Maybe you are undertaking a kitchen renovation or perhaps just up grading one or more major kitchen appliances. Either way there are a number of factors that will impact your final selections. In this buying guide article we will discuss many of the elements you should consider when choosing a major appliance. As we know the kitchen is the heart of the home and your appliances are a major component. This is a major investment and will add value to your home so let’s look at what you should consider.
If appliances are part of a full kitchen renovation, talk with a qualified kitchen designer, they will help guide you on what will work best.
Appliances, alone, do not make a kitchen. But, they just might be the most important aspect of your space. After all, the kitchen's primary function is for preparing and cooking meals. How high-end do you want to go? Many professionals and keen home chefs will find a variety of restaurant-quality features on professional models just be forewarned on the hefty price tags that can quickly consume the kitchen budget.
On the other hand, if you like the look of the professional-grade range and built-in refrigeration units, and those dramatic ventilation hoods but not the price. Many mid-range appliances on the market today can give you the looks and quality performance without shelling out for the high-high end models. So seriously consider how much of your budget you want to spend on appliances.
Ideally, you should choose your kitchen layout first and then choose appliances that fit. If you fall in love with a side-by-side fridge, will you have room for two wall ovens and a cook top? So of course there are compromises. We will leave the décor related choices up to you and whatever style statement you want to make. But if you need some help planning that new kitchen space check out our article on kitchen design.
Choosing Major Kitchen Appliances
Do you choose gas, electric or induction? The choice is personal, though you don’t often hear of people who go from gas to electric because of the decrease in performance. When choosing a cooktop for performance, consider efficiency: how much heat do you lose from burner to pan? With gas, you lose about 30 percent but on the other hand, with induction heat you lose the least amount of heat. Induction cook tops are not really main stream, but they are making gains in the market as the efficiency of these units continues to improve.
When shopping for gas cooktops, ask about BTU, which stands for British thermal units, a measurement of energy content. Serious ranges are 9,200 BTU and up. Ask about variable control, meaning how long you can maintain “simmer” without the flame going out. Some low simmer burners are design to cycle on and off. This is a drawback to some types of low heat cooking like melting chocolate or simmering delicate sauces. Look for burner grates made of cast iron or a metal that conducts heat for better heat transfer from the burner to the pan.
Range Hood Ventilation
This aspect cannot be overlooked as any serious cooktop demands a ventilation system that will usher exhaust out of the kitchen. Range Hoods come in a multitude of designs but you need to make sure you get the correct capacity before choosing the look and décor aspects. The fan will first be rated by how much air it moves. This is stated in cubic feet per minute of CFM, generally the more the better. After this aspect you should consider the sound rating of the fan. This is measured in decibels or dB for short, the lower the number here the better. If you hear the sound of suction, and not the motor nose running this is a good thing. If noise bothers you completely, consider units that can be installed with exterior motors. These can sometimes be accommodated in an exterior housing or in an overhead cabinet space.
Exterior blowers and inline blowers provide high-performance ventilation. As for those recirculating fans in economy oven-range-microwave stacks. They might remove some of the fat or particles in cooking steam but they are not removing the heated air. Choose a hood with adequate CFM’S for your cooktop. As a general rule, a four-burner electric cooking surface should have ventilation that performs at 400 CFM’s Of course, there’s more to the hood than blowing out hot air, even if that’s the key function. Hoods are focal points in some kitchen designs, and they are available in designs from linear-modern to majestic-traditional, and in materials from stainless steel to glass.
The advancements in oven insulation and performance have improved noticeably in recent years. A high-performing convection oven, which circulates heat with a fan to cook food faster and more evenly, will help you get dinner on the table faster than a traditional oven. Bakers, on the other hand, will want the traditional bake/roast/broil. In a perfect kitchen world, you can have both with a stacked or side-by-side oven station. Many of the commercial quality units built specifically for your home will even accommodate a full 26” commercial sized sheet pan. These units come in multiple sizes and configurations. The extra capacity will allow you to cook multiple pans at once.
Depending on your space you may be limited to a standard 30” size. Well don’t be dismayed; manufactures have come up with lots of cleaver combinations for you. You might opt for a standard sized unit that has a double oven feature. You sacrifice the full size capacity but gain the ability to cook two dished at different temperature at the same time. Many manufactures offer multiple fuel ovens with gas and electric components. You will need to consider the extra cost of installation if you require any modifications in your kitchen to accommodate this type.
REFRIGERATORS and Freezers
Freestanding models slide into a space and generally stick out 6 or 7 inches beyond the standard counter depth of 24”. But you can purchase counter-depth refrigerator/freezers that will look like built-in units. When evaluating refrigerator performance, quality comes down to the compressor. Single-compressor units that power a refrigerator-freezer work double-time to keep a moist fridge and a dry, cold freezer. A dual-compressor unit costs more but will allow you to keep fresh food longer.
As for configuration, French-door models are popular, as are French-door refrigerator on the top with freezer drawers on the bottom Units might have two side-by-side freezer drawer, or a refrigerator drawer that is accessible to children. The ideal situation is completely separate refrigerator and freezer units. It’s common now to see water and ice dispensers in the door. This type usually has a filtering system providing purified water at your fingertips.
Now you can get drawer dishwashers, which are easier to load and can be installed at various heights based on your needs. Plus, they can handle smaller loads, so they are more efficient. Still, traditional dishwashers with doors that pull from the top down are the most popular style, and they can be paneled to blend with the cabinetry for a seamless look. Stainless steel still reigns in popularity. Depending on your kitchen layout, you might want to add an economy-sized dishwasher by a wet bar to manage glassware.
Now that you’ve considered your appliances, think about finish. There are many types and colors and well as panels available today. However, stainless steel is the most popular. Stainless is a standard and rated by gauge. Appliances range from 8- to 30-gauge steel. The higher the gauge, the more slick and sleek and shiny the surface. This means it’s better quality, easier to clean, more durable and will last longer.
Higher grades of stainless steel look smooth and less “brushed.” Lower grades are more gray in color and have a grainier texture vs. the silver shiny surface of a higher-grade steel. That’s because the higher grade has a greater ration of nickel to chromium, which retains luster for longer and is more durable.
Whatever you choices in appliances there are many new features available and this changes yearly. However the most important feature is you get what suits your needs and budget. As you go about making you selections remember you can store all this information easily in your quinju account. Get started now.