Tell me about your awesome home appliances!
May 1, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I are currently under contract for a home that, according to the seller's disclosure, does not come with the refrigerator, washer, or dryer. We may need to buy these things. If you love yours, what are they, and why?

It's a strange situation; though the seller's disclosure does not include the refrigerator, washer, and dryer, the house has been vacant for three months, and those appliances are still in the house. We didn't ask for them in our offer, because we preferred to have our closing costs covered. So, there's a chance they might not care about these appliances, or there's a chance that they will take possession of them prior to closing.

This leaves us in the position to potentially shop for a refrigerator, washer, and dryer. I've gone to Sears, taken a look at a few models, read reviews online, but there's really no comparison to the MeFi recommendation route. If you've recently bought any of these items (meaning, they aren't likely to have been discontinued), and you love them, please tell me all about them.
posted by litnerd to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
We bought Frigidaire and they are fine, but I wouldn't go by that. What I would recommend is that you check the appliance stores and tell them that you are buying all three - you can get substantial discounts that way. Our appliance store always beats Sears prices, by getting those manufacturer discounts for multiple appliances. Good luck!
posted by Kentucky at 6:27 PM on May 1, 2010

I highly recommend a fridge with the freezer on the bottom. It's more energy efficient, and you'll never have to bend down to get anything out of the fridge. Since you'll use the fridge more often than anything, this is good. (We have Maytag appliances and we like them.)
posted by azpenguin at 6:46 PM on May 1, 2010

I don't particularly like any of those three that we have. However, the washer and dryer both are from Sears so I've been able to replace a few parts on them by buying the part directly from Sears' parts store (usually at larger locations).

Also, make sure you washer has some kind of intelligence to know that it's pumped more water into the basin than the basin holds, if such a thing exists. Mine doesn't and so I've flooded our basement several times through that.

Seconding freezer on the bottom for the fridge.
posted by neilbert at 6:58 PM on May 1, 2010

I don't think the brand really matters all that much anymore. The quality is pretty consistent across brands, you get what you pay for, so buy based on features, design, or whatever criteria are important to you.

A few little bits of advice:
1. Get a front-loading washing machine. They have a larger capacity than top-loaders and are much more energy-efficient; they may be a bit more expensive but you use less water, the clothes don't take as long in the dryer, and you use far less soap.
2. Unless your kitchen is far removed from your family room or wherever you hang out in the house, make sure to pick a quiet dishwasher.
3. Shop at a good appliance store, preferably a local one, where the employees really know what they're talking about. They'll cut you a good deal. Their installers are experienced. These things really matter. (If you live in the Chicago area, Abt is the place to go.)
posted by DrGail at 7:08 PM on May 1, 2010

We love our Bosch dishwasher. It is basically silent, it has a stainless steel interior (rather than plastic), and it saves energy by foregoing the electric heater to dry dishes. The dishes still dry themselves fine.

Beyond that:

-- I love the layout of our French Door Refrigerator. I'm not thrilled with some other things, so I won't recommend the particular model, but French doors are a win.

-- Front-loading washers are the only way to go. They save lots of water and are much easier on your clothes.

-- Be aware that stainless steel appliances are not magnetic. If you like having magnets and lots of paper junk on your fridge, do not get stainless steel.
posted by alms at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2010

Many/most stainless steel appliances are magnetic now. They're not as strongly so as conventional outsides. We just brought/picked up a pack of magnets to test as we were looking at refrigerators and dishwashers.

Quiet, vaguely European style dishwashers seem to be a win. Water and energy efficient and quiet. Our Samsung DMR78 has be nice and very quiet.

We got a Samsung top fridge, bottom freezer fridge, stainless steel that's magnetic (not french door because we weren't sold on that layout). We partly picked it because it was the biggest inside we could find for its exterior dimensions. The layout is almost perfect, but it'd be nice if the shelves were more adjustable. (Samsung RB218ABPN.) It's also a lot quieter than my previous ones and I love the digital display of the freezer and fridge temp :).
posted by skynxnex at 7:39 PM on May 1, 2010

I acquired various Kenmore appliances from Sears nine years ago, only one of which (the dryer) has had to be replaced. All of them are the basic models, and the stove actually works much better than my mother's expensive cooktop.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:39 PM on May 1, 2010

Sears/Kenmore for large appliances. Third on the refrigerator freezer on the bottom, very convenient. No go on the side by side refrigerators - both sides end up being too small (regardless of the size).
posted by KneeDeep at 7:41 PM on May 1, 2010

I'll throw in an endorsement of our Whirlpool Cabrio washer/dryer set. If your laundry facilities are on the second floor, front-loaders are not recommended, due to noise and vibration problems. We chose the Cabrio series because we needed a top-loader, and Consumer Reports rated it very highly. It's essentially a top-loading front-loader, if that makes any sense. Look for the model with the glass lid and no agitator in the tub. We've been very pleased with our second floor laundry experience using the Cabrio.
The rest of our appliances are fine, but not amazing. We ended up with Kenmore stuff that looks like it goes together. Sears happens to be the most convenient store for repairs, orders, etc., so that worked best for us. YMMV.
As a tall man with a bad back, though, I will say that I wish I'd insisted upon refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom.
posted by willpie at 7:47 PM on May 1, 2010

Oh my goodness. No one's mentioned them yet, but my favorite appliances are my LG washer and dryer. Love love love them. Stackable, high efficiency, super quiet, and the dryer plays you a song when it's done.

No kidding, it's been two years and this very afternoon I was waxing poetic about how much I love those things.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:50 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

We have a 12 year old washer and dryer set from Sears. Kenmore, 80 dollars in repairs.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:17 PM on May 1, 2010

Seconding LG for front-loading washers and dryers. Get a washer with the capacity to stuff in your largest comforter - don't skimp on the capacity. The cheapest dryer will work fine; get whatever matches the washer. (If you buy them separately, they'll still be the same height as long as you get the same brand.)

Kenmore refrigerators are bullet-proof - at least the old ones like ours are. Our next will be a French door style with the freezer on the bottom. Keep in mind that this style is taller than the standard freezer-on-top refrigerators and may not fit under your cabinets without modification (of the cabinets).
posted by zinfandel at 8:24 PM on May 1, 2010

A lot depends on the size of the family using them. I have three teenagers, two of whom are boys and eat their weight in food everyday. I purchased a Traulsen Refrigerator which is a commercial product. It was less expensive than a comparably sized Sub Zero type, but probably about 3-4x what you will get at a Sears. It easily holds what ever we want including enough space for 30 people at Thanksgiving. I keep about 8 cases of canned drinks on the bottom shelf as an example of size. It does not come with any door shelves or anything other than 3 shelves and the bottom. We use some wire baskets we got at the Container Store to hold the little items like mustard, Ketchup, hot sauces, etc. The thing rocks although it is a bit noisier than a retail model. For a freezer, we go an under the counter type that we keep in the garage. We use it so much less and it was not worth the space.

As for the washer-dryer, that also depends on how much laundry you do and how often. Our set is from Sears. Top load. 10 years old. Few repairs.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:46 PM on May 1, 2010

I will be the dissenting opinion on the bottom freezer. We lived in an apartment for a while that had one - I hated the bottom freezer drawer. If a big bag of broccoli, or whatever, was slightly sticking up, the freezer drawer wouldn't close properly and all the ice would melt. If you are observant and don't have children, this wouldn't be a problem. I, however, have kids who would leave the drawer slightly open every single time they got ice out of the freezer because they wouldn't carefully readjust the broccoli. Also, I would tend to forget about the stuff at the bottom of the freezer because the stuff is all sort of piled on top of each other. It's easier to shove things around to see what you have in a regular non-drawer freezer. When we put in our new kitchen, I obsessively searched for a top freezer regular sized stainless fridge.

If you are undecided about color, I found that stainless actually looks the cleanest. Fingerprints show on stainless, but grime shows on white and I always had cat hair or my hair or towel lint stuck to the black one. (I had a white fridge pre-Katrina, a black fridge after, then we had a fire and I got a stainless. I want there to be a cheap easily available orange fridge after our next disaster.)

I love my Frigidaire Affinity washer and dryer, but think any front loading ones are great.
posted by artychoke at 9:54 PM on May 1, 2010

Anecdotally, a recent discussion I had with an appliance repair guy suggests that Whirlpool side-loading washers are a royal pain to repair, should anything go wrong. They're apparently hard enough to fix that most repair guys just won't do it.
posted by jjb at 10:21 PM on May 1, 2010

My stuff is all Japanese, so I doubt you could get it in the States (or would want it, considering it's built for small Japanese houses), but I definitely recommend refrigerators with the freezer below, and a refrigerator door that opens on either side. Not a split door, mind you. One single door that has hinges on both sides, allowing you to open it from the right or the left. I love my refrigerator for that, especially because of the rather small kitchen space I've got. I don't need to dance around to the other side of the fridge to open it.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:47 PM on May 1, 2010

Useless information:
The very best washer, dryer, dishwasher (especially) stove-top, and oven, I have EVER used, anywhere, all came from V-Zug. This is useless, as I'm fairly certain these aren't sold anywhere outside of Switzerland. The factory happens to be across the street from me. ("Zug" is the name of the city and the canton. I've no idea where the "V" ('vau', in German) comes from).

The dishwasher is extremely quiet. The washer is amazingly stable (front-loading) and quiet as well. The stove is induction and, to be fair, the only induction stove I've ever used (it's fabulous! Better than gas! WAY better than ordinary electric).

All the appliances are solidly built. I didn't list the fridge because I don't like the size and shelf distribution. But that's because I'm an American, and beer takes up a lot of room in there (w00t!). But it too is well built.
posted by Goofyy at 3:37 AM on May 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone--these are all great suggestions and anecdotes.

While I appreciate the dishwasher suggestions, our house comes with one, so until it craps out, we're keeping it.

For those asking about family size, right now it's just the two of us. We average a load of laundry once or twice a week.
posted by litnerd at 3:45 AM on May 2, 2010

When I moved into my house fifteen years ago, I bought the on-sale $500 for the pair washer and dryer. I also bought a base-model electric stove and a smallish, basic-model fridge. Every appliance in my house is fifteen years old and was on the "cheap and basic" side of things when I bought it. I have not had any trouble with any of them.

Washer/dryer are Hotpoint, stove is Whirlpool, fridge is Roper.

I didn't see a lot of data points from the "cheap appliances with zero features" side of the fence, so there's mine. Bought cheap, fifteen years ago. Stuff still works fine. You can blow more money on appliances if you'd like, but the cheap stuff functions acceptably and turned out to be more durable than I figured it would be.
posted by which_chick at 4:14 AM on May 2, 2010

Re previous suggestion - I wonder if cheap appliances now are not such good quality as cheap appliances made 15 years ago, though? At least if the 4 DVD players and 5 wifi routers I've owned in the last 7 years are anything to go by..

Anyway, nthing a good, energy- and water-efficient LG front-loader. We've only had ours for a few months but it's great. We also bought the most energy-efficient fridge we could find, which happened to be a Westinghouse (I don't live in the US so ymmv). You may be eligible for rebates on ultra-efficient appliances, and even if not, they will save you money for many years to come. So that was our only criteria because as some others have said, brands don't seem to be very differentiated these days.

Oh, and keeping your fridge a good 10cm out from the wall saves energy, too.
posted by 8k at 7:28 AM on May 2, 2010

My friend has a french door refrigerator like alms mentioned, and it's awesome. It actually came with their house (they got it on a negotiating point in exchange for them fixing something else). I'm not sure what brand it is but it looks a lot like this - check out the interior! Also it beeps if the doors are open too long - great when you have kids or a significant other who doesn't close them all the way!
posted by radioamy at 11:09 AM on May 2, 2010

Oh and a lot of w/d units have cool storage drawers underneath. So smart! I'd get one of those in a heartbeat.
posted by radioamy at 11:10 AM on May 2, 2010

The best washing machine you get get - if you can afford it - is


posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:12 PM on May 2, 2010

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