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The Cadillac of coffee makers: Home appliances meet the auto industry

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Ah, the Cadillac! The American gold standard of automobiles! The jewel in General Motors’ crown! The rubric by which all things can be measured! You might say you’re serving “the Cadillac of steaks,” or pushing your baby in “the Cadillac of strollers.” Your compost heap is full of (don’t click if you’re squeamish) “the Cadillac of worms,” and your elderly relatives use “the Cadillac of walkers.” But we can’t all be All Cadillac All the Time–some days, you might just want the Mazda of pizzas, the Toyota of beers, the Peugeot of underwear. When it comes to choosing home appliances, whether for a new home, remodel, or upgrade, you can go with a Caddy or a Yugo, or something in between. What’s the Fiat of fridges? The Datsun of dryers? Take a look at how these common appliances and compare to well-known car models.

Dishwashers

Good Housekeeping rates the Miele Lumen Ecoflex dishwasher (MSRP $2,299) the “Best Overall Dishwasher,” and their touts its bells and whistles: it knocks out crusty build-up, is easy to use, and has “padded stemware grips” (??). On top of being high-performance, it’s a smart appliance you can program through the Miele app, and it’s eco-friendly, with a number of settings that boost its energy efficiency. We’re calling it the Tesla of dishwashers: it’s fancy, smart, sleek, and pricier than almost anything else on the market. 

 

If you don’t want to blow your appliance budget on a dishwasher, you can still get something reliable at a very good price. The Frigidaire Built-In Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher (MSRP $629) costs about 1/7th of the Lumen Ecoflex and gets 4/5 stars on HomeDepot.com across more than 1,100 reviews. It’s the Ford Fiesta of the category–not a lot of nonsense, plenty of reliability. 


And just in case you’re in it for style and not substance, you may want to look into the 1950s Chevy Bel Air of dishwashers, the SMEG 50s Retro Style (MSRP $1,599). Good Housekeeping notes that it’s got useful features, (“it’s not all show”), but buying something this pricey for the look of it might only be for the Jay Lenos of dishwasher collecting. We see you out there, dishwasher collectors.

Washing machines

The first decision you should make about a washing machine is whether you want a front loader or a (rarer and rarer these days) top loader. Since a door on top seems to be going the way of the dinosaur, we have to compare top loading washers to the original top loading vehicle: the Delorean. Good Housekeeping says the best top loader is Maytag’s High Efficiency Top Load Washing Machine (MSRP $1,099), which comes in mid- to low-priced for the category, so you get the flair of a Delorean without the price tag.

As front loaders go, you could go for the Range Rover of washing machines, the Samsung FlexWash (MSRP $1,999), which has “super-cleaning” cycle options like steaming and sanitize that help you handle extra-large, off-road messes.

Of course, you could always get a combination washer-dryer. But Transformers don’t actually exist, so there’s no car we can compare to a combo unit here in the early 21st century. We’ll have to see what the future holds.

Dryers

Small but mighty, the Miele T1 Heat-Pump dryer (MSRP $1,899) is the Mini Cooper of clothes dryers. As Good Housekeeping notes, its “compact exterior saves space but handles large loads.” Not unlike the surprisingly roomy interior of a Mini!

But if you’ve got nothing but space, you may want to look at the Chevy Suburban of dryers, Maytag’s 8.8 cu. ft. Electric Vented Dryer (MSRP $999). It’s got great reviews for ease of use, and its oversized door and drum can load up a family’s worth of dirty laundry, not unlike a Suburban on the way home from a visit to Grandma’s house. 

Refrigerators

Good Housekeeping has declared that the best all-around refrigerator is the GE Profile Series French-Door Refrigerator (MSRP $3,099), thanks to fancy features and Energy Star rating. It might be the Cadillac of fridges, but we’re going to call it the Fiat, because despite french doors, it makes coffee. Picture yourself at a hip Italian coffee bar while you sip the brew your fridge made! You don’t even have to tip the fridge-barista.

Over on HomeDepot.com, the best-rated fridge is the Whirlpool 22 cu. ft. Bottom Freezer Refrigerator (MSRP $1,599). At a lower price point than the GE Profile Series, the Whirlpool is low on bells and whistles but high on happy customers: with over 7,300 reviews on the site, it has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. People love it, but it isn’t fancy: it’s the Toyota Camry of fridges.

If your food needs pampering, you may want to turn to the Rolls-Royce of refrigeration, the Sub-Zero (MSRPs begin around $7,000). A Sub-Zero can cost more than some cars, but like the Rolls, they can be customized to many designs and, unlike the Rolls, many sizes.

Other appliances

Some other things around the house that might remind you of your favorite cars:

What else is out there? Do you use the Isuzu of irons? The Mitsubishi of stand mixers? The Bentley of… boilers? Visit us on Facebook or Instagram and tell us what’s in your house!

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