Buying all new appliances, some guidance
I'm a young first time homebuyer and I'm likely going to be needing to buy all new appliances for the kitchen.
I really don't know very much about appliances, so figured I'd try to get some help here.
First of all, I can't really find a very good source of appliance reviews. Some big box dealers like Best Buy have a handful of reviews but with so many models, there really aren't nearly as many reviews on dishwashers as, say, speakers or televisions. So a good database of reviews would be a very useful starting point for me.
If not, here are my needs:
Refrigerator (would like by side by side, ice in door is a must)
Dishwasher (hidden controls not essential)
Range/Oven (might prefer electric, but not opposed to gas; if electric, must be smooth top)
Above range microwave
I want all stainless appliances. It is important to me that the refrigerator is not black on the sides. Many refrigerators seem to have stainless fronts but black sides. I'd like stainless, or at least the stainless look on the sides as well.
My budget is a little flexible but I figure if I shop around I can get pretty good appliances for these prices:
Stove/Range - $600-$900
Microwave - $150-$275
So basically somewhere around $3000 for the lot.
I also need a washer/dryer. Don't really need stainless for this. White or black would be fine. Don't need to be top of the line by any means. Maybe $1200-$1500 for the pair.
Is installation of appliances relatively easy? It seems like they pretty much just plug and play. I think that I can find them cheaper online than locally so if they were delivered, I assume installation would be on me.
Also, is there value in buying a "set" all from the same brand. I know builders tend to use the same brand so they sort of match... though I really feel all stainless appliances will match to some extent. Would I be better off finding one brand that fits my needs and getting them all, or is breaking it down one by one the better way to go?
Are there any particular big name brands that tend to have a good/bad repuation (GE, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, LG, etc.)
Thanks in advance,
Search the Web for
'class action' brandname
to bring up adverse publicity & lawsuits.
This, because reliability is a State Secret, and low reliability is a hidden cost of ownership.
Hi...Take time to search on the internet for a new appliances for the kitchen..
Hey, Steve - I feel compelled to offer my opinion on stainless appliances. I HATE them! There is nothing "stainless" about them and in fact they are extremely high-maintenance. Every fingerprint shows, especially on the refrigerator, and nothing will clean the damn things except specific stainless cleaners or wipes. You can't just take your dish cloth and wipe it down. It will make a smeary mess and you can't polish it with a dry towel either.
The fridge is also very easily dented, as I learned a week after buying mine, when a light aluminium stool bumped against it and put a big ding right in the middle of the door.
Am I the only one who dislikes these things? I wish I had spray painted my old frig instead...
As far as reliability/repair goes, that's a tough one. Almost all parts these days come from Asia I've been told, and you can wait 4 - 6 weeks for a replacement. Which effectively makes modern appliances disposable as what the heck do you do without a frig or stove for that long?
Here's the sum total knowledge I've accumulated about buying appliances over the past 20 years.
1. When it comes to clothes washers, then amongst the 5 major American brands (Amana or Speed Queen in Canada, Maytag, GE, Frigidaire and Whirlpool or Inglis in Canada) then Maytag has the best design in top loading washers, and Whirlpool is also very good. This is the reason you often see Maytag commercial laundry equipment in laundromats. The Maytag washers don't clean the clothes any better; they're just easier to service than other brands.
When it comes to front loading dryers, I personally prefer Whirlpool over Maytag, but both are good even though there is much less difference in each of the competitor's offerings when it comes to dryers. (I have three Maytag coin-op dryers only because I wanted the washers to be Maytag.)
The jury is still out on front loading washers, but if I had to buy another three coin operated washers, I'd buy front loaders simply because they use less hot water, and that saves on the operating cost. Who has the best design has not yet been proven through time testing.
I wouldn't buy a GE washer or dryer.
2. Fridges - Here, the operating principle is the same for every make and it's just a matter of getting the features you want. You should check that the evaporator fan, defrost timer and compressor are readily accessible for ease of service if you intend to maintain the appliances yourself. You should know that there are only a handful of companies in the US that make the compressors for fridges, so different brands of fridges will often use exactly the same compressor, and in that respect it's not fair to say one is better than the other. They all should last you 20+ years.
3. Stoves - Again, they all use exactly the same operating principle, so it's a matter of getting one with the features you want. You definitely want a stove with a self cleaning oven. I personally don't like Maytag's timers because you have to pay top dollar for one with a timed bake cycle. That is, where the bake element will come on at a certain time, stay on for a prescribed length of time and then shut off. GE provides a timed bake cycle on some of their less expensive models, but you have to buy Maytag's top of the line range to get that. Otherwise, you get the electronic equivalent of an egg timer. You just set the timer to beep in 3 hours, and it beeps in three hours. But, it just beeps. You can't tell it to turn on or shut off the stove at that time. Given that the timer could be used to program the operation of the stove, I think Maytag timers are simply too rudimentary to be useful.
Also, I can't say that I like the way Maytag promotes their products because I've been fixing appliances for over 20 years, and even though I like their washers and dryers, the way they sell their appliances isn't completely truthful. For example, Maytag will boast that the bake element on their stoves are nearly twice as thick as those used by some of their competitors. The insinuation is that the thicker the bake element the longer it will last, and I can't say that I agree entirely with that. Also, the bottom line is that when it comes time to replace that bake element, you'll have to pay top dollar for a Genuine Maytag bake element. Many people will pay less and get an aftermarket bake element made by another manufacturer, and if they install it themselves, that's probably the option that provides the best value for their dollar since they're an easy part to replace.
Builders models - The reason why you often see the same brand of appliances in new houses or in apartment blocks is because some of the 5 major American appliance manufacturers make something called "Builder's Models". These are basic models of common appliances that sell for less than the residential models offered to the general public. That is, the residential models will have all the features your typical housewife would want, whereas builder's models come with the most common features that most people want, and nothing else. They typically have only a 1 year warranty as well. GE and Frigidaire both offer a builder's line in their fridges and stoves. In fact, GE and Frigidaire used to have a swap agreement whereby GE would build 12 cubic foot apartment size fridges for Frigidaire to sell under their builder's model name and Frigidaire would build 24 inch apartment size ranges for GE to sell under their builder's model name. Often appliance manufacturers are queezy about putting their names on their builder's models. I guess they want to be able to say "We sell those a lot cheaper because they're not made to the same quality level as our residential models." which is BS. For example, I bought 18 GE builder's model fridges, but not one of them has any indication it was made by GE. They're all "Concept II" fridges, and you have to know that Concept II is GE's name for it's builder's model fridges. The ONLY difference is that the builder's models come with white plastic door handles whereas the residential models have contrasting black door handles that don't show fingerprints as much. Also, the residential models have plastic covers over the top freezer door hinge whereas the Concept II fridges don't have that little plastic cover. I bought those Concept II fridges for about $480 each, considering a GE residential model would be about $600. Maytag's residential line of dish washers is their Jet Clean line, whereas their builder's line is the Performa line.
Builder's models are sold to contractors building houses or apartment blocks, or landlords of apartment blocks wanting to replace their appliances. So, if you know a building contractor or landlord, there's a good chance he can buy you builder's models of appliances for a lot less than the residential lines. For example, I bought 19 apartment size (24 inches wide) self cleaning Frigidaire builder's model ranges for $525 each. I went to Sears Home Central and a similar model with two convienience outlets on it instead of one cost $675. I bought a Maytag Performa dish washer for my sister for about $300 if I remember right, and a similar model with an electronic timer and electronic controls in the Maytag Jet Clean line was over $400 if I recall correctly.
So, the reason why you'll often see the same brand of appliances in new housing or apartment blocks is only because the builder or landlord got the best deal he could by purchasing all builder's models of appliances from the same manufacturer.
check into the particulars of a tax credit before purchasing. I believe there is a date window in which the appliance must be purchased to qualify.
If you want real stainless, take a magnet with you stainless is usually non-magnetic and some appliance just have a plastic veneer covered bya film to give the same appearance.
There are both magnetic and non-magnetic stainless steels, and if it wasn't stainless, then the fridge door would show rust formation just from the humidity in the air. Take a fridge magnet and you'll find that it sticks very well to the inside of your kitchen sink. (Or at least a magnet sticks to my kitchen sink, and that sink is 50 years old.)
Another wonderful advice from Nestor! :D Take those advices! Well you can also check out some good reviews about the appliances that you want to buy. I am sure there are lots of stuff on the internet specially reviews regarding certain products. :)
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