With the shops overflowing with products at diverse price points, it's hard to know where to start. Here, we share a few points to consider.
1. Style & Design
Honing down a particular look will help to narrow your choices. Beyond classic versus contemporary styling, consider which finishes might go the distance. Stainless steel offers enduring appeal, but many manufacturers are embracing black as a sultry alternative. The alternative is to tuck them away altogether. “I am encouraging clients to integrate as many appliances as possible – the fridge, rangehood and dishwasher, especially – basically hiding them behind joinery,” says designer Liam Murphy of Kitchens By Design. The advantage is a seamless visual flow, particularly desirable if your kitchen is part of an open-plan space
2 Silent Operation
As well as good looks, appliances need to be quiet to win hearts in an open-plan home. “The trend toward renovating kitchens and laundries as focal areas of the home means that people are more particular about aesthetic design and quiet operation – as well as ensuring the appliances operate well,” says senior marketing manager Brad Reed of LG, whose direct drive motor technology produces quieter machines. The biggest noise pollution in a kitchen generally comes from the rangehood, which often deters people from using it. Schweigen’s Silent System neatly solves the problem with an external motor, mounted outside the home
Is it worth getting an appliance with all the bells and whistles, or are you better sticking with something that just performs the basic functions well? It’s all about taking a realistic look at how it will affect your life. For example, rangehoods with built-in bluetooth connectivity may be overkill – but if you truly think you’ll use and appreciate that feature, shop away! However, some extra functions are always worth shelling out for. “Ovens with a true self-cleaning function [pyrolytic cleaning], or combi steamers that can cook almost everything perfectly, are a must,” says Liam.
Assessing the green credentials of appliances is essential, both for the health of the planet and also for paying utilities bills. Electronic appliances have an energy rating (up to 10 stars for fridges, freezers and televisions, and up to six stars for everything else) while taps and water-using appliances carry a WELS rating for water efficiency (up to six stars; Phoenix’s ‘Vivid Slimline Vessel Mixer’ enjoys full marks here). There are also a few extra things to consider; for example, the larger model of an appliance will use more energy than a smaller version with the same star rating. There’s also no point buying the largest washer if you’ll never fill it – the LG ‘Twin Wash’ is good for this, with a second small-capacity washer underneath for little loads. Remember, also, that not only do larger fridges and freezers cost more to run, the cost of cooling is also affected by their contents, meaning if you’re not filling them to their capacity, the running costs increase even more.
5 Family Friendly
Your family situation, particularly if you have small children, will influence your choice of appliances. Aside from practicalities, such as choosing a washing machine tough enough to handle muddy soccer shirts, safety is a huge consideration. “The Schweigen wall ovens and induction cooktop were chosen with our young children in mind,” explains H2HB’s Aimee Tarulli of her wishlist. “We wanted to keep the ovens out of reach of little hands [as displayed in this striking design from GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens], and the induction cooktop really appealed to us, as its surface is not as hot to touch as a gas cooktop. Plus, the electronic display means no knobs for little hands to turn!” See the IN range of cooktops from Schweigen.
If you regularly play host, plan your appliance shopping with this in mind. You might consider a large-capacity oven for epic roasts, or even two ovens, for cooking several courses at once. Warming drawers allow you to heat plates and even melt chocolate for dessert. A big fridge is a must, but look at the internal configuration – the best entertainer’s model will be wide enough to slide in large platters. Separate wine storage can be useful, as can a fridge with an ice dispenser or a door-in-door function, such as that offered by LG. “Another key factor is storage compartments to house leftovers, like sliding shelves to store tall bottles and storage baskets in the freezer door,” adds category marketing manager Costa Avgerinos of LG.