Major appliances can be found in just about every room in your home. They serve essential functions to make our lives easier, such as preserving food or washing our clothes and dishes. In this guide, we’ll review types of major appliances and what you should know when you’re looking to make a purchase.
Types of Major Appliances
While there are a variety of laundry room and kitchen appliances, major appliances typically refer to items such as:
Other major appliances include items such as wall ovens, trash compactors, range hoods, generators, and air conditioners. Small appliances include items such as coffee makers, air fryers, toaster ovens, blenders, bread makers, food dehydrators, wine coolers, and slow cookers.
How Much Do Major Appliances Cost?
The cost of a major appliance will vary drastically depending on the size, type, brand, and model. Here is a general estimate of what you can expect to spend on a major appliance.
Washer-and-dryer sets will typically cost at least $1,500, with high-end models exceeding $2,000 or $3,000. Some budget models can be found for $1,200 or less.
Standalone washing machines can cost anywhere from $500 to over $3,000, depending on the make and model. Dryers typically cost around the same, but low-end models can be found for under $400.
The size of your dishwasher will largely determine the price it sells for. Smaller dishwashers can be found for $300 or less, but they will have fewer racks and less cleaning power. High-end dishwashers with extra racks and lots of additional features can cost over $2,000. Most models will fall somewhere within that range, with standard models often costing around $800–$1,000.
High-quality refrigerators with features such as built-in icemakers, extra shelves, and smart features can cost well over $2,000 and even more than $3,000 for certain models.
Budget models with limited capacity can be found for around $500, while portable or mini fridges will be significantly less. Most standard fridges will cost somewhere in the $1,000–$2,000 range.
Microwaves vary significantly in price depending on their size and capacity. Small microwaves typically cost around $50–600, while medium-size microwaves cost anywhere from $150–500.
High-end microwaves with large capacity and extra features typically run between $300 and $1,000. For more information about microwave pricing, check out our microwave buying guide.
Most Trusted Brands for Major Appliances
For washers and dyers, reliable brands include Whirlpool, LG, Samsung, Maytag, Insignia, and GE. Aska, Electrolux, and Speed Queen are less well-known, but they also make high-quality products.
There are dozens of reliable dishwasher brands, including GE, Frigidaire, Samsung, Bosch, Maytag, KitchenAid, BLACK+DECKER, and Whirlpool.
Samsung, GE, Bosch, LG, and Whirlpool are some of the most trusted brands for refrigerators. Magic Chef, Galanz, Insignia, and Sub-Zero are also excellent options.
There is a wide range of brands to choose from when buying a microwave.
Popular and well-established microwave brands include BLACK+DECKER, Electrolux, Hamilton Beach, Hotpoint, Bosch, Farberware, GE, LG, Magic Chef, Maytag, Samsung, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and Panasonic.
The Best Places To Buy Major Appliances
Several reputable online retailers sell appliances from trusted brands and can deliver them straight to your home without the hassle of shopping in person. Some of the best places to shop for appliances include Amazon, Wayfair, Samsung, Best Buy, Target, and Macy’s, or you can shop from the brand’s website if you have a brand in mind.
Other Factors To Consider When Buying a Major Appliance
When buying a major appliance, consider how much space you have in your home. You should always measure the space where you plan to put your appliance before purchasing and eliminate any models too large for that space.
If you live in a smaller home or apartment, for example, measure the space between your counters or the length of the wall before buying a new refrigerator. You should leave room (at least a few inches) on each side of the wall.
If you’re buying an over-the-range microwave, look closely at the height and width and ensure that it won’t knock into your kitchen cabinet or hang too low over the stovetop.
The weight of your appliance may also be a factor, especially if you’re considering self-installation. Larger appliances will be challenging to move or rearrange in your home. Lightweight models are more portable but will typically have less capacity and power.
After you purchase a major appliance, you’ll have to determine if you want to install it yourself or have a professional install it. While self-installation is more cost-effective, it can be challenging if you’re not experienced with installing large appliances.
If you were to pay for a professional to come and install it for you, the cost would vary based on the type of appliance and size of the model, but a basic installation may cost about $100–$300. Sometimes the store where you purchase the appliance may offer services such as delivery and installation, as well as hauling away the appliance, so ask about those services before you buy.
Depending on what appliance you’re in the market for, here are some special features to look for that increase the product’s usability and overall effectiveness.
- Adjustable rack, top rack, or third rack
- Child locks
- Delay start
- Energy Star certification for energy-efficient savings
- Food pulverizers
- Heated dry
- Quick wash
- Sanitizer settings
- Self-cleaning filters
- Smart-home integration and remote control
- Soil sensor
- Stainless-steel internal components for longevity
- Automatic temperature control
- Internal light
- Internal water heater
- Moisture sensors for custom dry time
- Multiple specialized wash options
- Self-cleaning to eliminate odors
- Smart features such as remote control and troubleshooting
- Soil sensor
- Stackable versus side-by-side
- Stainless steel construction and internal components
- Steam and sanitizer functions
- Air purification
- Automatic temperature control
- Built-in ice maker
- Built-in water dispenser
- Digital controls
- Door alarms and child locks
- Door style
- Interior lighting
- LCD screen
- Smart features such as touchscreens, speakers, digital photographs, and voice activation
- Shelves and organization drawers
- WiFi connectivity
- Automatic defrost
- Child locks
- Convection cooking
- Large capacity
- Shortcut keys
- Sound control
- Touchpad controls
There’s nothing more frustrating than a major appliance that doesn’t work correctly. It can lead to headaches trying to figure out the issue or expensive repairs. Before buying an appliance, check to ensure it is well-reviewed and has no major red flags. Another major consideration is if it will work with your current home setup. For example, if your home doesn’t have a washer/dryer hookup, you may need to focus on portable washers.
While functionality and features are most important when it comes to appliances, that doesn’t mean you should ignore design. Most appliances come in black, white, silver, or other dark colors. However, there are appliances available in brighter, novelty colors.
Many modern appliances also include fingerprint-resistant designs that help them maintain a sleek, fresh look no matter how often they’re used. Other design elements include handle or door finish color, configuration (such as a French-door refrigerator or top-load washer), and material.
Frequently Asked Questions About Major Appliances
Do I have enough room to fit a major appliance?
To ensure you have enough room to fit your appliance, check the product’s dimensions carefully before purchasing, and measure the space and counter depth where you plan on installing the appliance. It’s always wise to leave a few extra inches of space next to the wall for a refrigerator and washer/dryer. If you want to save space, consider models such as a countertop microwave, mini refrigerator, or portable washer/dryer.
What capacity appliance do I need?
To determine what capacity appliance works best for your needs, consider how often you plan on using the appliance and how large your household is. For example, a family of four that eats dinner at home every night is likely to require a large-capacity dishwasher, while a single person living in an apartment is likely looking for something more cost-effective that saves space.
How much should I spend on a major appliance?
How much you should spend on a major appliance is up to you, and the range varies widely by type of appliance. It may be helpful to set a budget before you shop and look for models within that price range. Just because certain models are cheaper doesn’t mean they are less effective—they just may be lacking in size or extra features that high-end models have. Setting a budget and researching your options will help you save money and ensure you’re buying a great product.
How do I know if the brand I’m buying is reliable?
If you’re buying a major appliance from a brand listed above in this article, it’s likely to be well-made and last for years. However, if you’re buying from a lesser-known brand, take time to do your research and read professional and customer reviews to see what is being said about the brand and model. You should also look for products with extensive warranties to better protect yourself if the product doesn’t meet your standards.
What is the best warranty for high-end appliances?
If you’re looking for an additional warranty on your high-end appliances to protect you from wear and tear or breakage, there are several good options to choose from, such as Liberty Home Guard, American Home Shield, First American Home Warranty, and Select Home Warranty. You can find one that offers the coverage you need and fits your budget.
Can I install a major appliance myself?
Installing a new appliance is possible if you are handy and have the right tools available. However, if you want to leave the installation to the professionals, it is important to factor in installation costs when making a purchase.
Installing a dishwasher can be tricky. Watch the video below with This Old House plumbing contractor Richard Trethewey for step-by-step instructions on how to install a dishwasher:
If you have the proper hookup, front-loading washers and dryers are also relatively easy to install. Here is a video showing you how to install a front-loading washer and dryer:
If you’re installing an over-the-range microwave, you may need to install a hood for the exhaust. In this video, general contractor Tom Silva explains how to install a microwave hood with an exhaust fan in your kitchen:
When is the best time to buy a major appliance?
If you’re looking for a great deal on major appliances, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times of year to look for deals. However, if you look frequently, brands and retailers typically run promotions at various times of the year. You can also look for deals at the end of the month, right before manufacturers release new models.
Major Appliances To Consider
- Best Dishwashers
- Best Home Generators
- Best Microwaves
- Best Range Hoods
- Best Refrigerators
- Best Trash Compactors
- Best Washer-Dryer Sets
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