LIFE IN NEW JERSEY: Before we left for the USA, we sold off or gave away nearly all our Australian appliances. It was a strangely discomforting feeling, ridding ourselves of all this consumer materialism; like we were taking up some weird middle age vow of poverty.
Once we arrived in New Jersey though, we were then desperate to buy a number of new appliances, to be able to do even the basics of food preparation or other everyday tasks. Being completely unfamiliar with stores here, we stuck with the only two retailers we knew: Kmart and Target. In hindsight, I wished we hadn’t. They both had limited ranges and some of the brands we purchased were just rubbish, having to be replaced only after a year. If only we had known that there were many other better retail options available.
So where are the best places to buy appliances and white goods in NJ?
Nowhere hard to find, and yet, nowhere I would instinctively have known to go.
To save others this problem, here is a list of major stores that sell a wide range of brands (mostly) and cover many needs both for the new and experienced expat.
Eight Best Places to Buy Appliances and White goods in NJ
Goods sold instore: large appliances (white goods) including refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. Sears stock major brands such as Kenmore, Bosch, Whirlpool, MAYTAG, GE, LG, Frigidaire, Samsung and Kitchen Aid. They also cover a wide variety of small appliances including kitchen appliances, sewing, vacuums, fans, heating and air-conditioners.
Goods sold online: the same as above.
Website for online purchases: http://www.sears.com/appliances/b-1020003
Store Locater: http://www.sears.com/
Notes: Sears are probably the best known supplier of appliances to most Americans. According to them, they are the No.1 seller in the country. One of the reasons they are so popular is they provide excellent after-purchase service.
- Their delivery arrangements are very well organized and executed. When they deliver, they can take your old fridge or other major appliances away for you for a $10 charge.
- Sears back up your purchases with an extra service beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. For a fee, they provide ‘protection agreements’ for a wide range of goods, which involve Sears own maintenance group (Sear’s Blue Crew) who provide maintenance, repairs, installation and more for very reasonable costs.
- Instore service is rated very high in most cases.
- Their website provides very comprehensive information on all their services and consumer information about purchasing different brands.
- Sears price match their competitors in the majority of cases.
2. Best Buy
Goods sold instore: large and small appliances, white goods, and electronics.
Website for online purchases: http://www.bestbuy.com/
Notes: Best Buy are very well known in the US but for my money, it’s electronics that they seem to do best. Like Sears they offer special ‘Protection’ plans for customers. However, these are nearly all focused on electronics, rather than appliances. Instore service can be variable from all reports. They seem to have either very good or very poor service.
Goods sold instore: washing machines, driers, fridges, microwaves, stoves, lamps, lighting, snow-blowers, BBQs and power tools.
Goods sold online: As above but a wider range of kitchen appliances than could be seen instore. Online are listed a wide array of kitchen and specialty appliances as well as irons and air purifiers. They stock KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, CuisinArt and Chef’s Choice brands.
Website for online purchases: http://www.lowes.com/
Notes: For any Australians reading this, Lowes in New Jersey, do not sell men’s clothing nor do they have footballers starring in their advertisements! For any non-Australians, if you realize that the above is what they are known for in Australia, you’ll realize why I have never set foot in their stores for 3 years.
In reality, Lowes are much like the Bunnings hardware stores in Australia, except they also cover major appliances. They not only display these instore but have an entire area dedicated to renovating kitchens with new appliances.
Customer reviews of Lowes seem to be quite favourable about service and prices. Their online site is very useful and offers extra consumer information on buying different appliances. While it’s not obvious that they match prices, they have inventory sales and provide a number of discounts and rebates.
4. Home Depot
Goods sold instore: large appliances/white goods and small handyman appliances, snow-blowers, BBQs, power tools, generators etc.
Goods sold online: A very wide array of appliances, both large and small. Besides white goods and kitchen appliances, Home Depot online carries sewing machines, personal care equipment (oral care, hair care, fitness and health equipment) and vacuums.
Website for online purchases: http://www.homedepot.com/
Store Locater: http://www.homedepot.com/StoreFinder/index.jsp
Notes: Like Lowes, Home Depot is probably better known for its hardware and other home improvement products and services. However, it does a reasonable job at competing with the big boys in this area and has gained a few positive reviews from purchasing customers. It’s unclear if this chain will price match however, they offer rebates and coupons, and special deals regularly.
5. PC Richard
Goods sold instore: large appliances,white goods, electronics and small appliances
Goods sold online: large appliances, white goods, electronics and small appliances
Store locator: http://www.pcrichard.com/storelocator/store-landing.jsp
Notes: P.C. Richard is a specialist retailer that operates in NJ, NY and Connecticut. They periodically have sales of slightly scratched; dented appliances (what we would call seconds), which can provide low cost options for expats that have to buy a lot of appliances like us. They also have their own service department like Sears, that do house calls to service/fix appliance problems.
6. Karl’s Appliance Store
Goods sold instore: big appliances and white goods
Goods sold online: big appliances and white goods
Store locater: http://www.karlsappliance.com/locations.html
Notes: Karl’s Appliance stores are another retailer who perhaps don’t do the volume of business in NJ that other retailers do because there is only a limited number of stores. They do not claim to match competitor pricing but do offer some rebates and specials on certain lines.
Goods sold instore: limited number of small kitchen appliances, limited white goods, computers, TVs and other electricals
Goods sold online: large and appliances, white goods.
Notes: Most Costco stores offer a limited number of appliances and electronic products for sale at seemingly very low prices. Their product range varies according to the season and consumer demand. Convenience and price are appealing factors that drive purchase instore. Here you can pick up almost anything while you are shopping for groceries or any other number of things. However, the online Costco store has a far wider range of products for consumers to review. Costco stores require you to become a member before allowing you instore to even look at their product offerings. Failing this, you can ask a Costco member to take you with them and get in that way.
Goods sold instore: big and small appliances and white goods
Goods sold online: online big and small appliances and white goods.
Notes: Walmart is an iconic US retail chain that is found in every state, including NJ. Walmart stores all offer a range of small appliances, large appliances plus a huge range of other merchandise, and even groceries and fresh food. Prices for small appliances can be very competitive but long queues and crowded stores can be a disincentive.
There are individual specialty appliance stores in many locations (non-chain) that also provide good ranges of appliances. Check their pricing to make sure you are getting a competitive deal. And there is always the buy online and pick-up at the store option for many of the above retailers.