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The Cost of Electrical Goods

Over the last few years a number of electrical retailers have opened up chain stores across the country selling all of the latest technology. Some items are much cheaper than in the West; however others are on a par. The country’s largest retailers, Technomarket and Technopolis sell all of the leading brand names, which are sold in Western Europe as well as some cheap Asian brands not available in the West. Here we list some of the popular electrical items you may need to buy in Bulgaria and an average price you will pay. 

TV’s and DVD’s

Plasmas are all the rage here and come in a variety of sizes; a Sharp LCD Plasma with a 32’ screen costs 999 lv., whilst a 20’ screen costs 619 lv. Top of the range ultra slim plasmas with 46’ screens (also by Sharp) cost 5,999 lv. Traditional style TV’s are also widely available and much cheaper with a portable colour TV by NEO costing as little as 99 lv. and a 29’ family size TV as little as 399 lv. DVD players are exceptionally cheap with Technomarket selling basic versions for a mere 50 lv. up to top of the range recordable versions for around 229 lv. Portable DVD players are not so competitively priced as demand in Bulgaria is not as big as in the West. A portable DVD player costs around 200 lv.   

Desktops and Laptops

There are still no large specialised PC chains in Bulgaria and Desktops and Laptops are sold through general electrical retail chains. PC’s with 80 GB can cost as little as 599 lv and they come complete with a monitor and keyboard, however buyers should be aware that PC’s at the lower end of the range are unlikely to come with any software. In these instances you have to add another 120 lv. to the price to get a fully licensed copy of Windows XP or Vista. The Desktop without the screen, software and keyboard cost around 349 lv. A name brand laptop with a 15.4’ widescreen and 250 GB of hard drive costs between 800 to 1200 lv although there are many laptops on the market costing as little as 599 lv.

Large Household Appliances

There is a large choice in fridge freezers, washing machines and cookers although the range is not nearly as large as back home. A split fridge freezer with four fridge shelves and three freezer drawers costs around 599 lv. whilst a small cabinet sized fridge with ice box costs 300 lv. A front loading washing machine by Zanussi, which holds 5 kg of laundry and spins at a rate of 1,000 rpm will cost around 459 lv., whereas cheaper versions with lower revs per minute cost around 399 lv. Electric cookers are the most popular with gas rarely being used –small towns and villages are not connected to a mains gas pipeline meaning that the only way to use a gas cooker in these parts is to connect them to gas bottles. A electric cooker costs around 339 lv, whilst an Indesit dual gas and electric cooker (2 rings of each) costs 439 lv. This is a particularly good alternative to relying on solely electric as electricity power cuts still occur with alarming frequency here.

Small Household Appliances

There is a large choice of microwave ovens, many of which now come with built in grills. Leading brand microwaves by companies like Sharp cost as little as 169 lv. with cheaper lesser known brands costing around 89 lv. Drag along canister type vacuum cleaners are popular in Bugaria and can be purchased from 60 lv. Food processors cost around 36 lv. and deep fat fryers are bargains at around 35 lv. ( from Metro). Toasted sandwich makers start at only 18 lv., whilst toasters also start at this price for a two slice toaster.

Heating Appliances

Central heating is not that common in Bulgaria and many people heat their homes using a variety of electrical appliances. Inverter air conditioning units provide a popular source of heating as well as cool air, although they are not a cost effective way to heat your home. A Sharp inverter air con unit costs 1,399 lv. without installation, which needs to be done by a professional installer. It will give out heat up to 30 degrees and cool a room down to 16 degrees. Many people opt for gas fired heating, which again gets around the problem with electricity cuts. The fires are portable running on small wheels, which allow you to move them from room to room.  They are fuelled by gas tanks, which have to be filled with LPG at your nearest petrol station. The gas tank will cost 50 lv. and you will also need to purchase a regulator, a pipe and clips, all of which will cost around 25 lv. The fire itself costs 149 lv. (made by Bosch). LPG gas canisters cost around 30 lv. to fill and will last around two weeks during a harsh winter of regular use. An electric convector heater costs around 62 lv. for a Domo model, which gives out up to 20 kw of heat.

Quality and Guarantees

All electrical appliances come with a written guarantee, which varies from one to two years. The guarantee has to be stamped by the retailer once you have paid for your purchase and failure to do this means that your appliance is not covered. Unfortunately the guarantee system in Bulgaria is somewhat worthless; should your appliance break down you have to take the defunct item to a service centre listed on the guarantee and this is unlikely to be the place where you purchased your item. You will not be given a new replacement and you will have to wait – sometimes several weeks – whilst your appliance is repaired. Should it break down again within the guarantee period you will have to repeat this process. Despite repeated breakdowns you will not at any stage be offered a new replacement item and your appliance will continue to be repaired until the guarantee expires.

The quality of electrical items in Bulgaria is dubious – even for appliances made by leading brands. It is widely believed that in many instances large electrical retailers are actually selling seconds and are under no obligation to state that this is the case. This leads to many breakdowns and in a country where there are few electrical repair companies this can prove to be somewhat frustrating!