Local News

What Brand of Appliances Can You Rely On?

Posted May 4, 2007

Consumer Reports

Picking a reliable product can save people money and a lot of aggravation. Consumer Reports looks at which brands are best.

Most people experience hassles when it comes to dealing with an appliance problem. When it happens, you often have to wait for an appointment and parts. Repairmen said it is often the expensive appliances that break.

"I know it seems like the more money you would spend that the less trouble you would have," said repairman Paul Willman. "But at the same time, the more money you spend, more gizmos and doodads are put on the machine, which gives us more trouble."

A recent Consumer Reports survey of appliance owners reiterates that assessment.

"We have survey results on some two-and-a-half million different appliances. And, we find it's often the pricy brands that tend to need the most repairs," said Amanda Walker, of Consumer Reports.

In the kitchen, that includes refrigerators made by Sub-Zero and gas ranges from Viking.

For gas ranges, Consumer Reports found GE and Hotpoint reliable. For electric ranges, testers approved of GE, Hotpoint and Whirlpool.

The more reliable brands of top-freezers and side-by-side refrigerators are GE, Kenmore, and Whirlpool. Amana and Kenmore fared well for bottom freezers.

The most reliable dishwashers are Amana and Whirlpool. As for microwaves, testers liked Amana, Fridgidaire, GE and Maytag.

"If a product's design or the manufacturing process changes, it may alter its performance, but we have been tracking brand reliability for 35 years, and we find that buying a reliable brand tends to decrease the odds that you'll end up in the repair shop," Walker said.

In addition to problems with specific brands, Consumer Reports found whole categories of products that are more prone to problems. They include laptop and desktop computers, lawn tractors and riding mowers and side-by-side refrigerators with icemakers and dispensers.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Pokbelly May 5, 2007

    Why is it that CR will rate a Kenmore product higher than the exact same product from the manufacturer that made it ?
    I've seen a difference of 7 or 8 rating grades. Why would that manufacturer make a better product for someone else (Sears/Kenmore) than they would for themselves? I think CR does a good job of educating the public as to new technology and trends, but you shouln't treat it as the Bible.

  • nc lover May 5, 2007

    Where ever you get your appliances stay away from Sears. Not knowing any better (shame on me) I purchased a Two Ton Air conditioner from them about a year ago. Charged me over $4000.00 dollars only later to find out I could of got the same thing for about $1500.00 from other companies. Boy was I stupid. Never had an Air Conditioner before so I didn't know any better. Because of this I don't even buy a pair of socks from Sears anymore. I was going to file a law suit against Sears but the trouble and added money made it not worth the effort. Live and learn I guess

  • pikemom1 May 5, 2007

    Stoves,get a Jenn-Air.Mine is 20+ yrs old.But once you get a downdraft,you have to continue with a downdraft.That part of it is a monopoly.

  • scubasteve May 5, 2007

    I think Kenmore is just an arrangement between Sears and major manufacturers (GE, Amana, etc). My Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator is actually made by Amana.

  • CrazyFoxofCary May 5, 2007

    I have to agree with alstefanelli - Over the years we have bought a number of appliances and overall we have bought mostly Kenmore; the value between initial purchase cost and reliability can't be beat

  • Al Stefanelli May 4, 2007

    wins1 wrote: I had an 8 and a half year old Kenmore, side by side refrgerator, the sealed unit went up, $800.00 to repair. I bought a new one, not a Kenmore.

    My reply: Kenmore is one of the best built and most reliable appliances around. You should have called Sears. They would have given you service plan for about $190.00 that would not only have covered the cost of your $800.00 repair, but would have protected you agains future repairs for the next twelve months.

  • Taxman44 May 4, 2007

    I don't know what you're talking about...I've been referencing
    CR for years, and have found their results to be very accurate.
    Truth is, most folks don't take proper care and maintenance on
    what they own, and when it breaks, they blame the brand. I have
    a long history of successful ownership because of CR....and, as
    with anything, nothing is perfect.

  • poorboy May 4, 2007

    I agree just like they prefer jap cars over american and if you look at each car over the years american or cheaper to repair and just as good on gas overall, many of the magazine articles are based on their beleives not real live. WRAL should stop reporting on what this magazine says

  • wins18em May 4, 2007

    I had an 8 and a half year old Kenmore, side by side refrgerator, the sealed unit went up, $800.00 to repair. I bought a new one, not a Kenmore.

  • Michael Kenyon May 4, 2007

    I like the way wral does this. Pay CR some money, add a few comments up front, and presto! Hey, it's easier than reporting the news.