Skip to main content

The most (and least) reliable appliance brands in every category

Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to buying home appliances—regardless of the amount of research we door reviews we read—we still hope we purchased one that’s reliable. Rightfully so, home appliances tend to go the distance, often lasting over ten years before replacing them. The question is, how many times will you need to call a repairman to fix them? That’s what Puls, a home services company that provides appliance installation and repair, discovered. The company’s first annual National Appliance Report ranks the top appliance brands based on reliability, ease of use, and overall value.

The report is full of tons of useful information that we’ll cover shortly, but here are the brand standouts by appliance category:

Appliance Brand Reliability Winners and Recommendations:

Refrigerators: Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Samsung
Dishwashers: Bosch, Whirlpool, KitchenAid
Stove + Ranges: GE, Whirlpool, KitchenAid
Dryers: Whirlpool, LG, Samsung
Washing Machines: Whirlpool, LG, Samsung

The brands evaluated in the report are Bosch, Frigidaire, Kenmore, KitchenAid, LG, Maytag, Samsung, Sears, and Whirlpool. Puls’ service technicians rated the brands based on reliability. Essentially, these manufacturers appliances don’t breakdown a lot, the cost of repairing them isn’t astronomical, and they have a solid overall value.

Which Brands Should You Avoid?

The report doesn’t list the worst brand for each home appliance. However, there are brands that Puls’ appliance repair technicians don’t recommend as often. Here are the brands that didn’t top the list:

Refrigerators: Bosch and Frigidaire
Dishwashers: Frigidaire and Maytag
Stove + Ranges: Maytag and LG
Dryers: Frigidaire and Bosch
Washing Machines: Frigidaire and Bosch

Better Check Your Fridge in July

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that your refrigerator is most likely to breakdown in July. The biggest issue is that the fridge isn’t cooling properly. Other issues technicians hear about in July include a broken ice maker or that the appliance is leaking. July tends to get pretty hot, and your fridge has to work a lot harder than say an average day in October.

best refrigerators
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“Your refrigerator needs to keep its internal temperature steady, forcing it to work harder on those hot days. That puts stress on the compressor, which is the mechanism in the refrigerator that actually cools everything,” explains James Granado, Appliance Repair Manager at Puls. “If the compressor breaks or stops working, your refrigerator will not cool properly. People also use the ice maker on their refrigerator more often during summer, for cold drinks or to fill coolers.”

Puls didn’t find a similar correlation to between time of year and when an appliance typically breaks for the other products mentioned in the report. Granado cautions, “One thing people don’t really think about is that there are more thunderstorms during summer and these storms can cause electrical surges that will fry the control board on any kind of appliance. If that happens, it will usually require scheduling a repair technician to come out and fix it.”

Which Appliance Will Cost the Most to Repair?

There are a lot of variables that go into repairing an appliance. Type of repair needed, parts, brand, and model are all considerations. The report evaluates general repairs for different appliances. Overall, the company found that a freezer is the most expensive item to repair, costing on average $348. A microwave is on the other end of the spectrum and costs an average of $195 to repair. For that money, you can buy a new model (unless it’s installed in the kitchen).

The report doesn’t mention whether products breakdown during or after the warranty period. There are a variety of warranties you can purchase throughout the lifetime of an appliance. However, in Granado’s ten years of repairing appliances, he says parts tend to break two to three years after the appliance was purchased.

According to the report, repair costs also vary by city. If you think New York tops that list, you’d be wrong. You may be surprised to learn that it is more expensive to repair appliances in both Philadelphia ($260) and Washington D.C. ($245). Dallas is the most affordable with an average repair cost of $207. This information will also vary based on where you live, as well as which appliance you need to repair.

“While we showed averages in the report, the cost of the repair varies greatly depending on the brand and model,” adds Granado. “If you purchase a refrigerator for $3,000, replacing the compressor could cost around $600. Whereas, for a more affordable refrigerator, the repair would be less expensive.”

Read the full National Appliance Repair report on the Puls site.

Editors' Recommendations

Joni Blecher
Joni Blecher has been reviewing consumer tech products since before cell phones had color screens. She loves testing products…
Despite its new features, Astro is still impractical for most people
Astro looking at a dog on a couch.

Amazon's Astro is among the most interesting devices in its entire product lineup. The idea of an intelligent home robot tickles something deep in our psyches, harking back to old episodes of The Jetsons. At its Devices & Services event, Amazon announced a ton of new features for Astro that make it more useful than before, and even expand its functionality to small businesses, too. Yet despite all these features and updates, the Astro remains largely impractical for most people.

If you're going to drop almost $1,500 on a robot, it needs to do more than look at things.

Read more
Smart gadgets need a face-lift. A lot of them are way too ugly.
samsung artistic frame tv art mode

Technology has done amazing things. It allows us to carry computers in our pockets, fly small aircraft from our phones, and even control our home systems from anywhere in the world. While there's no arguing the usefulness that technology has brought into our lives, there is something missing: beauty.

Too many gadgets have prioritized technology and usefulness over seamless integration into our lives for far too long. The dominant material for many household gadgets and devices is black plastic. That was okay as we were learning to make technology more cost-effective and accessible to the masses, but now that we’re there, why are so many products so short on inspired design?

Read more
Big smart home growth predicted: These are the appliances and features we’d like to see
HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC.

Did you buy a smart home gadget in the last year? If you did, you’re part of a growing trend. The embracing of smart home technology is rising fast.
According to just one study, “The global smart home market is expected to grow from $99.89 billion in 2021 to $380.52 billion in 2028.” That’s a lot more smart speakers, wireless home alarms, smart plugs, and Wi-Fi-connected lights than ever before, and the smart kitchen segment of that market is set to grow by about 25% between now and 2023.

So what’s driving this heightened interest in the smart home, and what are we consumers looking for when we consider spending our hard-earned incomes on new smart home devices?
What's driving the smart home? Security
We all want to feel safe in our homes and security is a core need in society. Whether we’ve got an eye to protecting a 75-inch OLED TV and full surround sound system, or we want to ensure our Google Nest Audio doesn’t walk away while we’re at work, everyone has stuff they want to protect. Increasingly, that’s translating to smart, do-it-yourself home security systems and remote wireless cameras.

Read more