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Where can I get helpful, unbiased reviews of major appliances?

I think there's a wealth of reliable information here on Chowhound regarding users' favorable and unfavorable experiences with specific brands/models of major appliances. But I'm wondering what other websites you use for appliance reviews. Of course there's Consumer Reports, but are there other places you'd recommend to someone who was shopping for an exhaust hood, a refrigerator, a wine fridge and a diswasher? Thanks!

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  1. Gardenweb appliance forum has quite a few opinions although not always unbiased. You can learn a lot there.
    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/

    1 Reply
    1. re: wekick

      Thanks for the reminder. I've gone to Gardenweb a number of times and it's always been very helpful.

    2. I don't know where to find totally unbiased reviews. I rely on user reviews, and I check Amazon and I also google the appliance + review. i read everything I can on what I am interested in. I have also checked YouTube.

      Even more than the reviews done by CU, I look at the frequency of repair charts for the major appliance manufacturers. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the actual reviews, because they so often designate Kenmore as being the best buy, and there is no way I'm buying Kenmore.

      I've also learned a lot by reading in various threads here on Chowhound. Buying a major appliance represents a major financial commitment, and you want to do your best to get it right.

      Another source of info is a knowledgeable sales person at an independent appliance store. This doesn't always apply, but often you can get a sense of which appliances they feel are best by visiting the store and talking with them.

      11 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        What is your issue with Kenmore?

        1. re: johnb

          I don't trust the brand. I'm not saying I'm right, but that is how I feel. And I wouldn't buy from Sears anyway. Reputation for service is really bad right now.

          1. re: sueatmo

            Sueatmo is right to focus on service. The Kenmore brand it is just a badge that Sears hangs on appliances sourced from others, and the products are usually no worse than the sources' own products. Service on appliances is largely thorugh the Sears subsidiary/spin-off, A&E Appliance Service (aka A&E Factory Service.) Trouble is that a lot of brands have outsourced warranty service and A&E has become a major low-bid contractor with a not infrequently dismal reputation. Have a look at the long running gardenweb thread on them:

            http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

            1. re: sueatmo

              Odd. We just had a Sears service call and I found them to be very good (efficient and inexpensive).

              1. re: ferret

                Count yourself lucky. I read of probs with Sears service on the Consumerist web site. Many, many complaints.

              2. re: sueatmo

                About Sears Service: although I seldom buy extended warranties, I did get one for 5 years for my Sears dishwasher (it is Kenmore; made, I think, by Maytag). Anyway, I had them come out every so often to check it out and clean things up, and then, within a year of the warranty expiration, the pump started to fail. They replaced it at no cost, so I feel I lucked out. Six months later and I'd have been out of luck probably.

                But the service guy was the same fellow all those years. So they evidently have some stability and ethics around here.

            2. re: sueatmo

              I do the same, plus if you know an appliance repairman, ask them which is easiest to work on, which seems to break and how, if parts are readily available in your area, etc. Repair is nearly as important as the purchase.

              1. re: blaireso

                I've done that too, years ago. I agree. Repair is an important thing to consider. I believe that LG appliances have bad repair probs.

              2. re: sueatmo

                Sueatmo, IMHO with regard to your thought about asking an appliance salesman at an independent store as a good resource – I would challenge that idea and tell you that my experience was the exact opposite. The salesman at that appliance Center was exceedingly affable and energetic so much so that he pushed us on to a GE digital monster when we actually went in to look at the Bosch units. He made us believe that the GE was the best thing that ever happened since sliced bread what with all of its features etc. We normally do a great deal of research but in this case we blew it. We purchased it at the end of February, had it installed in less than a week and had nothing but headaches until just a week ago. Three service calls for the exact same problem dealing with hinges and latch closure. Multiple attempts to modify it with a fourth service call pending when we pulled the plug and said "NO MORE!" Our complaint file with GE became many many pages with contacts to GE and the appliance Center staff (shielding the owner from our distressful situation). Finally, the owner reached out and offered to remove it due to "excessive service" and install a Bosch dishwasher that we really wanted. He would not refund the difference in the two machines – GE washer was more expensive, but ultimately did agree to eat the charge for installation of the second unit. He was actually going to charge us for the second installation until I really pitched a fit. At the exact same time, I could've purchased the same model Bosch from our local Lowes and saved myself $129 installation and a $50 store credit. I could have saved myself nearly $360 had I gone to Lowes in the first place. Dealing with a local appliance shop is a patriotic thing to do with regard to bricks and mortar stores run by independent businessmen but they have other issues to deal with and cannot pass on anything in the way of savings. Their biggest fear is that the manufacturer, in this case GE, forces them to fill out so much paperwork for documentation and force the customer to submit to unlimited numbers of service calls to rectify the problem. In our case the hinges and latch closure issues were known factory recall service problems with a workaround in progress but not completed according to our Patient GE service technician with whom we had almost developed a family type relationship! He finally offered, when pressured about other customers with this problem, that he had personally attended to 36 other customers in the space of two months with the exact same hinge/latch closure issues. He did not know of any workaround until he finally reached a senior technician with GE and the technical bulletin was reviewed for the first time. In essence, GE relies on multiple customer complaints to finally modify their production process. Evidently, this machine is made in the USA and not Mexico or China but apparently the design was faulty and the issue was well-known to GE. Why GE would subject it's dealers and customers to this harangue is beyond me. I have a terrible distaste for GE products at this time. The GE consumer office person had all the buzzwords and platitudes but absolutely no authority/empowerment to agree that the unit was defective after the second service call. They expected us to allow more and more calls and we were totally fed up at this point. Having a $630 drying rack for over three months is beyond acceptable. So, buy anything but GE and don't spend more than $700 on a dishwasher. This Bosch SHE3ARF2UC is a beauty. We love the express button – it washes our lightly soiled two-person household dishes in 30 minutes! The jet dry setting can be modified digitally so that you only use a modest amount along with 1 tablespoon of granular finish dishwasher detergent. Everything comes out sparkling clean and we simply open the dishwasher at night to allow them to air dry as the bottoms of the cups have a tiny bit of water. It is not super quiet but at 50 dB it is much quieter than our old Maytag 18 years old. We like the design, the features, the hinge and latch closure mechanism. The racks are a little problematic but we just have resolved to get used to it. After all, we got dishpan hands messing with the GE for the last 3 1/2 months so anything is better than that!

                1. re: GatorRay

                  Hi GatorRay,

                  <So, buy anything but GE and don't spend more than $700 on a dishwasher.>

                  I think what you mean to say is that there's no need to spend more to get a very nice machine, yes? We spent about double that on our Bosch, but with our open floor plan a silent machine is a must so it's money well spent. We also appreciate the upper cutlery rack after having it on a Miele. :-)

                  1. re: GatorRay

                    It's interesting ... it seems that GE dishwashers aren't getting thumbs up from anyone lately. But the one I have from the early 80s is still working (if loud). I've seen the same model still chugging along in other houses too. It would be interesting to know what happened to their quality ...

                2. Assuming you have time to sort out information, I actually find the Amazon.com reviews to be useful. Yes, some of the reviews are shallow, but many are specifics and focus. Moreover, you get a sample of people who use the appliances for extensive period of time. If the top few complaints are the same, then you can bet the problem is wide spread.

                  While Consumer Reports and Consume Search are useful, they are limited. They usually only review popular brands, and they usually only give their first impression of the products. They rare (if ever) tell you the longevity or reliability of a product.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Not of a particular product. But they do show charts that track frequency of repairs for a brand. I find these to be somewhat helpful.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      That CR is often limited in its scope has been one of my complaints about their ratings. That's particularly true for more upscale products. Service and frequency of repairs are often-overlooked yet vitally important factors.

                      1. re: RobCollins

                        There are a few different Choice magazines, none of which seems like what I'm looking for. Can you provide a link?

                      2. Epinions.com has product reviews of everything under the sun written by average people. I've written over 1200 reviews there including ones on my dishwasher, grill, refrigerator, microwave, vacuums, blenders, food processors, coffee makers, etc.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          GREAT suggestion! I never think of Epinions. Thanks for reminding me.

                          1. re: Njchicaa

                            I've often used Epinions. If you google a particular appliance, you will often get the Epinions site. However, I don't always find what I am looking for there.