Click below to listen to our Consumerpedia podcast episode on whether to fix a busted appliance or purchase a new one.

Our ratings of appliance repair services reveal substantial quality differences. Several appliance repair services were rated “superior” for “overall quality” by at least 90 percent of their surveyed customers. Others received such favorable ratings from fewer than half of their surveyed customers.

Price differences can also be substantial. Our undercover shoppers found some services charge twice as much as their nearby competitors for the same work.

Fortunately, some of the area’s low-priced companies also got good reviews from their customers. In fact, lower-priced companies on average rate higher on service quality than their higher-priced competitors.

If your appliance is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, use a shop authorized to perform in-warranty repairs so you don’t have to pay for the work. But after the warranty expires, consider only top-rated shops. We have found that, on average, repair services that don’t do warranty repairs for manufacturers rate better than “factory-authorized” outfits (although some independents do score low).

Unfortunately, there’s seldom an easy way to determine whether an appliance is worth repairing. If you are happy with your appliance’s appearance, size, features, and energy usage, and it seems to be in good condition, get it repaired—it is likely to provide many years of service.

Consider whether you can fix it yourself. While many of us are uncomfortable making repairs to electronic devices, most appliance repairs are quite straightforward.

If you decide it’s time for a new appliance, our ratings of appliance stores will help you find reliable stores that charge low prices.

But even if you’ve had a poor track record with unreliable appliances, don’t buy an extended warranty. These warranties are incredibly bad deals for most consumers.