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...
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