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How to buy or repair a second-hand appliance: CHOICE

Expert tips on used whitegoods, electronics and more!

Last updated: 04 May 2023

CHOICE experts have released a new guide for buying used appliances, along with advice on how you can maintain these products to save money and help the environment.

"Buying a pre-loved appliance will not only save you money - the lower price tag means you can also get access to high-grade products from premium brands that might normally be out of your price range," says Kennedy. 

"If you're conscious about your waste and the environment, maintaining your appliances and selling them when you no longer have a use for them also ensures they are kept out of landfill for as long as possible," says Kennedy. 

Which appliances to buy second-hand

CHOICE experts have found the best appliances to buy used are those that have a long lifespan such as fridges, washing machines and dryers.

"Expensive items such as whitegoods and TVs can live out good second lives. It's worth keeping an eye out for newer appliances, as they should generally be more efficient than older appliances. This will save you money in running costs, and they won't be as close to the end of their expected lifespan," says Kennedy.

How to choose a good second-hand appliance

If you're researching an old appliance, CHOICE reviews allow you to browse discontinued items and compare them against the latest products. 

"Reviews about product performance or reliability will help you find a good deal, so do your research. If you're close to buying an appliance, our experts strongly recommend giving it a close inspection and a test run if possible," says Kennedy. 

To check if a product has been recalled for being unsafe, put the product's serial, model or any other identifying number or code into the search bar on the ACCC's Product Safety Australia website.

Where and when to buy a second-hand appliance

"Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree can help you make a quick purchase directly from other people. You can also post what you're looking for on some of these marketplaces if you've got a bit more time to find things that may not be posted," says Kennedy.

"Used-appliance shops also have some advantages over online marketplaces. Every store we spoke to assured us they test appliances themselves before selling them, some of them even letting you test the product in store yourself before you make your purchase. Many shops also provide warranties with their products," says Kennedy.

Repairing and maintaining old appliances

"Our experts say regular cleaning is one of the best ways to keep many household appliances running longer. Minor issues such as a broken wheel on a dishwasher or door seals can usually be fixed by yourself, or you could seek out the help of a repair cafe," says Kennedy.

If there's a major issue with an expensive appliance that's out of warranty or beyond its reasonable lifespan, CHOICE and repair experts suggest seeking out an established repair business as an alternative to throwing it in landfill.

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