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What's behind our appliance store Ratings?

The Consumer Reports National Research Center comprises highly trained social scientists, including 9 Ph.D.s, using state-of-the-art techniques to survey more than 1 million consumers each year about products, services, health care and consumer issues.
We look for:
  • Reader score
    A score of 100 means all respondents were completely satisfied; 80 would mean very satisfied, on average; 60, fairly well satisfied; 40, somewhat dissatisfied.
  • Price paid
    Price paid for appliance.
  • Selection
    Selection of available brands or models.
  • In-store service
    Quality of service from sales help.
  • Checkout ease
    Ease of checkout.
  • Website usability
    Usability of website (e.g., navigation, clarity, completeness).
  • Shipping
    Shipping options, cost, handling and delays for shipping and home delivery.
  • Installation
    Retailer's installation service for new appliance.
  • Haul-away
    Haul away service for old appliance.


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Appliance shoppers were a fairly satisfied group compared with shoppers of other items, such as mattresses. Still, no retailer earned perfect marks across the board, and respondents to our survey who bought small appliances were fairly critical about selection and service. But some strategies they tried made shopping more successful.

Appliance store buying guide

Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears may sell the most major appliances in the U.S., but they aren't necessarily customer favorites. In our survey, subscribers told us about their overall satisfaction based on experiences buying more than 32,000 major and small appliances. A Chicago-area store, some regional chains, and independent local retailers got good marks from our readers who shopped at a variety of places, including warehouse, big-box, and department stores.

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