Your budget is tight and your washer has just konked out. You can’t justify the cost of a new washer, so you are considering buying a used washer. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going down that road, to help buy the best possible washer. On the one hand, a used washer is going to cost next to nothing compared to a new one, but if it breaks, you’re out of pocket for the repair expense. If something is about to break, neither you nor the seller is likely to know (unless you’re an appliance repair person). So, there is a gamble buying from a homeowner. Here are a few things to consider if you’ve decided to buy a used model.
  1. Online research: Use local sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji to start your search. They tend to be best for local, used merchandise. When you locate one that seems to have potential, request the brand and model number of the machine. With the model number look on repair forums and the manufacturer’s websites to see what the reviews of the model are and locate the owner’s manual. You can also discover if the model is Energy Star certified, how much water it uses, what its features are, etc. You will also get the measurements of the machine from the owner’s manual. If the model has been discontinued, you might want to consider moving on. Parts may not be available in the future (Check out our Resources page for websites to start your research).
  2. Avoid listings for machines without photos: The photo will let you know whether the body of the machine is in decent shape. Avoid any washers with rust on the body – it means it’s likely been exposed to a damp area and the inner parts may not be in good working order. Also, if the photo is taken outside, the machine might have been sitting there for a while and exposed to the elements and pests. It’s best to move to another one.
  3. Transportation: Make sure you or the seller can get the washer to your place and that you have enough people around to move it into place. There are independent moving services that may be able to help, although, if you need one, you might want to consider a refurbished model unless the washing machine is available for next to nothing.
  4. Visit in person: If after your research you think the washing machine has possibilities, visit in person. Look for the following:
    • Operation: Ideally, the washer will be connected so you can see it operating and see the room where it’s been in use. If it’s damp basement, the machine may have mouldy insides and you might want to pass. Check the body for rust, wear and tear and the control panel for wear and tear. With an electronic dashboard, make sure the buttons aren’t about to break or too worn out. With a dial, make sure it turns easily.
    • Exterior: Does the lid/door open and shut easily and if it’s a door, is the hinge swing in the right direction for you. Check the hoses and drainpipe to make sure everything is in good condition and the connections are watertight. If it’s not connected, at least see if you can plug it in to make sure it turns on. Check all the hoses and attachments, they may need to be replaced. The owner’s manual will help you locate the right part numbers.
    • Interior: Is there an odour from the machine (does it smell mouldy)? Is it clean? Turn the drum to make sure it revolves easily.
    • Noise and Operation: You’d like to hear it run for a quick cycle for noise or to make sure it’s running smoothly.
These are a few tips for buying a used washer. Check out our other articles on the washers page for how to buy, sell and maintain your washer.