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Are there any quality appliances being made anymore?

May 13, 2019

When it rains it pours. I renovated my kitchen about 4 years ago and bought all pretty nice appliances but they have all have developed issues. My BS range has a gas leak, my Bertazzoni electric under counter oven doesn't heat up and my Liebher counter depth fridge stopped making ice a while ago and just last week the fan underneath started making an awful squeaking noise. Has anyone with had similar issues with their new-ish appliances? I spent a lot of money on these appliances (for me) and I definitely don't feel like this is a case of you get what you pay for. Just curious if anyone has had a similar experiences.

Comments (21)

  • edenchild
    The keypad on the KA microwave I had died at less than 2 years old, rendering it complete useless. I would never recommend KA microwaves as this is an apparently well known problem. BTW, the warranty is only 1 year which should have told me to suspect problems. Live and learn!
  • SirJohn

    The increased use of electronics in appliances has definitely lead to a higher fail rate and a more difficult repair situation. It doesn't help that the low/no lead solder we use now in electronics, while good for health/environment is also more likely to whisker and prematurely fail. There is a certain advantage to the lower end mass consumption brands. More readily available parts and repair services. Reliability wise, they are not necessarily worse these days and replacement or repair cost is undoubtedly less. No one brand is great at producing reliable products in each product category so shop per product and not per brand and check reliability records per product category. Then make sure to check availability and cost of repair parts and who in your area services it.

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  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I have had both Bosch and Miele appliances. Happy with both brands overall. Some people have a hard time maintaining their belongings. I remember a problem with Blue Star ranges supposedly exploding that was all down to user error.

  • adrianaxoxo

    edenchild- ugh that's terrible but good to know. I've always had good luck with their small appliances (mixers, blenders etc) and customer service but ive never purchased any other KA appliances

    SIr John- Agreed. I actually did do research on all the appliances/brands and came to the same conclusion that all brands have issues and no one brand makes "the best" appliances in every category.

    Zalco- I am also very happy with my Bosch dishwasher which was purchased a couple of years before we renovated and still going strong. I have used it just about every single day since we got it. So yay for Bosch! Good to know about the Miele too.

    Was the BS exploding due to users turning on the convection fan while preheating or broiling? BS recently had a recall/fix for that although it is stated in the user manual that you shouldn't turn on the convection fan while doing either.

  • artistsharonva

    "The most reliable data comes from a survey the National Association of Homebuilders, conducted back in 2007. It found that the average major appliance lasts fewer than 15 years. Dishwashers last about nine years, washers and dryers about 10, and refrigerators about 13.

    In addition to broad economic factors that affect all durable goods, appliance lifespans are shorter for a few specific reasons. The first is that production of individual components is frequently outsourced to the least-expensive third-party manufacturers. Additionally, both finished products and their components are designed to weigh less, so that they’re less expensive for manufacturers to ship. Finally, tolerances are tighter, fits are closer, and electronic controls have taken the place of mechanical ones—in other words, more plastic and less metal."


    adrianaxoxo thanked artistsharonva
  • artistsharonva

    I am suspicious that greed of corporations also fuels the planned obsolence model.

    It's all good to make appliances more energy efficient but not at the loss of quality appliances that last. Why can't they make energy efficient appliances that last!?

    All those appliances being thrown away. Yes, they can recycle but it takes fuel to recycle, re-ship and re-manufacturer. The overused plastic is a real problem, too.

    A lot of $ being made.

    Unfortunately $ is what steers the corporation.

    Companies use to take pride in their products. They use to care about their customers. Companies use to make quality appliances that lasted many years Companies are capable of making appliances that last. Now, it seems they no longer want to, because it makes more $ to sell cheap products that break fast so people have no choice but buy another.

    Disappointing indeed.

    Maybe the government will give tax incentives to companies who produce quality goods that last longer. Something needs to be done. The system is broken & so are the appliances .

    adrianaxoxo thanked artistsharonva
  • adrianaxoxo

    Thank you artistsharonva! They should have the cost of products reflect their quality and longevity at least. These companies want top dollar for cheap plastic laden or shoddily built products that don't last very long. Some of my under 4 year old now appliances, as I said in my first post, started developing issues/had to be serviced or replaced soon after they were installed ( except my Bosch dishwasher) including my range hood which I didn't mention in my op.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    The answer to the question is not a lot lol.

    We finished building our new house last year, and I dreaded buying appliances because the days of my parents' 25-year-old Kenmore refrigerator are long gone. My basic rule of thumb was to figure that most of our appliances would have a fairly brief lifespan (5-7 years) and to spend only what I felt comfortable spending for that period of time.

    I've always been happy with Bosch dishwashers, so one more vote for Bosch.

    I disappointed some of my kids who wanted a fridge with water and/or ice through the door, because I said no. Refrigerators tend to last longer if you don't get one with water or ice through the door.

    And ovens/ranges tend to last longer if you don't use the self-cleaning feature.

    Was the BS exploding due to users turning on the convection fan while preheating or broiling? BS recently had a recall/fix for that although it is stated in the user manual that you shouldn't turn on the convection fan while doing either.

    Yes and yes.

    Our range for the new house is a BlueStar because we live in a rural, fairly remote area and we wanted a very basic range with few bells and whistles and electronics. I'm hoping it lasts longer than 7 years, but my previous range was a 1950s O'Keefe & Merritt which we bought for $25 and so ended up costing us $1/year. If I amortize both, and include the pleasure from cooking with each of them too, I'm good : ) .

    adrianaxoxo thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • 3katz4me

    I've had good luck with mine but I don't expect them to last like they used to or be as reliable as they were back in the day. We chose higher end brands when we remodeled our kitchen some years back. However when we moved and I needed to purchase all new appliances I opted not to. Too many complaints about nearly every brand and I decided when they fail to perform early in their life I'll be less disgusted the less I paid. So mid-range now - they've been working fine for over three years.

  • PRO

    Well, there was your mistake! I will NEVER part with my 1948 O'Keefe and Merritt range! I think I paid about $275 for it in LA in 1982 but it had been steam-cleaned and had new piping. I've had one service call - adjustment of pilot light - and had to replace the spring on the fold-up/down lid. I love that old workhorse!

  • dadoes

    Market price is the primary driver of appliance quality IMO. A mid-line Whirlpool washer cost $369 in 1976. One can be had today for $428 (although that is a sale price at a particular big-box store, but something is always "on sale" somewhere) ... an increase of $59 in 43 years. Something has to give to support that price level. An online inflation calculator says $369 in 1976 is $1670 today.

  • queenvictorian

    The (super old) house my husband and I recently purchased came with a stove and a fridge, both lower-end and pretty ugly, probably from the early 90s. Because they have no bells and whistles (stove doesn't even have a clock) and no microchips, there's not much on them to fail. They still work perfectly fine. We will replace them when we remodel the kitchen (though I might put the fridge in the basement for beer storage). I'm worried that we're just not going to find the sheer simplicity of our old grody stove in a new, high-end model. Not sure if I'll be able to convince hubby to go with a refurbished 50's stove (which will outlast anything built today, even though it is already decades older than the new stuff).

    My favorite appliance is my toaster. It'll be 85 years old this summer. They don't make them like this anymore, not even the expensive ones. Toasters were better before they put microchips in them. A modern toaster is not going to be working 85 years from now - it'll break because it's made out of cheap plastic and/or the chip will get fried/bug out.

    My parents have had luck with their mid-90s appliances - the Viking range has had one issue (oven wasn't heating past 120), but it was solved by minimal investigation and fixing by my dad. The integrated Sub-Zero fridge is still going without issue. The dishwasher has been replaced because the original one was some small European brand and getting parts for it was nigh impossible. I might go with Viking and Sun-Zero because I've actively observed those work for 20+ years.

    At the end of the day, I'm willing to spend lots more on appliances so that I can buy once and not think about it again. The thought of having to buy a new toaster every two years and a new washing machine every five years and a new dishwasher every seven years and so on sounds absolutely miserable. You'd basically always be at some stage in the process of researching/buying appliances. Ack!

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Your parents had a very different Viking than what you can buy new. Investigate thoroughly before buying.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Well, there was your mistake! I will NEVER part with my 1948 O'Keefe and Merritt range! I think I paid about $275 for it in LA in 1982 but it had been steam-cleaned and had new piping.

    Anglo, we still have it : ) . That's the magic of living on a farm and being able to keep the old house lol. In fact, we have a second one in the garage of the old house, and I was tempted to put both of them side by side in the new house kitchen, but at the end of the day it still would have meant two tiny ovens. If we ever do need it, it's a quick and easy move from one house to the other.

    Ours was $25 Canadian in 1994, and we thoroughly cleaned it ourselves and had our brother-in-law who worked for the gas company sort out all the fittings. My husband replaced the oven door springs several times in the past 25 years. Otherwise, it's definitely a workhorse and beautiful to boot!

  • queenvictorian

    Zalco - yeah, I'll be treading carefully. Even though the 2019 Viking range looks pretty much the same as the 1995 one, I'm not going to trust that it's the same under the hood. I hope that it'a still a worthwhile brand because they do look very nice.

  • HU-762122109

    I have been selling applliances for over 35 years now and today we sell Laundry sets and Fridges for not much more than what they cost back in the 80s and 90s as someone abive talked about what the price of a washer would be if they followed inflation...

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    The difference being that the washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators built now, unlike those of the eighties and even the nineties, are manufactured to be replaced rather than repaired. I'll take quality over planned obsolescence any day.

    And having bought my fair share of appliances at Canadian big box stores in the past 25 years. I also miss the local independent appliance stores and Sears, who offered great customer service, including their own repair technicians and negotiating warranty claims on the customer's behalf.

  • adrianaxoxo

    Becky- my sister has an old O'Keefe and Merritt range that came with her house out on the west coast. When she renovated her kitchen a few years ago she had it serviced and cleaned and reinstalled into her new kitchen. I love everything about. It's so sturdy and substantial. I wish I had one!

    We actually bought our refrigerator, electric oven and range from local independent appliance stores, so those still exist where I live. The only appliance purchased from Sears was a hot water heater about 10 years ago installed by one of their subcontractor and it's still going strong.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    I live in rural western Canada, and most of the small towns in this province have lost their independent appliance stores, sigh. There are several in the big city, but that's a five-hour roundtrip and doesn't really work for service calls (more sighs).

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Dadoes, do you mind sharing your source for the numbers on the washing machine? They line up with a pet hypothesis of mine about purchasing power and inflation, and I love collecting supporting evidence.

  • dadoes

    The 1976 source is a machine we bought at that time from an independent dealer in my hometown. The current source is Lowes or Home Depot.

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