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Appliance deals abound in Consumer Reports' Best Buys

Consumer Reports News: June 21, 2011 05:20 PM

Faced with rising raw material costs, some appliance manufacturers hiked their prices as much as 10 percent this spring. And now comes news that after decades of producing cheap goods that flooded the U.S., China and other emerging markets are increasing prices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Whether you’re strapped for cash or just appreciate good value, Consumer Reports Best Buys’ offer the most performance for the price. Here’s a roundup of kitchen and laundry appliances that made our list.

Ranges. Among 30-inch electric-smoothtop ranges, the best we tested typically cost $950 to $2,800. That’s why the $750 42733 electric smoothtop stands out. It rates near the top, delivering superb performance yet costs little more than the best coil model that performed similarly.

Cooktops and microwaves. If you like a cooktop/wall oven combo, take a look at the $575 Kenmore 42733 electric smoothtop. It’s 30-inches wide and half the price of the similarly performing Electrolux Icon E30EC65E and both were excellent. All of the 30-inch induction cooktops aced our tests. The Frigidaire Professional FPCC3085K and Whirlpool GCI3061X cost $1,200. An over-the-range microwave can quickly bring dinner to the table when you’re rushed. The top-rated $270 Samsung SMH9187 combines superb overall performance with a relatively low price.

Refrigerators. The popular French-door bottom-freezer pairs two fridge doors with a freezer below. The $1,700 Whirlpool Gold GX5FHTXV tops our Ratings; its width is 36 inches. The $850 Amana ABB2221WE (33 inches wide) is a conventional bottom freezer that was very good overall. If you prefer a side-by-side, consider the $1,400 Samsung RS265TD (36 inches wide). It offers more usable space than most and is very quiet. None of the top-freezers are Best Buys, but the $850 LG LTC22350 (33 inches wide) and $800 Frigidaire Gallery FGHR2144K (30 inches wide) are Recommended models.

Dishwashers. The $500 Kenmore 1389 was excellent at getting dishes clean, but be patient, cycle time is 135 minutes.

Washers. High-efficiency models take the top spots in our Ratings of top-loaders. The $2,000 Whirlpool Vantage WTW7990X performed similarly to the Kenmore 2800, and at $620, the Kenmore is a Best Buy. For even better wash performance, and superb energy- and water-efficiency, consider a high-performing front-loader. The $800 Kenmore 4027 and $700 LG WM2050C excelled in most tests, and vibration wasn’t a problem for either of these Best Buys. Cycle time is 80 minutes.

Dryers. Offering excellent drying, a large capacity, and very quiet operation, the $700 Kenmore 6800[2] is one of only three Best Buys among dozens of dryers. The gas model is Kenmore 7800[2] and costs $780.

Find our how these Best Buys compare to other appliances we tested. Full Ratings of ranges, cooktops, microwaves, dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, and dryers are available to subscribers.

Kimberly Janeway

   

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