It may not be the retail giant you remember from your childhood, but Sears is still a great place to find a wide selection of products at a range of price levels! Many of the physical products sold through their approximately 1300 locations have passed through their Consumer Reports test labs, including appliances, power equipment, and batteries from the three brands owned by Sears Holdings – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard. Based on our recent ratings, there are plenty of reasons to keep Sears on your list of ‘must shop’ retailers! There are a few items that are best purchased elsewhere but with this list your shopping should be a breeze. use sears 10 off coupon befor buy at sears.com
What to buy:
- Laundry appliances. Sears has several models on our recommended list of such items, especially if you spring for the Kenmore Elite line.
- Kenmore Washers & Dryers: While sexier, more current brands get most of the press, Kenmore appliances have historically performed well, and that holds true for the Kenmore Elite 41073 Washer, which “combines great washing performance and efficiency,” plus its jumbo drum can handle 24 pounds of laundry. If, like so many consumers, you’re looking for a matching washer/dryer set, pair it with the equally spacious Kenmore Elite 81073 dryer, $1,200. Prefer top-loaders? Consider the Kenmore Elite 31412 washer, $950, which earns some solid marks!
- Kenmore Refrigerators: There exist several refrigerator picks in the popular French-door configuration from Kenmore. Consider the Kenmore Elite 72193, $4,150, which combines solid temperature control, storage capacity, and efficiency; act fast, however, since the model is being phased out. The Kenmore 7160 performed similarly for less than half the price, though it lacks a built-in ice and water dispenser. Sears also carries many recommended top-freezers, including the well-priced Kenmore 78892 for $600. Among side-by-sides, we like the Bosch Linea 800 B22CS80SN[S], $2,700, which is also available at other retailers. Other good deals: vacuums, Craftsman snow blowers.
- DieHard batteries: DieHard batteries, sold at Sears, Kmart, and a handful of other retailers, are some of the best although that does depend on the car you drive. If you have a large vehicle, a truck, or SUV from Ford, the DieHard Gold 50865, $145, and the DieHard Advanced Gold 50765, $175, make our picks list in the Group 65 category, combining long life with superior resistance to frigid temperatures! both also feature a convenient handle. Other DieHards make our winners’ lists in different categories. If you drive a Honda, Nissan, or Toyota, you’ll probably do better with a battery from EverStart or Interstate and always check the model names because there are a few that don’t quite make the grade.
What not to buy:
- Sears Interior Paints & Exterior Stains: Sears’ paints and stains tend to not stand out from the competitions. For example, the Sears Easy Living Ultra Flat interior paint missed our picks list by a good margin, partly because the finish is not as smooth. Sears WeatherBeater UltraSatin exterior paint is also middle-of-the-pack. Among stains, Sears Weatherbeater Deck, Fence & Siding Solid didn’t hold us as well over time as other products. When it comes to paints and stains, Home Depot’s Behr or Lowes’ Valspar brands offer better quality.
- Electronic Accessories Many electronics from Sears are overpriced and buying online is a much better option. Associates are trained to push accessories more than anything else. An HDMI cable will cost you almost 75% less from an online retailer than buying it from Sears. Remember to be educated about the product you’re buying, because associates are also trained to push items you don’t even need. Keep this all in mind before you buy the accessories.
- Cooking appliances As impressive as Kenmore is with dishwashers, dryers, and other large appliances, the brand’s cooking appliances aren’t consistent winners. Apart from a 30-inch electric coil model, no Kenmore ranges are really worth buying. There are no wall oven winners or over-the-range microwaves. Kenmore does have a few models on our picks list for cooktops, including the top-rated induction model, (Kenmore 43820, $1,700) but that alone doesn’t make the brand a standout in the cooking appliance category.
- Craftsman cordless drills