Features worth the money in big-ticket kitchen appliances

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Do your kitchen appliances need replacing? If it’s been awhile since you’ve shopped around, you’ll notice a lot has changed and that’s where Consumer Reports comes in. We test hundreds of appliances every year to help you save thousands of dollars.

Consumer Reports testers say after style considerations, only a handful of features are really worth the money.

CR testers like a freezer compartment that converts to fridge space for storing extra food around the holidays or when you’re entertaining.

Even better, if you buy a lot of fruits and vegetables for your family, look for airtight crisper drawers. They’re designed to keep produce fresher. A good crisper drawer can save money in the long run. The crisper drawers in the $1,620 French-door style LG model LFC22770ST performed well. CR's lab tests found the LG keeps a consistent temperature throughout the fridge and offers excellent efficiency and thermostat control.

When it comes to cooking, you have plenty of options in gas, electric and induction model stoves. Many people assume that gas is the way to go, but CR tests have shown that there are top performers among all three.

In general, one way you can save money is by skipping a separate wall oven and cooktop and going for a range instead. Chefs and bakers alike may want to consider the $810 CR recommended Frigidaire Gallery Electric Smoothtop model FGEF3035RF, which offers excellent simmering and broiling, plus a large oven that our testers say is impressive at baking.

Are you looking for a dishwasher that delivers? So many of today’s models have a soil sensor, which means you can just scrape off your dishes (skip the rinsing), load them and let the dishwasher do its job. The $630 Bosch Ascenta model SHX3AR75UC is a CR Best Buy that comes with a soil sensor and has adjustable upper racks and tines so you can adjust them to what you need to wash and it offers excellent cleaning performance.

CR’s most important tip: size it right. No matter which appliance you’re shopping for, you want to be sure to measure the space it’s going and the doorways it will have to fit through to get there.

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