Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expensive Look, Feel for Kitchen Is Affordable

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expensive Look, Feel for Kitchen Is Affordable

Article excerpt

Consumers don't need a bottomless budget to get a kitchen that looks and feels expensive, according to Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports recently rated almost 350 ranges, cooktops, wall ovens and microwaves; almost 200 dishwashers; almost 350 refrigerators; 14 countertop materials; and more than 40 flooring products to make sure every dollar in the average homeowner's $15,000 to $30,000 kitchen renovation budget goes further. Consumer Reports also polled more than 18,000 of its savvy subscribers to see which brands held up over time -- and which didn't.

CR recommends not being lured in by sleekness alone -- and recognizing the spending traps. Those to watch out for include not visiting showrooms or talking with pros before buying, skimping on labor, paying more for little-used features and choosing fragile -- and pricey -- stone countertops.

CR offers tips and advice from industry experts on how to navigate the kitchen renovation process:

Cooking appliances

CR's latest tests served up a smorgasbord of choices that outperform models from Viking, Wolf and other big names for hundreds or even thousands of dollars less. GE's JB650DTWW, a CR Best Buy at $850, blends superb heating and simmering with a large oven and a cooktop warming zone that keeps the veggies warm while the main course cooks. CR finds KitchenAid electric and gas ranges have been repair-prone, as have Jenn-Air's electric ranges, wall ovens and cooktops.

Refrigerators

High-end features, such as temperature-controlled drawers, adjustable shelves, split shelves and internal water dispensers are increasingly available on even the most affordable refrigerators. Two tested French-door refrigerators that earned CR's Best Buy rating, the Kenmore 71603, $1,600, and the Whirlpool Gold GX5FHDXVY, $1,800, come loaded with features, including pullout shelves and bins, a temperature-controlled meat/deli compartment and touch-pad controls. Among refrigerators, cabinet-depth models offer the streamlined look of built-ins for thousands less. …

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