COOKING AND CLEANING MACHINES
For many Americans, it's hard to imagine everyday life without the convenience of a washer, dryer, refrigerator, range, or dishwasher. But they sure cost a pretty penny. So when it's time to buy a new one, you want to be sure you're getting your money's worth. This list of top-rated appliances, culled from careful research by Cheapism.com, offers a variety of options that will ease the workload and the financial burden.
Editor's Note: Listed prices were accurate at the time of writing, but appliance sales are frequent and prices tend to fluctuate from one week to the next, sometimes by more than $100.
Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator Under $1,000
Price: $809 | Buy it from Home Depot
Though a bit pricier than some basic top-freezer models, the LG LTCS20220 offers a hard-to-beat combination of roominess, efficiency, extra features, and quietly reliable performance. Don't let the narrow 30-inch size fool you; the capacity is a spacious 20.2 cubic feet. This refrigerator garners top scores from experts for temperature consistency and raves from consumers for a full-width pantry drawer. Welcome features include an ice maker, spill-proof glass shelving, LED lighting in both compartments, and an Energy Star rating.
Best Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator Under $1,000
Price: $899 | Buy it from Home Depot
This bottom-freezer fridge puts fresh food at eye level and provides space for pizza boxes and other large items. Owners of the Whirlpool WRB119WFB are big fans of the three crispers and easy-to-adjust glass shelving. Capacity of 18.7 cubic feet may be a bit tight for large households, but the 30-inch width fits neatly in smaller kitchens. (Note that the freezer compartment is a hinged door, rather than a sliding drawer.)
Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Under $1,000
Price: $899 | Buy it from Home Depot
At 33 inches across, the Whirlpool WRS322FDA fits in smaller kitchens than most side-by-sides but still offers a relatively roomy 21.2 cubic feet of space. It also comes in a wide range of color options: black, white, stainless steel, silver, and biscuit. Buyers appreciate the convenient in-door water and ice dispenser and bright LED lighting in both the refrigerator and freezer.
Best French Door Refrigerator Under $1,000
Price: $999 | Buy it from Sears
If a French door refrigerator or a counter-depth design with a built-in look is a must-have, the Samsung RF18HFENB delivers for a lot less than the competition. It's sleek, for sure, but relatively small for this style fridge: It measures 33 inches across and offers 18 cubic feet of capacity. It scores with experts for temperature consistency and quiet operation.
Best Washer With Agitator Under $600
Price: $399 | Buy it from Lowe's
Consumers who want a roomy, high-efficiency top-loading washer but are reticent to give up the cleaning power of an agitator will like the Maytag MVWC565FW. It scores well with users, who salute the 4.2-cubic-foot size and strong overall performance. The MVWC565FW offers 11 wash cycles (with one proprietary "power wash" for stains), auto-sensing for water level, five temperature options, three soil levels, deep-water and -rinse options, and a 10-year limited parts warranty on the motor and stainless steel drum.
WHIRLPOOL CABRIO WTW5000DW
Best Washer Without Agitator Under $600
Price: $400 | Buy it from Best Buy
The Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5000DW wins over users with thorough washing and ease of use. A high-efficiency model without an agitator, it's gentle on washables and easy to stuff with bulky items. Features include 12 wash cycles, auto-sensing for the water level, and five water temperatures. The 4.3-cubic-foot drum is much roomier than those found in most entry-level top loaders.
Best Energy Star Washer Under $600
Price: $449 | Buy it from Home Depot
The GE GTW485ASJWS offers the simplicity and stain-fighting power of an old-school top-loader with an agitator but sets a new standard for water and energy savings in the budget realm. Bearing the coveted Energy Star rating, it provides 4.2 cubic feet of capacity; 13 wash cycles, including special settings for activewear, jeans, and bulky items; six wash temperatures; and deep-fill and -rinse options.
High-Capacity Energy Star Washer With Lots of Extras
Price: $719 | Buy it from Home Depot
Consumers who need a large-capacity washing machine and have extra bucks to spare will be well-served by the LG WT5270CW, which offers 4.9 cubic feet of space in an agitator-free stainless steel drum. It's an uber-efficient and feature-rich washer that aces expert tests and bears an Energy Star rating. Wash times may seem long, but there are plenty of ways to customize the action: Users can choose among eight wash cycles and 13 options (including extra rinse, soak, and delay wash), five temperature settings, and three soil levels. The machine automatically senses the amount of water needed and can transmit diagnostic information via phone or app for company support.
Good Electric Dryer Under $500
Price: $360 | Buy it from Best Buy
With 7.2 cubic feet of capacity, the GE GTD33EASKWW is one of the largest basic dryers on the market -- well suited for households that need a bigger machine without the expense of unnecessary extra features. It isn't overly loud and comes with a wrinkle-shield option. Reviewers like the simple-to-use dial controls.
Best Electric Dryer Under $500
Price: $380 | Buy it from Best Buy
A top-notch dryer with a few added features, the Samsung DV40J3000EW is hard to beat. For a price that won't strain the budget, buyers get a range of bells and whistles rarely seen in less-expensive machines. There are eight drying cycles, an LED display, and a moisture sensor that helps save energy and washables by turning off the dryer when everything is dry. The drum is a spacious 7.2 cubic feet.
Best Gas Dryer Under $600
Price: $499 | Buy it from Lowe's
One of the most popular inexpensive gas dryers on the market, the Maytag MGDC215EW is a workhorse without a lot of expensive, unnecessary frills. It does have a few practical extras: a wrinkle-prevention option, interior light, and end-of-cycle signal. Clothes dry quickly in the 7-cubic-foot drum. And a 10-year limited parts warranty on the drive motor and drum inspire confidence.
Larger, Energy-Efficient Dryer Worth a Splurge
Price: $699 | Buy it from Home Depot
Whether you want a mega-capacity dryer, a more modern-looking model, or an Energy Star appliance that can save money long-term, the Electrolux EFME417SIW is a smart way to spend some extra dollars. With 8 cubic feet of drum space, it can take on the biggest loads. Good temperature regulation means that clothes dry without delicates getting scorched. This electric model scores very high marks from experts for quiet operation, performance, and convenience. Desirable extras include a window, interior light, child lock, and electronic controls.
Small, Stackable Electric Dryer
Price: $578 | Buy it from AJ Madison
Owners say the 3.6-cubic-foot GE DSKP333ECWW gets their clothes drier than comparable compact models. They laud the quiet operation and convenience of being able to use a standard household outlet or stack it with a compatible washer. At just 2 feet across, it's easy to wedge into a tight closet or other small space.
Good Gas Range Under $600
Price: $450 | Buy it from Best Buy
The Whirlpool WFG515SOE is a basic gas stove with an updated look due, in part, to the counter-depth design and continuous grates (as opposed to individual grates for each burner). The two front power burners are a boon to some users, although others would rather have one burner in front that's less powerful. The oven is self-cleaning and features a keep-warm mode. Overall, this range does not disappoint.
Best Gas Range Under $600
Price: $448 | Buy it from Home Depot
The Samsung NX58K3310S feels solid and well-built, reviewers say, with a sleek design and heavy, continuous cast iron grates. The stovetop wins accolades for its oval-shaped fifth burner, which accommodates extra-large pots, and easy-to-clean porcelain surface. The large oven preheats quickly and cooks evenly.
Good Electric Range Under $600
Price: $539 | Buy it from AJ Madison
The basic, smooth-top electric Frigidaire FFEF3013L earns points for user-friendliness, appearance, and a very attractive price. Users say the four cooktop elements heat evenly (one expands for larger pots), oven temperatures are true, and the cooktop cleans easily. High and low broil settings and a large storage drawer round out the package.
Best Electric Range Under $600
Price: $499 | Buy it from Lowe's
The ceramic glass cooktop on the GE JB645 looks good and is easy to clean. Two dual-size front burners (6 inches and 9 inches) with power boil offer lots of flexibility. A well-calibrated oven with two bake elements ensures successful results.
Gas Range With Convection Oven
Price: $593 | Buy it from AJ Madison
Convection baking and a versatile cooktop are the hallmarks of the gas-powered GE JGB700. Although the integrated griddle in the middle may not hold much appeal at first, many reviewers report using it more than expected. (An optional center grate is available.) The feature package, including five burners and steam cleaning in the oven; well-calibrated oven temperatures; good heat control on the burners; and modest price make for a winning combination.
Electric Range with Convection Oven
Price: $696 | Buy it from AJ Madison
The LG LRE3193 wows with all digital controls -- no knobs here. It earns raves for overall performance, although reports of limited longevity for the electronic controls on its predecessor leave a bit of tarnish on this LG line. The huge convection oven (6.3-cubic-foot capacity) with seven rack positions, blue interior, and water-based self-cleaning cycle, along with five heating elements (two dual-size burners and a low-watt center warming burner), offer lots of flexibility.
High-End Features at a Mid-Range Price
Price: $1,529 | Buy it from Home Depot
The gas-fueled Samsung NX58F5700WS garners kudos for build quality, desirable features, even baking, and speedy cooking. Fans say it looks and performs like a premium range but sells at a mid-tier price point. It boasts a large 5.8-cubic-foot convection oven with multiple self-clean cycles and specialized settings (e.g., proofing mode and dehydrate), five burners (one dual power), and a warming drawer. It comes with a wok grate and griddle.
Good Dishwasher Under $500
Price: $398 | Buy it from Home Depot
The GE GDT545PGJ cleans well, reviewers say. Practical features include three wash arms plus silverware jets, customizable racks, a cutlery basket that sits in the rack or the door, steam pre-wash, hard-food disposer, and sanitizing and half-load options. The large load capacity (up to 16 full place settings) and the quiet 51 dBA are worth a few extra points.
Best Dishwasher Under $500
Price: $444 | Buy it from AJ Madison
The Maytag MDB4949 boasts many features found in mid-range dishwashers despite its budget price tag. It comes with three wash arms, a high-temperature/high-pressure wash cycle, heated/high-temperature dry, a sanitizing option, a tiered upper rack, and a stainless steel tub. It holds up to 13 full place settings. The silverware basket runs the length of the lower rack and there's a 10-year limited warranty on parts. No need for pre-rinsing with this machine, users crow, and dishes come out spanking clean.
Best Top-Control Dishwasher Under $500
Price: $410 | Buy it from Best Buy
The flexible design of the Whirlpool WDT720PAD is its main selling point. Users wax on about the adjustable upper rack with folding tines and the option of placing the silverware basket in the door or bottom rack; a special spray is directed at the basket. There are three wash arms, heated dry and sanitizing options, and space for up to 15 full place settings. Controls are integrated at the top and the noise level measures a quiet 51 dBA. For the price, this is a feature-rich model.
BOSCH ASCENTA SHX5AV5
Super-Quiet Dishwasher Worth a Little Extra
Price: $540 | Buy it from Best Buy
This particular model may sit at the lower end of the Bosch lineup, but the Ascenta SHX5AV5 is as quiet and energy-efficient as they come. The noise level rings in at just 46 dBA. Experts commend the washing ability, as do consumers, who note that even caked-on food is scrubbed away, courtesy of three wash arms. The racks and tines adjust and hold up to 14 place settings. Additional features include sanitizing and half-load options, a sprinkler for extra-tall items, overflow protection, and an Energy Star rating.