Do you get what you pay for?


Awl --
Rather than a harangue, let me just post some numbers, from the Dec. Consumer Reports on Ranges I just got.
The first number is the price, the second number is CR's score
For 30" dual fuel (elec/gas),
Bosch 2,000 - 72 GE 1850 - 70 GE 1500 - 69
So far, so good, right? Heh....
Kenmore 3200 - 68 Wolf 5200 - 67 GE 2800 - 65 Viking 5500 - 63 Jenn-Air 2400 - 62 Dacor 6000 - 59 KithenAid 3700 - 50
If you were to graph this and do a linear regression for a correlation coefficient, you'd wind up with a blob for a graph, which means a correlation between price and quality of ZERO -- no relationship whatsoever. If you didn't have objective scoring, and were going by price/brand alone, you might as well randomly paste the product sheets on the side of a barn, and shoot arrows at them blindfolded, and buy whatever your arrow hit.
Wow.... And this zero correlation occurs in their longer review of electric smoothtops and gas ranges, of over 30 products each -- many of them GE, rated best buys, while $5,000 thermador is near the middle, and $4600 DCS is 4th from the bottom.
How can this be?
Well, some would argue that CR doesn't really know how to test stuff, or tests it peculiarly, and I would not totally disagree with that. While Wolf and Viking may have not have scored well in CR's scoring system, mebbe they are built like tanks, never break, last forever, etc. I'll take reliability/longevity over slightly less performance any day of the week.
But then, mebbe not! How do you know???
Apropos of Fox5's li'l bullshit expose on bogus on-line reviews (the creamed Lifestyle Lifts, the retail plastic surgery outfit, creamed them, yesterday, with a continuation of the general topic today), the problem of Truth in general is a very real one: HTF can you ever tell what is what, who is tellling the truth?
This zero-correlation between price and score is almost the RULE in CR's tests, from vacuums to cars. A $100 Hoover vastly outperforms $500 Dysons. It's just amazing.
But, I shouldn't really be too frazzled or confounded. After all, we do live in a BizarroLand country where Big Tobaccer is telling us not to smoke, and where a fat abless Tony Little sold millions Ab Isolators and Gazelles for about 1/4 of a century..
--
EA



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Existential Angst wrote:

No, this only shows a blob between price and CR's scores. Whether CR's scores are reflective of quality is yet to be determined.
And, of course, we know there's no necessary correlation between price and quality. For example, two ounces of cloth made into a bikini swimsuit by Emilio Pucci for $490 is the same amount of cloth as in a 15ข dishrag. Both, however, are designed to go on dishes.
http://images.saksfifthavenue.com/images/products/04/042/1610/0404216103157/0404216103157R__ASTL_180x240.jpg
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Existential Angst wrote:

Besr bang for the buck. Not you get what you pay for.
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Existential Angst wrote:

The simple truth has always been - Knowledge is Power - Arm yourself with the knowledge to properly evaluate products yourself, and trust no one else's opinion.
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How do you do that with a major appliance, if you can't take one home and use it for a couple of months? If you can't trust *some* opinion, you've got a tough haul. CR is about the only legit general review institution. There are others for specific items, like (I think) treadmilldoctor.com for treadmills, proly a few others, but even these are drowned in a sea of mis and disinformation.
--
EA



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Existential Angst wrote:

If you have the knowledge to understand what you're looking at and evaluate it, you don't need to use it for a couple months to see it's shortcomings.

CR imnsho is anything but legit.

You won't drown if you avoid the sea and do your own evaluation.
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How would you do this, say, in the case of a front-loading washing machine? How do you evaluate something like this without using it? How do you assess reliability/repair records? Etc.

Please elaborate. If not CR, anyone else?
--
EA


>
>> There are others for specific items,
  Click to see the full signature.
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Existential Angst wrote:

I'm good. I can properly evaluate such an item given 15 minutes to paw over it. I have many years experience with all things electromechanical and electronic, so I know what I'm looking at. I also have many years experience doing laundry, so I know where to look for potential design flaws.

Good question since only the manufacturer and their service centers have access to that information. Certainly CR does not have access to it.

Observation has shown that CRs "reviews" range from clueless to deliberately deceptive.

I'm not aware of any publication that actually accomplishes what CR professes to do, and I don't think there could ever be one in the mass market.
Searching for a given brand and model that is at the top of your short list after your initial sort can reveal possible problem areas to investigate further, but you have to have the knowledge to filter out problem reports that do not include sufficient detail to validate them.
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OK, I'm gonna killfile everyone.
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Red Green wrote:

I didn't say not to review others opinions, I said not to trust them, in other words use them to provide clues as to where you may need to investigate further, do not accept them as fact.
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Sorry Pete. You KF'd :-)
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On Tue, 10 Nov 2009 18:19:42 -0500, "Existential Angst"

Did not expect KitchenAid at the bottom of the list. I have a Whirlpool, works great, 18 years of heavy use and still going strong. I'm wondering if all these brands are really made by a couple factories who slap on different brand names. I buy appliances with as few features as possible--lower cost and usually fewer repairs that way.
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Phisherman wrote:

Many of them are produced in the same factories, and the manufacturer's web sites don't try to hide that fact. Most manufacturer's sites clearly show their "family of brands" and indeed the fact that products are produced by the same parent company and in the same factory doesn't mean that there are not significant differences between their "value" brands and their "luxury" brands.
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wrote:

Isn't there some fine print in the article that says something like "score differences of less than 4 points are meaningless"? IIRC they usually say something like that next to some sort of bar graph.

Yeah, but that Dyson guy on TV just oozes reliability.
A lot of what CR tests is intended to be marketed to gullible people, who really think it's important to have a washer/dryer that matches their decor. That sort of crap can really increase the price of an appliance. "Oooh, washer A has 5 different cycles, but washer B has 20. B must be better!"
Cindy Hamilton
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