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Robert
Robert, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
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Experience:  16+ years of in home appliance repair knowledge.
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brand reliability, first for gas range

Customer Question

I'm shopping for a new gas range (slide in style) and the reviews are so confusing. Some rank one brand high in the aggregate, but then there are all these negative reviews of the same brand by individuals who actully own them--like LOTS of people with the same problem, not just an occasional problem. Other reviews are so old, like 2007. One salesman told me that yes some of the high end brands were trading on their old glory for quite a while, BUT have recently 'retooled' and are now very good (I think that was Jenn Air). Where is the most up to date info? (today is 7/10/2011).  The features i care about are 1)having a very low/simmer burner; 2) continuous grates, but not ones that sit 2 inches up so you have to fear a pan falling off the edge; 3) the pan under grates clean up easily 4) controls in vertical plane--many of the brands put the controls horizontal plane, where all the grease from the stove top will land on the control pad.


 


 (I need all the other appliances as well, but need the range ASAP to be able to do the countertop--so also looking for reviews of refrs (bottom freezer), dw's, washer and dryers (am leaning toward the Speed Queen w/d b/c they spend their money making steel gears and metal tubs, not fads and useless bells and whistles like all the others.)


 


Altho i said it was 'urgent', tomorrow monday july 11 is soon enough--i need to go to sleep now, i did not know how long this would take, but if you're on the east coast maybe you're all asleep already.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  John replied 3 years ago.

The most trustworthy and reliable product information and rating services is still www.comsumerreports.org. The information is impartial, and the ratings are still the most complete of any rating service.

 

If my answer helps you, please click on the 'accept' button. That's how we experts are paid for our efforts.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
John, thank you for at least saying you consider Consumer Reports to be unbiased, that is worth something. I am a subscriber to CR. However, it was BECAUSE i found CR's reports contradictory that i was willing to pay "Just Answer" for a professional individual's opinion. It was CR i was referring to when i said the aggregate review gives one impression while the individual users' review seem contradictory. That is, GE was rated highest in the aggregate polling, but only 50% of individuals would 'recommend to a friend", and their complaints included very bad support from GE when they reported their problems. A second inconsistency within CR is between their print version (for 2011) and their online version: the former rates the 30 inch gas ranges as "GE, Kenmore, Kenmore, GE, Hotpoint....", while the online version says "GE, LG, LG, Electrolux, etc." Thirdly, there is inconsistency just within CR's online reports: The one ntitled "ratings overview" (which i referred to above") is "GE, LG, LG, electro., etc", but then another page titled "brand reliability" shows first Hotpoint, then GE, then Whirlpool, then Frigidaire, etc.--completely different rankings.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, it was the inconsistencies/confusion in the CR reviews that I was referring to in my original question, so I am not willing to pay for merely being referred back to CR. I was looking for a professional's OWN opinion. So to restate my question: Do YOU believe GE is generally the most reliable, and gives good purchaser support? Conversely, since I have liked at least the design features of both Jenn Air and Kitchen Aid, but they ranked very low in both the CR print version and one of CR's online ratings, I would like to know if you agree with that low rating with regard to reliability? Do you see lots of repairs being needed by Jenn Air and KItchen Aid gas ranges? Have you observed more design flaws in them than in other brands?
Expert:  John replied 3 years ago.
Everyone has an opinion based on personal experience. I personally tend to ignore all the internet blogs, and I find that going with the CR recommendations is good for me. That said, you need to consider where all our appliances are being manufactured nowadays. My experience is that quality manufacturing is not the priority in Southeast Asian countries. They're using the American brand name reputations, but not trying to produce the quality. Welcome to the 21st century.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I assume second expert has access to the corresponence that has gone before with first expert, so that you can see why i am asking for a second expert, ie first expert did not answer the question. My question can be summed up as: The published reviews (of gas range reliability)are INTERNALLY INCONSISTENT, ie COnsumer Reports (and I mean specifically the company by that name, Consumer Reports, I am not using the term generically to mean "consumer research") appears to 1) give different ranking/recommendation as between their hard copy vs. their own website (to which I subscribe); 2) give different rankings at 2 different pages within their website; 3)give rankings/recommendations that are at odds with the individual reviews published ON THEIR OWN WEBSITE. It was because I found Consumer Reports to be internally confusing and contradictory that I was willing to pay for an "expert's" specific recommendations. Expert No. 1 merely suggested I consult Consumer Reports. When i replied that I already had, and that was the source of confusion, he replied that he 'tends to ignore internet blogs go with CR recommendations'--thus he ignored my points that 1)the CR recommendations are themselves contradictory, both between print and internet, and within the internet website 2) the individual reports i referred to are not any old internet blog, they are on the CR website.
He went on to say that appliances made in SE Asia tend to be lower quality, but did not provide any specific information as to which those are.
Thus I have so far been 1) referred back to the Consumer Reports from which i started and 2)been told that in general SE Asian goods are inferior--
neither of these are helpful information.
Expert:  Robert replied 3 years ago.

Hello.

In order to give you a recommendation I will need to know your price range, size of the unit needed and the color you want. This way I can give you information based on 16+ years of experience in the field as to the quality of your next appliance.

I also do not use Consumer Reports due to the inconsistent reporting they have in between the magazines and websites. I have seen them rate three of the same products number 1, 4 and 9 when they where built by the same company but had different labels(Kitchenaid, Whirlpool, Kenmore). The internal workings and performance of the units had no difference in them. Only the appearance was different. It also bothers me that they except donations from individuals and companies to 'help' with the financial cost of making the magazine. This is clearly stated in the magazines fine print and somewhere on the website. That alone tells me not to trust them.

I do not work for OR sell any major appliance. I am authorized to service all makes and models of GE, Whirlpool, Electrolux, LG and Samsung so I do get to see a full range of products and I can get you MY opinion on what to purchase. If that is what you are looking for, I will be glad to assist you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX like to stay in the moderate price range (1500-2500), but most importantly I am willing to pay for good performance but NOT for status names, eg wolf, viking. Size is 30", style = slide in, color probably stainless, might consider white. I am completely redoing the kitchen, will need all new appliances, don't care if they're all the same brand, tho would want them all the same color, and stainless can be a problem in the refr. (or not--some that look like stainless don't have the same problems, ie fingerprints and don't hold magnets.)

 

The features i care about in the range are:

1) a low burner;

2) continuous grates

3) grates that are not flimsy, but also not so huge and heavy that they are hard to pick up and clean. Some divide the whole surface into just 2 grate units, some divide them into 3 or even 4 units. The more units, the easier to pick one up to clean it.

4) grates that don't have huge gaps in them so pans can tip into the gap, nor so high off the top of the range that pans tip over the edge.

5) pan under the grates easy to clean; think this means porcelain not SS

5) don't need 5th burner

6)prefer controls in vertical plane, same as oven door; they will get too spattered in 'new look' where they are horizontal in same plane as the burners.

7) warming drawer would be nice

8) dual fuel preferred

Again, most important is quality of workmanship and good warranty/service/support--does anyone do this anymore?

And specific question i asked expert 1 that he also didn't answer: Consumer Reports says GE is best or second for gas or dual fuel: Do you agree GE is at least 'one of the best'? Also, Kitchen Air or JennAir have been best on some of the design features i want (grates, etc.) but CR ranks them low reliability. One salesman i talked to said Jenn Air set out to revive its reputation last fall, but maybe its too soon for CR to have looked at them--do you have an opinion on Jenn Air and Kitchen Aid in gas slide in ranges?

 

Expert:  Robert replied 3 years ago.

The best for service and reliability will be Whirlpool and GE products. They both offer quality built products that perform excellent for all cooking situations. They also have the best market saturation when it comes to authorized servicers.

Almost every brand has the slanted front display now so you are most likely going to get stuck with that feature. The Jenn Air products are being revamped. This is because they were built by Maytag and now Whirlpool owns the Maytag name(which includes Jenn Air, Magic Chef, Performa, etc). The quality is now just as good as the Whirlpool units are.

When you start looking at brands made by Wolf, Sub Zero, Bosch, LG and Samsung, the first thing to check is where the nearest reliable servicer is located to you. These techs are few and far between and out of warranty calls will be astronomical is some instances. Electrolux(Frigidaire) offers a good product but the reliability is an issue in my book. I have repaired more Frigidaire cooking appliances than any other brand.

The grates on the GE and Whirlpool built units are very tough and last a long time. Both brands have units with full connected grates so cleaning will consist or removing only 2-3 grate parts instead of 4-5. The warming drawer is great on both units also.

The GE units offer an almost perfect simmer option on the burners. They call them precise simmer burners and they are great. You get a performance equal to a professional Wolf or Thermador unit without the cost. Whirlpool offers an equally impressive simmer option on a range under the KitchenAid name. This is by far my favorite unit and the front panel is closest to what you are wanting without dropping 5000+ dollars. I think it is beautiful(only my opinion as I know tastes differ) and it is in your price range. The model number is XXXXX It is only available in stainless though. The GE units are available in black and stainless in most cases and only lower line units come in white. That is something you may want to consider. The stainless units that are not stainless are great and do allow magnets to stick to them. They have several units to choose from that are magnetic and fit in the kitchen very well.

As far as consumer reports rating KitchenAid and Jenn Air as low reliability, let me explain. All warranty repairs are reported to the companies through service reports provided by ServicePower and companies like that who dispatch for the big companies(GE, Whirlpool, Electrolux, etc). The rate of repairs in relation to the number of units sold is dramatically different for each brand. GE may have sold 400,000 products last year and KitchenAid may have only sold 150,000 units(not exact numbers, just an example). A recall counts against the repair ratio and could be as simple as a wiring upgrade. This causes the repair ratio to climb when there was no breakage. That is not an indicator of how well the unit performs or the durability but they use it as the benchmark for rating repairs in the magazine and the website. This throws off the scores and makes the rating system unfair. I hope that makes sense to you.

If there is anything that I have missed(sorry, I tend to be long winded) let me know so that I can address it for you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Robert for your very complete answer, i have just one more small follow up: you recommended a particular KitchenAid, made by Whirlpool--does this suggest there may be an equally good range sold under the Whirlpool name, that might be a little less expensive just because it doesn't have the Kitchen Aid name?
Expert:  Robert replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately Whirlpool has stopped production of the dual fuel units under the Whirlpool, Whirlpool Gold name. They only offer the new ones under the KitchenAid branding. You can find some units is back stock but they are not the newest on the market.
Robert, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience: 16+ years of in home appliance repair knowledge.
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