By Jacob Passy
Buying a new appliance is an investment, but consumers shouldn’t choose a refrigerator or washing machine based on the price tag alone.
On Thursday, Consumer Reports released a ranking of appliance brands based on their reliability. The study evaluated different appliance-makers based on information the organization collected from members on more than 381,000 kitchen and laundry appliances purchased between 2008 and 2018.
Speed Queen, a company that exclusively manufactures clothes washers and dryers came was No. 1 in Consumer Reports’ ranking.
Speed Queen, a company that exclusively manufactures clothes washers and dryers, was No. 1 in the ranking.
To rank the brands, Consumer Reports asked members how often the appliance broke or stopped working adequately. It looked at eight different types of appliances: refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, cooking tops, wall ovens, over-the-range microwaves, washers and dryers.
Consumers rated reliability as more important than price or performance in determining which appliance they purchased, said Eric Hagerman, home editor at Consumer Reports.
“The stakes are high for major appliances,” he said. “These are really expensive products that you buy for your home. They’re things you have to have installed and they basically become a part of your home.”
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As for brands that produce appliances across all eight product categories, LG /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -2.33% came out on top, followed by Bosch, General Electric /zigman2/quotes/208849192/delayed HRELF -2.80% and Kenmore /zigman2/quotes/202095319/delayed SHLDQ +4.39% .
Meanwhile, brands that ranked in the bottom half of the pack included KitchenAid /zigman2/quotes/200296850/composite WHR +1.26% , Samsung /zigman2/quotes/202367843/delayed SSNLF 0.00% and Electrolux /zigman2/quotes/204553335/delayed ELUXF -0.83% .
Roughly 40% of all refrigerators had problems crop up in the first five years after they were purchased, as did 30% of washers and 25% of ranges.
Notably, Viking /zigman2/quotes/201397614/composite MIDD +0.04% , which sells expensive, chef-grade appliances, came in last on the Consumer Reports ranking. A Viking gas range can cost upwards of $15,000 .
“The reliability rating doesn’t have anything to do with the price they charge or the marketing campaign,” Hagerman said.
Viking president Kevin Brown defended the brand’s products in an email to MarketWatch. “We are confident in the quality of today’s Viking products,” Brown said. “Since Middleby’s purchase of Viking in 2013, Viking has completely re-engineered the entire Viking product line and has implemented 100% testing to ensure the best reliability, quality and customer satisfaction.”
A spokeswoman for GE Appliances said the company had not yet seen the results of the study and could not yet offer comment. MarketWatch contacted the other companies for comment, but has not yet received any response.
A spokeswoman for JennAir said, “JennAir is committed to exceptional performance, masterful execution and provocative design; reliability and owner satisfaction are at the core of everything we do.” Customers who have problems with the brand’s appliances are encouraged to call the company (1-800-JENNAIR) where “dedicated specialists will connect them to the troubleshooting they need or set an appointment for timely white-glove service,” she said.
A Miele spokesman said the company was “pleased” with its No. 2 ranking. “Miele is the only manufacturer in our branch of industry to test products such as our washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and ovens to the equivalent up to 20 years’ use,” said spokesman Kevin Pchola.
The rankings are predictions based on previous customer experiences, meaning there are some happy Electrolux customers and disappointed Speed Queen buyers out there.
Moreover, some appliances are more prone to breaking down. Roughly 40% of all refrigerators had problems crop up in the first five years after they were purchased, as did 30% of washers and 25% of ranges.
And while maintenance won’t necessarily double the life span of an appliance, it can improve its working condition and prevent major calamities from arising. Keeping appliances clean, inspecting their different parts regularly and treating them with care (don’t slam the microwave door, for instance) can go a long way in keep them in fine condition.
<STRONG>This story has been updated.</STRONG>