Philippines Expat Appliance & Electronics Guide

Philippines Expat Appliance & Electronics Guide

This post is just to give the prospective expat an idea of what is available in the Philippines in regard to appliances and electronics. I have selected the items that are the most important to us in making our lives easier and more enjoyable. Also included are some pointers about what to be wary of.

This article is only our limited experience, so be aware of that and also understand that we are in a province far from the bigger cities so many items are difficult for us to get. Shopee and Lazada bridge the gap somewhat, but not completely. Also keep in mind that Shopee does not accept foreign credit cards, but they do allow COD in most cases with some limitations.

Table Of Contents:

Small Kitchen Appliances

We purchased the Imarflex rice cooker on the left about two years ago for 1800 PHP. It still functions, but it never has worked right. It cooks one side and leaves the other side uncooked. It is also developing rust on its "stainless" steel housing.


I gave Imarflex the benefit of the doubt and presumed that the problems with the rice cooker were a one-off.

We purchased the blender (center) and the coffee maker (right) together and they were each 2600 PHP. The blender worked for three months and then billowed smoke. The coffee maker worked for a month (and very light duty) when it just stopped.

Imarflex looks good and is priced as though it is higher quality, but in our experience the opposite is true.

We purchased our Kyowa juicer for 1800 PHP and it works well. I hope it lasts.


We have had our Asahi toaster oven so long that I have forgotten when we bought it. I do know that we paid 2500 PHP for it. It's a good little workhorse and it seems that it might just work forever.


We just replaced the old Imarflex rice cooker with this Hanabishi model:

The Hanabishi cost us 1750 PHP, just a little less than the Imarflex. The Imarflex is not a complete loss, as we were able to use it for a couple of years and the stainless pot will make an excellent mixing bowl for years to come.

Flat Screen Televisions 

We have an LG smart TV and a Sharp non-smart flat screen television. We have had each for about three years and both work well. The one difference is that the interface for the Sharp seems a little clunky. The LG has some useless technology like WIFI (which I disabled) and the ability to share the computer's screen wirelessly (which never works right). 

Overall though, the LG is great for my needs. I have old HDDs that I have placed in drive enclosures and I use them to store movies and photos. The LG smart TV is able to power the hard drives and function perfectly. The Sharp cannot power the drive for movies and they have to be placed on a thumb drive instead.

The LG is 32" and the Sharp is 42". They each cost approximately 12,000 PHP.

We had another Sharp that we gave away and it is still working at ten years old.

Remotes & Batteries

The one dark spot on the LG is the remote control that came with it. It quit working after a year. I replaced it with a CDR King universal remote that also retired after a year.

It seems like a lot of television manufacturers do not care much about the longevity of their remote controls. Every one that we have had dies within a year or two. You will want to have a spare for that inevitability.

The first universal remote we bought was from CDR King. I love CDR King because their self branded products are cheap and appear to be as good in quality as other brands. We were disappointed when they closed to one CDR King within an eight hour trip from our place.

Fortunately we found the Cybertec. Cybertec was the only brand, other than CDR King, that we were able to find that was capable of managing all functions of our LG smart TV. I like them so much that I bought several. Like every other universal (and oem) remote we have used these have a lifespan of only a year or two - that is why you need a few of them.

Cybertec universal remotes can be found at Handyman and Ace Hardware and they are priced around 300PHP.

You will also be needing rechargeable batteries and a charger.

A triple-A set that comes with a charger will run 600-800PHP and a double-A,like the one above, will cost about 100-200PHP more. As with the remotes, CDR King does also have its own rechargeable batteries. They are reliable and they are also cheaper. I cannot really say which brand is best because in my experience they all last so long that I cannot keep track of which is better.


We started out with a Sharp non-inverter fridge ten years ago and that old Sharp is still functioning for my mother-in-law. We replaced the Sharp with this Samsung inverter model:


I have read that inverter fridges do not cool things down as fast as traditional models, but I do not find that to be true with our fridge. It cools things down super fast and much better than our old model. What I did notice is that the electric bill dropped 400-500 PHP per month.

There is a slight drawback to the Samsung inverter fridge. It is supposed to be frost free but a couple of times in the three years we have owned it the cooling capacity dropped down to zero. The fix for this is to unplug the fridge, stick perishables in the freezer and let the unit sit and thaw for a few hours. After that it works like a charm. I am assuming that the ducts from the freezer to the fridge get clogged with ice even though this is not supposed to happen. Still, I would not trade my Samsung for a bag of gold.

I think I may have figured out what is happening with our Samsung inverter fridge. For about a year and a half it experienced this freezing over from time to time, as described above. I noticed that this happened whenever there was a seasonal change in temperature. It would happen at times of major seasonal shift, but not when there were large but temporary temperature swings due to passing weather. This behavior no longer occurs. I could be wrong, but it seems that the fridge may have some kind of fuzzy logic or machine learning capability that it uses to determine if outside temp fluctuations are seasonal or transient. It does not want to change its cooling habits for a brief swing and reserves that for seasonal changes that last for months. It took a while for it to figure out the seasons, but now it's got them locked down. That it just my potentially errant analysis. 

I intend to pass this inverter fridge on next year and upgrade to a larger model so that review will be coming.

Washing Machines

Read the dedicated write up on our Electrolux and Samsung washing machines. They are both fine machines, but we prefer the Electrolux.

Yard Hardware And Power Tools

I have talked previously about our beloved Honda brush cutters:

All of our small power tools are Makita. I have greatly abused our drills and grinders and they continue to work as though they are eternally new.


I purchased a 2600 PHP Lenovo smart phone a while back. It worked for a few months and then turned into a brick. That is the last Lenovo I will ever buy.

We also have one Samsung smart phone and two Samsung non-smart phones that have all performed perfectly for years.

We needed another smart phone, but I did not want to spend a lot of money. It is difficult to find a decent smart phone on the cheap, especially when you also want it to have a a passable photo capability.

We settled on the Nokia C2. The C2 only set me back 4000 PHP, but I was disappointed with the camera. It was junk. But all was not lost because the camera was not the issue. The stock camera app was the problem, so I installed the Mi 10 - Mi X HD Camera

We use the free version for now and it produces images almost as good as the Samsung even though the C2 is lower resolution.

To pass the time we like to hook up the phone to the SVBONY SV28 spotting scope:


The scope has a 70mm lens and max magnification of 75x. The lens is BK-7, so this is a lower end model (about $50). Still it works for us:

I have a Huawei E5787 4G LTE Mobile Wifi on order and I will provide a review on that when I get it.

Until then, you can check our review on some older mobile wifi options. I do highly recommend Huawei mobile wifi units.
More about phones & Internet



The first was purchased from Villman in Manila. That unit was 26,000 Pesos ten years ago. Since then I have bought three additional Dell laptops from the Dell outlet and they have all been very close to 26,000 PHP. The only thing that has changed is that performance, memory and storage keep going up. All four of these Dell laptops still work well, which is why Dell is the only brand I buy.

One thing I will advise is that when you go in to buy a laptop be sure to match the advertised the specs to the unit they give you. Run msinfo32 and check the device manager to make sure that the processor, graphics card, memory, HDD and all other specs are exactly what you are supposed to be getting. 

The form factor of the unit they bring out to you may look the same as the floor model, but when you go in and actually check the unit's hardware you might find that it's a downgraded model. It may have been an accident, but they tried this with me once. This happened at a Dell outlet not Villman.

I have another Dell on order from Villman and I will update this post when it arrives. 

I figured that I would throw my APC UPS 650 in here with the laptops:


I have had this UPS for three years and it works well. I purchased it from the Dell outlet. It is actually a replacement for a previous unit that died within warranty. These units come with a two year warranty. The first unit died between the first and second year and the Dell outlet replaced it without argument (making me very happy). The unit cost 2000 PHP.

I am currently using this UPS with an old Dell whose battery died. It seems like these Dell batteries are programmed to die after two or three years. The actual battery is just fine, but it seems that the circuit that runs from the battery to the laptop is what has burned out.

I wrote about the cheapo printer/scanners I use here.

Floor Fans

Fans are very important in the Philippines. Personally, we cannot live without our fans and we have burned through quite a few of them.


The red Hanabishi has been with us for about five years and still works great. It cost 1500 PHP when new. It has a twin that never did seem as powerful and finally last year it died.

Then there is our new super-powered Asahi fan:


This Asahi fan is a beast and seems more like an airplane propeller. It cost 2500 PHP. Most stand fans cost around 1500 PHP, but this one is a high power model. If you don't have tinnitus, you will after a few nights of running this fan in your room.

We also have some old and rusty Asahi fans that have been with us for seven or eight years and they still run.

Window ACs

I doubt that we will ever own a split AC because I have only heard negative things about them. Split systems are a lot more expensive up front. They also require specialized installation, which will also increase the cost. I have heard a lot of stories about the reliability of split systems not being as good as window units. There are also many anecdotes about lizards getting fried on the high voltage circuit boards of split systems (this supposedly fries the boards as well).

We bought two window ACs about nine years ago and they were both 1/2 horse power units. The Carrier died two years ago, but the GE still works like new. We replaced the Carrier with a 1/2 HP Sharp. I love the little Sharp and I hope it lasts a long time.

I know that 1/2 HP seems weak, but it works great for our purposes and it is easier on the electric bill. The rooms that we use the ACs in are each about 200 square feet with 11 foot ceilings. There are only a very few times during the year that the ACs struggle to bring down the temp and even on those days the ACs work fine after sundown.

One suggestion that I would make to AC manufacturers is to engineer the vent holes to be too small for lizards to get inside the unit. Every AC that I have seen looks like it is begging for lizards to make it a home. The ACs that I have do not have any electronics that the lizards can come in contact with, but the lizards do like to die inside the units occasionally. That does not smell good, as you might imagine. Consequently, I solved this problem by covering the vent slats with aluminum mesh.


You will notice the strike-through text above concerning the Sharp AC and 1/2 horsepower being enough. I even wrote another post about repairing the Carrier AC. I had to repair the old Carrier because the Sharp died. The Sharp turned out to be poorly manufactured. The Carrier worked well after replacing the capacitor, but my old body can no longer settle for 1/2 hp. 

I upgraded the office with a 1-horse LG window AC and I hope to write a dedicated post on that unit soon. So far so good and I mostly like the LG.


Whether you decide to build your own house or rent from someone you will probably need to buy light bulbs from time to time. We have been through a couple of hundred CFLs since we began living in the Philippines. 

Firefly is one of the common brands and though they are cheaper they don't seem to last very long. GE bulbs are a little more expensive, but they do seem to last longer. The best bulb that I have found is Philips. They cost about the same as GE, but in my experience they last much longer. When our Philips bulbs are turned off they blink even though they are not on an illuminated switch. I don't know why, but I like that. It's not annoying to me, but it might be to some people. There are methods that might stop it if you want to go to the trouble. I cannot say if those methods work, as I don't really care about it personally.


For the most part, you have a seven day return on products. In some cases you might have a struggle on your hands even within the seven days. There are exceptions, like with my APC UPS that died after a year and the Dell outlet replaced it no questions asked.

I would like to make one comment about Citi Hardware that is not appliance specific. That have a 90 day return policy on unused items that we have found to be useful. The item must be undamaged and in original packaging and of course you need your receipt. They give you a credit and when we availed this offer there was no hassle.

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