What Are Scratch and Dent Appliances? [Buying Guide]

by Bill Welles

Do you know what “Scratch and Dent” mean? If you’re not familiar, in the retail industry, scratch and dent refer to appliances or furniture pieces that have a few bumps and bruises as a result of shipping or warehouse damage. If you’ve ever walked the aisles of an appliance warehouse and saw a few dings or dents, these products were most likely classified as scratch and dent.

The scratch and dent label is typically handed out for cosmetic issues, meaning the appliance still functions properly. The damaged areas are usually on the surface of the appliance that affect nothing more than the visual appeal. In many cases, the damage will be toward the back or sides of the product that won’t even be seen once installed in your home.

Since these items are considered damaged, you can often purchase these products for a discounted price. It's a great way to invest in high-quality appliances at even greater savings.

couple shopping for a new dishwasher

What Are Scratch and Dent Appliances?

We gave you the basics, but to delve a little deeper, scratch and dent appliances can be anything from refrigerators to washing machines to kitchen tables to sofas. Any brand-new product that is unused, fresh off the assembly line, and still functions as it was designed can be purchased for a big-ticket bargain.

Oftentimes, it doesn’t even have to be the actual product that’s damaged—if the external packaging has been damaged during transit, this can be enough to qualify as a discounted scratch and dent appliance.

By making this type of purchase, you can buy a brand-new oven or stove in near-mint condition for the cost of a used appliance. Sometimes, you can snag a deal up to 40 to 60 percent off its original retail price.

At this point, you may be wondering, “what’s the catch?” Well, depending on the user's budget and specific needs, scratch and dent appliances can have their positives and negatives.

Buying Scratch and Dent Appliances

For some, shopping for discounted appliances is the way to go. For others, it has its drawbacks. Let’s take a look:

Pros of scratch and dent

  • Can be much cheaper than retail value
  • Sometimes includes a manufacturer-honored warranty
  • Appliance damage can be minimal or unseen

Cons of scratch and dent

  • You run the risk of further appliance damage
  • Not always a visually stunning purchase
  • With most retailers, installation and removal of old appliances are your responsibility

Are Scratch and Dent Appliances a Smart Investment?

If you’re considering appliance shopping the scratch and dent way, we’ve come up with a few steps you can take to save money and save yourself any burden:

  1. Decide what you need: Don’t shop for appliances without a plan. If you do, you risk purchasing a product that doesn’t suit your home or your needs. Narrow the type of appliance you want and then prioritize a list of features. If you’re looking at new fridges, do you want an in-door water dispenser? If you need a new laundry center, do you prefer front-load or top-load machines?
  2. Carefully examine appliances: Once a product catches your eye, look for visible signs of wear and tear. If you find a noticeable scratch or dent on the front of the appliance, this might cause you to second guess that product. Even worse than scratches are cracks in glass surfaces or rips to fabric or leather. If there are any cracks in the digital control panels, this is a product you’d want to avoid as repairs can be costly.
  3. Compare prices: If the appliance in question looks like a bargain, double-check the price tag. Compare the offering against the manufacturer’s retail price to be sure you’re receiving a fair discount.
  4. Consider the risk: Purchasing scratch and dent appliances can be a gamble if you aren’t diligent about your research. And even if you are cautious, you can still end up with an appliance that requires pricy replacement parts or repairs. When possible, search for an extended service plan or official warranty.

row of washers in an appliance store

What to Look For  

Before you buy, you should know how and where the product is damaged. If you want the product to still look nice and function properly, make note of these important details.

  1. Pictures of the appliance: It’s crucial to see before you buy so you can assess the extent of the damage. Seeing any dents or dings will give you a better idea of what to expect and allow you to evaluate how noticeable the damaged areas will be in your home.
  2. Damage descriptions: A paper trail is always a good security blanket. A written description is even more valuable when the retailer hasn’t posted specific images of the appliance.
  3. Manufacturer Warranties: We mentioned this briefly, but if the scratch and dent appliances are new, they should still be covered for one year under the manufacturer's warranty.
  4. Extended Warranties: People do not always realize that extended warranties can be purchased at most retailers. This won’t cover the cosmetic damage, but if the product is in working condition, it will protect your investment if there is damage to any major internal component.

Types of Scratch and Dent Appliances

If you’re asking yourself, “are there any scratch and dent appliances near me?”, you’re in luck. You can shop for scratch and dent appliances in Pittsburgh right here at Don’s Appliances. Currently, we carry refrigeration appliances, laundry appliances, and dishwashers. Here’s what we have to offer:

NOTE: The product descriptions below are intended to denote which models are currently available across these appliance brands as of May 2021.

Scratch and Dent Refrigerators and Freezers

Yes, you can find traditional refrigerators at a scratch and dent discount, but there are also more high-end buys such as a KitchenAid Scratch/Dent Dual Zone Wine Cellar (KUWR204ESB-1). This Wine Cellar features two temperature-controlled zones to help preserve the flavor and integrity of individual wines and allows white and red wines to be stored at separate temperatures. Including a spacious 46 bottle capacity, it’s the perfect size for any avid wine collector.

Once it starts to get warm in the Pittsburgh area, a chest freezer will sure come in handy when you need to keep your favorite treats ice-cold. The Danby Scratch/Dent Chest Freezer (DCF055A2WDB1) features a slim design and 5.5 cubic feet of freezer space, an ideal unit for homes, apartments, condos, and townhouses.

The vinyl-coated basket allows you to separate your most-used food items while the interior liner is specifically designed for easy cleaning. The freezer cabinet and the lid are constructed with insulating foam to keep the cold in and the heat out. This allows you to conserve energy while the mechanical thermostat monitors the temperature of your appliance at all times.

close-up of KitchenAid wine cellar

Scratch and Dent Dryers

When you need a reliable appliance to fully dry your kid’s hockey equipment, a Maytag dryer always shows up to work. The Scratch/Dent Maytag Electric Dryer (MED6230HW-1) features a heavy-duty boost of drying fortitude thanks to the Extra Power button. Activating this feature to any cycle extends the drying, heat, and tumbling time. This front-load dryer helps to evenly dry fabrics with Advanced Moisture Sensing. Plus, optional built-in smart features like remote start and cycle notifications help you stay in control and effectively manage laundry from anywhere.

close-up of Maytag Extra Power button

Scratch and Dent Dishwashers

Dishwashers are one of the most frequently replaced appliances, and one of the most frequently damaged appliances. For a quality brand you can always trust, explore the Scratch/Dent Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher (RC-SHP878ZD5N-1). The AquaStop leak protection system contains leaks through a precisely engineered system, and if a leak occurs, the system contains it by shutting down operation and pumping out water.

Bosch dishwashers are so quiet, you’ll never have to wait until bedtime to run the dishwasher. Some of the 18 ways Bosch approaches noise reduction include multiple insulation layers, grind-less food filtration, the EcoSilence motor system, and a sound-absorbing base.

The Flexible 3rd Rack features expandable wings that easily lower to accommodate more of your deeper items, while adjustable tines let you customize the rack’s loading space to fit large or bulky items. With Bosch PrecisionWash, intelligent sensors continually scan and check the progress of dishes throughout the cycle, and powerful, precision spray arms go to work targeting every item of every load.

Bosch dishwasher interior

Shop Scratch and Dent Appliances

Don’s Appliances is your best bet to shop for high-end scratch and dent appliances in the Pittsburgh region. If you’re looking for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, or dryers, visit the best appliance store in Pittsburgh, give us a call at your preferred store location, or navigate our digital catalog to shop online.