Car batteries. DieHard batteries, sold at Sears, Kmart, and a handful of other retailers, are some of the best from our latest car battery tests—depending on the type of car you drive. If you own a large car, truck, or SUV from Ford, the DieHard Gold 50865, $145, and the DieHard Advanced Gold 50765, $175, make our picks list in the Group 65 category, combining long life with superior resistance to frigid temps; both also feature a convenient handle. Chrysler drivers should consider the DieHard Advanced Gold 50778, $165, our top model in the Group 78 category, and the highest overall scorer of all tested car batteries. Other DieHards make our winners’ lists for these categories, though the brand also has some dogs, so check the model names carefully. And if you drive a Honda, Nissan, or Toyota, you’ll do better with a battery from EverStart or Interstate.
Laundry appliances. Sears has several models on our recommend list of laundry appliances, especially if you spring for the Kenmore Elite line. Among front-load washers, the Kenmore Elite 41073, $1,200, combines superb washing performance and efficiency, plus its jumbo drum can handle 24 pounds of laundry. If, like so many consumers, you’re looking for a matching washer/dryer set, pair it with the equally capacious Kenmore Elite 81073 dryer, $1,200. Prefer top-loaders? Consider the Kenmore Elite 31412 washer, $950, which earns mostly solid marks.
Refrigerators. Several refrigerator picks in the popular French-door configuration are from Kenmore. Consider the Kenmore Elite 72193, $4,150 which combines solid temperature control, storage capacity, and efficiency; act fast, however, since the model is being phased out. The Kenmore 7160 performed similarly for less than half the price, though it lacks a through-the-door ice and water dispenser. Sears also carries many recommended top-freezers, including the well-priced Kenmore 78892 for $600. Among side-by-sides, we like the Bosch Linea 800 B22CS80SN[S], $2,700, which is also available at other retailers.
Snow blowers. Craftsman scores big in our snow blower tests. Among two-stage gas models, the Craftsman 88396, $1,200, nearly beat out the top-rated Cub Cadet, and it costs hundreds less. If you have a long driveway that sees heavy snowfall, this is a superb choice. If snow removal demands are less, consider the smaller Craftsman 88173, $680, which is tied for the top spot among compact two-stage gas snow blowers.
Vacuums. Whether you’re looking for an upright vacuum or a canister, bagged or bagless, Kenmore is a brand to consider. The Kenmore Elite 31150, $350, is our number one bagged upright vac, while the Kenmore Elite 21814, $500, is tops among bagged canister vacs. Both models are suited to carpets and bare floors, plus they were tough on stubborn pet hair in our tests. Many other Kenmore vacuums make our recommended list, so you’ll have plenty of choices at Sears.