Reliable Refrigerators-Do they still exist?
Its time to buy a new fridge with my 30 year old fridge more or less non-functional while there are plenty of fridges on sale around this time of the year.
I don't expect a new fridge to last as long as my old one, but I've read too many horror stories about new fridges. Surely, there's got to be some reliable fridges still around?
The problem with reading those horror stories is that they can be skewed, with most satisfied owners never reporting their experiences so all you hear are the horror stories.
But, in this age of big data, its been surprisingly confusing to try to find out which brands are reliable.
There's Consumer Reports Reliability Survey, which looks at repairs for different types of fridges for different brands. But, when french door fridges are becoming the most popular type, CR only mentions reliability for bottom freezers and side by sides.
Since french doors have both bottom freezers and side by sides on top, which one are you supposed to look at if you want to buy a french door fridge? You might want to buy a bottom freezer fridges from one company, yet want to steer away from its side by side fridges from that same company.
Another problem with CR is that their survey only looks at the most popular brands so it doesn't tell you about the reliability for Electrolux, Sub-Zero, etc. fridges. For the reliability of the expensive fridges, is it a case of you get what you pay for? Or, do the expensive fridges have more parts and features which means that there's more stuff that can break down?
When buying a fridge, would buying the most basic, stripped down fridge improve my chances of getting a long lasting fridge because there's less stuff that can go wrong?
With my layout, I think I'm stuck with a side by side fridge which means that I'll be stuck with a ice maker since it seems every side by side fridge must have a ice maker even though ice makers break down the most.
But, are there certain features in a fridge that are worth having even though it means that's another thing that might break down? In a quest to avoid a lemon, I also don't want to compromise on performance too much either.
I'm thinking about buying a Whirlpool WRS325FDAM because Whirlpools have the least repairs according to CR. But, its also missing a lot of features that the other fridges have.
To further muddle the issue, I've noticed that CR's reliability survey doesn't match the reliability data from others like JD Powers and Viewpoints.
On JD Powers, the Whirlpools get only three out of five in the category of performance and reliability. It could either mean that their reliability isn't as good as CR claims, or that the performance was so poor that it dragged down the scores despite superior reliability.
Then, on Viewpoints, other brands scored higher than Whirlpool in the durability category even though CR rated Whirlpool the best. On Viewpoints, a company like LG gets the same score as Whirlpool for durability even though it had, by far, the most repairs for the side by sides according to CR.
Even if LG have more repair problems, would it be a good idea to buy a LG because of its 10 year warranty on the compressor, the most expensive part of the fridge, when other companies only have a 1 year warranty on their compressors?