financing w/ approval for a Geek Squad card on purchases over $599. While the minimum spend is higher than most, it’s an easy target when purchasing any appliance.

Appliance Service Programs

Warranties

All appliances come with the manufacturer warranty in place. You can extend that by purchasing a 3-year or 5-year Geek Squad Protection plan that provides in-home help. However, the plan also provides $200 spoiled food coverage if your refrigerator dies, power surge repair, and re-installation of a replacement appliance if Best Buy installed the first one. The coverage is transferable to new homeowners as well which is a nice feature. This is the one protection plan I would actually consider for an appliance.

Installation/Repairs

Best Buy offers delivery and basic installation for very reasonable prices. They also offer advanced installation, for example if any plumbing or parts are required, though for an increased price. In-store pick up is available if you find the perfect appliance online. If something does go wrong, and if you signed up for Geek Squad Support, then support is available 24/7 which is huge. A leaky dishwasher right before you’re late for work is a serious problem.

Appliance Selection

Best Buy offers an absolutely massive appliance selection. They have the major brands such as Maytag, Samsung, LG, and GE. However, they also have several lesser known brands that people want such as Viking, Monogram, and Haier. It is amazing to have this level of selection from a single store that doesn’t specialize in appliances.

Staff Knowledge

I absolutely love the Best Buy staff and how they staff their store. Regardless of time of day, there is somebody nearby that is helpful, friendly, and incredibly knowledgeable. They constantly teach me about things I didn’t even know I had a question about. They tell me what they think is worth paying for and tell me what features I probably won’t use. The website is very easy to navigate as well and it has an equally awesome amount of information for those who prefer to self teach about their products.

Costco

Appliance Prices

Discounts/Coupons

Similar to other store websites, there is a banner for appliance savings right when you log on however, there is no mention of how much you could possibly save. You have to sign on with your membership to get pricing which is a major inconvenience for non-members considering Costco for appliance pricing. Costco is losing opportunities because appliances are something people would sign up for a membership to get better pricing on. Costco should display the member pricing and indicate that this pricing is only for members. While there are additional savings rebates, I can’t see what those were either without signing on.

Financing Option

There are no other options for financing that I could find other than to have a Costco membership. While I am sure the membership provides good pricing, it would still be nice to have other financing options. Appliance packages are expensive and people appreciate the no interest financing available at other stores. Again, Costco is missing another opportunity here.

Appliance Service Programs

Warranties

Costco offers appliances with the basic manufacturer warranty but I had difficulty finding any information on extended warranties. After way too much searching, I found a small banner at the bottom edge of a page saying that there were warranties available. The technical support offered is only available to members for certain times of day. It covered basic wear and tear and nothing else that I could find, which probably isn’t worth the price of it.

Installation/Repairs

There is free delivery, basic install, and haul away included with Samsung, GE, Whirlpool, and GE appliances. Since that covers four major brands of appliance, that’s a pretty good deal for most people. The Costco basic repair services only covers normal wear and tear of the appliances, so I have some doubt that most issues would actually be covered, at least not completely.

Appliance Selection

In a word, the selection at Costco is lackluster. They do carry the major brands that most people would be expecting to find and those brands do come with some perks, such as the free delivery, however they don’t carry very much besides that. If you are anything but a middle of the road buyer, you’re probably going to end up disappointed.

Staff Knowledge

I understand that Costco is a wholesale warehouse and they expect customers to be mostly self service. They expect you to figure out those appliances by yourself. While there are tons of salespeople in the cell phone and electronic area, the appliance section is unmanned. If you look for more help from the website, think again. The website has almost no information on the features of each appliance. At best, Costco is there as another price point option, not to help you make a decide on the products available.

Lowes

Appliance Prices

Discounts/Coupons

Again, similar to Best Buy, there is a large banner indicating that you can save 35% on appliances right on the front page of the website. The final discount is dependent on the type of appliance that you are buying however. Depending on your location and the appliance you are looking at, there are rebates available.

Financing Options

Financing with a Lowe’s store credit card provides 12 months of 0% interest with a purchase of only $299 or more. This minimum spend is amazingly low and for anybody needing help with financing, so this is a good choice.

Appliance Service Programs

Warranties

Besides the manufacturer warranty, you can also buy 3-year and 5-year warranty plans through Lowe’s. These plans cover normal wear and tear of the appliance. This alone wouldn’t be great however they also offer surge protection and, most amazingly, 50% reimbursement on preventative “care” of an appliance. So, go ahead and schedule the dishwasher for a tune up once a year because you will only pay half. That’s cool.

Installation/Repairs

Delivery, basic installation, and in-store pick up are both offered for free with appliances 7 days a week. For those of you with busy schedules, that’s pretty amazing. I like that, for more extensive services, it’s like a buffet. If you want to pay an additional $30 for haul away you can select that. If you want to pay for a more intensive installation, you can select that too.

Appliance Selection

The selection of brands was half of what Best Buy offered but the selection is what I would consider reasonable. They carry all the major brands I expect and they were the only ones that carried Electrolux which seemed hard to find. I am quite happy with the selection available through Lowe’s and wouldn’t hesitate to look there when appliance shopping.

Staff Knowledge

The staff at Lowe’s know a reasonable amount considering they aren’t selling only appliances. They are friendly and want to help you find something perfect. There is always somebody nearby that can answer the questions I have and are happy to discuss the different features available. While they don’t add anything I couldn’t find online, they are great for bouncing ideas off of and listen to what I wanted.

Home Depot

Appliance Prices

Discounts/Coupons

The front page has a banner that says that you get 40% off appliances however, similar to other stores, the overall percentage of savings was dependent on the type of appliance. There were several rebates available depending on the location you live and the type of appliance as well. Also similar to other stores, Home Depot has a price match guarantee for similar items from competitors. So, there was everything expected and nothing special with the discounts available.

Financing Options

The financing options from Home Depot were lackluster at best. The minimum purchase required was only $299 which is easy to accomplish with an appliance purchase. However, once you apply for and receive the store credit card, you have only 6 months of 0% interest financing. This is the lowest length financing of any store and I thought it was a little sad.

Appliance Service Programs

Warranties

The warranties available through Home Depot were similar to those from Best Buy. There were 3-year and 5-year plans available with different prices. Home Depot also offered 24/7 support available for warranty issues which, again, is very nice if your dishwasher decides to have issues when you’re already late for work. They don’t offer the other perks of Best Buy’s warranty service though, such as surge protection and spoiled food coverage.

Installation/Repairs

Free delivery and basic installation is available on most appliances and if you need to have your old appliance hauled away you can pay an extra $25. There was some information on more involved installation being available but it wasn’t clear what the price difference may be.

Appliance Selection

Home Depot had a good selection of appliances available. They had every major brand of appliance I would compare and a couple minor brands as well. While their selection wasn’t the best of the stores, I wouldn’t be disappointed if I was trying to find an appliance at Home Depot since they were similar to Lowe’s.

Staff Knowledge

The staff at Home Depot is hard to find and they don’t add a ton of knowledge to the conversation. There are probably more experienced employees there that would be helpful but, usually, I can find the same information on the card attached to the appliances. The staff was very nice though and they were good to bounce ideas off of.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I am the most impressed with Best Buy as a whole. I love their selection but I really love that their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and really adds to my appliance buying. Home Depot and Lowe’s are both just fine as well when it comes to buying appliances. They aren’t missing anything but they don’t add as much. I personally would not buy my appliances from Costco. They’re fine for some people but I prefer more selection and more service that Costco has. Ultimately, I know that after I replace the appliances, I’m going to have to redo the backsplash or else it just won’t look good. Here’s to home improvement.

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Hey everybody! I'm Sydney, the head homeowner here. Let me know if you have any questions you didn't find the answer to. Tell me what projects you're working on. I love to hear from all my readers.

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