If a house without a coffee maker is a challenge, then a house without a refrigerator is a disaster. If you need a refrigerator, washer/dryer, furnace, or other home appliance, there’s no need to do without — even if your wallet says otherwise. If you need new appliances but lack the funds to purchase them, you have options. Below, we have the details of how you can get appliances on the cheap — or even free.
How to Get Free Appliances Using Online Resources
Often, people who are downsizing, moving, or replacing appliances will list theirs online. If they’re on a time crunch and really want to get rid of the item, they may even list it for free. Here, we have a list of sites where you may be able to find free appliances online.
When buying from individuals on sites like these, be cautious — only respond to ads that have accurate details, include pictures of the appliance and seem reliable. Before agreeing to buy or pick up the appliance, set an appointment to inspect it carefully in person; this way, you can make sure it’s going to work and isn’t unexpectedly missing any parts. If you’re handy with tools, you can find a free, broken appliance and fix it for less than the cost of buying a new one — but if you’re looking for one in working order, patience in finding the item and attention to detail in inspecting it will go a long way. For safety, you should always bring someone with you when meeting a seller from the internet, too.
Craigslist is a great resource for finding a variety of free things for your home, including appliances of all kinds. While most ads on the site will be for items for sale, you will stumble across free items time and again, often from individuals who are moving and want to let go of their belongings. Craigslist sites are organized by major city/region so that you can search for appliances near you. Be prepared to move and transport appliances yourself.
To find items in your area visit Craigslist List of Cities page. Once you choose your region/city, navigate to the “For Sale” menu, and choose either the “Free” option or the “Appliances” option.
Facebook is a great place to find free appliances — or items of any kind, for that matter. It’s free to join, it reaches tons of people, and it’s easy to use. There are three different ways to find what you are looking for:
- Facebook Marketplace: Log in to your Facebook account and navigate to the “Explore” menu on the left side of your home screen. Click on “Marketplace.” At the very top of the screen, you will see a search bar and a location. Simply put in what you are looking for and scroll through to browse the results. You can also search by clicking on “Home and Garden” and then “Appliances” on the side category menu.
- Facebook Groups: Many people opt for advertising items for sale or for free in designated groups on Facebook. Just like the Marketplace, you will navigate to the “Explore” menu on the left side of your homepage. This time, click on “Groups.” At the top of the “Groups” page, click on “Discover.” Browse through and join some local yard sale groups. You’ll be surprised at all the items you can find for free!
- Facebook Wall: Yep, you can find free stuff just by simply posting on your own Facebook wall. Click the box at the top of the page to create a post. In the box, choose “Feeling/Activity,” and then “Looking for…” Navigate to the option that best suits your needs and click post. Choose to make your post public, rather than only viewable by friends, and wait patiently to see if anyone makes you an offer.
Freecycle is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recycling used goods to prevent them from winding up in a landfill somewhere. There are over 5,000 local groups and over nine million individual members, and everything listed is completely free. The Freecycle Network is for members only; but no worries, signing up is also completely free.
You’ll find a wide variety of offerings on Freecycle, but appliances are frequent postings. Plus, the site has “wanted” and “offering” ads. That way, if you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, you can post an ad detailing which appliances you need. Type in your location to find a group near you and see local postings. You are responsible for pickup.
To learn more, you need to become a member of the Freecycle Network by signing up for My Freecycle on the company’s website.
Going to Churches and Charities to Get Free Appliances
If you’re struggling to obtain appliances, another option is to check with local churches and charities. Some churches have a collection of items for low-income individuals, including appliances, and others will ask for donations from members of the congregation for you. Charities may provide you with donated items or the money to get what you need. Check with your local church or explore one of the following charity options.
The Furniture Bank Association of North America helps families live better by providing furniture and appliances, free of charge. They collect donations of new or gently used essentials and provide them to households that are struggling financially to furnish their own homes. To receive free appliances, you must meet the requirements for your local furniture bank. There are about 80 different furniture banks in North America, and each one operates independently. That means requirements for receiving help will vary between banks.
To find a Furniture Bank near you see the List of Furniture Banks on the company’s website.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is focused on helping people get back on their feet. They offer financial assistance to help individuals fulfill their basic needs — this includes help with purchasing items like major appliances. Typically, the assistance will come in the form of vouchers for shopping at their distribution centers. The items within the center will change daily based on donations, so you’ll have to check back frequently. Programs and services vary with local needs. To apply for vouchers, contact or visit a center near you.
To learn more about this program, visit the Salvation Army’s website.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) is one of the largest charity organization in the United States, committed to providing resources, services, and assistance to the needy. If you need help purchasing necessary appliances, contact your local organization. Like the previous two charities, the SVdP programs and resources vary by region, council, and chapter.
To learn more about SVdP and the services and resources they offer, visit the SVdP About Us page.
Using Apps to Get Free Appliances
The evolution of smartphones has yielded countless apps, including yard sale and marketplace apps that allow you to browse new and used items for sale in your location. To find free or cheap appliances in your area, check out these apps:
The letgo app is a free app to “let go” of items you no longer need. You can download it to your smartphone, or visit the website to browse items. Enter your location and, if you wish, the specific item you are looking for. While most items are listed for sale, you will occasionally come across things for free. To narrow your search to only free items, just type “free” into the search bar. New items are constantly being added, so check back frequently.
Listia has the same concept as letgo, but it varies the way you purchase items. If you sell things on the site, you will receive credits for free items. The more you give, the more you get. It may be more difficult to find the exact item you need, but it’s worth a shot. You can download Listia on your smartphone or visit the website to browse items.
Using Government Assistance to Get Free Appliances
Many people are probably aware of government assistance programs like WIC and SNAP, but there’s also a lesser-known program called LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) that will help you replace your old appliances for energy-efficient new ones at no cost to you. (Note: LIHEAP also provides low-income and disabled households with bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherproofing, and energy-related home repairs.)
The federal government requires states to set eligibility requirements for LIHEAP recipients, although the federal government does set maximums and minimums. The LIHEAP statute currently states that an eligible household must have an income that does not exceed 150% of the federal poverty guideline or 60% of the state median income level.
However, qualifying for LIHEAP does not guarantee you will receive free appliances. Assistance depends on how much funding is available in your state. When funds run out for the year, no more benefits can be allotted to qualifying households until more funds are made available.
To learn more about LIHEAP rules, requirements, and available funds in your state, visit the State Low-Income Energy Assistance Snapshots page.
Now you know how to get a free refrigerator and more. If your household needs appliances, but your budget can’t swing another purchase, all hope is not lost. There are many alternative options for acquiring appliances for free, from websites and apps to churches, charities, and assistance programs. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
If this is all a bit overwhelming, it’s usually simpler (albeit more expensive of course) to check out the stores that sell used appliances.