Appliance Reviews: Does anyone like anything?
New to this board and in the midst of a total kitchen redo.
After doing a ton of research, both in person & online I've come to the conclusion that 90%+ of online user reviews hate their new appliance.
If one was to form an opinion solely from the above you could draw no other conclusion but "our old insert appliance here has worked great since Noah built the ark but our new insert new appliance here is a piece of junk and so is the dealer we bought it from.
How does anyone form any kind of realistic opinion?
FWIW, I'm not new to the internet(93) or the online community but of all the "communities" I've habituated in the last 15 years the appliance related ones are definitely the most skewed.
I think noobs really need to be wary of what they read online.
With that said, I've been lurking here for a bit and find it a really nice place with the majority of people being honest and helpful.
Now that made me laugh! I'm assuming you're talking about major appliances, yes?
What I find is that there's no consensus, rather than everyone hating everything. I see plenty of accolades out there for certain appliances, but you can always find some folks who are just as adamantly against the same items.
There really does seem to be some truth to the idea that newer stuff isn't made like it used to be. So that sentiment may be based firmly in the realities of how stuff is made and marketed these days.
I have a collection of stuff that basically works okay but I don't really like it that much, mostly 5-8 years old. The only thing newer and that particularly stands out is the basic Bosch dishwasher, which compared only to others I've actually used is pretty impressive. But then the others I've used wouldn't generally be seen as competitive at all. It's been here a little over 2 years. You'll find some folks who don't like these, I guarantee.
From what I've read in the past few years, one factor weems to be the acquisiton of reputable companies by other firms. Maytag's advertising used to be pretty accurate, but now the label is owned by Whirlpool. I have a 20-year-old KitchenAid stand mixer that still works great. But I've seen a number of complaints on Chowhound since the brand was acquired by Sunbeam. I've avoided all GE products since reading in Consumer Reports that they have a truly abominable freezer made by a notoriously bad firm in China. And with all the globalization, a brand may change hands or factories or countries without a consumer even being aware. For my ew freezer (a Maytag), I just read Consumer Reports and hoped for the best. So far, so good.
Added comment: For GE to sell an appliance the execs know to be bad, I figure the appliance division, at least. must be run by a pretty sleazy crew. Perhaps that's why GE wants to dump that division.
The thrust of your remarks may be OK, but your examples are inaccurate. Maytag's quality was in serious decline well before Whirlpool bought them, and their financial weakness caused by their quality problems is why they had to find a buyer in the first place. Kitchenaid is not owned by Sunbeam, which itself went bankrupt several years ago and is now a shadow of its former self (KitchenAid was bought from Hobart by Whirlpool in 1986, so if yours is 20 years old it was made by Whirlpool which still owns KA). And I don't think shunning everything made by a company because one item gets a bad review is smart. If you rely on Consumers Report, look closely and you will see that sometimes an item is highly rated while another item of the same brand is low rated. Manufacturers making things for each other has been going on long before "globalization," and few buyers have ever been aware--most people probably even still think that Sears manufactures Kenmore appliances, or Craftsman tools for that matter. GE got out of the small appliance business years ago (Wal-Mart controls the brand for small appliances) and their plan to sell the large appliance division has nothing to do with sleaze and everything to do with the fact that large appliances aren't very profitable.
Whirlpool manufactures the countertop stuff? I would have guessed they do not. Certainly they don't make the cookware and gadgets and such that are branded KitchenAid. They own the brand; that doesn't mean they make everything. I would not be surprised to find a countertop KitchenAid appliance that was made by Sunbeam at some point in time (which isn't the same as Sunbeam owning KitchenAid, true, but these things get extraordinarily complicated now).
You're right--it is complicated. What I'm saying below is to the best of my knowledge--I haven't searched the web just now to verify it.
Whirlpool bought Kitchenaid in 1986. That included the name, the plant(s), the employee base, the patents, everything. From that time, all products manufactured by Kitchenaid in its own factory(ies) can be said to have been manufactured by "Whirlpool" since they own Kitchenaid, lock, stock, and barrel. The mixers are manufactured (even to this day AFAIK) in the same plant in I think Ohio where they've always been made, although there may be some models made elsewhere. That guy John Ratzenberger once did a segment about that factory for his "Made In America" TV show. The food processors are made in China now (previously they were made in France by Robocoupe, the firm that made the first home food processors--I bought one of the last of these French Kitchenaid processors myself). The major appliances are made by Whirlpool in plants that also make Whirlpool-branded appliances--they are typically "higher end" versions of the same appliances (ie built on the same platform) sold as Whirlpool, and I imagine the main reason Whirlpool bought Kitchenaid was to use the brand name for higher end (ie higher profit) appliances. It is of course possible, even likely, that some Kitchenaid branded appliances are made by others as well. These days that can vary from week to week. But the definition of "others" is fuzzy too. For example, Whirlpool's high-end front loading washers are made in Germany by a German company, but if my info is correct it turns out that that company is owned by, guess who, Whirlpool. Bosch, meanwhile, a German company, makes its front-loaders at its plant in North Carolina.
I doubt Whirlpool ever sold anything made by Sunbeam under the Kitchenaid name, but I don't know for sure.
Nothing is simple.
We just moved into a brand new house and chose all of our major appliances. We got everything from Sears, though with the caveat that we got it through our builder via contract sales and not through the normal retail store or website. We got and, so far, love the following:
Kenmore Elite 24.8 cu. ft. TRIO® French Door Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Sears item# 04676593000 - it's got tons of space; the one "quirk" is that its got a full width drawer that you really have to get the doors all the way open to be able to open. If you've got enough space to do that, no worries.
Our dishwasher is the Stainless Steel Kenmore 24 in. Built-In Dishwasher Sears item# 02213843000. It's brilliant and has a sanitizing cycle that we love. A lot. We got all the other stuff, too but those seem to be what people are after most and, honestly, we have used the new range enough yet to be able to offer a good opinion.
Well, I love our new appliances, so maybe I'm the exception! We have the new Sub Zero fridge with the glass doors and the drawers. Love it. We have the new Miele dishwasher, and it does the first load in 15 minutes, and subsequent loads in 8. It uses the rinse water from the previous load to wash the next load, so it is super efficient and it is great to have the dishes done so quickly. We also have a Sub-Zero beverage refrigerator in our butler's pantry and it works very well with the Hojizaki ice maker next to it that makes perfect, clear cubes, also great. We have an 11 year old Viking range (6 burrners, griddle and grill, 2 full-sized ovens) that we were so happy with that we did not replace it, just cosmetically refurbished. Okay, so this is all high end stuff, I will admit, but it's worth stretching to get the good stuff rather than compromising and spending your life waiting for the repair man to arrive!
That's an interesting conclusion. My take is that many on the internet seem bent on convincing the world that the brand they bought is THE best and only brand to buy.
The biggest issue I see with a lot of help from the internet is that we all have different ideas about what's ideal. Some don't care for the commercial style ranges because they don't feel they are more reliable than a standard range while other focus only on BTU. The next person wants one with a fit finish and name that will fit in an up scale home. I don't ultimatly see any right or wrong choices only personal choices that fit your budget, needs and wants.
The only appliance I would absolutley avoid is GE dish machines. The new models have pumps that are not attached to the machine but rather hang underneath and they cavitate to beat the band. Pretty much the polar opposite of Bosch on sound level and the one I had was over $1,000 with the super quiet sound package. I had a Bosch for five years and I liked it but I did need repairs. The top of the Bosch is hard plastic so if your machine is near a work area in your kitchen consider that. Any citric acid that gets on it will discolor the control panal that sticks out to the counter top lip or pretty close. I have an Asko dish machine now and I love it. Just as quiet as the Bosch plus it has a fan for drying.
I have a kitchen aid mixer that is around 15 years old I love. I love the Viking hood sysytem. I like all of my other appliances and I don't recal one I ever had I hated except the GE dish machine that went back. I've had a Viking range for seven years that I like very much. I have had repairs and have not found them to be any more expensive than any other brand. The beauty of it is simplicity. Most repairs I can do myself and they are easy which I really like.
In the end beauty is in the eye of the one writing the check. I hope you find a kitchen that works well for you.
Part of the problem with the newer stuff, and I'm referring here to energy users such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers, is that the manufactures are still coming to grips with new efficiency requirements. In some cases it's getting worked out, in some it's taking longer. And I think that any comments made based on equipment that is more than, say, five years old, can be ignored--most designs and many corporate owners/policies change over that period, so what was true then has little to do with what may be going on now.
Yes, most posting is probably being done by disgruntled buyers who got lemons and are complaining. Does this mean you will also get a lemon? Maybe, maybe not. All manufacturers sometimes produce lemons. Life is, to some extent, a crapshoot. The rest of the posting is being done by satisfied buyers, but of course they haven't used the ones they didn't buy, so it's an incomplete info source.
I have followed fora such as this one and Garden Web a great deal, especially when I had to do my new kitchen a couple of years ago, and they helped me a lot in my purchasing decisions, but you do have to wade through and distill a lot of stuff. I am an enthusiastic cook, and am seriously trying to improve my Chinese cooking skills; through Garden Web I found out about Blue Star ranges, bought one, and couldn't be happier with that decision. The unit's power, and the design of the cooking surface which works well with round-bottom woks, is great. An for me it has also unexpectedly opened up all sorts of new possibilities that I didn't previously know existed, including for western cooking such as deep-frying, and I had a good unit before (DCS). But somebody else may say otherwise--one particular poster here (who showed up fairly recently) seems to have an issue with Blue Star, apparently doesn't own one but says he's used one, and whenever anybody says something good about Blue Star he can be relied on to raise negatives while claiming he only is trying to be helpful and everybody should do what's best for them. So you need to consider your sources.
On the whole, I think the anecdotal information found here and elsewhere is useful, but far from the perfect answer to the selection dilemma.
My take on the current state of major appliance non-professional reviews is that generally the people who post personal experiences regarding their appliances are either those that are head over heels in love or those that got stuck with a lemon (and it can happen with any brand) and are venting. And I think given human nature, those whose blood pressure is up because of aggravation are going to be much more likely to post opinions online than those who are more or less happy with their purchase.
Jfood wanderings in the kitchen which was re-done 5 yeaqrs ago:
- GE Compacter - major quality issues when purchased. Two mjor repairs, both times were taken away a returned weeks later.
- Viking 6-burner cooktop - Love it. No major issues at all
- Viking downdraft - it is what it is, no problem, does what manufacturer spec'ed.
- Miele DW - Fantastic. Recommend it whenever jfood can
- GE Mono MV - Magnetron replaced 4 times. Quality of original was lousy and the replacement parts worse
- Sharp MV - Sharp makes the best insides. Only wish they hire someone with a good eye to design outsides
- GE Mono bottom freezer fridge - Very good, not great. Some design, mechanical issues. Would probably go subzero next time
- GE Mono double oven - More design issues (see a pattern with the GE stuff). Takes forever to pre-heat. Sounds like one of their jet engines when cooling down. Self-clean? yeah right. Next time jfood going back to Dacor.
The bad reviews are the whole point of it for me. If I'm, say, looking for a dishwasher
I can go to any appliance dealer and get a metric boatload of carefully designed
product literature highlighting all the terrific things about a dozen different bands. Which
is good. But the next question is, what's going to go wrong? And the appliance
salesman isn't going to be completely honest about that.
So online, it's not too hard to figure out what the common consensus is. Maybe
brand one has a heating coil that tends to burn out. And brand two seems to have
problems with leaking more than others. I could live with the heating coil problems
but personally, I like my dishwashers leak-free. So brand two would be out of
Positive online reviews are nice to read after the fact, so I can feel reassured I
made the right decision. But they're pretty much useless to me beforehand.
re: Chuckles the Clone
That's exactly why you have to sift through the bad reviews. Because sometimes people get hysterical over stuff that isn't that big a deal. And sometimes like you said, there is a pretty major problem that keeps cropping up over and over again in a particular model/manufacturer that it's worth avoiding. That's the stuff you have to look for. But I think the OP is really talking about the fact that you probably can't find any major appliance that somebody doesn't hate (usually more than a few somebodies...). So if a potential major appliance consumer goes into their search thinking that this time they will the find the perfect appliance that has never disappointed anyone - well, they're probably gonna be disappointed.
flourgirl is right-on here.
So far I haven't run into the common fanboyism so much as the "this thing is a piece of junkism" or Visigoth is a REAL range and RedStar is just a pretender. BTW, I ordered a RedStar ;)
I truly sympathize with buyers who get a lemon and can't get satisfaction.
Personally, I've bought 10s of thousands of dollars of merchandise on the internet but would NEVER buy appliances that way.
For one, high-end appliance prices seem to have a pretty strict MAP policy. I bought all of my stuff locally and the prices were identical to the online ones except for sales tax. The only one I've found cheaper was Rainbow.
I used to think I was a weird guy as I was the only male I knew who loved major appliances. It's kind of nice to know I'm not the only one.
Back in the late 90's, we bought a Kenmore(Whirlpool) front loader washer and dryer. I loved it. Front loaders hadn't caught on yet(again) and friends were like, "it's so small! how many loads do yo have to do?"
I really owe my interest to a late 80's, early 90's British show called The Secret Life Of Machines.
Each week this guy would trace the history of all sorts of modern devices that we take for granted. I found it fascinating.
One episode was about the washing machine. He explained that the front loader of the late 40's and 50's was superior but more expensive to produce and that with the baby boom top loaders became the norm.
Anyway, I enjoy researching appliances and appreciate what it takes to build a superior product. Sorry for the digression.
Beware before buying any GE appliance. I own a GE profile washer which is less than one year old. The control panel on it went over a month ago and I'm still trying to get it service under warranty. First, they sent a sub-contractor. He ordered the part and said it would be ten business days beofre it came in. When the part came in, it was two more weeks before they could install it. After spending the morning waiting for the technician, he arrived with a defective part.
After calling the GE service center, a supervisor suggested I reschedule with a GE service representative. I did this only to wait home again. I was scheduled for today between 1-5. At 5:00, after my repeated phone calls, I was informed the technician was running behind and probably wouldn't be able to make it. No one called me to tell me that. It was only after my repeated phone calls to GE that I found this out. Apparently, GE is not able to directly contact the dispatcher or technicians. They can only send them IMs. So after all this, I now have to wait until Wednesday.
I would never buy a GE appliance. Their service is horrible. They have no respect for the customer or their time. I have dealt with Sears regarding Kenmore appliances and Bosch and both really know how to treat their customers.
Also many people, after doing the research/posting, are less likely to follow up if things are going really well. I guess I can count myself among those people, so an update to my partial kitchen re-do -- the Bosch dishwasher is doing great. We got the lower-end model so it might be in hindsight just a bit small, but that's my only complaint. It has gotten our dishes much cleaner than any dishwasher we've used; no spots as long as we use Jet Dry religiously; seems to use less soap than older models; and I like the cycle "countdown" and the options for energy-efficient and auto wash. I have also been using a Maytag range, inherited from the house's prior owners, that is probably 2-3 years old, with no problems.
We bought a Kenmore washer and dryer from Sears about 18 months ago, before I started hearing all the Sears complaints. Had a defective model delivered but the driver caught it on install and lugged it back out under the porch with no complaints (got a big tip for it, too). The replacement machine and dryer have been going strong, so far, even after undergoing a major move and renovation work. Aside from recent questions about the Sears quality and corporate customer service, I think much of it may be a crap shoot with local contractors.
I am less than happy with the Magic Chef fridge, which freezes produce left on the bottom shelf, drips, and runs constantly, but it is an older appliance that came with the house. So, that will be the next buying adventure, unless Santa shows up with a side-by-side bottom freezer strapped to his back this December.