I need a fridge. I can’t complain about my old one, I bought it 20 years ago and it’s just now started to act up. In looking for a replacement, I found an option that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Who makes Insignia appliances for Best Buy?
Insignia is Best Buy’s house brand and you can find it on almost anything, from appliances to cables. Best Buy does not do any of its own manufacturing, and in the case of appliances, Insignia appliances are manufactured by Haier.
Why does Best Buy have its own brand?
Best Buy is following a strategy with Insignia similar to what Sears used to do with its Kenmore brand. Sears sourced products from leading manufacturers at the price points they wanted to hit and had them put their brand name on it. The result sold well for decades.
As Sears started pulling out of major markets, consumers sought alternatives. Best Buy has always sold home appliances, as have the big box home improvement stores. All of them saw an increase in business as Sears declined.
It made sense for Best Buy to attempt a similar strategy. Especially if it allowed them to hit price points they might not necessarily hit with a major brand.
The Insignia brand isn’t limited to appliances. Best Buy has been using it on other products, ranging from cables to televisions, for years.
Who is Haier?
Haier is a Chinese-owned company that manufactures major appliances. They don’t have a lot of name recognition here in the United States. That’s partly because they don’t use that brand name here in the United States. They are the company that bought GE Appliances when General Electric decided to divest that line of business. Haier and GE announced the agreement on Jan. 15, 2016, and they finalized the purchase June 6, 2016.
So when you go to buy a GE or Hotpoint appliance today, they aren’t made by General Electric. They are made by Haier. And in theory, they will have some similarities with an Insignia appliance that you find at Best Buy, although which one it’s more similar to will depend on the price point. If it’s priced like a Hotpoint, it’ll be more like a Hotpoint than a GE.
Are Insignia appliances good?
GE appliances have always been pretty well regarded. There is less incentive to make them like they used to, arguably, because when appliances last 20 years, That’s not a great revenue stream. They look at the cell phone industry and see how people replace phones every 3 years and get jealous.
If you are looking for a simple, basic appliance, Insignia would be a good choice. The price is competitive, and simple, no frills appliances have less that can break. Buying lower tier appliances is a good way to save money on appliances. They cost less and last longer.
I am more confident in a no frills Insignia refrigerator lasting 15 years then I am in a fancy, high-end fridge of any brand lasting 15 years.
In the end, I opted for something other than an Insignia. There is a locally owned appliance dealer that sells mostly Whirlpool brands at competitive prices, and they were able to get something to me faster than Best Buy could. So it had more to do with expediency and supporting a local business than anything else. But if the national big box stores had been my only option, I probably would have ended up with an Insignia refrigerator.