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Appliance features you can’t live without

The convenience features Consumer Reports’ experts like best

Published: March 03, 2014 12:30 PM

KitchenAid KDRS505XSS

In the appliance labs at Consumer Reports, our experts put the latest features to the test. The really innovative ones start on higher end models and move to mid-priced—but that can take years—and those features rarely wind up on the cheapest models. So when it comes to cooking and doing laundry at home, our experts know which features they want. Here are five of their favorites.

Gliding oven racks. “You can easily lift hot food up and out,” says Tara Casaregola, an engineer who tests our cooking appliances. She likes racks that glide along ball-bearing rollers, fully extending, making it easier to lift up hot and heavy dishes.
Recommended ranges with this feature. The Electrolux EI30EF35JS, $1,600, electric smoothtop range and the KitchenAid KDRS505XSS, $2,000, double-oven dual-fuel model, pairing a gas rangetop with an electric oven.

Convection roast. As a Consumer Reports analyst, Mike DiLauro scouts the market for innovations in cooking appliances. He also loves to cook. “Unlike convection bake, which uses the lower element and the convection element for heat and the fan to provide air circulation, convection roast takes it one step further,” says DiLauro. “It uses both the upper, or broil, and lower element in addition to the convection element and fan. The real advantage is the broil element, which results in nice browning, especially the top of roasts.” You can follow DiLauro on Twitter @midilauro.
Recommended wall ovens with this feature. The top-rated Whirlpool WOS92EC0AH electric single oven, $1,500, and the Whirlpool WOD93EC0AS electric double-oven model, $2,500.

Express wash. Here’s an option that allows Mark Allwood to speed up a front-loader’s long wash time and, by Allwood’s estimation, doesn’t sacrifice cleaning performance. He should know. Mark has four sons and has done plenty of laundry. He’s also the analyst who recommends the laundry appliances we test.
Recommended washer with this feature. The Kenmore Elite 41073 front-loader, $1,500.

Auto-load sensing. “It’s my favorite washer feature—less thinking on my part, plus it uses the appropriate amount of water and that means it’s less wasteful,” says Emilio Gonzalez. He keeps his family’s laundry from piling up and is the engineer who tests our laundry appliances.
Recommended washers with this feature. The LG WT1101CW is the top-rated top-loader and, at $700, a CR Best Buy. Most front-loaders have this feature, like the top-rated Maytag Maxima XL MHW8000AG, $1,450, and the $800 Whirlpool Duet WFW70HEBW, a CR Best Buy.

Moisture sensor. This dryer feature is another favorite of Emilio’s. “It figures out when the laundry is dry so I don't overdry my clothes.”
Recommended dryers with this feature. All the dryers recommended by Consumer Reports have a moisture sensor, such as the top-scoring Samsung DV50F9A8EVP electric dryer, $1,100, and the Whirlpool Cabrio WED5800BW. It’s $700 and a CR Best Buy.

—Kimberly Janeway

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