Compact Appliances is a website that gathers together every compact appliance you can imagine. When you review their offerings, you may find that items you thought you had no room for can, in fact be squeezed in. There is no end to the ingenuity of humankind, especially when faced with consumer desire for appliances that goes unmet because people think they just don’t have the space.
The site is run by Living Direct, Inc. a company that serves members of the “tiny house” movement, those pioneers of cramped living spaces who value financial comfort over raw physical space. The firm’s mission statement indicates that they are devoted to serving residents of both snug urban spaces, and tiny house residents (residents of tiny houses, mind you, and not necessary tiny residents of houses).
The company wants to provide you with a fully satisfying retail experience that both educates you as to what kind of appliances you really need, and meets your expectations as to customer service.
Compact Appliance Lets You Squeeze The Good Life In
A quick list of product categories shows the broad reach of the company in providing small solutions to big problems. Their offerings include washers & dryers, ice makers, dehumidifiers, beverage coolers, window air conditioners, kegerators (for that Super Bowl party you want to host in your tiny house), dishwashers, refrigerators, fireplaces, portable air conditioners, and medical appliances.
As it turns out, you don’t need a wine cellar or walk-in cooler if you happen to be a wine aficionado. CompactAppliances will sell you a miniature wine cooler that can fit in where some of you unused kitchen shelving now resides. And if your home is not blessed with a sufficiently ample laundry room, and you must make do with something more resembling a closet, this firm will provide you with a stackable washer and dryer to permit you to achieve optimal efficiency. Their products, being small, are also highly energy efficient, and as a result very naturally eco-friendly.
The company wisely has included a “Learning Center” in its site, where visitors can go to become educated on these small-scale appliances, including on the costs and methods of installation. The Learning Center has divided its essays up into Lifestyle, Product Knowledge, and How To. Some of the current offerings in the Lifestyle section include The Key to Clean Dishes: Loading Your Dishwasher Correctly, Tiny House Basics: How to Join the Small House Movement, and 5 Foot Storage Tips for Your Freezer. Your tiny freezer, of course.
Under How To, you will be able to read about the 8 Fascinating Ways to Clean Your Microwave (I checked – they are fascinating), as well as What You Need To consider Before Building a Tiny House On a Trailer, Six Ways a Tiny House Saves Money, How to Design a Functional Tiny Kitchen, and Why Your Nursery Should Have a Humidifier.
Compact Appliance Prices
We chose the category of compact apartment refrigerators, which are about as maxi as the company goes while still being mini. We saw offerings from Danby, Avanti, Smeg, and Summit, which are big names when you’re going small. These fridges sport internal volume measurements of around 7 cubic feet (a bit over a third of a conventional refrigerator – shop carefully!) to 18 cubic feet. The prices ranged from around $400 for the smaller sizes, to a top price of around $1,600 for the larger offerings. These price levels were generally applicable to the other appliance lines. But these are the prices for new, untouched items, and the firm offers some remarkable deals for customers willing to extend the life and usefulness of used, or in some cases merely overstocked, appliances.
To demonstrate the company’s commitment to low pricing, the firm extends a low price guarantee. If you find a lower price from another retailer, they will “work with you to get the right product for your needs at the best price possible.” That sounds like a guarantee to do their best, if not quite a price matching guarantee. But it still indicates a customer-focused attitude.
Indeed, the firm has a web page dedicated exclusively to discounted items, where you can pick up an “open box or remanufactured” appliance for up to 50% off the retail price of a new item. This will be a highly valuable resource for the budget-conscious among us. The company’s clearance department also offers deep discounts on overstocked items. These appliances are entirely new, and the company simply has too many of them.
And if up to half off is still not as much off as you would like, CompactAppliances offers up to 70% off of appliances that have visual surface damage such as dents and dings, but that are otherwise in good working order. These items come complete with all accessories and manuals, and even include the manufacturer’s warrant. Please note, however, that these appliances do not follow the same returns policy as other products. The company expressly denies returns for “buyer’s remorse based on cosmetic appearance issues, and really that’s only fair.
So if you want to save big on something small, this is a great way to do so. After all, in a year or two your new appliance will look exactly like these dented ones anyway. Why wait?
As with any online retailer, the firm has drawn some criticism, primarily focused on delivery issues, including whether shipping includes “white glove” delivery to the interior of the customers’ homes. So as long as you confirm the exact delivery details with your sales representative, these criticisms should not apply to you.
Compact Appliance Customer Service
The company maintains a sales department to handle customer queries from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, and these representatives will give you the latest information on clearance center inventory. The firm’s employees do not merely sell these appliances, they are encouraged to use the appliances themselves, and even to test their tolerances in order advice customers on how to properly maintain them.
The company follows the wise policy of hiring salespeople who are experienced installers, service technicians, and home brewers (there’s that emphasis on beer again), who use the firm’s products themselves on a daily basis. You couldn’t think of a better way to prepare sales staff to be knowledgeable and responsive than that. The company offers a monthly appliance giveaway contest, with the current prize being a stylish Avanti countertop microwave.
When it comes to shipping, most products are delivered with ground service, which is the most economical method. Some smaller (which in this small world means very small) items, however, will ship through UPS or FedEx. Each product listing indicates which method is used. Ground service usually takes 5-7 business days to get to you, but can sometimes be faster if you live close by.
You can cancel and receive a full refund if the item has not yet shipped, though you will need to call and not email for this. Once the item has shipped, their returns policy kicks in, but this still lets you return for any reason within sixty days of purchase for a full refund. You will, however, be responsible for the cost of shipping. Portable air conditions and certain other items can only be returned within 15 days, and only new, unopened water heaters can be returned at all.
The company was started in Austin, Texas in 1999 by Rick Lundbom, whose father and grandfather sold appliances for boats and RVs. So the business is in Rick’s blood, and he is now extending his vision through the work of over 70 employees.
After sixteen years of providing smaller appliances to the tiny house and cramped urban apartment market, it looks like Lundbom has perfected the art of making the most out of a small situation. Visitors to his site will find ways to save space, and likely save money, through the purchase of smaller and more energy-efficient and eco-friendly appliances.