Help! Does anyone like their appliances?

brooklyn4478June 7, 2013

We are in the process of building a new home and need all new appliances. I've researched appliances in great detail and can't seem to find any good reviews on appliances. I was considering the GE Cafe refrigerator and oven, GE Profile or Monogram Advantium, and Kitchen Aid dishwasher. I read bad reviews on the GE Cafe model so now I'm afraid to that route? Any advice out there?

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Total paralysis from reading customer complaints on the internet?

Brand ____ (take your pick) is so terrible nobody should ever ever buy anything from that company again. You will be remain paralyzed because everything made after 19___ is absolute crap and you should go back to woodstoves and iceboxes. You know dishwashers ruin flooring and cause housefires, so you should avoid them, too. :>)

As has been pointed out with some frequency here, every company's production generates some lemons and every company, at some time or another, has some products that just don't measure up. Bad warranty service can compound that and turn a disappointed buyer into an irate and bitter campaigner. And some people just love to bash products.

So, take a deep breath, calm down, and, as you are new here, let me offer some suggestions.

1. Advantium: apparently you do not realize that, over the years, there have been a lot of postings here on Advantiums and other "speed" ovens. Try "gardenweb + advantium" and "gardenweb + speed oven" as a search string in Google, Bing, Ask, whatever. Maybe the NSA and the FBI can find some secret web info for you. The news in the last couple of days is that they've got some really spectacular search engines. ;>)

2. Cafe refrigerator? Same thing. Posting a specific model number may help. Better yet, post what you want --- capacity, size, type (French Door, simple bottom freezer, top freezer. SxS), do you want through the door ice and water, and you want counterdepth or standard depth? You will find a lot more helpful advice about alternatives if you can be specific about what you want.

3. According to Consmer Reports' annual membership surveys, GE and LG have been the least reliable brands (GE because it was outsourcing to LG), with ice and water dispensers being responsible for half of the problems. Last year, GE again started building its own fridges at a revamped plant in Kentucky, and those models are supposedly more reliable. LG has reduced its defect rate, but is still the least reliable brand. Cafe models that have been around for longer than last fall are going to be one of the older ones from the bad old days where you have a higher change of defects than with other brands.

4. Kitchenaid dishwasher? Well, which one? Or, will any Kitchenaid do and you just want somebody to tell you to disregard all the bad press about the brand? You can search on "kitchenaid dishwasher + gardenweb." Again, there are lots of threads here, but it helps to be specific about models.

5. Another suggestion: Consumer Reports. Either subscribe on-line (abbout $30 for a year) or go to a public library and find the printed edition with appliance reviews and brand reliability surveys. I believe CR has just fiinished this year's membership survey or reliability but still seems to be tabulating the...

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 1:20PM
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I'm very happy with my GE Profile suite. I know, it's better to pick and choose, but I got a good price, and they are all much better than the 20 year old appliances being replaced. My induction range is fantastic, and at the time the GE and E-lux were the best options in that tier anyway. My DW is almost alarmingly quiet and cleans great, though it is one of the more expensive models. Fridge keeps things fresh longer than the old one and no problems so far, though we only have water dispenser in the door. Advantium will be installed any day now.

They all meet my needs and perform very well. For this house and this point in our lives, it didnt make sense for us to get anything more expensive, and most mid-range appliances would have been a big step up compared to what we started with so the incremental gain would have been small.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 2:05PM
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I like JW's post.
Just keep in mind that people are 100 times more likely to post a negative comment on a web page than they are to post a positive.

I'm not a fan of GE but that doesn't mean their product is bad. No company can stay in business as long as they have by producing bad product. But that the same for all the manufacturers out there.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Some of the comments make me concerned that I said something that sounded like "don't buy anything GE."

Not what I meant at all. I only meant to caution about reliability issues with the more "mature" models in GE's current line-up of refirgerators.

Many GE appliances are fine, as jakvis says. For years, GE stoves have been tops for reliability according to the CR membership survey responses. GE and Kitchenaid dishwashers have been in the # 2 reliability position (12% defects and problems in the first five years.). Number 1 for DW reliability is a tie between Bosch, Whirlpool-branded models, and Miele (about 8% problem rate). (At this point, I have no idea why the Whirlpool-branded DWs have a better reliability rate than the ones the company sells under the KA brand.) Other companies' brands have significantly worse defect rates, some with double and even triple the defect rates for the leaders.

What jakvis said about negative posters being more likely than positive -- that is oh-so-true for microwaves. When I had to replace my microwave a year and something ago, it seemed from the reviews that 6 out of 10 MWs would self-destruct within a week after the warranty ran out and at least 15% would blow-up within the first week of ownership. Whatever I looked at, it was the worst brand and worst model ever. Yet, when I look at the CR reliability survey results, only about 8% to 10% of any brand have problems in the first five or six years of ownership. Not much difference between brands because a very few companies make all the microwaves for everybody else.

Now, take that GE Cafe fridge that the OP was concerned about. You read a bunch of negative reviews. Do they often cite the same problem(s)? Do you find a high problem rate for the brand in the CR reliability surveys? That suggests to me that want be cautious about those fridges. On the other hand, though, the fact that 16% of owners of that brand of fridge have problems has a flip side. 84% of the owners are presumably satisfied. So, what is your tolerance for risk?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Consistency in reviews is definitely important. I ruled out some brands when shopping for the induction range based on a good number of reviews reporting the same problem, especially if it was over time and represented on different review sources by different people (of course you can't tell, but different screen names, different phrasing, and not the same review copy/pasted).

I looked at CR, but they don't always seem to match real world reviews or experts. Plus I find the repair rates a little hard to use because many brands are pretty close. Sure #1 may have a 5% repair rate and #2 a 7% rate. But is that extra 2/100 really different enough to matter? Or if most companies range from 6-10, I only look at who's significantly above or below that.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:07PM
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With CR surveys, they usually say in the fine print hat 3 points difference is not "statistically significant." So the difference between 8% and 10% would be neglible but the difference between 8% and 16% is significant. So, as williamsem says, you take that difference into account.

That's why I'd be concerned about reliability when buying one of the older Cafe fridges and a good deal less concerned about reliability when looking at the company's stoves and dishwashers.

As for CR's performance reviews and summaries, well, I've written my share of criticisms here. For an example of how I think they could improve their presentation of their refrigerator reviews, have a look at the presentation at That level of detail would be hard and expensive to do in the print magazine but could easily be done with the website (he says, glibly.)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 11:05PM
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We went into our kitchen remodel thinking appliances should match and tried to like the brands mentioned above. Once we got over the idea that it would look odd to have mixed appliances and justified the additional cost of higher quality brands, we ended up without regrets. Electrolux ICON dual fuel range and Bosch DW. If you like to cook, forget about the "major brands".

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 11:51AM
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I have, and like so far (2 months)' my Bosch 500 series single oven, my jennaire 36" induction cooktop, and i love my GE advantium 120 microwave, speed oven, convection and hood. Still have instructions close by for all. Still need to buy new fridge.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:23PM
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>>>"If you like to cook, forget about the 'major brands' ".It may come as a surprise for Electrolux and Bosch to find out that they are not major brands. :>)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 4:49PM
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