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January, 2009 | A House By The Park
Archive for January, 2009 —

Picking Appliances is as Difficult as Manufacturers Choose to Make It

While the house plans are in for approval, I’ve been checking out appliances — both online and in-person — looking for the right dishwasher, fridge, washer, dryer, and oven/range.

The quality gap between appliance websites is simply astounding to me. It’s 2009… you’d think everyone would know how to do a “help me select my appliance” feature by now. The worst I found was ironically the company whose brand I had already decided on: Bosch. Bosch makes TWENTY models of dishwashers and the process of distinguishing between all of them is maddening. None of the features are explained in a convenient manner, none of the sub-brands are clearly differentiated, and worst of all their “product comparison tool” only lets you select three models at a time. To compare each model against every other would require 1140 different combination trials. Go ahead, try it… it’s embarrassingly bad.

On the other side of the spectrum is Samsung. Ironic as well, since their cell phone interfaces are so second rate. Where Bosch fails in leading me towards a happy, confident purchase, Samsung excels. Samsung’s washer selector lets me pick features one by one and removes models that don’t fit the criteria on the fly. It also has some nice Flash demos demonstrating some of the features that might need explaining. By the time I was done checking off features, I was down to one model. That is how it’s done, BOSCH!

I haven’t made any final decisions yet, but here’s what I’m leaning towards (if you have experience with any of these brands or others, please let me know in the comments):

Dishwasher: Bosch

Despite the awful website, Bosch seems to have a great reputation with regard to dishwashers. Multiple people, including Build, have recommended them personally to me so I am loath to go against that sort of word-of-mouth claqueury. It’s the one appliance that a lot of people seem to agree on: Bosch makes the best dishwashers. That said, thanks to their website, I have no idea which model to choose. My only requirements are integrated cabinet face and the adjustable upper rack option. Depending on the model, it should cost anywhere from $800 to $1600.

Refrigerator: GE Profile

There are tons of good refrigerators out there, but so far I’ve only found one that has the top two features I’m looking for: French doors with the freezer on the bottom and an external water/ice dispenser. French doors seem to be in these days, but external water/ice dispensers are harder and harder to find. Many models just do the water-only dispenser on the inside now apparently. Boooooooooo. External seems a lot more convenient.

The GE PFSS6PKXSS seems to fit the bill perfectly and has dope LED lights on the inside as well, which is just awesome. It’s $2699 retail, but since I work at msnbc.com, my GE employee discount should knock a good portion off of that. Not bad considering some of the other fridges I looked at were twice that amount.

Washer/Dryer: Samsung

I didn’t even know Samsung made washers or dryers. They do and they are awesome, according to Consumer Reports and other sources. Among the more novel features is something called “SilverCare” which embeds microscopic silver particles in your clothing to keep the stank away. Watch this video for the entertaining details of how Consumer Reports performed the test.

The kicker, however, is something called VRT. It’s a technology that Samsung pioneered which dramatically reduces the vibration of and noise of the washer and dryer during spin cycles. According to everyone who has tried it, it’s a no-brainer if your washer/dryer is not on a concrete floor. Since we’re putting ours upstairs right next to the master bedroom, this seems like a slam dunk.

The other set that looked awesome is the Electrolux. Honestly, they look even better than the Samsungs but I couldn’t find a single review online and Consumer Reports hasn’t tested them yet. They are priced similarly as the Samsung set (about $1500 per piece), so at that price, I feel much better buying something that’s been thoroughly tested and reviewed.

Oven/Range: Probably GE Monogram or Wolf

This is the appliance I’m least sure about right now. I do know I’ll be getting a dual-fuel 36-inch wide unit, but no one model has stood out yet. The Wolfs are nice, but $8500 for a range seems ridiculous, considering how often I failover to the microwave. Currently, I’m leaning towards the 36 inch GE Monogram Dual Fuel Oven/Range with 4 burners and a griddle. It’s more like $5500 and hopefully the discount will knock a substantial amount off of that as well.

So that’s where I’m at on appliances so far. If anyone has any advice or positive/negative reviews for certain brands or models, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

UPDATE (8/8/2010): I just published this new post describing the final appliance package.