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
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
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,
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
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SOURCE Consumer Reports