Fix your appliances and tech - give your stuff a new lease of life

Ever wonder if you could fix your appliances yourself? If upcycling furniture is so popular, why do we rarely try to fix stuff ourselves? We reveal ways to avoid spending more...

Fix your appliances laptop on a white trestle table desk
(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

Wouldn't it be easier if you could just fix your appliances yourself? We live in a throwaway society where it’s common practice to bin and replace an appliance or piece of tech when it suddenly stops working. But in some cases, your tech can be easily repaired or replaced under guarantee.

Here, we explain what to do when your tech packs in, how to buy for longevity and whether it’s worth having a go at just fixing it yourself.

Buy once, buy well

Dualit kettle toaster review

(Image credit: Dualit)

The best thing to do when buying a new appliance like the best air fryer or piece of tech is to ensure that you’re investing in quality.

Just as you might do your research into finding the best model for your needs, you should also examine the possibilities of repair and if it comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee or the possibility of paying extra for an extended warranty.

For instance, Miele tends to charge quite a bit more than other brands for its appliances, but the company does have an excellent reputation for appliances that last for decades.

Equally, brands such as Dualit offer repairs in the UK for the heating elements and mechanisms on its toasters and Magimix has a wide range of spare parts available to buy (so even if your product is discontinued, you should still be able to find a spare part that fits).

For more tech and appliances that are built to last, check Buy Me Once.

Can you fix it?

Neutral laundry room with washing machine, tumble dryer and Belfast sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Technology moves quickly so if you have an item that has evolved significantly in the past decade, like smartphones or tablets, the likelihood is that unless it’s fairly new, it may not be worth repairing.

The cost of fixing vs replacing larger appliances like washing machines and fridge freezers differs widely, too – certain functionality makes some models easier to fix, and it’s all dependent on what the issue is. 

Some might just require some basic checks - like how to fix a boiler or how to fix a noisy washing machine - but anything more involved, is often best left to a professional to tackle.

Try Googling first to see if anyone else has experienced the same issue you may be having with a broken machine and if they suggest an easy fix. YouTube also features a wide selection of (rather dull, but informative) step-by-step repair videos.

What about spare parts?

Sometimes part of your tech or appliance might break on an otherwise perfectly good machine, but that’s no reason to bin it completely. For instance, if you break the water tank on a coffee machine or a blender jug, they can often be easily replaced. 

Check out eSpares and Ransom Spares, or have a look on eBay for replacement parts.

Don't forget...

Blue kitchen with wooden worktops and floor, a stainless steel fridge freezer and a yellow bistro chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

Regardless, you should always check if the item you buy comes with either a manufacturer’s warranty, brand promise or extended warranty. 

And remember, if you buy goods over £100 using a credit card, your card issuer automatically offers you purchase protection if the item you buy is faulty and the company won’t fix it.

Can I get trade an old gadget in?

laptop on white table in kitchen with yellow cupboard door and red table lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Merewether)

If you do replace something, always recycle your appliance or gadget. Old smartphones too can be traded in for a discount on a new purchase. 

The following brands offer a buy back scheme that can give you money off buying a replacement.

  • Amazon Likewize Trade in your tablet or smart watch for cold hard cash via this Amazon partner . Fill in the info form, logging its serial number and noting any damage and you’ll get an instant quote. They’ll pay for shipping, too.
  • Currys From tablets, smartphones, laptops, consoles and smart watches and more, you can trade in any device (it doesn’t have to have been bought at Currys) and receive a gift card in return. Valuations naturally depend on the age and quality of the device.
  • musicMagpie Normally known as the place to flog your old CDs, musicMagpie will also pay you for any old smartphones, laptops, games consoles and their accessories, as well as Kindles and GoPro devices. Get an instant quote, send your device for free and you’ll receive payment to your bank account the day they receive it.
Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.