Consumers put kitchen appliances to the test

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When it comes to selecting appliances, what would make the process easier? How about the opportunity to try a few in your house before making any purchase decisions. I got to do exactly that last fall when the Whirlpool Corp. invited me to test any item in its catalogue in my own house. 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 you might expect, when cost was not an issue, I chose top-of-the-line everything. I wanted to know if all those added features designed to make routine chores easier and faster worked as claimed. And if they did, would they be worth paying for? I found the answer to both questions to be yes, at least for my household with three teenagers, two working parents, and a constant struggle to stay on top of things. As my Whirlpool experiment unfolded, a number of truths eme...