Choosing the best new kitchen appliances is fun but can also be overwhelming. Here is a guide to how to buy kitchen appliances and a look at what we bought for our home and why.
Choosing appliances can definitely be overwhelming. These are huge decisions and you don’t want to choose an item you will regret:
- There are many options.
- These are huge, expensive purchases.
- Kitchen appliances are used daily, often many times over.
We recently purchased a home that is over 100 years old and has been totally remodeled. It didn’t come with appliances (and we left our others in Colorado with the sale of our previous house.)
We had originally planned to purchase used items from Craig’s List, but when my husband mentioned to the elders of our church that we were looking for appliances, these dear leaders of the church put together a collection opportunity for our church members to donate to our appliance fund.
I am reminded of Proverbs 11:25, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” So many times as ministers in the church, we are blessed beyond what we give.
Thank you, St. John’s, Wheatfield, NY members who were so generous to us!
How to Choose Kitchen Appliances
There are many features and decisions that go into choosing kitchen appliances, so don’t hurry these decisions if possible. I realize sometimes a quick purchase is necessary (like when your fridge just died and you have nowhere to keep food cold).
Either way, use this guide to help make the decision process easier.
- How much size do you need?( Formulas for estimating capacity based on cubic feet per person place the “sweet spot” for a family of four at between 18 and 24 cubic feet.) Is your current refrigerator meeting your needs?
- Side by side or top and bottom? This is mostly a matter of personal preference and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. With a side by side, you don’t get much freezer space for storing large individual items, like a frozen pizza. If you have a separate deep freeze, this mostly solves that issue. With a freezer on the bottom, you have more space for larger items, but you have to bend down (and dig through a bit) to access any frozen items.
- Ice and water in the door? Do you want an ice maker and water dispenser in the door? These items are the most likely to need repair, but the repairs are not difficult. Most people find that the whole family drinks more water with this feature.
- Additional features: Many new features are available on high end refridgerators, like a refrigerator with a milk door, with a computer “Smart Family Hub”, even a built-in Keirug in the door.
- Gas or electric is the big decision to make first when choosing a stove. Gas stoves cost more but are more efficient to use. Chefs swear by gas for accuracy of cooking. (You can choose any heat, not just pre-determined settings.) Gas can be a little scary if you aren’t used to using an open flame. We have also found that the knobs can be knocked “on” as you walk by, which is a safety hazard. Consider purchasing gas stove knob covers like these if you have little ones in the house.
- Flat top for electric? If you are purchasing an electric stove, do you want a flat top? The main advantage of a flat top is that it’s easy to wipe clean. However, it stays hot for a long period of time and needs special stove top cleaner. Some brands scratch easily. It is recommended that you use high-quality cookware on a glass-top. A pitted pan, such as cast iron, scratches and can even break the glass.
- Additional features: Stoves are available with many additional features, like a convection oven (circulates air for faster cooking time) or a double oven.
- Will it go on the countertop, under a cabinet, or over the range?
- How big do you want/need?
- Additional features: Convection for faster and more even cooking and sensor cooking
- Do you need built-in or portable?
- Are energy and water-saving features important to you?
- Is noise while running a concern?
- Additional features: Sensor washing and those that eliminate the need for pre-soaking.
Stainless Steel — Oh Yes or Heck No
Purchasing stainless steel appliances adds an extra $100-300 per appliance. Is it worth it?
The reason for stainless steel is mainly cosmetic. In these days of Food Network TV, the look of a high-grade chef’s kitchen is quite popular. Some people like stainless steel because there is no worry of paint scratching and wearing, but again, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
This is our first time with stainless steel appliances, and one of the first things we noticed is that you see fingerprints and smudges instantly, and they are not easy to simply wipe away.
I got online and researched how to clean stainless steel, but many of the DIY cleaners use vinegar, which our new refrigerator book specifically says not to use because it’s acidic.
Some people also recommended wiping the appliances down with olive oil, although advice I read for someone who has cleaned houses for 30+ years wrote that’s not a good idea since the oil collects dust, dirt, and pet hair, making a bigger mess.
There are also finger-print resistant stainless steel appliances now available, offering another option if it’s within your price range.
After reading various reviews, we purchased Weiman Stainless cleaner and wow, does it make a difference! One clean with this product wiped all the fingerprints away, polishes, and leaves a finish that is less resistant to fingerprints.
The Weiman spray is most effective, but the Weiman cleaning cloths work great too, especially for a quick clean. Wipe with the cleaner and then polish with a dry cloth for the best shine. You do need to use a good bit of elbow grease for this task.
The other product that received excellent reviews is Twinkle Stainless Steel cleaner. I have not used this myself but plan to get some after the Weiman’s runs out so I can try it and compare.
Price is of course one of the biggest factors in deciding which appliance to purchase. What can you expect when purchasing a new appliance? Here are some general estimates to help you budget.
Prices as of 2017, in the United States.
Refrigerator – $220-$4,000 (Mid-range price $800- $1,200)
Stove – $300-$3,000 (Mid-range price $500)
Microwave – $50-$500 (Mid-range price $250)
Dishwasher – $270-$900. (Mid-range price – $400)
Choose a Store
We decided to purchase applies at Lowes during their Black Friday sale. We definitely got a good deal and having them delivered was a helpful also.
We did a lot of online price and model comparison before we went to stores, but when making a final decision I highly recommend going to shop in person. Some things you just need to see before you decide.
Is an appliance bundle worth it? Many stores bundle appliances together for a cheaper price. We had originally thought we would buy a bundle, but discovered it wasn’t a huge savings. If you want appliances all in the same brand, it’s certainly worth exploring a bundle which could save you $50-150, but keep in mind when you are making a purchase as large as this one, it’s a relatively small savings so it might be more worth it to buy exactly what you want even if you cross brands.
We purchased Whirlpool appliances for almost everything. I’ve always liked Whirlpool brand, and ratings and reviews show it is a brand that least needs repairs.
However, we were not impressed with the Whirlpool stove in our price range. It didn’t have some of the features we wanted and seemed cheaply made.
Instead we purchased a Samsung gas stove. Samsung is rated as number 3 in least serviced/most purchased, making it a high-quality item as well.
The particular model of stove we chose (see below) is a popular one. We had to wait 2 weeks to have it delivered because they were backlogged, and when we were working with the staff, they said 11 more were waiting to be delivered. So far, we have found it to be a high-quality stove for the price.
This seems like a no-brainer, but make sure what you purchase actually fits into your new space! This is especially important if you are looking at a larger fridge.
If you want a refrigerator that’s counter-depth, this will affect your choice. We didn’t care if the refrigerator stuck out a bit (our new kitchen is big) and with 5 kids, I want the maximum amount of refrigerator space I can get.
Also be sure you can get your item into the doorways. Good delivery people (knock on wood you get good ones) are experts at maneuvering into tight spaces, but you still have to be realistic about what will actually fit into the doorway.
Kitchen Appliances: What We Bought and Why
We opted to splurge on the refrigerator and spent the highest amount there. The second biggest purchase was the stove. We decided to get a mid-range price microwave and dishwasher as those were not the biggest priority for us.
Amazon: Whirlpool Refridgerator (similar model in link)
Amazon: Samsung Gas Stove (similar model in link)
Amazon: Whirlpool Over-the-Range Microwave (similar model in link)
Amazon: Whirlpool Dishwasher (similar model in link)
That’s a wrap up of our new kitchen appliances.
What kitchen appliances do you own that you love? Are there any you would warn people NOT to purchase?