SAN ANTONIO – If your kitchen needs an overhaul or your appliances need to be replaced, shopping can lead to information overload.
Jane Batista and her family are renovating their kitchen, which means all new appliances. Shopping for appliances has been overwhelming.
"There are so many options and so many choices. I want the big, huge refrigerator that's side by side. My husband wants the one with the drawer that pulls out from the bottom."
Once they agree on a style, Consumer Reports home editor Sara Morrow, said there are only a handful of features really worth the money.
"Our testers like a freezer compartment that actually converts to a fridge space for storing extra food around the holidays or when you're entertaining. Even better if you buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables for your family. Look for airtight crisper drawers," Morrow said.
Crisper drawers in the French-door style LG LFC2277OST performed well. Consumer Reports' lab tests found it keeps a consistent temperature throughout the fridge and has excellent efficiency and thermostat control.
When it comes to cooking, you have options -- like gas, electric or induction.
"Plenty of people assume gas is the way to go, but our tests have shown that we've got top performers among gas, electric and induction," Morrow said.
She said a good way to save money is to skip the separate wall oven and cooktop and go for a range instead.
For chefs and bakers, Consumer Reports recommends Frigidaire Gallery FGEF3035RF electric smooth-top with a large oven.
Dishwashers have also come a long way since you last bought one.
"So many of today's dishwashers have a soil sensor, which means you can just scrape off your dishes, skip the prerinsing, load everything and let the dishwasher do its job," Morrow said.
The Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR75UC is a Consumer Reports best buy. It has a soil sensor, adjustable upper racks and testers said it cleans the dishes.