ZINIO logo

Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning and Buying Guide

July 2020

Consumer Reports Kitchen & Planning Buying Guide will help you get the kitchen you’ve always wanted at a price you can afford. Filled with our exclusive buying advice and ratings, best & worst products, real-world and test-based approach, you’ll be shopping smarter and getting the best kitchen—for less

United States
Consumer Reports, Inc.

in this issue

1 min
style and performance

Planning a kitchen update is exciting … and sometimes frustrating. You have so many dreams for the look of your new space—a big center island! stone counters! cement tile!—and also the reality of function to contend with. Fitting everything you want into the workspace you need isn’t always simple. Good news: CR is here to help. Our team of home pros—editors, engineers, and market analysts—has taken a hard look at the style, performance, features, reliability, and value of hundreds of appliances and products, to help you make balanced decisions every step of the way. When you’re ready to shop, just turn to the Buying Guide on page 11. You’ll find exclusive ratings and reviews based on our in-house tests and on our surveys of CR members’ experiences with the products in their…

3 min
get inspired

DARK AND HANDSOME White marble counters will always have classic appeal. But look out for bolder alternatives: deep, rich tones, such as sea green, black, and brown. Among the introductions at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show: Cosentino’s Dekton Avantgarde collection, including Laurent (shown here), and a range of rich black quartz patterns from Caesarstone. CABINETS GET THE BLUES … … and greens. After years of white cabinets and more white cabinets (with the occasional gray finish thrown in), color is coming back to the kitchen. So far, the most widely used colors seem to be deep and muted shades of blue and green, from navy and indigo to hunter and sage. Designers are embracing these shades in a big way, taking them beyond the base cabinets onto the walls, sometimes mixing…

2 min
what we’re testing in our labs …

Air Fryers WE TESTED: 25 WE TEST FOR: The legibility and clarity of markings and controls, noise, ease of cleaning, measured fryer basket volume, and temperature performance. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 67 Range: 75-47 Top Performer NuWave 6-Qt 37001 $130 75 OVERALL SCORE Quiet and Roomy GoWISE GW22731 $70 73 OVERALL SCORE Convenient Presets Ninja AF100 $100 71 OVERALL SCORE Blenders WE TESTED: 72 WE TEST FOR: Ability to make icy drinks, convenience, how well the blender purées vegetables into soup, ice crushing performance, noise, and durability. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 67 Range: 88-26 Best All-Around Vitamix Professional Series 750 $650 88 OVERALL SCORE Sharp Deal Ninja Professional NJ600 $100 81 OVERALL SCORE Icy Drink Whiz Breville The Q BBL820SHY1BUS1 $350 79 OVERALL SCORE Drip Coffee Makers WE TESTED: 120 WE TEST FOR: Brew performance, convenience of operation, carafe handling, and how long it takes to brew a pot of coffee in its regular cycle. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 67 Range: 85-34 Excellent Overall Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200 $100 85 OVERALL SCORE Great Value Hamilton…

5 min
playing it cool

Today’s refrigerator features go far beyond simply providing a glass of ice water without having to open the door. With custom panels, you can get a built-in that matches your kitchen cabinets exactly. And forget about four doors—some models have five. Our fridge-by-fridge guide helps you choose the right type for your family, demystifies claimed vs. usable storage space, and helps you find the quietest models so that you—and your groceries—can chill out. • SMART SHOPPING Think about the size and type that will work best for you. Focus on interior storage features, too. SIZE Refrigerator configurations come in a range of sizes and capacities. Always measure where you plan to put the fridge before you shop. And check that any model you consider can fit through doorways. Allow room for the refrigerator’s doors…

4 min
recommended products

Most models we tested chill and freeze adequately and include pullout shelves or bins, split shelves, spill guards, and roomy storage on the door. Top-scoring models usually deliver more consistent temperatures. Once you know how much space you have, particularly the width, look at our recommended models to find ones that fit your needs. Fridges that have higher energy-efficiency scores use less electricity for their capacity. And if your household isn’t large, remember that a smaller conventional refrigerator is likely to use less electricity overall than a larger model. TOP-FREEZER FRIGIDAIRE GALLERY FGTR2037TF 70Hx30Wx33D $880 81 A top model in our ratings, this fridge is very good overall. Thermostat control, temperature uniformity, and energy efficiency are rated Excellent, and noise performance earns a Good. But it fared poorly in our ease-of-use tests. frigidaire.com LG LTCS20220S 66Hx30Wx33D $700 81 Excellent scores for energy…

4 min
range finder

The range is the workhorse of the kitchen, and if it’s stylish, it’s probably the centerpiece, too. Electric smoothtop ranges remain the best sellers, but you have more options than ever, including double-oven models for the multitasker in all of us. Electric induction ranges are coming down in price, and for gas models we've found that you can get good looks and top performance without forking over a fortune on a pro-style model. Read on to learn how. • SMART SHOPPING Remodeling or starting from scratch? Cooking for a crowd or just for two—or one? These topics and others will help you decide what you need in a new range. TYPE Freestanding ranges are the most widely sold and easiest to install. The oven control panel is usually on the back panel, above the…