Tips for Buying New Kitchen Appliances for a Remodel

buying new kitchen appliancesBefore you look at buying new kitchen appliances, especially during a remodel, you should consider future needs. For example, the trend is wider and taller. This means if you’re planning to create a space for your refrigerator, for instance, think about accommodating a larger refrigerator down the road. If you have an older home, most likely your space for a refrigerator is 33 inches. You will find limited choices in the 33-inch-wide refrigerator categories.

Of course, another reason to remodel is to raise the cabinets over your refrigerator space. But if you lock in the width, especially by installing a matching cabinet panel up the side of your refrigerator, you are stuck with that width forever. You might think about a counter-depth refrigerator, too. With those, you are sacrificing depth in the refrigerator, which means less room to store food. But if you go wider, you can retrieve part of that lost space.

Next, think about whether all your appliances need to match each other. Manufacturers love to sell you matching and coordinating appliances. However, there is a catch. I don’t know why but not every manufacturer excels in every area of appliance making. What I mean is some make better refrigerators than they do microwaves. Whatever you do, do NOT buy based on price and appearance or you may live to regret those decisions.

What needs to match is the finish. The brands do not need to match. While working on buying a bath tub, I discovered the drain is sold separately. Further research uncovered the fact that a soaking drain from Jacuzzi is a better drain than the one suggested for our tub. But, the salesman warned, it will read Jacuzzi on your tub and not American Standard. Some people care about those things. Like you can switch out the red logo in exchange for other options on a KitchenAid dishwasher, which seem to be the best dishwashers in the world.

I have learned that you can buy new kitchen appliances in a variety of colors, but the trending color right now is black stainless, more so than slate. Black slate is available only through GE. A concern, of course, in a place like Hawaii where it’s humid and things rust in the salt air is whether stainless will rust. But you can also apply a marine wax. Anything eventually will rust, except pewter.

Cast iron white sinks, for example, cost a lot more than stainless. If you might have to replace a sink due to rust, it’s probably better to go with a less expensive sink. Another trending item is slide-in ranges that take the place of a free-standing range. They match the depth of a standard counter width, not to mention, you don’t have to look at annoying controls. But do make sure the knobs for an electric slide-in are not in a place on the front of the range where you’ll accidentally turn on the burners.

Because you’ve got to do your homework when buying new kitchen appliances. If you walk into the store and stroke the prettiest models, you’ll regret it. Do all of your research online. Consumer Reports offers excellent recommendations for buying new kitchen appliances. The problem there is maybe they have not reviewed the one you want to buy or maybe their top pick is not available in your area.

I really like the Lowe’s website for shopping. They post reviews from the manufacturer’s website and also from their own shoppers. Some appliances have thousands of reviews. There is also a community question-and-answer section where you can click yes or no to add to the authority of the question. Honestly, I don’t know how we ever bought anything before the internet.

You can learn from other people’s mistakes that way. Which is really the best way to learn. I recall a dishwasher we bought once that broke down a couple of times a year, right after the warranty expired. Never again. Now we buy appliances that tend to last. Which means style, color and finish are all important but the number consideration should be reliability.

After the warranty expires, is it likely to continue to do the thing you bought it to do?

Elizabeth Weintraub


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