applince store

How Does $500 Sound in Exchange for a Scratch or Dent?

DEAR MARY: I love your columns that I read in our local newspaper. We need to purchase a new washing machine and would like your recommendation. I tried to find a column you previously wrote on this subject but was unsuccessful. We need a large capacity machine for our large family. Thank you. Monica

Sears and Retail

DEAR MONICA: Go to and you will find all of the columns including those that do not show up in your newspaper. When you get to that website, there is a search box in the upper right area, “search my blog.” Type in washing machine or some other key word(s) and you will find what you’re missing. You can always count on every Everyday Cheapskate column to be archived at this site.

I’m thinking you should head over to Sears Outlet website. Because Sears carries so many brands of appliances and they have so many stores across the country, this outlet site consistently offers some of the best deals out there. This is where damaged and refurbished appliances go to be sold at highly discounted prices.

When you get to the site, expect to find every dented washer Sears has available for sale at the time you search, located in every Sears Outlet store in the country.

I find Sears Outlet to be a great learning site. It’s amazing just how many models each appliance manufacturer has and what the suggested retail price was before it was sent to the outlet. Outlet appliances will be new or refurbished, and at prices around 50 percent off. 

You can study each appliance’s specs and even find customer reviews for many items. I am sometimes wary of reviews at this site because, as you’ll discover, some people give an appliance a lousy review because it came dented or scratched—the very reason they got such a great deal on it. So keep your common sense handy as you research.

I love the fact that you can see and learn exactly what’s wrong with each item that has landed it in the outlet. Most of the time these exceptions are simply cosmetic, like a dent or scratch. You can learn what it means to purchase a “refurbished” appliance with a manufacturer’s warranty. Then check the store location of the item, how to pick it up if you are local, or what the shipping charge will be should you need to go that route. Check daily as things do change quickly.

I purchased a clothes dryer from the Sears Outlet online about six years ago. It came from Ohio, arrived on a big truck with no box—just packing material and plastic wrap around it. It had no owner manual. And I didn’t care. The dryer was exactly as pictured on the site with a big scratch on the side; $557 with shipping, as opposed to its regular retail price of $1,100. I downloaded the manual from the manufacturer’s website and to me it was brand new. The scratch disappeared once set next to its matching washer.

Our big move to Colorado last year, turned out to be a learning experience with Whirlpool appliances. With our new home, we inherited a gas range, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer—all Whirlpool Gold and 12 years old. I’d fully planned to replace all of these appliances, but quickly changed my mind after only a week of using them. It helps that they were so well taken care of. Still, these days, 12 years is closing in on becoming obsolete for many appliances. The washer and dryer set are fantastic workhorses. They have no digital displays, just your basic settings. I couldn’t be happier with all of the appliances.

As you are looking at washers, I would suggest you stick with heavy duty, large capacity GE, Whirlpool or Maytag. You’ll find many options and choices at the Sears Outlet and appliance store in your local area like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Do not go with Samsung appliances. You will regret that to the day you die. Samsung appliances are generally, in my opinion, notorious for failing and being very expensive to repair, if you can possibly find anyone to work on them.

Remember, the fewer electronics and digital bells and whistles on a washer, the cheaper it will be to maintain over many years, because you have fewer expensive options that could breakdown.

A top loading washer without the agitator would be my first choice. However, a front loader will give you tremendous water savings. Just have to make sure you following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully with regard to sanitizing and cleaning the front loader’s drum (or “basket”) at least monthly. The purpose is to keep mold from growing inside the gaskets, which can be a problem with some front loading washers.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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8 replies
  1. Janie Dale says:

    I finally found a washing machine that lasts!!!! Speed Queen. I won’t ever own another Maytag, Whirlpool or GE. My husband is a welder, hence his clothes come home with metal dust, grease, rust, etc. I also have 2 Boxers and yes they shed, especially on bedding and rugs. My Speed Queen gets everything clean. I bought the midline model. It still has knobs, I get to choose the water level instead of a sensor that never covers the clothes with water. When I choose hot water, that’s what I actually get. It is pricier than those of the same capacity but they are still made with ALL METAL PARTS, WOOHOO!!! And it’s about the only manufacturer who is still entirely Made in the USA, 5 year warranty and 15 years on the transmission. It’s the best $850 I ever spent.

    Neither of the Maytag or Whirlpool washing machines I owned lasted more than a month past the warranty. That was with doing all the maintenance and everything the manual instructed. The GE I owned lasted about 1.5 years past warranty.

    I truly wouldn’t recommend any machine that has plastic parts. Talk to the person at your local appliance part store. They will even tell you which specific machines they see the least repairs and parts sold. I’ve found parts dealers and repairman (not with a specific manufacturer) are the best source for recommendations when it comes to big ticket items.

  2. Jule barta says:

    I cannot stand my front loader washer and would never buy another. I have to leave the door open so it doesn’t build up a smell. It takes longer to wash and my clothes do not come out smelling or feeling clean. I wash my workout clothes and the come out still smelling like BO. Other strong orders also linger where in my old top loader never had a problem. In order to get my clothes clean I have to wash them twice for heavily soiled clothes, and for others increase the cycle and water level. This to me defeats the purpose of buying a front loader to save water. I bought a brand/model that had good ratings and always use detergent recommended by Consumer Reports. My old Kenmore top loader lasted 15 years, never had major problems. Sadly we had to get rid of it when Sears stopped making replacement parts for it.

  3. Julie N says:

    I went from a front loading washer (that outlasted the normal life of the model by years) to a top-loader with no agitator. I am greatly regretting that choice, as I have seen a tremendous increase in the lint produced and corresponding wear & tear on the clothes.
    I never had problems with odor or mold in the front-loader—perhaps because I never used liquid fabric softener, and did use bleach in white loads, and borax and vinegar in most other loads. Other than cleaning solids from the gasket (rarely) I never had to do any special cleaning. Maybe I was just blessed, but I think a large part of it was not having buildup caused by using slimy fabric softener.

  4. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    We just went to Sears and got a Kenmore $150 microwave for $30. It was an “open box” and was marked “used” in the clearance section of the store. We don’t think it even was ever taken out of the box, let alone used! Our last microwave, a Kenmore too and just stopped heating, was from 2007, so it lived a pretty good life for an appliance these days! Happy campers here!!

    • Ann says:

      We still use an Amana microwave from 1987. The inside light stopped working a few years ago, but that’s it. Works like a champ and still looks good, too.


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