Boston Appliance has been in business for over 60 years, and in that time we’ve gotten pretty familiar with the patterns and cycles of the appliance industry. Just like you might buy snowboarding gear in the Spring to save some cash, we know that the best time to buy appliances revolves around demand and product updates.
It’s a little harder for consumers to figure out when to buy appliances, though, because there is no obvious “off-season” in this industry. So we compiled this month-by-month breakdown of the best time of year to buy appliances, as dictated by the manufacturer’s yearly promotional sales cycles and rebate schedules.
How to Use This Guide (And How Not To)
Appliances are typically a need-driven purchase. As in, “my dishwasher leaks all over my floor mid-cycle, and now I have to hand wash my dishes until I get a new one.” No matter what time of year it is, a new sale is always just around the corner (a sale accompanies every major holiday, just for starters).
Our goal is to point out the prime buying opportunities sprinkled throughout the year. You will never be more than a month removed from a market that is favorable to consumers. So if your dishwasher breaks in mid-September, you can make a smarter purchase knowing prices on last year’s models will drop dramatically over the next 4-6 weeks.
One key note: there’s usually no reason to hold out beyond the next sale, unless you’re purchasing for a new home or renovation project far in the future, or are anticipating an appliance failure more than a year out.
Here’s why: appliances aren’t like clothes, which will hit the shelves at 350% markup, and still turn a profit when they land on the 50% off rack. (Clothing retailer only makes a 75% profit…poor guy.)
The margins in the appliance industry are much slimmer, and as a result appliance prices just don’t fluctuate much. So if you spot a low price on an appliance you need, buy it. It’s probably not getting any lower and you are going to kick yourself for waiting 6 months for minor price fluctuations (less than 5% difference between any given promo).
The Best Time of Year to Buy Appliances
January (…is the best time to buy a grill)
Grills, Grills, Grills: Grills are out of season and dealers would love to cut you a great deal to sell a grill in the dead of winter. If you have room to store it in the garage (or under a tarp), you can save a bunch of cash by buying out of season. You’ll be able to throw the first barbecue of the summer with the money you saved.
Appliance Packages: On the heels of new product releases in the last quarter of the year, manufacturers update their rebate programs to sweeten the deal on brand new appliance packages.
Clearance Leftovers: You may find year-end clearance sales trailing into January, as dealers slash prices to get rid of last year’s models and make room on their floor.
The downside: most clearance stock has been picked through in December, so the selection is usually light.
The upside: if find something you need, it’s probably been discounted on 2-3 separate occasions and has arrived at the lowest price it will hit all year.
Holiday Sales: New Year’s Day (1/1), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday)
Grills are still a smart purchase.
Holiday sales: Valentine’s Day (2/14), President’s Day (third Monday)
Grills hold steady at a low, out-of-season price most of the way through March. The arrival of Spring means people are itching to get outdoors, and grill prices will creep higher as the weather warms up. Expect Spring Sales with discounts on select grills manufacturers are pushing (the cheaper models with large production runs).
By the time mid-April rolls around, noteworthy bargains on grills disappear. If you wait until Memorial Day (May) or Independence Day (July), you’ll be paying full price.
Holiday sales: St. Patrick’s Day (3/17), Easter (first Sunday after the Paschal full moon)
Tax Refund Sales: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, despite your best intentions to wrap them up early for once, you procrastinated your taxes again this year. Don’t worry — so did everyone else. With the mid-April filing comes the wave of tax refund sales.
Graduation Sales: You don’t need a freshly inked diploma to take advantage of sales targeted toward recent grads. Small appliances like coffee makers, compact refrigerators, and microwaves — anything that might help a new graduate land on his or her feet out of college — goes on sale for the next couple of months.
May (…is the best time to buy a refrigerator)
Last Year’s Refrigerators: Most manufacturers release new appliance models near the end of the year, but refrigerators are the exception. Refrigerators have a higher failure rate in the heat, and manufacturers look to capitalize by releasing the latest year’s model in advance of summer. New refrigerator models typically come out in May, which means the old ones go on clearance.
Graduation sales are still alive and well.
Holiday sales: Mother’s Day (second Sunday), Memorial Day (last Monday)
Graduation ceremonies have probably tapered off a little bit, but that doesn’t mean marketers have stopped targeting the lucrative 18-25 demographic. Grad-themed sales leak into June, just because school schedules vary so widely.
Holiday sales: Father’s Day (third Sunday)
Independence day sales: Grills, beverage centers and other warm-weather appliances take front and center in the weeks leading up to July 4th. Manufacturers will put their most popular models on sale, as outdoor appliances fly off the shelves en masse for the biggest grilling holiday of the year.
Holiday sales: Independence Day (7/4)
Tax-Free Weekend (MA-specific): Every year since 2004 (except for 2008), the Massachusetts governer has signed a bill to enact a tax-free weekend to stimulate the state’s economy. Combine the tax-free weekend with ongoing sales and rebates for the chance to walk away with criminally low pricing on new appliances.
Manufacturers unveil new products in September and October (except for refrigerators, which come out in May). Look for last year’s models in the clearance section, as dealers start to bring the new models onto the showroom floor for display.
Visiting a showroom and see a floor model you like? Even if it’s not advertised, ask your salesperson whether they can cut you a deal on that floor unit — or any similar model. You may discover the dealer is more than happy to cut you a deal, especially if they need the room for a shiny new model.
Holiday sales: Labor Day (first Monday)
Manufacturers continue to roll out new products; dealers continue to discount last year’s models. Keep scouring clearance centers and calling dealers for special pricing on floor models.
Holiday Sales: Columbus Day (second Monday)
November (…is the best time to buy appliance packages)
Black Friday: Obviously, the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year, and the appliance industry isn’t exempt from the frenzy. Do your research early, compare special prices the day of the sale and pull the trigger (over the phone, preferably, because showrooms will be swamped).
Small appliances are money on Black Friday – anything that could make a good gift will see major price cuts on Black Friday.
Appliance packages: Most of next year’s models have landed in showrooms by now, but there’s an overlap where rebates are still available for the products the new models replaced. Model upgrades are typically minor, so unless you need that revolutionary new feature, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying year-old models and collecting the package rebates.
Pairing last year’s models with this year’s package rebates is a winning combo to save money on your kitchen renovation.
Holiday sales: Veteran’s Day (11/11), Thanksgiving (4th Thursday)
Cyber Monday: It’s Black Friday, but for online sales! Major appliances are going to cost you an arm and a leg for freight, so keep your eyes out for free delivery (a common Cyber Monday bonus), or focus your attention on smaller appliances that won’t cost a ton to ship.
Holiday / End-of-year closeout sales: All those new products that came out in September and October? They’ve fully replaced last year’s models in our showrrom. The previous models pile up in the clearance center over the holidays, and dealers look to clear them out before the end of the fiscal year for reporting purposes. Plenty of appliances sitting around in December get discounted more than once — so if it’s in good shape, it’s probably an amazing deal.
Holiday sales: Christmas (12/25)
You know when to buy…now, learn what to buy. Check out our free appliance buying guides for expert buying advice from industry experts.