Bad News Appliances 3/30/14

Consumer Reports testers make sure products offer peak performance and safety but recently they’ve found some problems with appliances.

First, the $200 Krups Convection Toaster Oven #FBC4. When testers set the oven to toast on its darkest setting the display just quit at about the two-minute mark. It happened with all four of the Krups toaster ovens Consumer Reports tested. The units did eventually turn off and finish their cycle so it’s not a safety issue but Consumer Reports says it’s a serious performance problem. Kenwood’s $2,000 Cooking Chef is an all-in-one stand mixer, food processor, blender and induction hot plate. For $2,000 you’d expect the best but testers found some major issues with the food processor attachment. With the first Cooking Chef, the food processor blade kept spinning for nine seconds after lifting the lid. The exposed slicing disc had enough power to cut through a carrot. With the second one tested, the blade stopped sooner but testers did the plastic hub on a slicing disc broke, then one of the screws at the bottom of the drive shaft assembly sheared off. The company says it has a replacement part, but Consumer Reports was not able to find it. And the $90 Two Way FlexBrew Coffeemaker from Hamilton Beach poses a safety risk. The problem is even if you are just using the single-serve side, the hot plate for the carafe side still gets hot! A “Hot” warning label does turn red but if the carafe is not on the hotplate and you reach for the single-serve cup you could brush the hotplate and get burned. It’s almost 400 degrees.  Consumer Reports contacted Hamilton Beach about its design. The company said it’s 2-Way FlexBrew coffeemaker is safe, that it has sold more than 91,000-thousand of them and has received no reports of burns from the warming plate. However, the company says it will give a refund to anyone who asks for one.

If you do spot a problem with an appliance, notify the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772.

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