Bosch, GE and Whirlpool Resulted as the Most Reliable Kitchen Appliances

Consumer Reports News: May 24, 2012 11:08 AM

When shopping for new kitchen appliances, you're right to focus on immediate factors like style and performance. How will range X look in my kitchen? Will refrigerator Y keep my food fresh? But you also need to consider how an appliance might hold up over time. Our brand reliability data, based on surveys of tens of thousands readers, tells you just that. Bosch, GE, and Whirlpool fared well in our latest results, though reliability can vary from one appliance to the next.

Whirlpool gets high marks for reliability across top-freezers, bottom-freezers, and side-by-sides. That's even true for models with icemakers, which tend to be finicky given their complex designs and the extreme environment in which they operate. Kenmore is another brand to consider. GE, on the other hand, was among the more repair-prone brands of top- and bottom-freezers with icemakers, while LG has been among the more repair-prone brands of side-by-sides with icemakers. Whatever the brand, it's wise to empty your icemaker and turn it off if it won't be in use for an extended period. And if your home has hard or sediment-filled water, adding a whole-house water filter or a water softener should help prevent the water inlet valve from clogging.

Cooking appliances. While GE's refrigerators can be repair-prone, the manufacturer makes very reliable ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens. Frigidaire also stands out among gas ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, and microwaves. Brands to think twice about include KitchenAid (for gas and electric ranges) and Jenn-Air (for electric ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens). Keeping cooking appliances free from grease and grime will help maintain their performance, as well as their looks. When cleaning electronic control panels, spray water or glass cleaner onto a soft cloth or sponge, then wipe. Spraying the panel directly risks getting moisture in the controls.

Dishwashers. Bosch joins Whirlpool and Kenmore among the more reliable dishwasher manufacturers. At the opposite end of the spectrum, LG, Maytag, and Amana were among the most repair-prone. As with icemaker-equipped refrigerators, installing a whole-house filter or a water softener can protect your dishwasher if your home has hard or sediment-filled water. Most manufacturers also recommend using a rinse aid.

Brands that proved reliable in our surveys tend to have other strengths, such as high performance and efficiency. But our tests often reveal some model-to-model variation within the same manufacturer, so be sure to cross reference our Ratings with our Brand Reliability before making any final selections.

Daniel DiClerico

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