First, the pandemic changed some rules around buying big-ticket items like dishwashers and refrigerators. Then, the supply chain shortages smashed the rules. More recently, inflation has vaporized whatever was left of the rules.
While the best time of the year to buy large appliances might be whenever you can find the best deal, there are still periods of the year that are generally going to be the best times for buying refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers.
And there is good reason to be keenly aware of when appliance sales are happening. Buying a refrigerator may not be as financially momentous as buying a house or a car, but purchasing a large appliance can always take a big bite out of anyone’s budget.
Meanwhile, inflation has made the cost of large appliances an even heavier lift. According to the latest Consumer Price Index, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices saw the largest increase in 40 years, with a 9.1% increase just in the past year.
That makes it even more important to try and find a good deal on appliances, if you can. So if you’re looking to buy a big-ticket item like a refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine, here’s what you need to know.
The Best Times to Buy Appliances
According to experts, find the most savings by shopping at the following times:
— September to December.
— Holiday weekends.
— Spring and fall.
— End of the year or end of the month.
— Right now.
September to December
Historically, shoppers have had a pretty good chance of finding sales on appliances starting with Labor Day in September — which is a good time for sales across a range of categories — and then through the rest of the year.
“Major appliance brands generally release new models during the months between September to December, which is often the ideal time to find the best deals on appliances as retailers need to make room for new models,” says Kristen Gall, president of Rakuten Rewards, a cash-back and shopping rewards company headquartered in San Mateo, California.
There are exceptions, however, Gall says. “Certain appliances like refrigerators tend to release new models in the spring, and May is when retailers offer big rebates and savings on Maytag appliances for Maytag month,” Gall says of the annual promotion.
Holiday weekends — President’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving weekend (which generally begins with Black Friday and ends with Cyber Monday) — tend to be heavy on the sales.
But not every sale is created equally in terms of discounts, according to Metin Ozkuzey, co-founder and president of Designer Appliances, which has locations in Montclair and Bedminster, New Jersey.
Ozkuzey says generally retailers offer the best deals on appliances around Independence Day, Labor Day and Black Friday, with Black Friday being the biggest of the three.
“You can find more moderate savings around Memorial Day and Christmas, and minor savings around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, and Columbus Day,” Ozkuzey says.
The co-founder and vice president of Designer Appliances, John Carey, adds that these big sales are supported by the manufacturer, which makes it easier for retailers to hold sales.
“Our margin is usually 20% to 30%. The manufacturer cuts our price by 20% or 30% around these sales, and so that enables us to pass those savings along to our customers,” Carey says.
Gall, meanwhile, says that you may even see discounts in some stores during holiday weekends as steep as 50%.
Spring and Fall
This can sometimes be a good time to buy an air conditioner or a heater. Why?
“The appliance market is usually influenced by the seasons. In the summertime, weak refrigerators and AC systems break more often,” says Yu Amy Xia, associate professor of business analytics at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In the summer, you won’t find too many deals on a refrigerator, according to Xia. The manufacturers and retailers know that you won’t need a discount to entice you to buy that appliance. If it’s the summer and your refrigerator is broken, Xia says, “You just have to buy.”
Because companies that manufacture and sell heating and cooling systems tend to be less busy in the spring and fall — before and after demand is high — you’ll generally find discounts during these times of the year on any equipment that will cool or heat your home.
End of the Month and End of the Year
Inventory and day-to-day business concerns will sometimes affect whether a retailer holds a sale. While the holiday weekends and certain stretches of the spring and fall are especially good times — usually the best times — to find steep discounts on appliances, you can sometimes find them at the end of the month or end of the year, such as after Christmas.
Wei-Chung Wang, professor of business and economics at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, says discounts tend to kick in sometimes “when the inventory pressure looms. Retailers usually forecast out how much sale they’d be able to generate without considering the inventory cost, so whatever they cannot sell will hurt their revenue position for the quarter or year.”
So while you can jot down on the calendar the best times of the year to buy large appliances, you should still be on the lookout for sales no matter what month or day it is. Because you just never know.
Is Now a Good Time to Buy Large Appliances?
There are certain times of the year that are well known for appliances sales — but the best time to buy a refrigerator, a stove, a dishwasher, dryers and other home goods is whenever you see a sale price that you like.
“With looming supply chain issues, if you see a good deal on something you need, don’t wait,” Gall advises.
What Are the Best Strategies for Getting Deals on Large Appliances?
While the discounts on appliances may not be as plentiful or as steep as you’d like, there are some tactics you can try to bring down the price.
Sites, apps and browser extensions that offer cash back, like Rakuten, can help shave more money off already marked-down deals, according to Gall.
She also says that buying floor models could save you 10% to 20%.
Of course, if you have a credit card that offers cash back on purchases, that, too, can help bring down the price of a large appliance.
Gall also notes that because of the pandemic and some supply chain issues that persist, you’ll want to pay attention to delivery dates on websites. “Some products may be delayed three to six months,” she warns. “If you need it now, some retailers have a ‘show me what’s in stock’ filter on their site so you can see what is available immediately.”
So if you’re in the market for a large appliance, and you see a good deal, you probably shouldn’t hold out for a great deal. Grab the good deal now — and feel great about it.
Will Appliance Prices Go Down in 2022?
While obviously nobody knows for sure, Xia thinks so. “My guess is yes,” she says. “It will start to come down with the extra inventory and lower demand.”
It does seem like a logical guess. For one thing, the Federal Reserve has been rising interest rates to slow down inflation. Assuming that home buying slows down, which it already has, fewer newer homes likely will mean fewer appliances purchased and more inventory. Retailers tend to lower prices when there’s too much supply and not enough demand.
Meanwhile, Gall says, “Historically, some of the deepest discounts on appliances can be found from September through the end of the year, especially on holiday weekends like Labor Day.’
She thinks that shoppers will likely see good deals over the next few months, but the prices may not be as discounted as prior years.
Carey, on the other hand, is a little more optimistic. He says that last year, manufacturers cut their rebate programs significantly compared to pre-pandemic times.
“Luckily this year things seem to be back to normal,” Carey says. “We are seeing a lot of brands getting ready to offer good, instant discount savings.”
Are Appliances in Short Supply in 2022?
While there are still lingering supply chain issues, Walmart was in the news recently for having to cut prices at its stores, all in the name of reducing inventory. Target has made headlines for the same reasons.
“While there are certainly still supply chain issues that are affecting retailers receiving new inventory, many retailers have an excess of inventory in certain categories, including appliances, due to late shipments from orders last year and earlier this year,” Gall says.
She says that the pandemic sidelined some of the consumer shopping that was expected to have this spring and summer, and, well, now some stores have too many appliances.
“Some retailers are offering discounts because they have so much inventory that they need to clear out,” Gall says.
But it really depends what appliances you’re looking for, Carey says.
“Things are still pretty dynamic in the marketplace,” Carey says. “High end appliances are still extremely hard to find. If you are doing a kitchen remodel and plan to use high end appliances the lead time will be at a minimum six months but we’ve seen people waiting 12 months or longer.”
But he says that with the lower and mid-level costing appliances, “the outlook is much better.”
He also says that it isn’t that you won’t find any high-end appliances. It just may not be the one you want.
“It’s possible to find great appliances in stock across all price points and qualities if you are open to options,” Carey says. “However, if you have your heart set on a particular model, and it’s out of stock you’ll be waiting a long time. We’ve seen this with Bosch dishwashers. It’s almost impossible to get one until the middle of next year.”
Are Appliances Cheaper at Costco?
While Costco is known for its deep discounts on bulk items, they are also known for selling appliances, clothing, books, lawn equipment, tires and a slew of merchandise that you’ll find at department stores. Shopping surveys, however, often show that there is no one store — not Costco, not Amazon, not Target or Best Buy — that has the cheapest appliances. If there was one clear winner, that one store would probably be where everybody shops, and every other store would go out of business.
But Costco, unlike many retailers, often includes delivery and basic setup and even hauling away the old appliance in their pricing of large appliances, and that’s something you’ll want to consider, when you comparison shop for appliances.
[READ: The Best Time to Buy Everything.]
Is It Better to Buy Appliances in a Bundle?
Xia says that you can absolutely save money by buying appliances in a bundle. Gall agrees, saying that the discounts can be pretty significant.
“If you are remodeling your kitchen or are in the market for more than one appliance, bundling appliances together can save you money – sometimes up to 20% in discounts,” she says.
Gall says that manufacturers will sometimes offer better rebates on bundle packages. She also points out that if you use a cash back site like Rakuten, you may earn even more, generally up to 10% cash back.
Carey has been seeing manufacturers offering rebate programs when you buy a package of appliances of the same brand for Labor Day. So with any luck, manufacturers will keep doing that for all holidays, year-round.
But, of course, whether appliance sales are offered routinely throughout the rest of the year, that remains to be seen. “Things are definitely getting better from an inventory and pricing standpoint, but we still don’t think things will be totally back to normal until the mid to end of 2023,” Carey says.
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What Is the Best Time of Year to Buy Large Appliances? originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 08/08/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.