Buying American-made appliances is smart as the money is reinvested into the country. However, you would think buying American-made would be easier.
Most conglomerates may have US workers (good) with foreign ownership (not as good). Some American brands import some products under their name to complete their offering. Neither are exactly American made by the strictest definition.
At a Glance
For example, if you are considering a speed, microwave or steam oven, it will be made in Europe or Asia even with a domestic label. US-based Viking also manufactures their ranges in Mississippi, but their dishwashers are imported from the Turkish Blomberg company.
In this article, you will learn about the American-made companies, the somewhat US companies described above and exclusively imported producers as well.
How the New Tariffs will affect Appliance Brands
Buying American-made appliances will have a significant advantage in the near future as we described in a few articles.
Foreign steel and aluminum will have a 25% and 10% tariff respectively. Certain foreign parts will have up to a 50% tariff.
LG and Samsung will have punitive tariffs on washers of 20% for the first 1.2 million and 50% on units after.
So, an American company using domestic steel and aluminum will have a distinct advantage.
The following are three categories of appliances from foreign to most American to exclusively from the United States.
International Companies Importing into the USA
Miele: Miele has great products and is the largest family-owned appliance company in the world. Their quality control is legendary because their appliances are produced in one factory outside Cologne, Germany.
Gaggenau: German brand owned by Bosch.
Liebherr: Another German company manufacturing cranes and built-in refrigerators.
Blomberg: The newest up-and-coming company based in Germany with plants in Turkey.
Beko: They are another large Turkish appliance manufacturer.
LG / Signature Kitchen Suite: South Korean conglomerate manufacturing products from appliances to phones. LG has been popular with laundry. They have new pro ranges and upscale products under their SKS label.
Samsung: Another giant South Korean brand similar to LG with an industrial portfolio. Samsung has the best line of French door refrigerators as well as very good cooking and surprisingly good dishwashers.
Haier: Haier is Chinese and the next big appliance manufacturer to be imported into this country. Haier recently bought GE (more about that later).
Asko: Asko is owned by the Slovenian Gorenje Group.
Fisher & Paykel: Originally from New Zealand, Fisher & Paykel is now owned by Haier.
Bertazzoni: These trendy ranges are exclusively Italian made.
La Cornue: La Cornue is French manufactured, but owned by US-based Viking.
Traeger: American company but exclusively imports from China.
Weber: The dominant American grill company is now importing more than half their products from China. Their Summit line is made in the US.
Note: Samsung and LG have plans to open factories in the US. Samsung's South Carolina plant will produce 1 million washers by the end of 2018 (according to their press release).
International Companies with American Production
These companies are invested in the US with American factories and workers. That’s the good news. The profits, however, typically go back to their home country. Once again, microwaves, speed, and steam ovens are all produced outside the US.
Frigidaire: Almost all the products are made in the US with Swedish owner Electrolux as its parent since the 1990s.
Electrolux: Their laundry is made in Juarez, Mexico. Their cooking and refrigerators are made in the US. Their compact washer is Italian made, yet the dryer is Polish.
GE: GE is American made except for compact laundry and smaller appliances from their Chinese parent, Haier.
Thermador: Made in the US except for their Turkish refrigerators, owned by the German Bosch company also known as the BSH Corporation.
Bosch: The largest dishwasher manufacturing facility in the world is owned by Bosch in North Carolina. Their freestanding refrigerators are Chinese with Turkish built-ins.
Dacor: Dacor is a company based out of California. Recently, Dacor was purchased by Samsung.
Sharp: Japanese company with US factories as well as imports.
American-Owned Companies with American Production
The best-case scenario is an US-owned company with US production. Profits are reinvested back in the country. As another reminder, many products, like microwaves, are still sourced overseas.
Hestan: Hestan is the premium grill of the giant, US-based Meyer company, and made in California.
Kalamazoo: Want the best outdoor grill in the world? It's made by Kalamazoo in Michigan.
Viking: Owned by Middleby of Ohio, Viking is produced in the US except for their freestanding refrigerators produced by Electrolux. Their dishwashers are built by Blomberg.
Viking also owns Marvel, U-line, and Lynx grills all US-based factories (except for the Lynx Sonoma grill).
Speed Queen: Manufacturer of high end commercial and residential washers and dryers based in Wisconsin
BlueStar: BlueStar could be the oldest company next to Gaggenau founded in the 1880s. They manufacture cooking products, refrigerators, and hoods in Pennsylvania and Iowa.
True: True is an enormous commercial and now residential refrigerator manufacturer based in St Louis.
Sub-Zero/Wolf: The second largest family-owned company, Sub-Zero is based out of Wisconsin and Arizona. Wolf was purchased by Sub-Zero in early 2000.
In 2019, Sub-Zero will be producing their new Cove dishwasher made in Tennessee.
Whirlpool: The largest American company based out of Michigan with plants across Northern America. They have reliable laundry under the Whirlpool and Maytag names.
The brand portfolio consists of Amana, Whirlpool, and Maytag. On the high-end, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid are owned by Whirlpool as well. Whirlpool also has overseas plants manufacturing for the foreign consumer.
From a product standpoint, appliances have never been more stylish, and feature driven (even if they need repair more).
There are great companies from every part of the world much like the automobile industry.
With the relaunch of JennAir and KitchenAid later this year along with Sub-Zero and Wolf as well as others, it is very easy to buy a decent American-made appliance.
Want to learn more about the latest gas ranges and technology? Read the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with features, specs and detailed profiles of every major brand. Well over 750,000 people have downloaded a Yale Guide.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 3rd, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy, freshness, and comprehensiveness.
Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.
Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.
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