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Consumer Reports names most reliable appliance brands

Publication's tests show Miele, LG, Thermador, Bosch are best

WASHINGTON, D.C. – When you buy a major appliance for your kitchen or laundry room, you want it to be the start of a long, beautiful relationship. But too many people find themselves with problem-prone machines that can be expensive to repair.

Consumer Reports has revealed the most reliable brands so you can better choose trustworthy appliances for your home. The predicted reliability ratings for appliances from each brand are an average of the ratings for all types of that brand’s appliances. 

Ever feel like that old stove or washing machine you held on to is still going strong while your brand new shiny appliances are in for yet another repair? They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to but Consumer Reports said there are reasons for that. 

“Appliances today have sensors and circuit boards that control and monitor functions. So your dishwasher can sense if it needs to run longer and your dryer will stop running when your clothes are dry. But all those electronics can introduce reliability problems that weren’t common 30 years ago,” Sarah Morrow, with Consumer Reports, said.

But that means fixing them is more complex, too. A 2016 CR survey found that only around 60% of appliance repairs were completed on the first service visit. 

According to CR’s 2018 surveys, some 15% to 40% of major appliances will develop problems or break within the first five years, depending on the product. 

“This is the first year that we looked at Average Predicted Reliability to compare brands based on how reliable they are across a range of major appliances,” said Morrow.

CR found that some brands are far more reliable than others. 

“So, if you’re looking to outfit your kitchen or laundry room with appliances from a single brand, you’ll do well to consider Miele, LG, Thermador and Bosch,” Morrow said.

When it comes to names that didn’t do well, Viking ranks last among the 24 brands.  None of its major appliances earned more than a fair rating for predicted reliability. In addition to Viking, you’ll want to be careful when considering Electrolux, Samsung, Jenn-Air and Dacor while they do have some categories that score at least a good for reliability each has multiple appliance categories that earn a poor reliability rating. 

Should you buy an extended warranty? CR said you have to weigh how likely the appliance is to break during the extended warranty, and whether the warranty would cost more than a repair itself. Consumer Reports’ latest refrigerator survey found that in general, the average cost of an extended warranty is equal to the average repair cost and that cost is about $160. But fewer than 1% in CR’s survey got stuck with a repair bill that cost $500 or more. 

“When it comes to predicted reliability for refrigerators, dishwashers, cooktops and over the range microwaves the brand ranks poor for reliability,” Morrow said.

Consumer Reports' latest survey has revealed what you should consider cautiously when shopping for appliances, plus which brands you can choose with confidence.  

Consumer Reports said once you choose your appliances, treat them with care.