The Skinny on Stainless Appliances

If you’ve ever shopped for appliances then you know that the options seem endless.  Just take refrigerators for example.  There are French door refrigerators, Side-by-side refrigerators, freezer on top refrigerators, freezer on bottom refrigerators, not to mention all of the extra options that come for each of these styles, like door in door french door options, or french door with a refrigerator drawer option, or TV in the door option or ice maker in the door vs in the fridge option, or dual ice-maker option or no ice maker at all option, or. . . you get the point.   Some of the options are quite ridiculous if you ask me, I mean, unless my fridge can do the grocery shopping and cook dinner for me, then I don’t think my fridge needs to have WiFi or an App, but I digress. The reason I know all of these options is because we had to buy a new refrigerator for our new house because we left our old one with the home that we sold.

As I shopped for our new fridge I had to take quite a few things into consideration because our current kitchen will be remodeled in the nearish future, so I needed a refrigerator that would work for us now, but would also fit into our new kitchen design once it is complete.  We also knew what options we liked and didn’t like from our previous fridge, and those options just come down to personal preference really.  For us, our old fridge was a french door style with the ice maker in the fridge and an extra refrigerator drawer above the freezer drawer.  After using that fridge for almost 5 years we realized we REALLY didn’t like the ice maker in the fridge because it takes up a lot of space.  Our new fridge has the ice maker in the fridge door and we LOVE IT! Regained the space in the fridge for storage but still have ice in the door!  We also didn’t like the refrigerator drawer option, it seemed to take up space not give extra space and we often found ourselves having to open that and then open the fridge doors to find what we were looking for.  So this time we chose a fridge that had a large drawer inside the refrigerator section so I can still put large trays in my refrigerator, but don’t loose space with an extra large exterior drawer.  But again, those sorts of design options just come down to personal preference.

The biggest thing I knew I wanted was FINGERPRINT RESISTANT Stainless Steel.  Whoever decided that the name “stainless steel” was an accurate description needs to have their eyes checked, seriously, the title stainless steel has to be the most deceptive title EVER!  If you’ve never owned a Stainless Steel appliance let me tell you a little something, STAINLESS STEEL IS NOT STAINLESS. Stainless steel shows every little mark, fingerprint, water spot, everything.  It looks nice and shiny and clean for all of 5 minutes after you take the protective plastic off of your new appliance and then your sweet dear child (or husband) walks by and rubs their grubby little hand across the front of your beautiful stainless appliance and it’s covered in smudges for the rest of it’s days.  But Stainless is the modern trend, so what do you do about it?  Well, some companies are now making a Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel and let me tell you, it’s amazing!!!  We opted for a Maytag Refrigerator with the Fingerprint Resistant finish and is truly lives up to it’s name.  Not one smudge on it and we’ve been using it for almost 2 weeks now!  Not all companies make this finish though and that was something we discovered in our fridge search.

You’ll also want to know that not all Stainless Steel finishes are the same color.  “Stainless Steel” is a generic term but does not look the same in all brands.  It’s like saying you have a Red shirt.  There are many shades of red.  There are also many “shades” of stainless steel.  That is a very important piece of information to know if you are buying appliances at different times or if you opt for various brands.  Some brands have a lighter and brighter looking Stainless Steel finish than others.  Some are more shiny and others have a more matte look to them.  And then you have your specialty finishes, like Black Stainless, which are even MORE brand specific.  If you are opting for a specialty finish like a Black Stainless and you want your appliance finishes to match, be prepared to buy all of your appliances in the same brand and model style.  For some this isn’t a problem, like if you’re buying the whole appliance suite (fridge, dishwasher, stove top, oven, etc.) at the same time.  But many of you are like myself, upgrading once appliance at a time.  We only needed to buy a refrigerator right now because we will be remodeling our entire kitchen and will be upgrading our other appliances at that point, but we needed a fridge right now because well, people apparently want to eat in my house.  Our current appliances do not match. They are all Stainless, but they are all different brands and so all vary just a bit in color and sheen and all have different handles as you can see.

If you’re like me and you end up upgrading your appliances at varying times, then there are some other things you might also want to consider before you buy.  Other than the Stainless color, you’ll want to consider your handle options.  Each brand seems to have it’s own style of handle for it’s appliances.  They generally keep the same handle or a very similar handle for all of their appliances in a certain model style.  Also, and this is important, companies update their handle styles from time to time!  So if you buy say a Whirlpool Fridge this year and then plan to buy a Whirlpool stove next year, the handles may not match, even though they’re the same brand.  This was something I learned during our fridge buying process. Another thing to consider is that some companies do not make all appliances in the same model style, or certain appliances may be harder to come by (which usually means more money).  For instance, I came across a gorgeous refrigerator in a slate color that I loved, but quickly discovered that the wall oven in the same color wasn’t readily available so was very expensive to get.  I also discovered that this company had discontinued the unique slate color appliance line (this information wasn’t on any of their websites, I found out from our local appliance store), so even if I was able to find the oven I wanted, if one of my appliances needed to be replaced in the future, finding a replacement would be extremely challenging if not impossible.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is where to buy your appliances from.  There are so many options, from local mom and pop stores to big box stores to technology stores or even online.  I’m a hands on kinda girl so I could never buy an appliance online without being able to open it up and look inside and test drawers and stuff first.  We decided to buy our fridge from a local hometown store rather than a big box store, for a few reasons.  First of all, local stores are usually well educated on all of their appliances.  In fact, they were the ones who told me about the handle options and let me know that the brand we opted for had just updated their handles so before I checked out, they made sure that the fridge we wanted was the most updated version.  Another reason we went with a local store, and perhaps the most important reason for me was their excellent customer service.  With soooooooo many appliance options, I had a lot of questions, and I needed someone who had answers, knew what they were talking about and treated  me well.  I mean, we’re talking about potentially spending thousands of dollars on an appliance, so the person selling it to me better know what they’re talking about.  A bit of a tangent here but customer service is HUGE to me, probably because it’s such a large part of my job, but also because it seems to be lacking in so many industries today, so if you provide excellent customer service, you win my business.

If you’re wondering how much you’re going to spend on a shiny new stainless steel appliance, well, that’s all over the board depending on what kind of appliance you’re in need of, what brand, what model level (each brand usually has several models varying in price) and what finish.  The specialty finishes, like black stainless, can sometimes cost you a bit more depending on the brand.  Our refrigerator came in at just under $2400 delivered and installed.  That sounds like a lot of money, because it is, but it’s also an investment.  It’s going to stand the time of the Stainless Trend, it has the features we absolutely wanted and no extra frills (which are usually just one more thing that can break) is FINGERPRINT RESISTANT (YAY!!!!), is a brand that has excellent reviews and stands by their products, we will be able to match our other appliances to it when we remodel our kitchen and, mostly importantly, it keeps our food cold LOL!

So if you’re still wondering if Stainless is the way to go, from a Realtor’s perspective, YES! Home buyers prefer a home with Stainless Steel appliances. And from a Home owners perspective? YES, just make sure you’re well educated in the options and choose the stainless that’s best for you!

 

CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

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