My own home appliances make a good lab for review because most of them are so old and have stood the test of time. All our home appliances have been bought used, or given to us used, with the exception of the washing machine. We are kind of partial to the old home appliances and also we have never cared whether we had the latest, flashiest version, choosing to spend our money in other ways.
My favorite home appliance is the gas stove. It is an O’Keefe and Merrit that we bought 20 years ago for $25. It dates from the late thirties and its surfaces are still almost pristine. It has the best oven I have ever used; it is totally accurate and has very even heat. The burners can be adjusted to a minute degree. Burner covers and heat knobs come off for easy cleaning. We have never had to repair it.
My second favorite home appliance is the refrigerator. It also was purchased 20 years ago for $25. It goes back to the thirties and its curved, art deco lines are a joy to behold. It’s a Hotpoint, a strange name for a refrigerator. Although it has never needed repair, I do have some complaints about it. It is smaller and stores far less food than contemporary refrigerators and its freezer is tiny and needs frequent defrosting.
We had a Sunbeam toaster, given to us by our daughter. It dated to the late thirties and was one of those lovely old curved ones with scrolling on the sides. Alas, the toaster did fail after about ten years of service to us. The heating coils stopped heating. We got a Black and Decker for $3 from a thrift store but its 1990 squared off and plastic look is not pleasing. It does do a good job of toasting though.
We also have a Sunbeam mixer from the 40s. It is missing its stand and bowl and though it works great, it makes a rather heavy portable mixer. It was found at a thrift store for about $2.
Our blender, a Hamilton Beach, was also purchased at a thrift store for about $3. It is about 15 years old and not one bit attractive but it gets very heavy use and keeps on blending.
We have a big old Kenmore microwave that was made around 1980. It was given to my husband when his office decided to upgrade their microwave. We have had it for about 15 years with no problems.
A friend who got a bigger air conditioner gave our air conditioner to us. It is a Goldstar and dates to about 1994. It is 3000 BTU and can cool a small room very well. It doesn’t get a lot of use because of expense but it has been completely reliable.
Another friend who is a handyman gave our clothes dryer to us. He had to dispose of the dryer from a house in which he was working. The dryer is a Kenmore and is about 20 years old. It gets very heavy use because it is drying clothes for three families and it has been trouble free.
We actually bought our washing machine new after a washing machine given to us actually bit the dust. This machine is a Roper. No, I’ve never heard of the brand either. It cost $200 and is bare bones. It can take full loads but you can’t select water volume and you have to choose between warm and cold (no hot). The warm setting is keyed to the timer. You have to set the machine at 10 minutes to get warm water. A real pain is the fact that it often doesn’t spin out the clothes and you often have to use the spin cycle two or three times. This machine also gets very heavy use from three families. We have had it for about 4 years and have had no problems other than the spin stuff.
If you want to follow in our footsteps you need to have a relationship with some good thrift stores. You also need some friends or relatives who feel sorry for you and give you their stuff. Attitude is key. It must not matter to you that your house is full of old, used home appliances.