Savvy shoppers know that there’s no reason to pay full price for a large appliance in November. Black Friday is no longer just a day but a season, so you can skip the long lines and shop right now.

We breezed through the sale sections at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears and found some of our top-performing appliances at rock-bottom prices of 40 percent off or better. "But not every discount is a good deal, especially if you end up with a brand that’s repair-prone," says Mark Allwood, CR's market analyst for large appliances.

So do your homework before opening your wallet. Here are five things to know to get the best possible bargain:


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1. Not Every Suite Is a Sweet Deal
You might be tempted by offers and rebates on matching kitchen suites—typically a refrigerator, range, dishwasher, and microwave from the same maker. But Consumer Reports' tests have shown that it’s difficult to find brands that combine top performance and reliability across all four categories.

Take the Samsung Chef Collection suite, for example. In our tests, the Samsung RF34H9960S4 four-door refrigerator, $3,600, and the Samsung NE58H9970WS induction range, $3,700, were top performers. But the Samsung DW80H9970US dishwasher, $1,440, and the Samsung ME21H9900AS over-the-range microwave, $350, missed the cut. While the microwave has some pluses, Samsung dishwashers are repair-prone, according to our annual product reliability survey.

2. Don’t Buy Large Appliances by Brand Alone
Some consumers are brand loyal, and if you’re one of them, keep in mind that not all models from one manufacturer are created equal.

We tested two Kenmore three-door French-door refrigerators with comparable prices. One of our top performers, the Kenmore Elite 74093, $2,800, aced our tests for temperature control and energy efficiency. Its brandmate, the Kenmore 73063, $2,400, had very good temperature control and energy use but was one of the noisiest models in our tests.

The GE Artistry kitchen suite of appliances
The GE Artistry kitchen suite
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3. Always Try for a Better Bargain
Sure, the prices are low, but you may be able to get an even better bargain by haggling. In a subscriber survey conducted by CR, 30 percent of major-appliance shoppers haggled for a better price, and those who succeeded ended up saving a median of $98. A smaller percentage of small-appliance shoppers attempted to get a lower price, but those who succeeded ended up saving a median of $40.

And here’s a winning trick: Ask whether you can buy a floor model or one that's slightly blemished (in a spot that won't show) for less.

4. Don’t Overlook Shopping Online
Though you wouldn't think twice about buying a toaster or a coffee maker online, ordering a large appliance online takes a bigger leap. But it’s one that more and more shoppers are willing to make, especially if they visit a store first.

After all, you’ll probably want to get a firsthand look at the materials and controls of the refrigerator or dishwasher you’re considering. Ordering online often comes with free shipping, though you probably can’t skip out on tax. And you can still attempt to barter by contacting a customer-service rep either by phone or in an online chat.

5. Get Those Free Extras
Even if you fail to chip away at the sale price, there are other ways to save on a large appliance, such as asking the retailer to waive fees for shipping or delivery. Many already offer this service and also include free haul-away of your old appliance. Ask whether installation is included, especially if you’re just replacing one appliance with another rather than undertaking an entire kitchen remodel.

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