When remodeling a kitchen, one of you biggest investments should be your appliances. There are so many brands, it is hard to know what to choose, but be sure to consult a qualified appliance showroom, not your local hardware store. Better yet, let your kitchen designer guide you to the showroom they use. This will provide a much smoother process for the designer, and will benefit you too. The designer gets the benefit of working with the same appliance dealership and sales person, who knows her clientele and what they are looking for. This way your designer can call in advance of your appointment (the mark of a good salesman is one you need an appointment to see) and let the sales person know a bit about your project, and most importantly, your budget. You are benefited several ways. First, the sales person already knows some of the details of your project, and you don’t have to repeat yourself for the umpteenth time, and knows what kind of appliances to show you. Second, the sales person will have an idea of what your budget is for appliances, and because of his relationship with your designer, will not try to bully or over sale you on more expensive items you don’t need. Shopping for Kitchen Appliances this way benefits everyone, and will take a lot of stress off the consumer.
There are literally hundreds of appliance manufactures, and it would be impossible to list them all, so to try to help keep things simple, the comparisons in this article will be mostly on American appliance companies from low-end to high-end. For ease of comparison, all appliances will be quoted in similar styles and stainless steel finishes.
First up is Amana, a low-end brand which is nice quality with good style, but may lack some of the features of its higher-end competitors:
This model is an over-under refrigerator, a popular configuration for today’s kitchens. It is a standard size refrigerator at around 30″ wide and 33″ deep. It is similar to the depth of most refrigerators in middle class homes. The features are common to most brands in a similar price range, and the stainless steel gives it an upgraded look. Retail pricing for this refrigerator is around $1,449.00.
The Amana gas range above is mixed with black features to cut down on the cost of the range, while still giving you the look of stainless steel. It is a popular and effective way to get a similar look without breaking your budget. This range is 30″ wide, and features 4 gas burners, electronic ignition, and delay back oven controls. Retail pricing is $699.00
Our mid-range brand is KitchenAid, a company that does a great job of keeping up with current trends and provides good quality appliances.
This model is the same configuration as the low-end model, but has features that are far superior to the one above. It is almost 36″ wide, and is counter depth. What counter depth means is that the refrigerator will not stand out 6-9″ in front of your counters, but will be even with them (or at least very close), and creates a “built-in” look which we’ll discuss in the high-end section. The depth alone makes this refrigerator a much more desirable refrigerator, but other features include an interior water dispenser, humidity controlled crispers for veggies, and temperature controlled deli drawers. Retail is $2,499.00
The KitchenAid gas range shown here is very sleek looking, and has more stainless steel than the Amana model. The controls are also a little more sophisticated and give you a bit of a culinary edge. It has a true convection oven, enhanced broil element, versatile warming drawer, and special TripleTier BTU burners. Retail is $1,949.00
When you move up the scale to the high-end appliances, you can expect the utmost in quality of product and materials, service, and long lasting warranties. If you can possibly afford to invest in the appliances, the reward of good resale value and of enjoyment of the products is well worth the extra money. My personal favorite brands for high-end appliances are SubZero and Wolf, which are sister companies.
SubZero products deal with preservation (like refrigeration and freezing), and are revered in the industry as one of the highest quality refrigerators on the market. The model shown above is the 650 model, a 36″ wide true built-in refrigerator, which means it is flush with the cabinets on either side of it (see the picture to the right as an example). The condenser in high-end refrigeration usually sits on top of the refrigerator, and is covered by a grate to allow for ventilation. These units can provide more custom temperature settings to the exact degree. SubZero has several options for their metal finishes, or you can order the overlay model, which allows you to use cabinet panels for the front of the refrigerator and allows it to blend in with your other cabinets. SubZero also offers units that have glass doors, so you can see into the refrigerator without having to open the door and lose the cool air inside (warning: only neat and organized cooks should order this model). If you need kosher equipment, they also offer a kit that can make the appliances Star-K approved. This model retails for around $7,000.00.
Wolf cooking products are the other half of the equation when it comes to high-end appliances. This 36″ range is wrapped in stainless steel on all sides, with no black coverings in sight! This model is what we call a duel fuel range, which means it has a gas cooktop with sealed burners and an electric dual convection oven. Sizes range from 30-60″ in width. There are many accessories offered and several burner configurations you can order for the range. The burners offer 15,000 BTU’s, following in the footsteps of commercial ranges before it. The range shown above retails for about $7,500.00.
Now for a quick note on luxury appliances, which are above and beyond what most consumers would ever really need, but there are a few affluent clients who really enjoy cooking and want the full range of custom choices, colors, and offerings that custom manufacturers can supply. Then there are others who just want it as a gorgeous focal point or a status symbol. Either way, there is always a market for exclusive items.
Take for example the La Cornue ChÃ¢teau 150: starting from $36,000.00
At around 60″, this custom work of art allows you to choose the main color, trim colors, burner/griddle/wok/etc. configurations you want. This brand is imported from France, has an extended delivery time, and requires additional cost for taxes, delivery, and installation by someone who is familiar with the brand… Don’t forget to add a substantial sum of money for all of these extras.
The number one mistake I see consumers make is selecting appliances that are way out of their budget, and then ending up disappointed because their budget is way over what they are able to spend. Be reasonable. Save yourself some heartache and decide how much you are willing to spend in order to get the right appliances for your home, and budget. Your appliance package usually should not be more than your new cabinets. If you are remodeling, or are just unsure of what is right for you, consult a certified kitchen designer and pay for an hour of their time to help you sort it out. The money you spend on the designers time could save you hundreds of dollars, and spare you a painful lesson in what could be an appliance nightmare.