Expensive Appliances vs. Not-So-Expensive Appliances
Should you buy an expensive high-end appliance over a simple appliance? I will tell my readers the same thing that I tell my customers: It all depends on what you personally find appealing. I usually lay out all the pertinent details so the customer can make an independent and informed decision…
Keep in mind, however, I am a repair tech and our company strictly repairs appliances. We are not here to sell people new appliances! I want to help people make an informed decision on whether they should repair or replace their existing appliance. Should they buy an expensive high-end refrigerator from Sub-Zero or oven from Viking? Or would would they be better off with an appliance from Whirlpool or an oven from Kenmore? It all boils down to personal appeal.
The other day, I was dispatched to a KitchenAid dryer that was not heating. Though Kitchen Aid is not particularly known for their dryers, a few of their models are quite fancy. Often times, whenever people think of KitchenAid, they think mixers. Almost every few hours, our dispatchers receive calls asking if we repair KitchenAid mixers (sorry, we don’t – btw, it’s usually better to buy a new mixer instead of repairing!)
Anyways… moving forward – KitchenAid, while not really known for their washers and dryers, they are vastly popular for their kitchen appliances like ovens, stoves, and refrigerators. We repair all major household appliances from KitchenAid including all the above as well as washing machines and dryers. As an Appliance Repair Technician, I know the mechanical function of dryers are all the same – with the exception of a few instances like certain new technologies in dryers to make them more “efficient”. I’ll explain the reasoning as to why I put efficient in quotation marks a little bit later in the article…
Back to the story: the KitchenAid dryer was near Naperville’s downtown area. A fairly young couple, who just bought their first house were planning on remodeling their home from scratch. They directed me towards their KitchenAid dryer and had informed me that the dryer heated momentarily and sometimes didn’t heat at all.
Before I opened up the dryer unit to run my diagnostics, I could tell this particular model was one of the newer expensive models and the couple informed me that their warranty period ended a few months ago. I opened up the machine, ran my diagnostic tests, and concluded that the relay board on the dryer was fried!
Does a relay board sound expensive? If you answered yes, then you are correct! The customer was not happy at all. How much do relay boards usually cost? This particular relay board was $475.39. The couple looked distraught at the total price of the repair based on the sheer expensiveness of the part price. Want to know something that added to the craziness? This specific model had two more computer boards to go with it! Each board was in the general ballpark of the relay board in terms of price!
The response I got from the couple was a response from any typical family: “Well…for a few more bucks we can just buy a new dryer!” I completely agree with that statement. I am not a salesman, I am a repair technician, and I want what’s best for my customer in the long run.
I responded back, “Yes sir, you definitely can buy a new dryer and I suggest that you do replace this dryer.” Why did I recommend getting replacing instead of repairing the dryer? I explained to the customer that I personally felt that the two other boards could go bad in the near future. The probability of the other boards going bad at some point is high and I wouldn’t want my customers to pay expensive repair prices for multiple boards. There was no way to guarantee that the other boards won’t go bad at some point.
If your not looking glitz and glamour, I encourage people to purchase regular dryers with no boards. In other words: buy a simple dryer – as simple as you can get!
Sure, the simple dryer might not have the same size capacity as the other higher-end dryers, but with regards to overall life expectancy, you can expect the regular simple dryer to last you 4 or 5 times longer than something five times its price range!
In all honesty, fancy appliances are not what they’re all hyped up to be. Some might agree or disagree with my assessment. If you are fortunate enough to have the budget to buy expensive appliances every few years or so, then the high-end appliance route might be for you. High-end appliances have larger capacities and look beautiful in homes. However, reality sets in when you need a repair and the estimate on the service invoice leaves customers stunned.
Don’t let the fancy gadgets and cool display fool you! Parts are very expensive on these high-end appliances and multiple things can go wrong within a few years. Even with extended warranties, majority of problems arise after the warranty period has ended. Is this by design or sheer coincidence? As an Appliance Repair Tech, I cannot answer that question on the manufacturer’s behalf. I can only speak on what I see from my own experiences in my line of work. Based on my experience, more than 80 % percent of repairs are done shortly after the warranty repair period has ended. Appliances that are in the 4 figures look beautiful in homes – who doesn’t want a high-capacity dryer that is almost 5 ft tall and is complete stainless steel with a fancy display/control board? However, as an educated consumer who has a tight budget in today’s economy, we would rather prefer the longevity and usefulness of an appliance over the aesthetics.
By purchasing a long-lasting simple dryer or a basic appliance over a fancy high-end one, you save yourself headaches and tons of money in the long run.