The 8 Least Reliable (and the 8 Most Reliable) Home Appliance Brands
When you're spending a bundle on a new appliance, you want to make sure it's worth it. Here's what you need to know about your options.
The least reliable French door refrigerators
That fridge with the side-by-side doors and bottom freezer may look great, but is it? Refrigerators with French doors from GE Appliances ranked last in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study. And an important FYI: Refrigerators are more likely to break down in the summer than in more temperate times of the year. That’s according to the first U.S. Appliance Repair Affordability, Reliability and Seasonality Report from the San Francisco–based home-maintenance company Puls, which surveyed the company’s national network of appliance-repair technicians. To keep things running smoothly, make sure you’re not unintentionally shortening the life of your refrigerator.
The most reliable French door refrigerators
So, which brands should you check out instead? Whirlpool is the top choice for a reliable French door refrigerator brand, according to the J.D. Power’s report. KitchenAid and Samsung follow in second and third place, respectively. Another notable finding: The Puls report also named Whirlpool as the overall most reliable home-appliance brand. So you may want to put Whirlpool on your shortlist not just for fridges but also for other home items.
The least reliable side-by-side refrigerators
In the side-by-side refrigerator category, customers in the J.D. Power survey were most dissatisfied with Maytag, which ranked the lowest. According to Puls’ experts, the most common problems with refrigerators tend to be cooling issues, followed by broken ice-makers and leaks. This is not only annoying, of course, but also potentially expensive. You’ll end up shelling out up to $500 for repairs—or $1,000 or more for a new fridge. And that doesn’t even take into account all of the potential money you can lose when all your food goes bad.
The most reliable side-by-side refrigerators
Several brands performed well in this category in both the J.D. Power survey and the Puls report. Kenmore ranked number one in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power, while Whirlpool was the brand of choice among the appliance-repair technicians who were tapped for the Puls report. When something’s broken, you don’t always need to call in a professional. Here’s how to fix 10 everyday appliances for free.
The least reliable dishwashers
Different brands have different appliance strengths, and of course, this can change from year to year. When it comes to dishwashers, J.D. Power’s respondents were dissatisfied with Frigidaire’s dishwashers. And in case you were wondering, a few jaded customers aren’t tipping the scales. The study was based on thousands of product evaluations provided by customers who purchased appliances in the last 12 months.
The most reliable dishwashers
When your dishwasher breaks, you realize just how much you need it and just how much time and energy it saves you every day. If you need a new one, both the Puls report and the most recent Consumer Reports member survey on dishwashers put Bosch in the number one slot for consumer reliability. Make sure you’re not doing any of these 21 things that shorten the life of your dishwasher.
The least reliable washing machines
Despite the fancy-sounding brand name, Kenmore Elite actually performs poorly and ranks last in customer satisfaction for front-loading washing-machine brands in J.D. Power’s survey. Surprisingly, it’s even behind the more budget-minded Kenmore range in these rankings. And when it comes to top-loading washers, a different brand takes those dubious last-place honors: Frigidaire. According to Puls’ technicians, the most common problem with washing machines (as well as dishwashers) is that they don’t drain properly.
The most reliable washing machines
The best way to get a good product: Ask for a recommendation from a professional. When it comes to washing machines, Puls’ technicians overwhelmingly called out Whirlpool as the brand they recommend to customers. After Whirlpool, LG and Samsung came in second and third place, respectively. To help your washing machines function better and last longer, these are the ingredients you should be putting in them.
The least reliable dryers
Customers weren’t thrilled with Amana dryers, according to J.D. Power’s study. They ranked the brand last in customer satisfaction. GE didn’t fare much better in this category. According to Puls, the likeliest issue with this appliance is that it’s not heating and drying clothes properly. Of course, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a dryer. To make sure you’re not accidentally damaging your machine, know the one type of dryer sheets you really should be using.
The most reliable dryers
A good dryer not only gets your clothes dry, but it can also keep your utility bills down. And on the flip side, those bills can go way up if you have to put your clothes through multiple cycles to get them dry. Whirlpool, LG, Maytag, and Samsung took top honors in the Puls report’s list of reliable dryers.
The least reliable countertop microwaves
Which microwave brands do shoppers consistently prefer? Consumer Reports surveyed people who had experience with more than 29,000 countertop models over the past year, and the results were largely negative when it came to Whirlpool. In fact, Whirlpool’s countertop microwaves performed so poorly in the survey that the publication no longer recommends them in this category at all. But Whirlpool makes a serious comeback with over-the-range microwaves. The brand actually earned the two top spots in that category from Consumer Reports.
The most reliable countertop microwaves
Avanti and Farberware were the two best-performing brands in the same Consumer Reports survey, earning a coveted “Excellent” rating for reliability from respondents. Black + Decker, LG, and Samsung landed one category below Avanti and Farberware, receiving a “Very Good” designation. If you’re thinking of making a big purchase, try to be strategic: These the best times to buy household appliances.
The least reliable stovetops
Repairing a stove can cost you a whopping $1,000, plus $200 or more in additional fees, according to the Puls report. The appliance-repair technicians who weighed in rated LG the least reliable brand in this category. Samsung came in second-to-last place. Wondering how long a stove should last you? The experts say about 12 years.
The most reliable stovetops
Puls’ technicians gave GE top honors, naming their stovetops (and ranges) as the most reliable. This is actually the only time that the brand appears as a winner or medalist in the report’s reliability category. Whirlpool isn’t far behind, coming in second place, and KitchenAid was awarded third place.
The least reliable ranges
The average repair cost of a range is $264, according to the Puls report. And regardless of cost, you want to choose the brand that has the least chance of breaking down so you don’t have to deal with the hassle. In this category, Amana ranks last in customer satisfaction among J.D. Power’s respondents who purchased a freestanding range in the past year.
The most reliable ranges
Puls’ technicians recommend GE as their top choice for reliable ranges. Whirlpool was hot on GE’s heels in second place, followed by KitchenAid, which earned third-place honors. The technicians add that it’s essential to get a good-quality, reliable range for both safety and cooking consistency. While they based their picks on the reliability of these GE products, they also love that the company offers great options at a variety of price points. Wondering if you should fix something or ditch it? These are the appliances that are cheaper to replace than to fix.