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How to buy appliances Our expert advice will help you avoid the most common shopping mistakes
Overpaying for a range, refrigerator, or other big-ticket appliance is only one of the many gotchas that await you at the store or online. Cheaping out can also be the wrong move if you sacrifice safety, convenience, or reliability. Indeed, even products that performed well in our tests might not do so for long if they come from a repair-prone brand.

We've gathered the 30 most common appliance-buying mistakes for all major appliances--and what you can do to avoid them--based on Consumer Reports' ongoing test findings. Three of the biggest appliance-buying goofs:

Not checking a brand's track record. You can boost your odds of buying a reliable model by choosing a reliable brand from our Brand Repair History for different appliances. You'll often save money in the bargain because, in general, lower-priced mainstream brands have often been more reliable than upscale brands. Our brand-repair histories are culled from nearly 450,000 respondents reporting on nearly 2.5 million appliances for our Annual Product Reliability Survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Paying extra for extended warranties. While they might boost profits for stores, extended warranties generally are a bad deal for you because most products don't break within the three years most extended warranties cover. And because repairs often cost about the same as the extended warranty, you're better off chancing it.

Jumping at package deals. Stores typically offer lower prices if you buy a refrigerator with a range and dishwasher from the same brand. But doing so could sacrifice performance, because some appliances work far better than others with the same name. You could also increase your chances of repairs down the road because some brand's fridges have been far more reliable than its ranges and dishwashers.

Smart move. Check our Quick Picks (available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers) for top-scoring models from reliable brands. Then choose the ones that work best for your kitchen, whether or not they're from the same brand.

We've compiled the other most common buying mistakes for kitchen and laundry appliances, gas grills, and vacuums and included a series of smart moves that will help you avoid catching a case of the gotchas. You'll find the different categories above left.

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