The best places to buy appliances in 2021, according to experts

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Shopping for a new appliance? For the best deals and overall experience, you may want to consider purchasing from a regional retailer — or becoming a Costco member.

Consumer Reports recently polled 48,000 shoppers for their thoughts on where to buy appliances. Participants rated the 76,000 appliance purchases they made between early 2019 and mid-2020.

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So where should you make your next major appliance purchase? We go over some of the top-ranked retailers below. While the overall rankings from the Consumer Reports survey are helpful, it’s more important to know if a store even delivers to your area or has the brands you want.

Thus, we’ll be taking a look at the benefits — and drawbacks — of buying from some of the top major appliance retailers across the country. 

Ranking the best stores to buy appliances

Only one national chain made it into Consumer Reports’ top five (Costco, 4th place). Regional appliance retailers otherwise dominate the top of the list, with Chicago-area Abt Electronics taking the number one spot.

What do regional chains offer that big box stores like Best Buy (16th place) and Lowe’s (20th place) do not? Quality of service, product selection, and in-store atmosphere are areas in which regional retailers boasted at- or near-perfect scores compared to most national chains. 

As for price, most national appliance sellers fell somewhere in the middle while many regional retailers scored above average. However, per the survey, Costco provides the best appliance deals overall.

One caveat to note: given the timeframe of purchases, these results may not fully reflect the inventory problems that arose during the pandemic. 

Where to buy appliances

Here’s a closer look at what some of the best major appliance retailers do well, and where they also fall short. 

Abt Electronics

This Chicagoland-based retailer not only specializes in small and large appliances, it also sells consumer electronics, furniture, and mattresses. It tops Consumer Reports’ list of best places to buy appliances for the 11th year in a row and delivers to all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.

Pros: 

  • Excellent customer service
  • Wide selection of major brands and models
  • Free shipping on most orders over $35

Cons: 

  • Delivery times much slower for much of the western USA
  • Competitive prices but not always the lowest out there

Shop appliances from Abt Electronics here.

Costco

Costco’s fourth-place ranking on Consumer Reports’ list of where to buy appliances is largely due to its outstanding deals. Although it’s a members-only warehouse, non-members can also buy from Costco; however, non-members will be on the hook for an additional fee.

Pros: 

  • Best prices on appliances overall 
  • Members-only promotions run often
  • Free removal of old appliances (may be affected by the pandemic)

Cons: 

  • Brand selection is limited
  • Most appliances are only available online
  • 5% non-member fee (it’s usually cheaper to buy a membership)

Shop appliances from Costco here.

Nebraska Furniture Mart

Nebraska Furniture Mart sells much more than what its name suggests. The retailer — which has physical stores in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas — took fifth place in Consumer Reports’ survey thanks to its wide selection of brands and superb customer service. It delivers to most areas of the United States, except for Alaska, Hawaii, and California.

Pros:

  • Many major brands and models available
  • Customer service is stellar
  • Open to price matching

Cons

  • No delivery to California, Alaska, or Hawaii 
  • Nationwide delivery is expensive

Shop appliances from Nebraska Furniture Mart here.

Amazon

The ever-ubiquitous Amazon ranks 10th on Consumer Reports’ list. It may not have the widest selection of well-known brands, but Amazon does serve up competitive prices — along with free delivery to any room of your choice for most items.  

Pros: 

  • Free delivery and placement for most items
  • Renowned customer service
  • Nominal hook-up and haul away fees

Cons:

  • Beware of less-than-savory third-party vendors
  • Decent selection but stock is often limited

Shop appliances from Amazon here.

Best Buy

Tech superstore Best Buy may not have cracked the top 10 of Consumer Reports’ list — it ranks 16th — but it’s still among the best national retail chains for buying major appliances. Along with regular appliance sales, Best Buy also offers a price match guarantee.

Pros: 

  • Free delivery with appliances $399 and up
  • Free in-store pick available
  • Regular sales and price match guarantee

Cons:

  • Delivery starts at $69.99 for orders under $399
  • Additional delivery fees outside of major metro areas
  • Optional installation and haul away can be costly

Shop appliances from Best Buy here.

Lowe’s

National hardware chain Lowe’s barely edged out The Home Depot for 20th place on Consumer Reports’ list of appliance stores because of its above-average selection of brands and models — especially at its retail locations.

Pros: 

  • Above-average selection
  • Plenty of stock at retail locations

Cons:

  • Middling customer service
  • Price matching policy may be tricky

Shop appliances from Lowe’s here.

Where can I get the best deals on appliances?

Most appliance stores roll out sales during major holidays, especially toward the end of the year. Alternatively, you can save on seasonal appliances (like grills) when you buy off-season. 

Should I buy an appliance online or in-store?

Buying an appliance online is more convenient — especially if you find a great deal from a regional store outside your area. However, in-store shopping allows you to see products up close and provides a more direct means for talking your way into extra savings on delivery costs or multi-item purchases.

Are regional appliance stores better than national chains?

Buying from a regional retailer has its benefits — namely when it comes to pricing and quality customer service. However, buying from a national chain is fine if you know exactly what you want; they also tend to have fewer area restrictions for delivery.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at reviews@businessinsider.com.

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