Home Building – Kitchen Appliances: How to Decide

You don’t want to begin your journey looking for kitchen appliances unprepared. Because I packed an appliance showroom with products, it can be an overwhelming experience if you don’t know exactly what you want. Knowing your needs, style preferences and budget before you shop can help you maneuver through rows and rows of appliances. Use Home and Kitchen appliances buying guide Here’s some helpful information to start you on your journey to discover the best and most important appliances – ovens, cooktops, ranges, refrigerators, ventilation systems and dishwashers – for your kitchen.

The Look

Appliances should blend in with other design elements in your kitchen. You can achieve this by having them built into the cabinets or paneled to look like them. Or if you prefer, you can make a statement with a stand-alone, like those made with a decorative vent hood and carved wood ornamentation or a stainless steel refrigerator. Keep in mind where you place your appliances will affect the other design elements in your kitchen. For example, a range or a separate Washing Machine could change your countertop and cabinet space plans.

Your options for appliance designs include: built-in, paneled, freestanding professional-style, freestanding restored or reproduction antiques or standard freestanding models. A new neutral is stainless steel appliances which work well in all styles of kitchens, from Old World to contemporary to Mediterranean to traditional.

Keep in mind that in order to get the commercial feel of a professional-style appliance you’ll need to splurge. Increased cooking and storage capacity and an oversized look come at a price that almost doubles standard appliances. True commercial units aren’t rated for residential use because of their special ventilation needs, massive size and safety issues, but most pro-style appliances come close to giving the advantages of a restaurant-grade appliance, including greater durability, more precise temperature control and a stainless steel finish. If you love to cook or have a big family, pro-style is worth a look.

For your stove, you can make a big statement by buying one that has bright colored knobs or a 1930s-style range complete with porcelain enamel surfaces accented with nickel-plated trim. Knowing the look you want will narrow your search rather quickly and set you on course for the more important task – what you need from your appliances to effectively and efficiently run your kitchen.

The Scoop on Appliances

Know your cooking needs

For deciding on your cooking gear, look for features that will improve your cooking speed and precision. Things you should consider are whether you need pro-style or standard, gas or electric and how you want to place them (built-in or freestanding).

Pro-style vs. standard

One of your first decisions should be whether you need the increased cooking capacity of a professional-style range or cooktop or if you’d be happier with a less expensive model that has more standard features.

Here’s how the pro-style features measure up against a more standard model:

A pro-style has four or more burners at 15,000 BTU while a standard model offers an assortment of burners ranging from 5,000 to 14,000 BTU. Pro-style has large control knobs, while standard has small knobs or a digital control panel. Pro-style has continuous cast-iron grates while standard have separate steel burners. Pro-style also has more oven racks and is 36 to 60 inches wide as opposed to the standard 30 inches.

Gas vs. Electric

For the most precise temperature control you’ll want to go with gas. The biggest advantage to going electric is that it’s cheaper and gives you the option of having a sleek glass ceramic surface, which is far easier to clean than a burner.

Cooktop Placement

You’ve got some flexibility for placing your oven. You can pair together a separate oven and cooktop; or you can make it part of a range; or mount it on the wall.

A popular and space saving option is stacking two wall ovens either on top of each other or side by side with countertop space in between them so you can have more cooks in the kitchen.

If you don’t plan on using both ovens regularly, consider a combination oven, which allows you to use it as a microwave and convection oven when you need it.


Warranties vary by manufacturer and appliance model, but most appliances come with a one to five-year warranty.

Energy Efficiency

Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission all new major household appliances have a bright yellow-and-black Energy Guide label placed on them so that you will know the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance.

Trendy Tips

It’s worth taking the time to explore ways to make your appliances more accessible, like raising your dishwasher so you don’t have to bend down to load and unload it. Check out all the wonderful options available for your drawers like warming ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. If you’re a pizza lover, you might enjoy creating a crusty pizza pie in a pro-type brick oven or if wine is your passion, you might want a beverage chiller or storage unit – some even come with a cigar holder. If you’re considering a trash compactor, consider moving it to the garage to free up space in the kitchen.

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