"Affordable" kitchen ranges?

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"Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:48 pm

A friend of ours needs a new stove. But they can't afford much: around $500 is their price range. From what they've learned thus far, Frigidaire and Kenmore are about what they can afford unless they can get a good deal on a better brand in a scratch n' dent situation. In the meantime, they asked my opinion on those two brands.

Kenmore, best I know, is now made by Whirlpool and I have virtually no experience with any of their modern appliances. Frigidaire, on the other hand, is the brand I've said I would never buy again. We had the crappiest dishwasher in our last house, and have the top of the line Frigidaire W/D set now--which I hate. I use a Frigidaire stove occasionally when cooking in our neighborhood clubhouse, and though it actually gets very little use there, it's a real POS--one small burner turns itself on while cooking, and the two big burners do not heat evenly or equally well.

Just based on those things I'd reccomend the Whirlpool/Kenmore, but for all I know those aren't any better. Any know more than I do, or would you reccomend something else to my friends?
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Mark Willstatter » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:31 pm

Jenise, you have to be careful with Kenmore because Sears sources from many manufacturers, not just Whirlpool. It's supposed to be possible to decode which manufacturer from the Kenmore part number using info like this. I think Consumers Reports is not a bad resource for this market segment, particularly when it comes to reliability. It's been a long time since I've looked at CR but what I think I remember is that you can't draw conclusions based on one type of appliance. For example, Whirlpool makes (or made) very reliable fridges, washers and dryers, but terrible ranges. KitchenAid, a Whirlpool brand, is infamous for terrible wall ovens. I know about that one personally :( I've had decent luck with an inexpensive Amana gas range but Amana/Maytag is now owned by Whirlpool, so who knows. I think I remember that CR favored GE in ranges, so if it were me, that's where I'd start. Lowest end GE might be in the price range you mentioned.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:03 pm

Speak with your appliance service guy. He should be able to tell you which ranges have less calls for service. I read that your friends are going for a full range rather than a cook-top with separate ovens. They should check the scratch and dent place because you can find some incredible bargains there on lots of appliances, even sinks. Many will not have a thing wrong with them. Check out GE top of the line at the S & D. They had good Consumer Reports several months back.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:17 pm

Mark Willstatter wrote:. I think I remember that CR favored GE in ranges, so if it were me, that's where I'd start. Lowest end GE might be in the price range you mentioned.


True about 6-7 years ago. We didn't have ton to spend, I looked for the top 3 dependable per CR (this is gas, I think they have separate ratings for gas and electric). one I chose was a GE. Very happy with it- not fancy, but has been very dependable. Not the lowest end model, because important feature was the one 15K burner.

The problem with asking a service guy is he knows what he gets calls for, but not what he doesn't get calls for. Say in a month he gets service calls for 25 GE, 25 Kenmore, 20 Whirlpool, 10 KitchenAid, 10 LG, 8 Viking, 1 Wolf , 1 Aga. But he doesn't know if his potential client base consists of 30% GE, 20% Kenmore, 25% Whirlpool, 10% KAid, 10% LG, 3% Viking, 1% Wolf, 1% Aga, or any other combination.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:36 pm

We echo the recommendations for GE.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:44 pm

to clarify, I was using the CR dependability ratings. While I admire Consumers Union overall (HQ is quite nearby me, I have know a lot of folks who work there), I don't always agree with their recommendations- so much is subjective. But their member surveys of reliability are very useful. If you don't subscribe, most libraries do. GE (for ranges) was comparatively dependable a few years ago, not sure if still true.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:09 am

I "inherited" a Maytag range and it works fine. (FWIW, also a Maytag fridge and a Fridigaire dishwasher... all fine.)
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:04 am

Karen, I agree with scratch-and-dent shopping and recommended my friends go an 'outlet' store for same in our town, where I myself have purchased stuff and can vouch for service and value-pricing. They had not been there yet. I also suggested talking to an independent appliance repair guy. Dale's right that they probably can't tell you what to buy, but they probably have strong opinions about what they wouldn't buy themselves, and that's helpful!

Mark, interesting that Sears sources from all over--I didn't know that. Will pass that on.

Dale, yes CR came up when I talked to my friend yesterday. He was toying with "joining" just to gain online access--neither of us thought of the libary. I'll remind him that our local institutions are there to help. :oops:

Cool re the GE. Good name. And that could be a good ticket and extra-convincing to the New York-based parents who are helping my friend with this purchase!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:19 am

We bought a high-end GE range a few years ago and have been awfully disappointed. It seems like a pretty appliance designed to be put into showplace McMansions for people who never cook. :lol: Seriously, if you get GE - and in our opinion, the company lost a lot of quality under the (in?)famous Jack Welch - don't bother with the top-of-the-line stuff.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:58 am

Sometimes, one can find excellent used appliances - want ads, Craig's list, etc. I recently installed a mid-90s vintage Jenn-Air that was given to me - gas cooktop, electric oven with convection. It required some work, such as running a gas line, removing the old hood fan and installing new duct work, but I love it. A great improvement over the old, 60s vintage Kenmore electric I had been using.
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Re: "Affordable" kitchen ranges?

Postby Mark Willstatter » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:39 pm

Jenise wrote:yes CR came up when I talked to my friend yesterday. He was toying with "joining" just to gain online access--neither of us thought of the libary. I'll remind him that our local institutions are there to help.


Libraries vary, I'm sure, but nearby ones seemed to have gotten lax now that online access is so prevalent. Even if they keep old CR's around, you need some luck to find a particular issue. You can buy online access to CR for something like $6 or $7 per month or $25 per year. If you go the monthly route, though and want to buy just one month, you need to start a subscription and remember to cancel before the month's up. One advantage to online: they update the results and models and so forth on a continuous basis. Doesn't matter much if reliability is the main thing you're looking at, though; that doesn't change nearly rapidly as model numbers.
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