Consumer Reports: What's new with big-ticket appliances

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Do your kitchen appliances need an overhaul? If it's been awhile since you've shopped around, a lot has changed and that's where Consumer Reports comes in. (WLS)

Do your kitchen appliances need an overhaul? If it's been awhile since you've shopped around, a lot has changed and that's where Consumer Reports comes in. It tests hundreds of appliances every year, to help you save thousands of dollars on your next purchase.

Jane Batista and her family are renovating their kitchen and all new appliances are in order. Jane says shopping has been a little overwhelming.

"There are so many options and so many choices. I want the big, huge refrigerator that's side-by-side. My husband wants the one with the drawer that pulls out from the bottom," Batista said.

Consumer Reports Home Editor Sara Morrow said once they agree on a style, there are only a handful of features really worth the money.

"Our testers like a freezer compartment that actually converts to fridge space for storing extra food around the holidays or when you're entertaining. Even better if you buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables for your family. Look for airtight crisper drawers," Morrow said.

Crisper drawers are designed to keep your fruits and veggies fresher and that means a good crisper drawer can save money in the long run.

The crisper drawers in the French-door style LG performed well. Plus, Consumer Reports' lab tests found it keeps a consistent temperature throughout the fridge and offers excellent efficiency and thermostat control.

When it comes to cooking, you have plenty of options from gas, electric and induction.

"Plenty of people assume gas is the way to go, but our tests have shown that we've got top performers among gas, electric and induction. In general, one way you can save money is by skipping the separate wall oven and cooktop and going for a range instead," Morrow said.

Chefs and bakers alike may want to consider the Consumer Reports recommended Frigidaire Electric Smoothtop, which offers excellent simmering and broiling, plus a large oven testers said is impressive at baking.

Looking for a dishwasher that delivers?

"So many of today's dishwashers have a soil sensor, which means you can just scrape off your dishes, skip the pre-rinsing, load everything and let the dishwasher do its job," Morrow said.

The Bosch Ascenta, a Consumer Reports Best Buy, comes with a soil sensor and has adjustable upper racks and tines, so you can tailor it to the dishes you need to wash. Most importantly, it offers excellent cleaning performance, which is a big plus for Batista.

"I do not like dishes. I will run the dishwasher a few times a day," Batista said.

Consumer Reports' most important tip is to size it right. No matter which appliance you're shopping for, you want to be sure to measure the space where it's going, and the doors it will have to go through to get to that space.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit
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