Consumer Reports Names the Most & Least Reliable Brands Based on Survey Covering 5.1 Million Products

High-end brands for major kitchen appliances prone to repairs; Whirlpool,

Kenmore & GE have been more reliable

Apr 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from Consumer Reports

    NEW YORK, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pricey brand loyalists
 may want to re-think their allegiance before spending big money on the next
 major kitchen appliances, says Consumer Reports Annual Product Reliability
 Survey, which identifies the most and least reliable product brands.
     Among the least reliable brands identified by Consumer Reports readers
 are major cooking appliances by high-end brands such as Viking, Thermador,
 Dacor and Jenn-Air. CR's survey shows that 33 percent of Viking gas ranges
 and at least 15 percent of Viking, Thermador and Dacor gas cooktops have
 been repaired or have had an un-repairable problem during the last few
     Pricey Sub-Zero brand refrigerators also proved to be among the more
 repair prone brands. CR's survey shows that 24 percent of Sub-Zero side-by-
 side models, as well as 24 percent of Sub-Zero top-/bottom-freezers models
 have needed repair over last few years-a stark contrast to Whirlpool, whose
 category-best side-by-side and top-/bottom-freezers models required the
 least amount of repairs, 14 percent and 7 percent respectively.
     Whirlpool, Kenmore and GE brands prove to be safe bets for major
 appliance shoppers. Both brands on average tend to have relatively low
 repair rates between 2002 and 2006 for many types of appliances including
 electric ranges, gas ranges, gas cook tops, electronic wall ovens,
 refrigerators, gas and electric clothes dryers, and front- and top-loading
 washing machines.
     While not the sole front runner in each electronic device category,
 Sony brand electronics were a safe bet and among the more reliable brands
 in many categories including camcorders, and picture tube TVs. Sony shows
 promising reliability for plasma TVs, LCD TVs, microdisplay TVs.
     Consumer Reports National Research Center's reliability data is based
 on responses from more than 950,000 readers. Because many readers own more
 than one type of product in the same category, that translates into more
 than 1.3 million vehicles, 1.2 million electronic gadgets, and 2.5 million
 appliances and lawn machines -- a total of 5.1 million product reports.
     "While changes in design can change a product's performance, and
 specific models within a brand may vary in reliability, we have found that
 choosing a brand with a consistently good history improves your chances of
 getting a reliable model," said Mark Kotkin, director of survey research
 for Consumer Reports.
                           Time to Repair or Replace?
     Sometimes entire product categories require more repairs than others.
 For example, when Consumer Reports looked at three-- and
 four-year-old-products, it found that laptop and desktop computers,
 side-by-side refrigerators with ice makers, riding mowers and lawn tractors
 tended to need more fixes than other type of products.
     Consumer Reports generally advises that in the following scenarios
 buyers should replace rather than repair products: (1) when a product costs
 less than $150; and (2) if repairs would cost more than half the price of a
 new model.
     The May 2007 issue of Consumer Reports offers consumers a timeline to
 determine whether it's smarter to replace a product than to repair it by
 considering the product's age, typical repair and replacement costs, and
 the improvements of new models. The chart below shows at what age it would
 be more sensible for consumers to replace rather than repair their current
     4 Years        digital cameras, 32-inch picture-tube TVs
     5 Years        camcorders, 36-inch picture-tube TVs
                    computers, gas push mowers
     6 Years        dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves, top-
                    freezer refrigerators, upright vacuums
     7 Years        clothes dryers, gas self-propelled mowers,
                    top-loader washers
     8 Years        Bottom-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators,
                    canister vacuums, electric or gas ranges,
                    electric wall ovens, front-loader washers
     CR's May issue, which goes on sale April 10, offers a complete rundown
 on the most and least reliable brands for cooking appliances,
 refrigerators, washers and dryers, electronics products, TVs, vacuums,
 cars, lawn machines and much more. More information is also available at
     The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it
 may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports(R)
 is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit
 organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe
 marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect
 themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To
 maintain our independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no
 outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the
 interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself through the sale of
 our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few
 non commercial grants.

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