You might be wondering what the difference is between a refurbished dishwasher and a used dishwasher. It’s kind of like buying a “Pre-owned” car from a dealer and a used car from your neighbour. A refurbished model has been used before, but it has been inspected, tested and cleaned and any parts that were worn and/or visibly about to break are replaced before it’s resold. There is less risk associated with buying a refurbished model versus a used model and they are considerably less expensive than a new one.

Here are a few things to think about when buying a refurbished dishwasher from a retailer.

    1. Measurements:  Dishwashers come in two common sizes: 24″ (standard) and 18″ (compact), and portable and built-in. Once you’ve narrowed down your requirements, you’ll know what your options are.
    2. Hardwired or plug-in: Depending on how your current dishwasher was installed, you’ll have to see if you need an electrician to install your new-to-you dishwasher. While not as common anymore, some dishwashers are still hardwired.
    3. Visit in person: Online want ads sites like Craigslist and Kijiji are the best way to find local refurbishers. Once you locate a few, if you have a certain brand in mind, call ahead. Sometimes refurbishers specialize in specific brands because they’re familiar with them and can fix them easily. The variety is often much bigger in the showroom than what you see online. And because these appliances are refurbished (also scratch and dent are often sold in the same places), you’ll want to find a dishwasher you’ll be most comfortable with – there will be wear and tear and some marks might irk you more than others. Just ask yourself, “Will this bug me once I’ve been using it for a week, or will I notice it anymore?” A lot depends on the prominence the mark and the placement of your dishwasher in your kitchen and your own level of tolerance.
    4. Model and serial numbers: These can help you do some quick research if you have your smartphone with you. You can use a repair forum to find out how old the dishwasher is, and check to see if the model has any persistent problems – which could easily have been fixed by the refurbisher, but good to ask. You can also pull the owner’s manual off the manufacturer’s website to find out its features, performance, noise level rating and whether it’s Energy Star certified.
    5. Durability: Test the dishwasher by opening the door, making sure it opens easily and locks securely and that the springs are in working order – it shouldn’t just fall open. Look at the seal around the door to make sure it’s still in good condition or brand new. While you’re at it, look at the controls and placement. How worn are the buttons? Are they hidden controls or on the front panel? Which do you prefer? If you’re tracking down a replacement for a panelled dishwasher, make sure your panel will fit on the refurbished dishwasher.
    6. Interior: Look at the interior and inspect the trays, cutlery racks, and other features. A stainless interior is more durable than plastic. Plastic interiors discolour easily (tomato sauce is a killer!), while a stainless interior looks new after years of use. They are also much quieter than plastic interiors. Check the sprayers to make sure they’ve been cleaned or replaced. You’ll be able to see whether there is a self-cleaning filter or a manual filter. Self-cleaning filters (built-in food macerators) are noisier than manual filters but never need to be cleaned.
    7. Exterior: Inspect the hoses and drainage pipe. Ideally, they should be new, but if the dishwasher was lightly used, they may be the original ones. Check for splits, cracks or obvious signs of wear. Asked to have them replaced if it concerns you.
    8. Warranty and service: Depending on the retailer, the warranty will vary, anywhere from 3 months to one year. Ask what the warranty includes – parts only or parts and labour. In the event that your machine breaks outside the warranty period, ask whether they also service their machines.
    9. Delivery, installation, and removal of the old dishwasher: ask about the delivery fee, installation, and removal of the old appliance. Some refurbishers will remove it for a fee, others don’t charge. There are also municipalities where appliances are picked up on garbage day, although you are responsible for getting it to the curb.

For more information on buying, selling and maintaining your dishwasher, check out our other articles on our Dishwashers page.

To start your dishwasher buying journey, check out our Resources page for some great research sites.