There are many ways to get information about appliances before you make a final purchase decision. You can check a manufacturer's Web site, consult Consumer Reports, ask your neighbors and friends, and catch a salesperson's spiel. But in real time in your real house, how will they perform? In most cases, you have to buy the products to find out, but not always. Last fall, I was invited by Whirlpool to test any appliance in their catalogue in my home. The terms: I would use the appliances for six months and offer my candid observations. To ensure unbiased reporting, we agreed that if I wanted to keep anything, I would pay for it. If not, the appliances would be donated to a charity. As the most basic models in every appliance category will generally perform the task adequately, I went for the pricey upgrades. I wanted to know if they really do make meal preparation and laundry easier, as claimed. If so, are they worth the extra cost? Based on my experience with the Whirlpool models t...
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