When secondhand pays

Last reviewed: August 2011

We generally don't recommend buying used appliances, because you'll miss out on the latest efficiencies and innovations. Case in point: A refrigerator made today could cost $100 less to run per year than a decades-old model, and it's likely to have better storage features. But homeowners sometimes ditch fairly new appliances if they're remodeling and the existing units don't match the new décor. So if the age of the appliance is in the repair zone of our Repair-or-replace timeline (available to subscribers), the price is less than half that of a new model, and it's a product with a low repair rate, you might consider buying secondhand. Habitat for Humanity's ReStores are one source for used appliances; proceeds go to help local affiliates. You can also search the Internet for used-appliance outlets in your area.