“Warranty” vs. “Guarantee”: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to the big purchases in life, it’s important to master the fine print and understand words like loan, credit, interest, and … maybe also yikes and help (if that new refrigerator gives you a bit of sticker shock). There’s also another pair of words that comes in handy: warranty and guarantee. Because a major purchase is usually going to involve these two terms, you should understand the difference.

What’s a guarantee?

A guarantee is a promise or an assurance, especially one given in writing, that attests to the quality or durability of a product or service, or a pledge that something will be performed in a specified manner.

As a noun, guarantee is “an agreement assuming responsibility to perform, execute, or complete something and offering security for that agreement.” As a verb, it can assure someone that you have confidence in your product or service. For example: I guarantee that you’ll love this product or you’ll get your money back!

Of course, guarantee is used in many other more general contexts outside of products or services, as it can also mean “something that assures a particular outcome or condition.” For example, you might say: Even if you do get this job, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be happier.

guarantee is closely related to a warranty, as a guarantee is the promise included in the formal (and legal) warranty.

Guarantee was first recorded in English around 1670–80, and it arose as an alteration of guaranty.

What is a warranty?

warranty is “a promise or guarantee given.” A warranty is usually a written guarantee for a product (like that shiny, new refrigerator), and it holds the maker of the product responsible to repair or replace a defective product or its parts. It is only used as a noun.

Warranty was first recorded around 1300–1350. It stems from the Middle English warantie but if you keep digging, you’ll find—like guarantee–it’s related to guaranty as well.

Are guaranty and warrantee words?

guaranty is not in use very much anymore. If it is, it is a noun meaning “an undertaking or promise that is the answer to or payment for a debt or default,” or “something given or held as security until a debt is paid or the performance of a duty is fulfilled.” It you do see it these days, it is probably in a legal or financial document. By the way, if you were wondering (or wanted to add to your confusion), a warrantee is the person to whom a warranty is made.

How to use warranty and guarantee

warranty and guarantee can be closely related, and you may use both these terms related to products and services:

 

  • If the store doesn’t guarantee the used stove, I don’t think you should but it.
  • The customer reviewed the conditions of the warranty, which include a 90-day return period.
  • To return the defective hedge clippers, you’ll need both the receipt and warranty.
  • This store has a “price match guarantee,” and I’ve found the camera for less at a competitor, which means they must match the price.

WATCH: Do You Give Presents Or Gifts?

Take a look at this list if you want to know more about legal terms to seal the deal.