|

Sweet deals on kitchen appliance suites

Not every model is a top performer so do your homework

Published: June 20, 2014 08:00 AM

Seven in 10 respondents to Consumer Reports recent kitchen survey said that if they could replace all of their kitchen appliances, they’d like the coordinated look of a single brand. In addition to style, appliance “suites”—which typically include a dishwasher, range, and refrigerator—can simplify the purchase and maintenance processes, because you’re dealing with a single manufacturer and retailer. Plus rebates and discounts often sweeten the deal on suites.

The big downside: It’s tough to find brands that combine top performance and reliability across all three categories. Kenmore and Whirlpool are relatively safe bets, based on our latest data. If you have to go off-brand on any one appliance, the dishwasher probably makes the most sense, because it has the least visual impact on the kitchen.

We searched the websites of major appliance retailers for kitchen suites in which all three major appliances did well in our tests but came up short. At Sears we found suites from Kenmore and Samsung in which two of the large appliances were recommended in our tests. And because Best Buy lets you put together your own suite of Bosch appliances, we were able to find three winners there. Here’s the details.

Samsung T9000

Sears
Kenmore Elite. Sears teamed up a French-door refrigerator with a dishwasher and gas range. The refrigerator and dishwasher are winners in our tests but the range didn’t make the cut. The package sells for $3,816 compared to a combined cost of $4,900.
The refrigerator. Providing French-door styling in a narrower housing, the 33-inch-wide Kenmore Elite 71032 bottom-freezer, $2,600, could be the perfect fit for smaller kitchens. It’s also quiet and delivers solid energy efficiency.
The dishwasher. The Kenmore Elite 12773 dishwasher, $1,100, is similar to the Kenmore Elite 12783 that we tested. Top-notch washing paired with stellar energy and water efficiency are chief strengths of this dishwasher. It has extra rear-mounted sprays and a turbo cycle and was also among the quietest models in our tests.
The range. If you don’t broil much, the Kenmore 75232 gas range, $1,200, with a single 30-inch oven may be a viable choice even though it didn’t make our top picks. It has impressive cooktop and baking performance, a large capacity oven, and a very good self-cleaning function. But broiling is only so-so.

Samsung. Sears is also selling a four-piece Samsung suite that lets you choose your own refrigerator and range. The refrigerator choices include our two top-rated four-door French door refrigerators. The ranges include one of our electric range picks. The dishwasher and microwave missed our picks but have their plusses. Depending on what components you pick the cost of the suite begins at $5,540 compared to a combined cost of $6,000 to $6,600.
The refrigerator. The Samsung T9000, $3,500, is our top-rated four-door model, thanks to its superb temperature control and energy efficiency. It features a fresh-food section behind traditional French-doors and two side-by-side bottom compartments that let you adjust the overall fridge-to-freezer ratio. And it’s big—nearly 23 cubic feet. The 36-inch-wide Samsung RF31FMESBSR, $2,900, boasts superb temperature control and energy efficiency. Its temperature-controlled middle drawer can go from 29° F for meat to 42° F for party platters. This is also the first-ever refrigerator with a built-in sparkling water dispenser from SodaStream.
The range. The Samsung NE58F9500WS, $1,800, electric smoothtop range is a slide-in model, offering a built-in look with controls on the front. Simmering was superb and cooktop heat was fast. The large oven was very good at baking and excellent at broiling, and the convection option can trim cooking time.
The dishwasher and microwave. The Samsung DW80F800UWS, $800, dishwasher's claim to fame is a "stormwash" zone in which you place your most soiled items. But overall, you can get better performance for around the same money and Samsung is the most repair-prone dishwasher brand. The Samsung ME21F707MJT, $500, over-the-range microwave has very good heating evenness and was excellent at defrosting. And although it was a bit noisier than other microwaves we tested, it has some convenience features that are worth considering.

Bosch NGM8054UC

Best Buy
Bosch. Best Buy is offering 10 percent off a suite of three or more Bosch appliances. You can choose from many models and we found a refrigerator, cooktop, and dishwasher worth considering. With the discount, they are $4,275; individually they add up to $4,750.
The refrigerator. The 36-inch-wide Bosch Linea 800 B22CS80SN[S], $2,700 is a cabinet-depth, side-by-side, which delivers the flush-to-the-countertop, streamlined effect of a built-in for less. The refrigerator performs well with solid temperature performance and energy efficiency and exceptionally quiet operation.
The cooktop. Among 30-inch gas cooktops the Bosch NGM8054UC, $1,100, tops the Ratings with excellent simmering. But its high-power burner wasn't among the fastest in the group. Features include five burners that automatically relight if they go out, continuous grates, center-mounted knobs, and a stainless-steel surface with a pro-style look.
The dishwasher. The Bosch 800 Series SHE68T55UC offers top-notch washing and drying, plus quiet running and energy efficiency. Pluses include a soil sensor, stainless-steel interior, time-remaining display, flexible racks, and delayed start.

Lowe’s
Three of the appliance suites advertised on Lowe’s website have refrigerators worth considering but the other items in the packages either fell short or were not included in our testing program. The refrigerators include the Samsung RFG298HD[RS], $2,800, the LG LFX31925[ST], $2,900 and the Samsung RF323TEDB[SR], $3,300.

More appliance suites
Some manufacturers offer their own promotions such as these rebates from GE on appliance packages and Thermador’s one-two-free offer. You can also find appliance suites on the websites of Costco, Home Depot, and the regional retailers HHGregg, and Abt Electronics. Before you buy check the results of Consumer Reports appliance tests.

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on twitter)

Photo: Mark Lund Photography

Kitchen Planning Guide

Where to buy appliances. Find out the best places to buy appliances plus get remodeling tips from the experts at Consumer Reports in our Kitchen Buying Guide. You'll find the results of our tests of refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and more.


   

Find Ratings blob logo

Refrigerators Ratings

View and compare all Refrigerators ratings.

Kitchen ranges Ratings

View and compare all Kitchen ranges ratings.

Dishwashers Ratings

View and compare all Dishwashers ratings.

Cooktops & ovens Ratings

View and compare all Cooktops & ovens ratings.

Microwave ovens Ratings

View and compare all Microwave ovens ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more