Which is the Best Appliance Brand to buy?


dryerOne of the most common questions asked when an appliance can’t be fixed is which is the best brand to buy?


The answer should all be no surprise:

All brands no, matter how good, will have problems with a particular model every now and again.

What you probably don’t know is that most larger manufacturers bring out a new model, washing machine , dryer, fridge, microwave etc every 90-120 days. That means they replace the old models every 3-4 months. The problem with this rapid turnover is new machines are not ‘field tested’ by customers in the same way they were 20 years ago. If a faulty pump is supplied to the manufacturer they may use if for 2-3 new model washing machines. Six months down the track customers start ringing to complain their machine will not pump out the water.

Once that happens the Brand gets an undeserved reputation for poor quality. Good companies try to repair the products as quickly as they can but it can do a great deal of damage to a company’s reputation before the fault is recognised and the offending part replaced. We repaired a particular brand of bar fridge a few years back. The fridge cost the hotel chain $180 odd. The cost of the repair was $120 and we repaired over 200. Despite us sending reports to the head office of the company telling them what the issue was they proceeded to sell thousands of these small bar fridges to hotel chains all round Australia. The company concerned eventually pulled out of Australia altogether. The faulty part … a $2.50 filter-dryer!

It is an economic fact that 99% of all brands outsource some part of the manufacture to other companies. It may be as small as a screw or as important as a compressor for a fridge or a gearbox for a washing machine. The point is most companies buy in something they don’t make themselves.

Oddly enough outsourcing is exactly why some ‘no name’ brands can produce very high quality products for a fraction of the cost the big brands can. Let’s say you want to build a washing machine:

  • The outer box is the same for all brands.
  • There are massive companies that simply make motors, pumps, electronic computer boards etc.washing machine factory
  • There are companies who assemble machines.

So if you wish to build 500 washing machines you just go along and order 500 washing machines with this quality of pump, this standard of finish on the cabinet etc.. The company that puts the machine together will supply you with 500 washing machines plus 3% extra in the way of spare parts to cover the average failure rate. You also have a contract which says that if the failure rate exceeds 3% you have certain legal rights.

Because the pump or motor builders are so large and only produce pumps or motors, they can undercut all other suppliers so a great many companies order their parts from just a few suppliers. Even brand name manufacturers find it simpler and cheaper to order outsourced parts like pumps.

So many smaller importers can and now do buy the same quality parts as the big boys.

dollar iconShould you buy a ‘no-name’ brand?

The problems with ‘no-name’ brands are:

  1. Unless you pull one to pieces you don’t know what parts have been used and what if any shortcuts have been taken e.g. internal hoses taped on to outlets using electrical tape and not clamped is unfortunately common in washing machines.
  2. If your new machine breaks it may have to be repaired by a repair agent that agent may not see very many.
  3. Seldom are there proper schematic diagrams for the repair agents to work with and parts lists and part numbers don’t exist (so you order by saying I need the widget that attaches to the pump and hope for the best).
  4. Warranty repair work is often outsourced by smaller importers. These ‘go-betweens’ take hefty fees and pray on smaller repair agents desperate for work which is one of the reasons this web site exists i.e. to help smaller companies compete fairly.
  5. Spare parts are kept to a minimum and once a machine is a few years old most spare parts will be used up (remember the 3% rule described above). Once the spare parts are used up and that model reaches 3 years of age chances are any spare parts that remain will be sold off to spare parts wholesalers and no new ones brought in to replace them.

So would I buy a ‘no-name’ brand?

If I new that they were well made with great parts, good warranty and can be serviced easily then sure why not? No doubt there are many fine machines that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than their branded cousins out there in the market. With that in mind I am going to create a post called: “Best No-Name Brands”:

  1. We will let you, the customer, supply us with the best of the best!
  2. Then we will contact the importer and grill them.
  3. If they come up trumps then we will give them a plug.

Let’s see if we can all help some of the smaller imporeters who are trying to help us by importing quality items, have good back-up service and who are helping drive down the prices you and I have to pay.