Household Appliances

by SWVA Mom

I’m getting ready to move into my new home, and fortunately it comes with all appliances except washer & dryer. The laundry room is a little tight – just a space between the garage and kitchen – so I don’t want the extra-large, super-capacity set from my current house. (And H wants to take them anyway.) Anyone have a recommendation?

I’m also very sad to be leaving my dishwasher behind. We were never happy with the one we originally selected for this house because it was too loud. So when the dishwasher in our rental property died a few years ago, we got a new one for home and had the installer take the old one to the rental. It’s a Miele, and I can actually have a phone conversation in the kitchen while it is running. The dishwasher in my new place is actually the same brand I had before but the model is one step down! I guess I’ll just have to remember to run it when I leave in the mornings or when I go to bed.

Totebaggers, what are your favorite home appliances? And let us learn from your mistakes – what about choices you have regretted?

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148 thoughts on “Household Appliances

  1. This is very timely, because our dryer died this weekend and DH suggested I Ask The Totebag for advice on a new one.
    For dishwashers, we have a Bosch. Very quiet and does an amazing job of cleaning.

  2. My MIL’s Consumer Report-recommended LG washer/dryer did an acceptable job of getting our filthy camping clothes dirty this summer. I wasn’t brave enough to put our queen waterproof mattress cover in there, due to fears of ruining her washer with an unbalanced load, but regular readers know of my washing machine saga. (It may be ending, now that the twins don’t wet their beds anymore. I care much less about how fast my washer runs…)

    I’m interested in vacuum cleaner recommendations that work on hard floors and pet hair.

    I love the Hoover Steamvac as a wet cleaner and think everyone with a potty training child/puppy should have one, though other Hoover models may be better. We had a playdate with a family whose grandparent has accidents due to Alzheimer’s, and the mom seemed comforted that an accident would be no problem, we could just pull out the carpet cleaner and handle it like the hundred-plus previous ones.

  3. Our Bosch dishwasher is very quiet…we like it a lot.

    One thing we got when we redid our appliances 10-15 yrs ago was a warming drawer; it’s right below the main oven. Perfect for relatively rare occasions like Thanksgiving dinner when not everything can be in the main over till the very end and for uneven dinner schedules given extracurricular schedules such that sometimes everyone is eating on their own schedule. The ‘moist’ setting does a pretty good job of keeping things from drying out.

    We have the Whirlpool Duet washer & dryer. They have performed well thru many years of teenage boys’ sports gear. Only issue is the handle on the washer breaks about every 18 months.

    Mistake we made: a side-by-side fridge/freezer. The freezer part just really isn’t big enough for us, especially the width. Looking, sort of, at a new one with French doors on top and freezer drawers on the bottom. But only sorta…not wanting to spend the $2k+ on that.

  4. I have a Dyson Pet vacuum cleaner that I bought in 2004. Still runs great (we put $ 109.00 in hoses and other small parts in January). My only problem with the Dyson is the weight and noise (my dog wants to rip it apart and has left teeth marks in the heavy plastic). I recently bought a Shark Rotator? to use in between using the Dyson and it works very well – pleasantly surprised. The dog doesn’t go crazy when it is on. I also use a roomba in the bedrooms – put it on and let it go. More of a pain to use in the living area of house.

    I also love my SpeedQueen washer and dryer – not fancy but holds a lot and does a good job of cleaning clothes.

  5. Just realized you were asking about dishwashers – I have a GE Profile and have to check it is on because it is so quiet.

  6. WCE – I’m annoyed at Hoover. Without any research, I bought the Hoover Pet Pro from Target a year or so ago. The rubber coating on the power cord has frayed in a few spots, so I wrapped them in electrical tape. More annoyingly, the spring-loaded mechanism that retracts the cord when a lever is depressed slowly retracts the cord any time it is extended, even when the lever is not depressed. So I overcome that by pinning the cord inside the little clip when I’m vacuuming. It still works well, but those parts were designed poorly.

    I’m also annoyed at Dyson, because the battery on their portable Dyson Stick has lost significant capacity, so the kids only get about a minute or so to vacuum the crumbs under the table.

  7. I have the Maytag Bravos XL top loader for a washer. I needed a top loader because there isn’t enough space for a front loader. It has a very large capacity, but I really do not recommend this machine. I’ve had it about 4 years, and the entire drum and machine shake and/or move. I’ve had repair people, and they say it’s normal, but it stinks. I can’t imagine having this any where except for a basement. If it is washing a lot of sheets, the machine will sometimes have to be reset. My dryer is GE, and that is great.

    I really like some of the appliances I put in my kitchen when I renovated. Favorite is still my garbage disposal because I never had a disposal for all of the years that I lived in NYC apartments. My dishwasher is Bosch. I like the dishwasher a lot. very quiet and gets the job done. I have a double Thermador oven. It’s ok, but it takes a long time to heat up – even with the quick heat setting.

  8. What happens when a Roomba encounters Legos?

    Do you currently vacuum around the legos or do you pick them up before you vacuum?

  9. I am getting a Speed Queen as soon as my washer/dryer breaks. Everyone who has them loves them. I hate the Bosch dishwasher we have. It is quiet, but very cheaply made, doesn’t have a food grinder and takes forever. Plus it doesn’t dry well. And it was expensive.

  10. We have the Consumer Reports recommended LG front loading washer and dryer set. Dryer control panel died about 3 years after we bought it. We had to wait 3 weeks for a replacement because this was such a common issue. It seems that shoddy workmanship is a quality of all new washers and dryers, according to our repairman. That said, I like the fact that the front loader seems to be gentler on our clothes.

    When we replaced our dishwasher, we looked at all the fancy brands and ended up with a ~$300 Frigidaire. We like it–it washes and dries (with heat!) and is fairly quiet.

  11. Vacuum – I got a Dyson (not the dustbuster one that Milo was complaining about) when we got the cats. About six months ago the cleaner sat me down and said, Mrs. Mémé, this is no good. Please get this one – I recommend it to all my ladies. Works like a charm, and cheap. Always listen to the professionals. We have medium pile carpet, area rugs and floors. Dyson still works better on the bare floors, so I use it for mid week and crumb duty.

    http://www.sears.com/kenmore-canister-vacuum-cleaner/p-02029319000P?prdNo=4&blockNo=4&blockType=G4

  12. We recently had the motherboard in our non-fancy fridge die after 5 years. The repair guy said that this type of repair is the second most common (after the ice maker). He was not very optimistic about appliances having long lifespans because of the computer parts and said the more expensive they are the shorter the life. That being said, when our dishwasher dies I plan on buying the quietest one I can afford.

  13. Rhett, I make the kids pick up the Legos before I vacuum.
    We have a 9 year old Kenmore Elite dishwasher, recommended by Consumer Reports, that is still working well with daily use. I suspect our water (soft) is part of its excellent longevity.

    I’m not a fan of my Speedqueen dryer. It runs too hot and doesn’t have a sensor. I like my Speedqueen washer fairly well but it maybe should be illegally optimized to fill to its formerly designed capacity. I keep the Speedqueen dryer on delicate for now, awaiting some reduction in heater performance.

    I think the washers/dryers from continental Europe (smaller footprint/capacity, good longevity) may be what SWVA wants. UK has similar issues to the US with energy laws dramatically reducing appliance lifetimes and repairability.

  14. I have a Bosch dishwasher. Quiet, older model so very sturdy. However, it does not work optimally (some drying issues as Cat mentioned) because there is absolutely no way I am keeping my hot water heater at 120, which is what almost all dishwashers require. 140 is as low as I can go.

  15. We have the Bosch dishwasher and it is quiet but the drying issues are true. LG front loader washer/dryer and I’m less than impressed on the stain removal ability of the washer. I feel like I’m constantly tossing stained clothing. We bought an LG french door fridge a few years ago. I like it but DH hates it and thinks the ice maker takes up way too much room in the fridge. That and it often takes a few pushes to get it to switch between water and ice mode for some reason (first world problems, I know).

  16. My local appliance store doesn’t carry LG or Samsung because there’s not anyone around here who will work on them. At Home Depot, I was looking at the Samsung top-loader with the built-in sink for pre-treating since I won’t have a laundry room sink, but I’m afraid that would probably be the first thing to break. So I’ve narrowed it down to Maytag or Whirlpool. If I want to get a front-loader, I might have to stack the W&D because my depth is limited by a door. Apparently, the appliance manufacturers keep making things bigger but the architects & builders have not kept up.

    True & funny story: the local dealer remembered me and asked if I was going to be able to take my Miele dishwasher with me in the move.

  17. WCE – I am perplexed about your Speed Queen dryer being too hot – I have never had a problem with that and use normal and permanent press settings. Perhaps it is the sensor in your machine. Have you had a repair person check the unit out?

  18. Rhett, I make the kids pick up the Legos before I vacuum.

    Then it should be fine – a few random ones will end up in the hopper but you can just grab them when you empty the bin. It couldn’t deal with a playroom floor covered in legos but a few random ones are OK.

  19. I haven’t had a repair person check it out yet. I figured it was because it’s a new dryer and I was used to an older, slightly worn one. Desired temperature setting is probably a matter of personal preference. I suspect it’s “in-spec”.

  20. “LG front loader washer/dryer and I’m less than impressed on the stain removal ability of the washer.”

    That’s what I have. I guess I do a certain amount of compensating. Some Oxy powder in just about all loads. The load of underwear/pajamas/socks I’ll typically do on Sanitary, and if anything is stained in there, add Steam (this is a 2-hr cycle!).

    If a garment that is normally slated to go in Permanent Press is badly stained, it gets pre-treated with Oxy Spray, and it may even earn an upgrade to join the underwear in the Sanitary cycle. Likewise, a stained Delicate may be upgraded to Permanent Press.

    If something was stained before going in to the washer, inspect it and re-wash, if necessary–don’t dry it and set the stain.

    This is why I don’t think I could relinquish laundry to our housecleaner any time soon.

  21. What is the normal cycle time for a dishwasher? My cheapo one is 90 minutes, which feels too long for me, and then someone up thread mentioned their dishwasher is slow. I guess I’ll need to keep clean and dry time in mind the next time I’m in the market for a new one.

  22. What is the normal cycle time for a dishwasher?

    I think ours is something like 127 minutes when in pot scrub mode.

  23. We have a Miele dishwasher. It didn’t work correctly for the LONGEST time (like a couple years) and we had several repair visits until the guy figured out that some sensor on it was busted. It has been working well with the new sensor.

    I am hoping that the old top loading washer and similar vintage dryer (I can’t remember the brands) will last for a while longer. They are circa 1999 or so, I think.

    Fred – if looking at a French door fridge, check out your friends’ first if any of them have one. My ILs have one and it never closes all the way the first time – you have to push it closed again after it looks closed.

  24. Speed Queen washers — I keep envisioning that you have to pump quarters into your own washer.

    Last time the repair guy was out to fix our front-loader (A Kenmore Elite, purchased in 2004), he told me to hang onto it as long as possible because all newer-model washers are terrible.

  25. No, you do NOT have to put quarters into your own Speedqueen washer, though the performance is about like a laundromat. When I was shopping, I read long lists of things (sleeping bags, water proof mattress pads, rugs, etc.) that you had to wash at a laundromat instead of in X washer. For people with piles of muddy fleece pants, a Speedqueen washer is ideal. I think Meme uses her similar washer on antique dish towels.

    Why should Muhammed go to the mountain if the mountain can come to Muhammed?

  26. “I think ours is something like 127 minutes when in pot scrub mode”

    Ugh, I have no patience. What I need is restaurant grade dishwasher – 5 minutes and about 500 degrees. :)

  27. On the regular mode, our dishwasher takes 125 minutes and the dishes aren’t even dry after those 2+ hours.

  28. Dishwashers – in need of a new one… not sure the brand or any features yet.
    Washer/Dryer – we have the Whirlpool Cabrio set and like it a lot. It handles pretty much everything we throw at it.
    Fridge – we have a small space (~30 in) so we had limited options. I forget the brand, but it has a bottom drawer freezer that’s awesome. I switched the door so that it opened away from the wall the fridge is next too – allowed for full access. The installers looked at me like I was crazy, but after ~5 years of not being able to access a drawer because the fridge door couldn’t open fully, I didn’t care. The whole unit has a larger capacity than the same size fridge it replaced.

  29. I wait for it to be done! I wash the baby’s bottles in it and they need to air dry overnight since they don’t dry in the 2 hour cycle. Plus, I like to have it empty for morning or my lovely family won’t put their dishes in it.

  30. Cat, +1
    I don’t have bottle anymore, but somehow our family of 4 goes through a lot of dishes. If I forget to turn it on at night or the next morning, then the next evening we’re looking at having to run two loads. I should note that one of my pet peeves is dirty dishes left on counters and in sinks.

  31. I have to wash dishes in the dishwasher every day and then put them in the dish drainer to dry – the dishwasher never dries the kids’ stuff (Ikea plastic) or tupperware. Cycle is usually around 2 hrs.

  32. We had a French door fridge at the NC beach house, and we had the same issues with the doors not closing all the way — it would “feel” like it closed, but if you looked back, it was open about an inch. Had to learn to really push it shut. I think that would get annoying after a while. Mine is a side-by-side — picked the version with the largest freezer capacity, because I freeze a lot of stuff and knew it would get buried and lost in a bottom bin version. Then bought a mini-fridge for the drinks and such. Still wish I had a separate freezer but know I’m not going to trudge down to the Jason-worthy basement to use one, so oh well.

    Washer/dryer suit my needs — Whirlpool Cabrio, generally sturdy (knock on wood), and getting rid of the agitator post means that I can jam a LOT in there.

    My favorite appliance is my BlueStar range, although that reminds me that it’s time to dismantle/clean/rebuild, as a couple of the burners aren’t working (the nice thing is it’s so low-tech I can do all that myself; the bad thing is it’s so low-tech I feel like I should do all that myself). Biggest mistake was the vent hood — for the first time, I went with the “pretty” version instead of just pure power, because it’s basically the only thing on that wall and so really visible (GE Monogram with a sort of pyramid shape). Had more draw than any of the other non-commercial-grade ones, but still highly insufficient. The smoke alarm is a pretty common presence in our evenings (earlier this week I set it off with steam from boiling water). Which reminds me, time to clean the filters. . . .

    Oh: and garbage disposals in both sinks, with air actuator buttons so there are no switches to confuse with the lights.

    @SWVA: we got a stackable front-loading set for our condo, and it’s great — I was really impressed that you could now get full-size, fully-functioning washers and dryers that are designed to stack and fit in a small space.

  33. LfB – I got the super fancy hood (I think it is a Prestige?) to go with my Bluestar. It is great, but man, is it loud!

  34. My washer is a basic non electronic Kenmore with a matching dryer – 12 years old and I hope it lasts another 20. My previous one was a 12 year old Maytag I got used from a family friend with baby three and kept for another 20, so I might make it given the light use this one gets. Liquid Tide, Oxyclean, 140 degree water, and lingerie bags/Woolite for the gentle cycle take care of almost everything except woven wool and fine silk.

  35. I tried to post earlier, but I don’t think it went through. My apologies if I double post.

    We have an old house with a small kitchen. My biggest regret was buying the cheaper dishwasher (the little 18 inch dishwasher) for $400 vs. just paying another $1,200 for the Miele. I hated that old dishwasher every day for years about 6 weeks after we bought it. Had to scrub all my dishes before putting them in, then dry them when they got out and check to see if things ever got cleaned. I washed all bottles and breast pump stuff by hand for years because there is no way they’d get clean in the dishwasher.

    We bought a Miele 18 inch dishwasher last summer, and I have a moment of joy every time I open it. It cleans and dries and I can put dishes in that still have food/sauce/etc. on them. I use Miele’s dish tabs and rinse aid. Everything comes out clean and dry. Sometimes bowls don’t due to having to position them just so. We run our dishwasher usually 1-2 times a day. It is so quiet compared to our old dishwasher. I love it as much as any purchase I’ve ever made. Probably because our last dishwasher was so terrible. And I hate washing dishes by hand.

    We have a Miele vacuum cleaner that is fantastic too. It can be used on wood floors, rugs, and tile.

    We got an LG french-door fridge. It has an alarm that goes off if the doors have been open for too long. I’ve never really had an issue with the doors, but I guess I do have to push them closed vs. letting the door swing shut on its own.

  36. We bought a Fridgedair dishwasher about three years ago. The first one was a lemon. It needed to be repaired at least once a month for the first year, then the shop replaced it. The motherboard has gone out on the replacement model. I wouldn’t buy another one. We have an LG washer/dryer combo. It is about two years old and has seen the repair guy many times. The last time a repair guy was out, I asked what brand to buy, because I am really tired of hanging out with repair guys. He told me that pretty much every brand needed a lot of repairs, and that his suggestion was to just buy the cheapest model because it wasn’t going to last.

    My favorite appliance is my Traeger BBQ. I got it five or six years ago, I use it 4-5 times per week. I have had a few minor repairs. It smokes/grills meat wonderfully well. It is possible to start it at noon with a frozen chunk of meat, and when everyone wants dinner, the meat is ready. It is basically a crockpot BBQ.

  37. We got an LG french-door fridge. It has an alarm that goes off if the doors have been open for too long.

    After few weeks after we got our new one I heard this – beep…….beep……beep. What the hell is that!? I went searching all over the house. Eventually I stopped and just moved closer to the sound every time it beeped. It was the fridge saying the door was ajar.

  38. He told me that pretty much every brand needed a lot of repairs,

    He wouldn’t really know about the ones who don’t need repairs – would he?

  39. “He wouldn’t really know about the ones who don’t need repairs – would he?”

    Yes, but…I did ask him which brands the store (and they have a wide variety) sold that he didn’t go on many calls for.

  40. We recently donated an old refridge to Con Ed because they take it away, and they pay you $50 to recycle it. The Con Ed guy told me the same thing that I’v heard from two appliance stores – the old appliances used to last for 15 – 25 years. The new appliances are lucky to last 8 years. It’s like the appliance manufacturers decided to be Apple, and create products that have to be replaced much sooner.

    I have the same problem with my Bosch dishwasher, but I just open the door when the cycle is done. I let everything air dry in the top rack. I don’t generally have the problem with the bottom rack. We are a small family so we only run the dishwasher every 2 or 3 days. I haven’t even been using it once a week due to sleep away camp and renovations.

    I had a heart to heart with my contractor today and I’ve accepted that the renovations will definitely not be completed before the end of camp. Two bathrooms are done, but the master hasn’t even been demolished so I’m still hoping that they will be out of my house by mid Sept.

  41. I did ask him which brands the store (and they have a wide variety) sold that he didn’t go on many calls for.

    Was he aware of how many of each model they sold vs. # of repair visits?

  42. We have a Bosch dishwasher and it’s great. We don’t have any of the drying problems people have mentioned. The only thing I don’t like is it’s a bit small because of the extra insulation but it’s a tradeoff we’re happy to make because it is so quiet.

  43. If the federal government tries to stop consumers from buying commercial washers, I may have to designate my home as a laundromat… maybe I could get a small business loan for my laundry room.

  44. We still have our very loud dishwasher. I get to feel extra frugal every time I start it, which is usually just before bed.

  45. I have a couple of appliances that have been on their “last legs” for about 5 years. Both are at least 14 years old, and I keep telling myself I should replace them before they break down completely.

    1. My dryer makes a rather loud banging noise while the drum is spinning, but it’s been doing that for about five years and it still works fine.
    2. My dishwasher seems to work all right, but it’s too loud for my husband’s taste and the rack has rusty spots that I’ve repaired with brush-on stuff.

    I think I posted this before, but the outlet that my washer/dryer are plugged into trips/turns off mysteriously about every 6 weeks or so. The first time it happened was out of the blue, and the electrician replaced the outlet. Now when it happens I just reset the GFIC and it works again, but it’s annoying.

  46. We have a Miele DW, vacuum cleaner and washer/dryer. No problem with any of those. Had to call a repair person for the DW once because it wasn’t draining properly and he found several air-soft pellets deep in the DW. The vacuum cleaner is over 20 years old and Miele gave us a new hose for free when the original one started to fray.

    We have a Bosch side by side fridge. When we renovated out kitchen 15 years ago, we unknowingly created an uncommon sized space for the fridge – it’s wide and shallow. Only two models would fit in the space when we went to replace the original, and we chose a Bosch. The Bosch has been quirky and we had to call the repair person twice while it was still under warranty. With that experience, we bought the extended warranty (which we rarely do) and it’s payed for itself several times already.

    The space in the side-by-side freezer and fridge are sufficient. Although I’ll cook and freeze meals, I’m not a big fan of buying lots of perishable food far in advance of when I’m going to use it, so the freezer space is adequate, even for my family of 5. Same for fridge space. We did away with the second fridge years ago. Too many times food in the second fridge spoiled before we had a chance to use it. I find that minimal space make us a lot more efficient in planning meals and consuming what we buy.

  47. I did have to start using a rinse aid in my Miele dishwasher to get things completely dry.

    Does anyone have washer or dryer with the steam feature? Does it really make a difference?

  48. FWIW my fridge repair guy said that he sees more Samsungs with computer problems than any other brand. Mine is in LG. I don’t know the percentage of Samsungs sold vs. other brands.

  49. My favorite small appliance is the Nespresso and an Aerochino. Together they make a great latte and they have both held up with regular use for 4+ years.

  50. We have a second fridge in the basement, which is very handy for us. We keep drinks/ extra veggies/eggs/etc. And the freezer part stays mainly full. It’s relatively small, apartment-sized. It definitely comes in handy when we entertain a crowd. Our regular kitchen fridge is a standard size, so maybe that’s why we appreciate the extra one downstairs.

  51. We use a rinse aid to prevent spotting on the glasses. Our glass/ceramic stuff gets dried, as well as a third of the plastic stuff. I air dry the wet plastic stuff. People tell me that’s as good as I can expect.

    My favorite small appliance is our Cuisinart toaster oven, which gets a lot of use.

  52. We have a second freezer in the garage, which has become a dumping ground for all sorts of food. It’s easy to forget and not use the stuff we have in there.

  53. I forgot about our Breville toaster oven. It gets a lot of use, and we really like it. It was worth every penny to upgrade from a cheaper model because we don’t have to use our wall oven as often because the Breville does so much more than toast.

  54. We have a second freezer in the basement – we bought half of a cow this year and so we grabbed an on sale floor model at Home Depot. DH is such a detail oriented person that he’s made a sheet of what we have in there and I’m supposed to cross the item off of the list when I take it out of the freezer to cook.

  55. Our toaster oven gets a lot of use, especially since we keep sandwich bread in the freezer. Our microwave also get a lot of use, mainly to heat things up. I have a peculiar habit of heating up a glass of tap water to room temperature before I drink it. This helps me drink more water since I can just quickly chug the whole glass down and be done with it.

  56. “DH is such a detail oriented person that he’s made a sheet of what we have in there and I’m supposed to cross the item off of the list when I take it out of the freezer to cook.”

    lol! That’s my system, too. I’m sure you’re as religious as my husband is about adding and crossing items off. :)

  57. Well all this food/fridge/freezer talk has got me crying. About 1/3 of the state of RI (yours truly included) is without power today because of a fast moving powerful storm which blew threw at 6:30a this morning. We are going to lose a decent amount of food because the repairs are slated to be finished tonight, which is about 14-20 hours after the power failed. The appliances are left closed, but ugh! Hopefully we won’t lose the freezer food… I just made the baby about 1 week’s worth of mush and stuck it in there.

  58. Rhode – ugh. sorry. I think your freezer food might be stable if the power comes on by tonight. A similar storm went to the eastern end of long island in the early morning, and there were many outages.

  59. Lauren – it was probably the same storm… What a mess. DH and I have a dance lesson tonight, so my mom and DS are coming along just to escape the heat.

  60. I am not too attached to most of our appliances. I am not even sure what brand of washer/dryer we have. They are white and average looking. We also have a plain old white fridge with a top freezer. I always wanted a French door style, but can’t justify the cost and I am not sure the doors would work in the space available. The dishwasher is a middle of the road Kenmore and it does what it needs to do.
    However, the one totally yuppie appliance that I own, and LOVE, is my Wolf range. I have the all gas model with size burners. It was the one splurge when we did the renovation. The main reason I got it was that the old range was this 1940’s era behemoth that I adored. It was also a big 6 burner stove and had more BTUs than modern “normal” gas ranges. But it was falling apart. I knew I could not go back to a regular 4 burner range. My original plan was to keep it, but the only place I could find that could refurbish a range from that era was in Albany, and it was going to be really expensive to truck it up, get it redone, and then trucked back. So I decided to get one of those gourmet 6 burner ranges. I am so glad that I did. It is all gas, including the oven, with convection. I had bought it for the 6 burners, never thinking about the oven part – but wow, that oven rocks. Everything comes out all golden and beautiful, just like in the magazines. The broiler is amazing so I use it all the time. And of course, with my family and liking to cook, I really appreciate having 6 burners.

  61. One small appliance that I never imagined I would love: an electric corkscrew. Yep. I don’t even own an electric can opener, thinking them silly. But a SIL gave me the electric corkscrew about 5 years ago, and it really works. It is actually more convenient than the manual kind.

  62. Yes, I’m so awesome at remembering to cross everything off.:) Rhett those apps look complicated.

    My mom on Cape Cod was just complaining about that storm, she said they had to go into the basement.

  63. Like:
    GE Profile french door refrigerator (has water dispenser inside, no issues with doors closing)
    GE Profile induction range (we don’t have a gas line, so gas was out, and I haven’t burned myself once since we got this one)
    GE Profile dryer
    Miele canister vacuum
    Roomba/scooba

    Meh:
    Amana front load washer and dryer set (lots of electronic issues)
    Cuisinart toaster oven (often turned on accidentally because it is located where kids like to put their homework and the on button is an inch above the countertop)

    Our appliance dealer told me the same thing about new appliances lasting only 5-8 years. He also urged me to buy Speed Queen, but I wanted a matched pair of front loaders. Never let aesthetics get in the way of laundry performance, at least when you do 20 loads a week….

    If I send CoC a post about pets, would anyone be interested?

  64. We have the Samsung 4 door fridge and I love, love, love it. Fridge on top with French doors, then a refrigerator drawer, then freezer on the bottom. That refrigerator drawer has been life changing. That’s where I put all the boys’ snacks – apples, string cheese, yogurt, carrots and hummus, deli meat, plus drinks etc. They know they can just go in there and get whatever they want, and it keeps them from rummaging all over the rest of the fridge. One of those little things in life that makes such a daily difference.

  65. Lauren – does your Breville toaster oven have clock problems? I do like how it works, but ours just can’t keep time…this is the 3rd one we have gotten…the first we returned and got a replacement; the second I had to go thru the US distributor but got it replaced also. Functionally (toasting, baking, broiling, etc) fine, but the clock still doesn’t work. Again, 1st world problem as we have at least 3 other perfectly functional clocks in the kitchen.

  66. I have Long Island on my brain because we are going there tonight for a special Billy Joel concert. He got a waiver from his regular gig at Madison Square Garden to perform the final concert in Nassau Coliseum. I have no sentimental attachment to the coliseum, but I’m really excited for the concert because there are supposed to be surprise guests too.

  67. I second the Samsung 4 door fridge-for all the same reasons as Lark; my Bosch dishwasher is quiet, decent looking but does not have a dry cycle-I just put it on later at night, and leave the door open over night -most of it is dry by morning. I too am in the market for new washer and dryer: current one is LG front loader, however it is about 9 years old, and has been repaired a few times. Not sure another repair is worth it (won’t spin and drain properly for larger loads), so a new one will most likely be the way to go.

  68. Rhett – The no-periscope thing is kind of difficult for me to imagine. It would be like me telling you that your next car (which you still have to drive) will have a joystick and video screen in place of the steering wheel and windshield.

    But I’m sure I would prefer it after about 15 minutes.

  69. “After few weeks after we got our new one I heard this – beep…….beep……beep. What the hell is that!?”

    OMG that was us in NC — playing cards a couple of nights in a row, kept hearing these very faint beeps. Thought it was the microwave — it was one of those that keeps beeping until you open the door — but not. I finally tracked it down on about day 3: it was the freaking washing machine, which beeped at the end of the cycle, AND THEN KEPT BEEPING EVERY FEW MINUTES UNTIL YOU OPEN THE DOOR. Crazy-making — especially because I like keeping the door closed so you can see the “clean” light to show everyone not to stick their dirty dishes in it.

    Our other big fail is the toaster oven, which I realized is the same cheap Black & Decker version we have at work. It has a dial with a timer on it that you rotate to the right to set the time. Except if you want it to stay on permanently, you move it all the way LEFT, below zero. So if, say, you decide something is done before the timer goes off, and you just turn the dial left, and you are firm about it to make sure you are turning it off, well, you just turned it to “always on.” DD tried to burn the house down a few weeks ago this way (didn’t discover it until the next AM); at the office, we had so many problems we now just unplug the darn thing. This strikes me as a pretty basic design defect (kind of like when Acura put the car’s electronic control unit directly underneath where a rainstorm would short it out if you forgot and left your window cracked).

  70. Fred – I don’t think it has a clock problem, but we just use the timer. We have one of the smaller models, and I only use the timer function for a couple of foods. The rest of the time is just
    re heating, or toasting – and I just hit stop when I think it is ready.

    My Thermador oven takes so long to heat up that I really needed a reliable oven for the toaster for small stuff.

  71. I never can tell if the dial on a toaster, which usually only indicates varying shades of brown, is actually a timer or some kind of rheostat to vary the heat output.

  72. “My Thermador oven takes so long to heat up ”

    Our GE Profile is pretty fast at preheating, but not quite as fast as it thinks it is. I have an oven thermometer inside, hanging from one of the racks, and the oven is beeping that it’s fully preheated when the thermometer might be 50 degrees colder.

  73. I’d be interested to learn why they chose to pay off their small student loan vs. contributing to Johnny’s 401k, which I presume comes with a generous match.

  74. Lauren – ditto on the Thermador oven. Works great; keeps accurate temp. but takes a while to heat up.

  75. Rhett – It said further along in the article that they were previously contributing enough to get the match, even if that meant extending debt repayment.

    We should do something like that–we could probably save more.

  76. “why they chose to pay off their small student loan vs. contributing to Johnny’s 401k”
    1) not for sure there’s a company match
    2) debt is a very emotional topic…some people, like me over the past year or so, just want to be done with it (i.e. mortgage). Debt-free, or at least less debt, is freeing.
    3) I didn’t read the article, but maybe the student loan wasn’t at a particularly advantageous interest rate.

  77. I thought it said they had no loans due to: scholarships, work and parental support

  78. I thought those people were different from the Frugalwoods? IIRC the Frugalwoods don’t have any kids yet.

  79. I love my Saeco home espresso cappuccino machine. It gets used 6 times a day. This is an upgrade over the original apt sized intro machine I bought a few years ago. Very easy to keep in top shape and I learned a few maintenance tricks from the first one. We too have a 30 in fridge space in the galley kitchen and I hope to keep my Amana fridge with the smooth doors (no exterior handles – saves my hips from bruises) going as long as possible. Not sure what I will be able to get when it dies. And the tabletop microwave/convection oven.

  80. Milo,

    Where did it say that?

    They also started saving for retirement by contributing enough to their 401(k)s to get the employer match.

    I took that to mean that they hadn’t previously been doing that.

  81. Wine,

    After graduating from Brigham Young University, the couple owed about $20,000, most of which was student loan debt. They wanted to pay it off in two years if they could.

  82. We have an LG french-door fridge with bottom freezer drawer and like that. The icemaker goes to a tub in the upper part of the freezer drawer, not to the fridge door, so it doesn’t take up as much room. It does beep when not closed fully. We have a standing freezer (Frigidiaire) in the garage, which is much better than the chest freezer we used to have because you can see where everything is and can designate shelves for different purposes (bottom drawer – meats, chix, fish, shelf – more meats etc., shelf – frozen pupus and some bread overflow, middle drawer – precooked sausages and maybe more meats, shelf – bread and frozen pasta and baggies of pasta sauce and pizza sauce and curry starter, top shelf – nuts, berries, veg, filo and pie pastry, fruit purees, shelves in the door – ready made stuff like hot pockets and hot dog manapua and frozen pizzas, ice cream, juice concentrate, chutney). So, we don’t need a system to keep track of what’s in there because we can see what’s in there. We also have a mini fridge in the tv room for beer and wine, a few soft drinks, extra milk, and peppers for the guinea pigs and rabbits.

    Our dishwasher needs replacing. It only runs on low energy mode so everything has to air dry. I’m taking mental notes today.

    Our oven/stove is a standard electric, functional, not exciting.

  83. We haven’t had a pet topic for a while.

    CoC, did you get the post I sent last week?

  84. We have a Kenmore French door fridge made by LG. It also does the beeping thing, which is good because it’s very easy to not close the door well.

    We really like the fridge for the first year and half or so. It’s very quiet and spacious, and the energy efficiency numbers were good, but then it started breaking, and breaking, and breaking. We’ve had about 4 service calls, and then a spring broke that keeps the flap in place between the two French doors, making the beeping thing happen even more.

    I think I’d stay away from any LG appliances, at least over the next several years.

  85. We have a Bosch dishwasher. We like it a lot, mainly because it’s so quiet, but I also like the adjustability. E.g., the top rack can be moved up to accommodate taller items in the botton, and some of the racks can be pushed down if they’re in the way.

    It does have the drying issue for plastic stuff. We get around that by opening the dishwasher in the morning (it’s usually run late at night) and leaving it open all day. It took a while, but DS and I have finally got DD and DW to look for dishes from the dishwasher first, rather than grab clean dishes from the cabinets if the same dishes are clean in the dishwasher.

    As you might guess, DS has primary responsibility for putting away clean dishes, and I’m the backup. Part of getting DD on board was having her empty the dishwasher a few times.

  86. CoC, you can get buy with your dryer and dishwasher on their last legs because they aren’t absolutely essential appliances. If necessary, clothes can be hung and dishes can be washed by hand.

    OTOH, a fridge is absolutely essential. Our Kenmore/LG was out of commission for several weeks because it took the repair guys three iterations to get it fixed (diagnose, order/wait for parts, install parts, try fridge, doesn’t work…. lather, rinse, repeat). DW finally couldn’t stand not having a working fridge (other than about a 2 cubic foot dorm-style), so we now have a spare fridge.

  87. We have the Kenmore version of the Whirlpool Duet washer. I still think of it as new by washer standards (as a kid, I don’t remember my parents every buying a new washer), but it’s over 10 years old now, and still working fine.

    What we like about it:

    -Very gentle on the clothes. A lot of DW’s ‘dry clean only’ clothes gets regularly washed in the delicate cycle using Woolite, which has saved us a lot of money and the hassle of dropping off/picking up.

    -The spin cycle really wrings the clothes well, so they dry pretty quickly.

    -We’re able to wash stuff like pillows, sleeping bags, bathroom and kitchen rugs, and the floor mats from DW’s car.

    Our dryer came with the house, and we rarely use it. I have laundry lines strung across our garage (the heat from the engines helps dry the clothes) and also have some hooks in the back of the house to quickly and easily put up and take down lines in the sun so we can get that nice sun-dried smell (I think sun-drying also kills dust mites, but that’s just a theory on my part).

    SWVA, even with a small laundry room, you might be able to fit full-size appliances. I believe there are full-size options that can be stacked.

  88. “Just get takeout.”

    We’d have to wake up earlier to get breakfast, and we have a hard enough time getting out the door on time as it is.

    On most days, DS doesn’t have time to go to the cafeteria or snack bar to pick up lunch. He takes his lunch to school with him, and eats in class.

  89. “I’m also annoyed at Dyson, because the battery on their portable Dyson Stick has lost significant capacity, so the kids only get about a minute or so to vacuum the crumbs under the table.”

    Do you keep in plugged in all the time it’s not in use? If so, you’re probably frying the batteries. They’ll last longer if you don’t charge them all the way to 100%, and trying to charge them when they’re already fully charged will degrade them, although a well-designed smart charger can minimize the degradation.

    If you always want to have it available fully charged, I suggest you connect the charger to the outlet via a timer, with a duty cycle set much less than 100%, perhaps on the order of 10 to 20 %. Experiment with a very low duty cycle (e.g., 1 hour per day), and only increase if you find it insufficient to charge the batteries as fully as you need. You don’t need to charge the battery to 100% if you only use 50% of the charge at a time.

  90. DS doesn’t have time to go to the cafeteria or snack bar to pick up lunch.

    Peanut butter, fluff, bagels, English muffins, Nutella, bread none require refrigeration,

  91. The DC31 is provided with a smart charger. One knows when the battery is fully charged as the green l.e.d. goes out. Hence, one can leave the charger permanently plugged into a wall socket and only disconnect the cable from cleaner when one wants to use it.

  92. “They Dyson comes with a smart charger that won’t overcharge the battery.”

    Based on Milo’s complaint, my guess is that his charger isn’t smart enough.

    In any case, whether the charger is smart or not, I still recommend the use of a timer.

  93. Does the Roomba vacuum and mop as well. What I am asking is whether I need one machine or two to do everything. I haven’t bought one as yet but I think I will like it when I get one.

  94. “For what it cost, it definitely should not fry its own battery.”

    I don’t disagree with that, but the only other explanation I can come up with for what you described is that, for that price, they gave you crappy batteries.

    Can anyone come up with an alternative hypothesis?

  95. I was OK with using a Laundromat when the dryer was out of commission for 3-4 weeks while we ordered a new control panel. However, having a working fridge is non-negotiable to me. I’d just go to Home Depot and buy a cheap one that could be used in the garage.

  96. I don’t even own an electric can opener, thinking them silly.

    We had an electric can opener when I was growing up and I never used a manual can opener until I was in college. With cans all having pop tops these days, I don’t see a need for an electric one. I can’t remember the last time I had to use a can opener.

  97. Finn–If you prioritize using the dishes straight from the dishwasher, won’t that create uneven wear over time? When I unload, I try to rotate the plates (newly cleaned to bottom of stack) and glasses (newly cleaned to back of cabinet) to help with this. Of course, I only unload ~30% of the time (so this method isn’t a total PITA to me) and our 2 adult/1 baby HH dish/glassware usage never exhausts supply, so perhaps this need disappears as HH size/average age increases (and/or bigger issues with which to concern oneself :-) )?

    Also, I was trained that high quality cooking items (pots, pans, knives, etc.) all should be handwashed. This is quite different from my in-laws, who chuck everything in the machine. Fortunately, DH and I are aligned to my training. (It would be more convenient if we were aligned to his, but at least we agree.)

  98. HM — I received your post.

    Uh, I don’t think my basic white plates and glassware wear out, so no need to rotate. OTOH, I do use Mid A’s rotation technique for towels and other things.

    I’ve been happy with my Bravos XL top loading washer. No shaking problems, but it does sound like a jet plane taking off during some parts of the cycle.

  99. Almost everything goes in the dishwasher, including all pots and pans that fit. And all my wool sweaters and most other “dry clean recommended” clothing goes in the washer, usually in the hand wash cycle. I can’t remember the last time anything was ruined.

  100. Cast iron or any nonstick cookware gets hand-washed, along with my good knife. However, stainless steel cladding on pots and pans has been successfully alloyed to withstand far harsher conditions than Cascade, so they can go in the dishwasher.

  101. When I saw the name Calamityware, I assumed it was designed to resist my toddler who throws all food when he is done with it.

    So I’m a little disappointed, but it’s still fun :)

  102. the one I posted yesterday I haven’t read, not sure how I managed to screw up the link LOL

  103. As I was doing laundry last night, I realized I hadn’t mentioned the one feature of my current GE dryer that I really LOVE. It has a “detangle” cycle, which basically reverses the direction of rotation every 5 min or so. It’s intended for sheets & towels that get tangled up and then don’t dry, but I use it for loads with things like long-sleeve knit shirts, pants, and leggings that also tend to get tangled together.

    @Finn – Yes, my local dealer said they would bring along a stacking kit and if they didn’t have enough space to install the dryer vent connection without blocking the door, then they would just stack it. Home Depot was not so accommodating. I’m actually starting to like the idea of stacking the W&D just to get a little more mudroom-like storage space that’s not on high shelves above the laundry that DD & I can’t reach.

  104. Our fridge died last summer and was out of commission for a week. It was in late July. We have camping coolers so we used those, but it was still pretty horrible.

  105. Yeah we throw everything but the nice knives and cast iron stuff in the dishwasher (and we’ve had our all clad pots and pans for at least ten years).

  106. “Mrs. Frugalwoods hasn’t bought clothes for 17 months, even though she’s five months pregnant.”

    Barf. I would go crazy! Also, you can only get away with not buying maternity clothes if you are a tiny person (like she is) AND don’t have to wear suits to work.

  107. There is no way that Mr Frugalwoods’ employer doesn’t know who he is. However, in software employment, 2017 is an eternity away, and apparently he is valuable enough that he could continue to consult for them. She might have been under the radar before all of this publicity, but even if she is easily identified she may have been planning to go freelance once the baby was born – childcare expenses are not part of the savings program.

  108. Power is back. Now we need to pray that the freezer food stayed frozen. I set my thermostat at the lowest setting but it’s been 26 hours.

    According to my power company, this storm causes more power outages than Sandy. Damn microbursts.

    Submitting an ‘Ask the Totebag’ re: generators…

  109. All of these couples who save 70% of their income all seem to do it with no kids (which I guess we should have been less spendy back in the day). DH and I were calculating our after tax savings rate this past weekend now that we’re down to only one daycare tuition, (but still have after school and camp expenses) and we just can’t make it to 50% unless we only bought groceries and gas. And um, I like wine, clothes, make up and nice food.

  110. I hear you, Atlanta. And vacations! Vacations are the largest source of our discretionary spending. Saving money is fine, but you have to live life, too.

  111. All of these couples who save 70% of their income

    They also seem to be big hobby people and they have a weird definition of work

  112. They’re all engineers too (wasn’t MMM a software engineer too?). These millennials and their need to be fulfilled all of the time!

  113. I think it’s the weird definition of work that I find most interesting. Many of us would prefer to work and pay someone to cook and clean for us, do our home and car repairs, yard work etc. Indeed, many find these sorts of “honey do” items more of a pain than an office job. So, it’s interesting to see people who have such different preferences and definitions of things

  114. “many find these sorts of “honey do” items more of a pain than an office job”

    +1

  115. It’s like people who buy ancient VW bugs or those…were they Toyota Land Rovers from 50 years ago? The kind you can drive across all of Africa because they’re incredibly simple mechanically and you can fix them with a Swiss Army knife? And then brag that they do all their own car repairs. Swell! but you’re driving around town in an incredibly uncomfortable car.

  116. +3 I would much rather work in accounting and outsource as much as I can! focus on my strengths

    I hate housework and cooking (well cooking is fun when it is now and then, not a get- home- from- work and get dinner on the table before DS has a meltdown)

  117. I actually enjoyed the story of the other couple more. They ended up in NYC, not probably where they would have chosen to live, with some college debt, no car, and they figured out how to make it work and still progress toward the life they will eventually have – house, car, kids, long term security, congenial community (as Brigham Young grads they are likely LDS). I didn’t get the impression they were eschewing creature comforts for their own sake – just being adventurous in accepting the job and going outside their comfort zone and then dealing with the situation. There is a huge amount of free stuff in New York, too. My various cousins who live in non equity modest income co-ops have national (not bicoastal) middle class incomes, some savings, kids and/or dogs, and take full advantage of the City.

  118. “and we just can’t make it to 50%”

    It’s a lot easier once the mortgage is paid off.

    I agree that for a lot of things, I’d rather just work my own job and hire out some things at home. But I don’t have the resentment or even annoyance at the Frugalwoods or at MMM that I sometimes sense.

  119. “many find these sorts of “honey do” items more of a pain than an office job.”

    +nth.

    I would stay home with my kids in a New York minute if it didn’t also mean that I’d get saddled with all of the cooking, cleaning, yardwork, appointment-making-and-keeping, mandatory school craft projects, and all of the other stuff I both detest and royally suck at (and let’s not even consider the vacations and eating out that would go by the wayside). I enjoy paid work more and frankly am much better at it, so it just seems both efficient and happiness-maximizing all around for us to do the work-and-outsource approach.

    I am honestly surprised, though, that DH isn’t more interested in this sort of thing, because he is definitely the putterer/”project” guy. I could totally see him in the woodshop, or putting in his own electronics workshop in the basement, or whatever. But then again, he does advanced tech now — so I guess his whole job is like the world’s best multi-multi-million-dollar workshop that he gets paid to play in. Except, you know, for all the other people in it. :-)

  120. “The Roomba vacuums. For mopping you need a Scooba.”

    Or a Mint.

    Roomba owners, have you had problems with hair? A friend likes Roombas, and has two of them (one each upstairs and downstairs). But he told me that he’s had to replace/repair both of them because they keep accumulating hair, and eventually the hair keeps the brushes from spinning.

  121. midA– I haven’t noticed wear on dishes/glasses/utensils. When we lose a dish, it’s due to a catastrophic failure. We also have few enough dishes in our normal rotation that they all get used.

    OTOH, as CoC mentioned, towels and other laundry items do get worn out. I like to keep a short rotation for those. E.g., I’d rather have a few towels that get worn out, and a bunch that are pretty much new, than a larger set of towels wearing out at the same rate. We have too much stuff in our house, so I’d rather speed up the wearing out process in a smaller group. This also leaves us we a few very nice towels we can set out for guests.

  122. “I would much rather work in accounting and outsource as much as I can! focus on my strengths”

    +n+1 Especially fund raising for kids’ stuff.

  123. both of them because they keep accumulating hair, and eventually the hair keeps the brushes from spinning.

    It comes with a tool to clean out the hair. It even literally tells you – “Please inspect and clean Roomba’s brushes.”

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