If you buy a large home appliance, you want it to be both reliable and durable – it’s the top concern for buyers considering refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, air conditioners, microwaves, and any other bulky, pricey appliance.
So let’s tackle the big question! What are the best appliance brands and when is the perfect time to buy them? Which are the top-rated for their quality, their performance, and their overall user reviews? We took a look, and here’s what we found.
When it comes to reliability, fewer service calls, and customer opinion, Whirlpool appliances tend to score the highest out of available brands. That makes Whirlpool an excellent place to start your appliance hunt! However, the data also has several other brands performing extremely well, including LG, KitchenAid, and more. Let’s take a look!
- The Best Appliance Brands
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- Best Appliance Brand Buyer’s Guide
- Which are the Worst Appliance Brands to Buy?
Best Appliance Brands
When looking for large kitchen appliances, Whirlpool is one of the most reliable brands on the market, excellent for those who want durable models that are easy to use and won’t unexpectedly break down right after you buy them.
According to Yale Appliance statistics, Whirlpool is the most reliable brand in their affordable lines (typically smaller models at prices well-fitted for those on a budget), with the lowest percentage of service calls. Whirlpool also comes in the top 3 on Ranker’s survey of the best large kitchen appliance brands.
They have also received high marks for their customer service, which is always reassuring from the consumer point of view! (Repair service marks for Whirlpool are significantly lower, so it’s a good thing their products don’t break down very easily.)
Whirlpool products tend to slant toward laundry appliances, followed by basic oven ranges and refrigerators. Their products don’t always have a lot of bells and whistles, but provide long-term durability instead…which is usually exactly what homeowners want. However, if you are looking for particularly large or spacious appliances, you may want to consider other brands.
While LG is typically associated with electronics, the company has won numerous accolades for its appliances: according to a J.D. Power report, LG ranks highest in appliance ratings for washers, dryers, dishwashers, oven ranges, French door refrigerators, and top-mount freezer-fridge setups. Yeah, that’s a lot of appliance options!
Specifically, LG won seven JD awards (2017), and the brand performed particularly well in performance, reliability, ease of use, and styling/appearance (with high marks in customer satisfaction as well).
It’s easy to see how LG does so well. The company has hit a sweet spot of including just enough high-end tech to make their appliances top performers, without making them too fragile or difficult to use. The LG/SKS brand, in particular, is a high-end option for luxury kitchen spaces. However, this popularity comes with a price – high prices, to be exact. You may have to pay more for an LG model.
Note: As Yale Appliances and others mention, the “techy” brands like Samsung and LG tend to have a lot of bad reviews floating around online, with an important caveat. This might discourage consumers from looking into their appliances, but take a closer look and you see that most of these reviews have to do with something other than product.
The appliances themselves performed excellently (and these brands have the awards to prove it). However, these bad reviews occur typically because something went wrong in the delivery process (which is often out of the hands of the brand) or a tech support question that the buyer didn’t feel was answered correctly. These issues are more likely to happen with these large electronics companies that have many different divisions and logistics concerns, as opposed to a much more focused brand like Whirlpool.
To prevent problems along this line, we suggest you find a trusted local retailer to supply LG products (or appliances from other large companies) to reduce any delivery issues you may experience.
Yale lists Samsung as one of the top luxury appliance brands available, excellent for when you are willing to spend a bit extra to invest in high-tech features, large appliances, and the latest designs. There’s a reason they are the top selling brand in the United States.
Samsung also has excellent compatibility benefits with other devices. Their TVs are just as durable as their kitchen appliances. If all your Samsung electronics have smart features, you can operate them on the same Samsung platform, including your appliances. So, if you are already a Samsung fan, you get extra synergy from incorporating Samsung appliances into your ecosystem.
Samsung refrigerators, in particular, get a lot of praise for design, especially with larger washers and refrigeration units. However, they are also known for producing top-notch oven ranges and stovetops.
When Ranker has people to talk about the best kitchen appliance brands, the most-voted brand was Frigidaire by a sizable number. Consumer Reports also ranks it as a refrigerator brand that won’t let you down, especially when it comes to side-by-sides.
The key here is specialization and simplicity. Frigidaire is a dependable middle-of-the-road choice, not too expensive and not too complicated, making it a common choice for homeowners replacing older appliances with newer models that don’t ask too much.
Of course, specialization also limits Frigidaire’s reach: the company has a good, long-standing reputation for coolant systems, making it an ideal choice for refrigerators and air conditioner units. Outside of this, however, other brands tend to become much more competitive, and Frigidaire falls down the list.
KitchenAid is an interesting case study. The brand has a long history of providing solid products, but had started to fall behind more aggressive competitors entering the modern market. In return, KitchenAid revamped its appliance design entirely, focusing on high-end models with a sharp industrial look.
As a result, KitchenAid is one of the best brands available today for high-end dishwashers, refrigerators, and oven ranges. If you are thinking about a serious kitchen remodel, looking into KitchenAid products and see if their recent offerings appeal to you.
This being said, it is still KitchenAid, and they are primarily interested in durability, performance, and traditional-style controls. This is not the best place to look for advanced smart features or fun touchscreens.
While LG may have gotten most of the J.D. Power Ratings awards in the recent study, Bosch came in second place for these esteemed ratings. The Bosch brand did particularly well in cooktops and wall ovens, plus performing well for over the range microwaves – basically, if it needs to be heated, Bosch is worth looking into.
The company’s strengths tend to be useful features, good warranties, and low prices compared to other brands. This makes them a good choice for buyers who want budget appliances that still perform well.
Do you want an alternative brand compared to the usual suspects, but one that consistently gets praise for appliance quality and performance? Miele is exactly the sort of brand you should look into when making your decisions. This German manufacturer has amassed multiple best brand awards over the years, and is known for its top of the line products.
However, there are two important notes about Miele worth knowing. First, they are largely focused on European sectors, so it will probably be more difficult to products compatibility with American outlets and voltage – always check to be sure (don’t worry, Miele does have U.S. centers of operation, too, but you need to be careful when buying online).
Second, Miele products tend to be high-end in terms of construction, which means they also tend to cost more. Prices will be higher for these products, so watch for deals.
Best Appliance Brands Buying Guide
Looking for more tips on shopping for appliances? Here’s what you should keep in mind, no matter what you eventually decide on.
- Size Should Always Be a Top Consideration
- There are two very important reasons you should focus on size. First, the physical size of the appliance is really important, because it might not fit in your house! Always measure doorways, stairways, and other points of entry so you have a reference for how large they are, and how difficult it may be to get appliances in (and out).
- Also remember that many houses are built with specific cavities for appliances. This is especially common for washers, dryers, ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers. It’s important that you make sure the new version of the appliance is still able to fit in the old space. You can also renovate, but these spaces are often difficult to change without significant investment in the project.
- Finally, remember that inside space is important, too. A 4 cubic foot washer might be just fine for a small family, but if you have a larger (or dirtier) family, you may want to upgrade to a large size. Likewise, a microwave smaller than 1 cubic foot may be fine for single users and apartments, but larger microwaves are especially handy for cooks prepping larger meals and dishes for bigger audiences.
- Consider Bells and Whistles Carefully
- These days, there are a lot of tech upgrades for everyday appliances. That has led to some very cool stuff, including smart connections to your wireless network, touchscreen, intelligent sensors that can automatically pick the right settings, and much more.
- But we also want you to take all these tech features with a grain of salt. Some of them are very useful, and some you may never even try, depending on your appliance habits. It’s also important to remember that adage about appliances which essentially says, “The more stuff it has, the more stuff can go wrong.”
- Those tech features may sound good, but they also raise the likelihood of errors, accidents and faulty components, which could lead to more repairs than a simpler appliance would incur. Sometimes, going simple really is the better option.
- Be Wary of Magical Marketing Phrases
- How do brands distinguish their products from competitors? They tout new features with big, bold marketing phrases that promise a revolutionary technology that will change your life. These magical phrases are hard to ignore…but you should probably ignore them, anyway.
- Manufacturers will sometimes make claims about technology primarily for marketing purposes, not for, well, facts. For example, Samsung made a big deal about “SilverCare” technology a few years ago, which was basically a silver lining in the washer drum that they claimed sanitized your clothing and made everything safer and more environmentally friendly.
- While silver does have some anti-odor and anti-microbial properties, there’s not much evidence of how the silver plate in those washers functions, or how much good it does the average load of laundry – and considering the process of mining silver ore, it’s hard to call the addition environmentally friendly. In other words, it’s mostly marketing jargon and an extra bump in price. Be wary of these magical phrases, and look past them to the real specs.
- Watch Your Doors
- Doors and openings matter! Which way does your fridge open? What about your microwave? Do you have room to open them the other way? If you not, you need to pick a model that opens in the same direction.
- Other doors can have even more of an impact. Front-loading washers, for example, tend to cost more than top-loading washers. However, they also tend to be gentler on clothing, while front-loading dryers tend to dry a bit more quickly.
- Know If It’s a Package Deal
- Understand that sometimes buying one new appliance means you may also have to buy extra components. A classic example here is an oven range: If you upgrade to a more powerful oven, then you may need to upgrade your oven range fan, as well…which could then easily spill into upgrade your microwave, depending on the arrangement.
- A similar problem can occur with other types of appliances. A new dryer may require a different type of dryer vent. A new dishwasher might need some water supply adjustments. Don’t let these additional components be a surprise!
- Energy Usage
- Check how many BTUs, watts, or gallons of water your current devices use. This will give you a good baseline to use when checking the energy usage of new devices. Does that new oven provide more BTUs? Then it will do a better job of heating, but also use more energy. Consider the trade-off between more powerful appliances and those that save energy (and lower your bills).
- The Look Can Be Important
- Sometimes your kitchen has a definite theme and you need a stainless steel appliance, a white appliance, and so on. This is more important with ovens and refrigerators, and less important with washers and dryers (which tend to stay hidden in laundry rooms or closets).
- Don’t be distracted by shiny chrome and bright colors that some manufacturers use to try and make their models stand out. Instead, think about what works in your kitchen. When in doubt, choose the less-flashy model: it will be easier to clean.
Let’s talk about those brands that you should probably skip over, due to customer service issues, poor reviews, and a general lack in product quality.
- Maytag: Maytag has been plagued with poor customer service complaints for some time now, and appears unable to turn things around. Combine that with an uninspiring and sometimes outdated product line, and you can safely skip this brand. Note, interestingly, that Maytag is a division of Whirlpool, which has a far higher reputation. Sometimes brand problems can follow even after a brand has been taken over by a better company.
- Jenn-Air: Jenn-Air has been trying hard with new models that have updated smart features, but they haven’t been enough to save this brand. Product design is largely boring or imitative, and fails to impress. Both Consumer Affairs and more casual reviews have horrible things to say about their customer service.
- Dacor: Dacor studies have shown a very, very high service ratio – more than 50% of models in the research were taken back to the seller for repairs. That’s pretty unnerving when you’re looking for a dependable appliance. On the plus side, Dacor’s cooking appliances do appear to have strong features, and the company was recently purchased by Samsung, so there’s hope this brand could improve in the future.
- Kenmore: There’s a lot of divided opinion on Kenmore, with some very loyal praise and some very loud complaints. The real problem is the business model: Sears tends to use the Kenmore label on appliances from a number of different manufacturers, which leads to nearly unpredictable variance in quality – you don’t know what you’re going to get. Also, the service organization for Kenmore, A&E Appliance Service, tends to have pretty poor reviews. Sometimes it’s just not worth the risk.
You may be thinking, “Well, this list of appliances is sure great, but some of these prices are really high. Any tips on how I can find a more affordable model?”
Obviously, you should always watch for deals and discounts, but we have a few additional tips to consider to help you save even more money.
- Rebates: Look for any local or state rebates on buying energy efficient appliances. Power suppliers and governments still offer many of these, which is a great way to knock a little off the price tag (in the future).
- Selling Old Models: If your old appliance isn’t that old, and still works perfectly fine, it’s probably smart to sell it on Craigslist or a similar service and reap the rewards. There’s always someone looking for a well-functioning appliance they can get for $50 to $200.
- No Extended Warranties: It’s practically folk wisdom by now, but never get the extended warranty. The price you pay for it, versus how much it is actually used, is a pretty rotten deal. Save your money and take good care of your appliance.
- Go for Last Year’s Model: Not only are these models more likely to be on sale, but often little has changed between the present model and the next oldest. Compare their specs and see what you are really paying for.
- Watch for Price Guarantees: Many appliance sellers offer some kind of price matching or a similar service that could help you save money if you find a better deal elsewhere. Take advantage of these opportunities!
A “punch list” is a term for a DIY renovation list when making an important appliance change in your house. It’s a good idea to create one of these lists as you get ready to replace an appliance.
A punch list focuses on the little projects that you have been putting off, or that need to be done to properly install a new appliance. For example, you may need to remove tile from the counter or floor to make room for the installation. You may have baseboards or drywall that needs to be repainted for the project. Sometimes wiring needs to be changed as well.
Then there are the other projects, the ones that aren’t entirely necessary, but that maybe you have been putting off for too long. Maybe you have been wanting to add or replace a kitchen backsplash, or paint nearby windowsill trim, or add an extra outlet for convenience near one of your appliances. Add these to the punch list as well.
Then, when the time comes to buy a new appliance, start on this punch list (or hire a contractor to make the changes). That way everything will be ready for the installation, and you’ll have accomplished a few of those little tasks you always wanted to complete.