Builder only offers Kitchenaid & Whirlpool

RajalOctober 12, 2012

We are in the process of building a house and the builder is only offering Whirlpool & Kitchenaid appliances. I believe Whirlpool owns Kitchenaid? After doing extensive research, I am leaning towards a Kitchenaid fridge, dishwasher & cooktop (gas, 6 burner). I am unsure about the double oven, microwave. There are so many Kitchenaid dishwasher models. I NEED quiet! Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!!

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Can you get an allowance from the builder and buy what you want instead? You're right KA makes good fridges and DWs. I don't know about their cooktops but in the past, their ovens weren't great. Their MW may well be made by someone else and rebranded - most MWs are made by Sharp, Panasonic and GE.

For people building a house, you ought to negotiate the appliance issue up front. Too many people get stuck with builder grade appliances in brand new houses.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:15PM
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I tried to negotiate with them, but unfortunately they won't budge. However, they are letting me pick out any of the appliances from those 2 lines.. not just bottom of the line. I, too, have read mixed reviews on Kitchenaid ovens which is why I was leaning towards Whirlpool. Thanks for the feedback!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 6:56PM
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KA's KUDE70-something DW is very quiet in my open kitchen, and works well. Their KUDE60 model may be nearly as quiet, according to others here who like that model.

I'd probably be happy with a KA fridge, but not so sure about their ovens from what I've seen here. If you can't get a credit and absolutely have to accept those two brands, maybe you can leave the ovens uninstalled and sell them off, then get what you want and install that. Is that an option? Or find another builder?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:53PM
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Recently went through service training on completely new Kitchenaid, Whirlpool and Maytag wall ovens. They appear to be very well made and easy to install.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:23PM
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You live your life in this house long after this guy is gone. Buy the appliances you want to live with yourself and have them installed at the appropriate time. Rewrite your contract to reflect the amount set for appliances and installation as a resuction to the final payment obligation. Be prepared to maintain control through the payment process. Offer to settle the contract and replace him if he has an overwhelming problem with this.
Begin looking for a replacement now to buttress your decision process. The current conditions have left many very qualified people underemployed.
I have a Miele dishwasher.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:12AM
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My husband and I bought into a retirement community in Arizona many years ago. There are over 400 units in our association.
Several years ago they replaced all our appliances. Whirlpool was the supplier but my husband was on the board and he talked
the board into allowing upgrades for Bosch dishwashers, Bosch washing machines and Bosch refrigerators. We were impressed by how quiet the Bosch dishwasher and Bosch washer was. After careful consideration the board decided to allow upgrades and many of our friends and neighbors did go for the upgrade to Bosch. What a mistake!
After some time the washers and dishwashers made by Bosch acquired a horrible smell! After contacting Bosch about the problem we were told we needed to clean them using heavy chemicals. After trying the cleaners many of us get headaches from the overpowering smell of the chemicals and the smell from the washer and dishwasher never went away.
It seems it is a big problem but at least Whirlpool put a cleaning cycle on their appliance to take care of the problem. What really has me steamed is that my husband passed away recently and I think a lot of his final demise was caused by the embarassment of spearheading the drive to get Bosch into our community.
Many in my bridge club feel the same way. If your builder wants to "upgrade" to Bosch tell them no way! Whirlpool or Kitchenaid (they are the same company) have taken the problem away with their own cleaner. The reviews for for the cleaner do state the cleaner has a powerful chemical smell but at least they are trying. It shows dedication to the customer and that is what is important. Bosch doesn't even have a cycle or a cleaner!
My husband Robert was in the second world war but he could look past all that and advise to get a German made Bosch and look what happened.
All the units that have Bosch are now replacing with Whirlpool with better cleaning cycles. It is a big expense but will be well worth it. Now we just have to find something to take away the heavy chemical smell. Someone in my bridge club mentions she uses Affresh but the stench was so strong she started using vinegar in both her washer and dishwasher. Does anyone have any experience with this? Are there any natural cleaners out there? We really don't want to use chemicals in a dishwasher because it can get onto the utensils and we won't be much better off! I also read that Whirlpool has class action lawsuits on their appliance odor problem. Does anyone know how we can start a class action lawsuit to get Bosch to change their appliances or to reimuburse us for money spent on replacing appliances? This isn't even going into any health problems caused by the mold and bacteria caused by defective Bosch appliances. Let your friends know about the problem in case they decide to go for Bosch appliances. We let other associations know about it and actually put a stop to Whirlpool getting replaced by Bosch by an upscale association that we have bridge tournaments with!
Thank you,

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:28AM
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I have a KA DW KUDE60 and that model and the KUDE70 are extremely quiet and have all the bells and whistles including cutlery rack. The best, top of the line. I like the way it loads much better than a Bosch which I could have had for the same, or lesser if I remember correctly, price. I've had KA Superba double ovens for 12 years- convection in both ovens- and have had no problems. And yes, I use self-cleaning all the time with no problem.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:56AM
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I went through this a while ago too. Didn't like the builder's choice of ranges but local code required a range to issue the occupancy permit. Ended up taking the cheapest one they offered and buying another.

You pretty much have the same choice. Figure out from the builder's choice what work for you or go with the cheapest offerings and replace them. The old ones can be sold on Craigslist or donated to charity.

Whirlpool does own KitchenAid and Maytag, although with a few others.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 10:49AM
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Doesn't sound the poster has a problem with only getting Whirlpool appliances-- he is asking which ones to get.

I have a KA dw and frig for 12 years and both are top notch appliances. I personally think KA appliances are good looking too.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:43AM
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When I was shopping for dishwashers a couple of months ago, most of the Whirlpool models seemed to have plastic tubs while KA models had stainless tubs. KA has a pretty good reputation for durability. In addition to the KUDE60 and 70 models suggested above, I suggest you look at the KUDE50CX (slightly fewer cycles and options and about $100 less than the others.) KA claims 40 dba sound level for the KUDE50CX. I do not know how they measured that. Consumer Reports's measurements cast some doubt on that. CR says all KA and Whirlpool DWs are average for noise while others (Meile and Bosch) get "very good" and "excellent" ratings.

Be aware that careful installation is very important for controlling dw noise levels. You want the side gaskets properly aligned to the cabinets and and want to block gaps at the front of the base. Your builder (of the subcontractors) should know this but it is a good thing to check.

You did not say what kind of fridge you are looking for (FD, SxS, BF, TF?), whether you want standard depth or counter depth (CD), and what capacity you want (22 cu. ft.? 25 cu. ct.?, larger?) If you are looking for a bottom freezer (BF) or french door (FD), all Whirlpool's brands are made in the same plant in Amana, Iowa. The main WP brands are WP, WP Gold, KA, Maytag and Amana.

Having just decided between WP and KA in purchasing a new FD fridge, the differences that I observed between the FD and BF models in the KA and WP Gold lines were these: (1) KA models have a ten year warranty on sealed systems while other WP products only offer 5 years or 1 year (meaning that they want you to buy an extended warranty); (2) the KA models often have digital thermometer readouts/controls while the WP models use an an arbitrary 1-7 scale; (3) if you do not want through-the-door dispensers, KA models come with internal water dispensers; (4) the KA models have temperature adjustable deli-drawers while only the larger WP models do; and (5) the lines (other than CD) are all available in black, white and stainless finishes; the KA finishes are and look like stainless steel while the WP and other lines are a brushed metallic finish. Note that the SS is only for the doors; the cabinets are painted a slate gray or black.

Up until this year, Consumer Reports's membership surveys showed WP's FD and BF models had the lowest defect rate in the industry (only 8% over the first five years of ownership). KA trailed a bit at 10% which was probably the result of selling a higher proportion of its models with through-the-door-dispensers (TTDD) which are a weak point and a reliability problem for every manufacturer. (GE's defect rate went to 25% for a while because of the problems it had with TTDD when it outsourced production.) In the most recent CR membership survey results, released a couple of weeks ago, WP and KA defect rates bumped up to 11%. This is probably because both WP and KA lines are now selling a lot more units with TTDD. I note that Whirlpool's top-freezer models, which rarely have TTDDs, still show the lower defect rate of 8%.

Both Consumer Reports and tests show WP's FD and BF fridges having very even temperature performance and excellent crisper humidty contol.

I wound up getting a KBFS22 model. You can find my initial review and some comments here:


Are you thinking about getting a micro & wall oven combo? I would say: don't do it. I think that microwaves are the appliances most likely to have short lives. Replacing a built-in MW can be a royal pain to the wallet as elsewhere. If you can, have your builder install a microwave shelf, undercounter, if you like, or above the counter. That way, you free up counter space and you can replace the MW when needed with a commodity product when the original ones dies, as it almost inevitably will.

Some people like speed-ovens, which are microwaves with the ability to use radiant elements and convection. If memory serves, Whirlpool makes or made a unit which I think is called the Velos and can be in a shelf or installed as part of a wall oven combo. That kind of unit would be the only one that I personally would consider for a combo, and I would only do that after researching its durability and user reviews.

Hopefully, the builder is no offering an OTR MW unit for your six-burner cooktop. Those only go to 30 inches wide, which would be way too small for effective venting of your 36-inch gas cooktop.

This is mostly out of my league and others will have to supply information. I can only comment on two things. First, Whirlpool and Kitchenaid had problems over the last couple of years with the self-cleaning function on wall ovens causing the ovens to overheat and blow an over-temperature switch and sometimes fried the intergrated circuits. Do a search here and you can find details. Second, my recollection is that WP's newer model convection ovens come with a larger cooling fan for the electronics and some people find that fan annoyingly loud. Again, do a search on this and see what you find.

I have no experience with the 6 burner KA unit, but I believe it is actually a "rangetop" (with control knobs on a vertical face in front rather than sitting on top of the cooking surface) and that it has at least one burner rated at 20k-btu-hr.

That means you should seriously consider a large rangehood that vents to the outside. A general rule of thumb is that you want a range hood to extend about 3 inches beyond the left and right sides of the stove/rangetop/cooktop. The last time I checked, Kitchenaid had several range hoods in 42-inch and 48-inch widths in both wall mount versions and island versions.

The nice thing about hoods that big is that they are powerful enough to clear a lot of air at their low speeds, at which they will be pretty quiet. The downside to these things is that you will need to have your builder come-up with some kind of make-up air to avoid backdrafting when you run the hood on high. Maybe you live in a warm climate where you could just open a window?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:00PM
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A couple of further thoughts on rangehoods.

I think Whirlpool also brands some island and wall hung units but, AFAIK, none are larger than 36-inch inches wide.

There have been a lot of recent threads here which discuss range hoods. I do not recall much discussion of Kitchenaid or Whirlpool units, but you will find the discussions informative if you do a search. The information will help you talk to the builder and, if need be, to building inspectors and permit enforcers.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Wow, thank you so much for all the feedback. I really appreciate you taking out the time to help me.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Thanks, JWvideo-- such a thorough response, and useful to many more of us that just the original poster. It is really helpful to me to see responses that really lay out the logic used, and the criteria for the decision as well as the end result. It takes a lot of time, and is a generous contribution. Not that the "I have X and love it!" responses are not helpful, but it takes a lot more of them to see a pattern, and you still never know if the poster has the same priorities as you do. Thanks again. (I have an appliance list for a new build and a couple of the things you addressed were extremely applicable to some of my remaining questions.)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:51AM
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