Trust us: You won’t want to buy a new appliance without reading this first.
It’s important to do your research when shopping for appliances, whether you’re looking for the best vacuum cleaners or the best washer and dryer sets. These household essentials aren’t cheap, and you want them to last for as long as possible. Of course, they all sound good, but it can be hard to cut through the marketing noise to find out which ones truly deliver. That’s where Consumer Reports comes in, with its annual Appliance Brand Reliability Rankings report. The latest survey, which was compiled from members who bought more than 760,000 new laundry and kitchen appliances between 2009 and 2020, shows “how reliable one brand is relative to another across multiple appliances.” In other words, these are the brands you can trust—not just for a single appliance but for a number of them. (Though, of course, you’ll want to check out specific stellar product reviews, too, before making a decision.)
In order to calculate predicted reliability, Consumer Reports asked questions about certain appliances, specifically if they broke multiple times or didn’t perform as expected, then estimated “how a given brand’s new models will hold up over the first five years of use.” It’s important to note the measures they used to keep reliability and fairness in check. “For each brand, the Average Predicted Reliability Score has been adjusted to account for differences among types of appliances. A brand that earns relatively high marks for its French-door refrigerators, for example, will get a bump in its score because French-door models are less reliable than other refrigerator types,” Consumer Reports explains. “Without this statistical adjustment, a brand that makes only top-freezer refrigerators—the most reliable type—would have an unfair advantage over brands that make multiple types.”
Read on for the products you’ll love not just when you first buy them but for years to come. And if you also happen to be in the market for a new ride, check out this list of the best car brands for 2021, according to Consumer Reports.
Speed Queen won the top spot this year with a total score of 88 out of 100. The appliance brand excelled in the survey with its top-load agitator washing machines and dryers. One important note: According to Consumer Reports, “predicted reliability ratings are not an indicator of performance,” which means that while Speed Queen has high ratings for washers and dryers, the machines don’t always perform as well as you might expect in lab tests. That’s why you’ll want to check an appliance’s full ratings to find a specific model before you buy. Still, when it comes to the washer/dryer category, Speed Queen tends to have loads of glowing five-star reviews to back it up. Keep your brand-new washer in tip-top shape by learning how to clean your washing machine the right way—and doing it regularly.
One appliance to check out: If you’re in the market for a new dryer, the Speed Queen DF7000WE is a Consumer Reports favorite, and it rates highly among shoppers, too. It boasts a seven-cubic-foot capacity, seven dry cycles, and four temperature settings, and its commercial-grade components and advanced Eco-Cycle tech make it incredibly efficient.
LG moved up one spot in the rankings and finished in second place with a total score of 73. (Yes, there’s that much of a difference between the top two spots!) Cooktops, electric wall ovens, washers, and dryers received an excellent rating, while compact dryers received a very good rating. So, overall, the brand ranked well across the board with the lowest rating being good…which is not bad at all! If you’re looking for a good deal on your new appliance, find out the best times to score deals throughout the year.
One appliance to check out: With TurboWash 3D and Wi-Fi connectivity, the LG WT7305CW top load washing machine delivers in product tests, according to Consumer Reports experts. Home Depot shoppers agree, giving it hundreds of five-star reviews on the site. One happy customer writes, “Very affordable, and my good gracious, the difference is unreal! Our clothes smell better, feel better, and even fit better!”
Not familiar with the appliance brand Café? You should be—it tied with Ikea for a total score of 70, up two spots in the rankings from the previous year. While the refrigerators and dishwashers received good scores overall, the electric wall ovens garnered an excellent rating. Café also earned very good scores for microwaves, ranges, and cooktops. Make sure to bookmark this information so you have it when you need it, which might be sooner than you expect. Just so you know, this is when appliances are most likely to break down.
One appliance to check out: This Café CTS90DP4NW2 electric wall oven features smart technology, convection, and self-steam cleaning, and it comes in three classic finishes. All of that, plus a stellar Consumer Reports review, makes it an ideal choice for a high-end kitchen.
And the award for the most improved goes to Ikea! The famously affordable Swedish retailer moved up a whopping seven spots in Consumer Reports‘ overall rankings this year, tying for third place. Their dishwashers and ranges earned an excellent rating, their microwaves were considered very good, and their electric and gas cooktops were rated good.
One appliance to check out: Ringing in at around $600 and receiving high marks in Consumer Reports’ product tests, Ikea’s Essentiell dishwasher has a self-cleaning filter, hidden controls, and adjustable tines. It may not have some of the other bells and whistles you might find on higher-end models, but it’s reliable and it gets the job done. FYI, be aware of the ways you’re shortening the life of your dishwasher, and learn how to avoid these common mistakes.
One appliance to check out: If you’re looking for a highly rated French-door fridge, you can’t go wrong with the Thermador T36BT920NS. Consumer Reports lauds features such as soft-close drawers, roomy product bins, and Sabbath mode, and you’ll love also love its 19.4-cubic-foot capacity. Plus, it’s Energy Star certified, so you’ll end up saving on household billsand helping the environment.
Up four places and tied for the sixth spot with a total of 68 points is Bosch. While the brand received a very good rating for gas ranges, it wowed shoppers who purchased dishwashers and cooktops, earning it an excellent rating in those categories. The rest of the scores were good across the board.
One appliance to check out: For another solid dishwasher option, consider the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR75UC. Consumer Reports gives it high marks for its hidden controls, adjustable tines, and ample flatware slots. While you’re shopping, find out which appliances can save you up to $20 a day.
This high-end German manufacturer was down four spots in the rankings with a total score of 68. The appliance brand received an excellent rating in dishwashers, electric wall ovens, and compact dryers as well as a very good rating for compact washing machines. The problem, according to Consumer Reports? Pro ranges and gas cooktops, which earned fair and poor ratings, respectively. Miele, by the way, also happens to make some of the best vacuum cleaners around.
One appliance to check out: Home chefs will adore the Miele H6281BP wall oven. The experts at Consumer Reports call out its covered bake element, convection mode, and glass touch-control panel, among other special features that make it worth its price tag.
With a total score of 67, GE is in a three-way tie for eighth place. The brand received mostly good ratings, with electric wall ovens and electric ranges rated excellent. Over-the-range microwaves, as well as top-freezer and bottom-freezer refrigerators, received very good ratings.
One appliance to check out: Hundreds of Home Depot shoppers swear by the GE JBS86SPSS double oven electric range. “I love that I can have a double oven in the same space as the regular oven,” writes one reviewer. “It works great and is beautiful!” With features including convection, two high-powered elements, and a warming element on the cooktop, this electric model earns high marks in Consumer Reports tests, as well.
Roper moved down four spots this year. The affordable brand, which is owned by Whirlpool, specializes in washers and dryers, and it earned very good marks on its top-load agitator washing machines and electric dryers. Translation: It’s a solid brand that you’ll likely be able to count on.
One appliance to check out: The Roper RTW4516F top loader washing machine has a porcelain tub to help prevent clothing from snagging, a Wash-Action Agitator, and a Deep Water Wash option. Its large capacity also lets you wash more at once, so it’s particularly good for families.
Signature Kitchen Suite
With a total score of 67, Signature Kitchen Suite moved down one spot this year. Still, this brand is a smart choice. The cooktops are rated excellent while the microwaves and electric wall ovens are very good. The dishwasher and refrigerators received good ratings.
One appliance to check out: The Signature Kitchen Suite UPCG3654ST gas cooktop will easily appeal to shoppers. In addition to being beautifully designed, this 36-inch range has solid brass burners and is Wi-Fi enabled.
Rounding out the top 10, with a total score of 64, is Whirlpool. The brand has mostly very good scores on everything from refrigerators to cooktops, but it boasts excellent ratings for over-the-range microwaves. While we’re on the subject, you’ll regret ignoring these microwave problems.
One appliance to check out: When a microwave has more than 2,000 glowing five-star reviews from Home Depot shoppers and a thumbs-up from Consumer Reports experts, it’s time to pay attention. The Whirlpool WMH53521HZ over-the-range microwave has tons of handy features, including auto-defrost, a touchpad control, and a wire rack for bi-level cooking. It’s also made with fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, so it’ll look great in your space without constant cleaning.
In a three-way tie for tenth place, Kenmore also has a solid total score of 64. While the brand’s dishwashers, ovens, and washing machines earned good ratings, its dryers, microwaves, cooktops, ranges, and refrigerators received very good scores overall.
One appliance to check out: The well-rated Kenmore 81382 electric dryer features a steam refresh, static shield, and wrinkle guard, so it’s easy to understand why it’s a favorite among appliance experts and consumers alike.
Luxury brand Sub-Zero/Wolf rounds out the three-way tie for tenth place with Kenmore and Whirlpool. The brand’s built-in refrigerators received a very good rating, while the ranges and cooktops topped out at good. It’s also worth noting that Sub-Zero moved up five spots from last year. Holding out hope that you can fix a broken appliance instead of buying a new one? Sometimes it’s just not worth it. Find out which appliances are cheaper to replace than to fix.
One appliance to check out: Kitchen connoisseurs, prepare to be wowed. The Sub-Zero BI-36U/O refrigerator boasts Wi-Fi, temperature control within one degree of setpoint, and a NASA-inspired air purification system to keep food spoilage and odors at bay. It’s also panel-ready, so you can choose the covering of your choice to have it blend in seamlessly with the rest of your décor.