I haven’t written about renting washing machines before because I’d come to think of it as something from the past and no longer relevant. You can buy new ones so cheaply, but these days washing machines and other appliances often aren’t lasting very long, and they are less repairable. If you can’t afford to buy a really high quality appliance they can be more of a repair liability than ever so buying cheap can work out very expensive in the long run. Renting may make sense again for some.
Renting appliances was very common in the past when they were very expensive to buy. It was so normal to rent that some people used to rent all their appliances, even relatively inexpensive ones like vacuum cleaners. People were afraid of future repair costs and there was a concern about being stuck with old features as appliances evolved (especially with brown goods). Renting felt safer, and of course didn’t require any large outlay of money.
The main difference now is that although appliances are no longer so expensive to buy many are less reliable than they were in those days and don’t last anywhere near as long. More importantly, many are less repairable because of crazy spare parts prices and increasing labour costs. We are now in a situation where far too many appliances are being written off at often very young ages due to being too expensive to repair. (Check out the “how long did your last washing machine last? poll on this page how long should a washing machine last?)
The average lifespan of a washing machine has recently plummeted to 7 years, probably even less now. This can leave people buying at the budget end of the market trapped in a cycle of replacing major appliances far too often. Worried by expensive repair costs some people allow themselves to be persuaded to buy extended warranties, which adds to the financial outlay. Most people don't realise that even when "insured" under these schemes many appliances still get written off just the same when they need expensive parts. You can still find yourself with a 6 year old washing machine written off by the insurance company with only a contribution towards the cost of replacing it (are extended warranties the answer?)
Is renting an appliance the answer?
Although not for everyone, renting a washing machine or other appliance may well be worth a try for some, especially if fed up of constantly buying washing machines or other appliances that don’t last. Here are the pros and cons as I see it –
Advantages of renting
- No initial financial outlay or loans to take out
- Prices start at around £3.91 per week
- No more repair bills and call out charges
- If it breaks down and isn’t worth repairing it will simply be replaced
- Usually get a fast repair service – often same day/next day
- No stress trying to find a repairer or a replacement if it breaks down
- It’s likely (though not necessarily these days as described above) to cost more over the long term than if you bought a reliable appliance
Am I recommending renting instead of buying?
I haven’t been able to think of more disadvantages, which is quite surprising. However, not all advantages and disadvantages are equal so it’s more about intelligently weighing up the pros and cons than which has the most. This article is not intended to try and persuade people to rent, I’m just looking at the pros and cons in a balanced way. If you bought a good quality washing machine and don’t suffer many breakdowns it can work out a lot cheaper than renting in the long term, but even so for some, not having to invest hundreds of pounds plus the lack of worry about repairs may be well worth it.
If you usually don’t have much luck with your washing machines or other white goods appliances, or tend to buy unreliable ones and have to replace them every several years with repairs in between it’s possible it could work out not that much more expensive to rent (or even cheaper) but with a lot less stress.
A lot would depend on the quality of the washing machine you rented and the standard of service you received when it broke down, but anyone renting you an appliance will want you to keep renting so they have a strong incentive to give you excellent aftercare service.
Where to rent a washing machine or other white goods appliance
There are possibly many independents renting out reconditioned appliances on a small scale, but for more organised companies renting new appliances and having a large backup service to look after them you might want to check out Forbes Rentals who advertise on my appliance rental page.