Are Reconditioned Washing Machines Any Good?

Reconditioned Reconditioned washing machines were popular in the 70s, 80s and even 90s, but are they still a viable buying option now new budget washing machines are so cheap? Reconditioning is an excellent good idea in these throwaway times, but economics have affected the viability of reconditioning appliances for most engineers.

As new ones continue to get cheaper and much less repairable it’s become more expensive to properly recondition them to a high standard, and much less attractive for customers to buy. For example, you can still currently buy a new budget washing machine for as little as £199. I don’t believe it will much good, especially for a large family, but it is brand new and that’s appealing for most people.

You can get an idea how ridiculously cheap they are now because I used to sell reconditioned Hoover washing machines in the 90s (See pics below) for £199 and as high as £250 when new ones with the same features were around £400+. Things have drastically changed.

Reconditioned washing machines would be a good idea if..

High quality reconditioned washing machines such as Miele would be ideal, they’d last longer and give a far better service than any new budget one.

But the cost of spare parts, and the lack of discarded examples to recondition (because they last so long and there are relatively few sold) mean it’s not viable. I don’t know of anyone reconditioning real high quality washing machines. If they were they’d be a great alternative to cheap budget rubbish.

Are reconditioned appliances really reconditioned?

A properly reconditioned washing machine should be more than a repaired second hand one.

Some might argue that if they repair a broken washing machine, test it, and clean it up then they’ve reconditioned it, but most people’s understanding of reconditioning is to do more than just fix a fault.

It should be to extensively repair and replace parts, often ones still working but showing signs of wear so as to put it into a new condition. Not a “new” condition, but a new state of condition so as to have a renewed life expectancy.

To my knowledge, no one truly reconditions a washing machine like you could in the past. When I used to recondition them in the 80s & 90s I would always fit a new armature and carbon brushes in the motor (making the motor as good as new), fit new drum bearings, door seal, control panel and trims, drain hose, and any other part that was worn such as suspension, pumps etc.

They looked almost new and had a full 12 month guarantee just like a new one. To recondition a modern washing machine like that now would be impossible because it would cost more than you could buy a brand new one for.

Should reconditioned washing machines be avoided?

It’s very difficult these days to find a genuinely reconditioned washing machine that has the chance of a new lease of life.

But then again even a second hand washing machine could still last long enough to be good value for money if you are lucky enough depending on how old it is when purchased. Don’t forget though that the cheapest new washing machines can still be only around £170.

There are some companies who claim to still extensively recondition washing machines, if you find one, and trust that’s exactly what they are doing they may be worth buying if circumstances dictate but the cheap price of new ones and expensive cost of spare parts for repairs make it impossible to do as good a job as we used to do many years back.

Realistically, although you can get lucky and get a decent life out of one, you have to tailor expectations according to prices. I’ve seen “reconditioned” washing machines advertised “from as little as £79”. Even if they got the washing machine for free, and did nothing but clean it up and deliver it to you I can’t see how they can make a proper profit out of £79. Then they have to guarantee it for some period.

Alternatives to reconditioned

One alternative to reconditioned appliances is renting. There are still a few companies taking renting seriously and Forbes is one. They only rent out new Bosch washing machines and rent all other household appliances too. Check out my article on renting here – Renting a washing machine or other household appliances

Forbes Rentals Forbes rent appliances and specialise in renting Bosch appliances so they know them inside out. They also rent other brands and many other products – more details at Forbes

Reconditioned washing machines from the past

I’ve been prompted to seek out my old photos of the reconditioned washing machines we used to do back in 1990 as described in my article above. We spent a lot of time and money on them and made them look virtually brand new.

Reconditioned washing machines for sale

Reconditioned washers

Today it would be impossible to recondition washing machines to anywhere near this standard. They would have to be sold at higher prices than brand new ones to make any profit.

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4 thoughts on “Are Reconditioned Washing Machines Any Good?”

  1. Hi Andy.
    I run Discount Washers, a company in Manchester that specialise in refurbished appliances and whilst I agree there are a lot of people selling “reconditioned” machines and giving little or no warranty at all and the machine is something they collected from a scrap guy, there are genuine companies really trying hard to offer the best of service they can, We have only recently stopped refurbishing the Hotpoint wm range of washing machines due to price hikes on spares as these machines always had new drum bearings, drum support, door seal, door lock, carbon brushes, pump and drain hose but due to the age of the machines profit margins were very small as we always give a full 1 year parts and labour guarantee with all appliances. We only refurbish branded makes such as Hotpoint or Bosch etc and always pat test every appliance.Each appliance also has its own multi point check list which ensures all work is carried out and all parts inspected properly. There are genuine savings to be made in opting for refurbished as long as you get one from a reputable supplier and not from a second hand site like gumtree or loot. Also a point to make, if like us they are a genuine supplier of refurbished appliances they would offer some form of money back guarantee, we offer a 14 day mbg for our customers piece of mind so if they are not 100% satisfied for whatever reason in that time we will refund or replace with no quibbles.

  2. caroline everett

    Just need some quick advice on purchase of a reconditioned hotpoint washing machine:

    £175 , alledgedly 5 years old , reconditioned, new bearings, boeuf coloured (was that colour still available in 2010?), 1 year guarnatee. Don’t really know the dealer but he is local.

    What do you think?

    should I buy new or the one above?

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