How to Choose the Best Kitchen Appliances
If you’ve just bought your first house, are looking to kit out a new house or are renting a home that comes unfurnished, you’re likely to want to ensure you get the best items for your kitchen. All while ensuring you don’t miss anything important. When looking into what kitchen appliances you need in a new home, it would be easy to grab the cheapest thing available and not have to worry about the fit or style. Unfortunately, life isn’t quite that simple.
In the real world, we do have to make accommodations for the less-than-perfect aspects of our lives. And that includes furnishing your kitchen. If you’re not sure what you need, and what to look out for when buying new appliances, then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll take you through the most important factors and give you a range of buying tips for your new place.
Things to consider when buying a new appliance
Family and preferred meals
One of the biggest factors to take into consideration is your family. Do you have a large family, filled with lots of hungry mouths? Or, are you living the bachelor/ette lifestyle, and want to keep your kitchen simple? If you have a large family, or are living with friends, you’ll likely need more space in your fridge. Additionally, you’ll need more cupboard space and probably want appliances that are easy to maintain and clean.
In the meantime, if you prefer simpler meals such as the one-pot slow-cooked stews or a microwave dinner, it can make a huge difference as to how much you should invest in your appliance. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys lots of baking or large family dinners, you should probably be ready to spend a little more to get the right oven and hob for your meals.
This is probably going to be your biggest deciding factor. If money is no object, then you’ll be happy to know that you can pretty much get anything you want. For the rest of us, it’s important to try and keep costs to a minimum. We all want a kitchen that houses a range cooker and an American fridge-freezer. But, in reality, the more appliances you want and the more features those appliances have, the more it will cost.
Convenience and cleanliness
Again, this ties into your own lifestyle. If you like a microwave dinner every night, you probably won’t want to spend too much on an oven that is likely to just sit there, unloved and unused. On the flip side, appliances that cost a little more tend to have more features that improve the convenience of your lifestyle.
As an example, a large fridge-freezer will likely have a water and ice dispenser. Which, in turn, will free up space in your freezer and fridge. Or a new washing machine might have a “fast wash” option that allows you to get your dirty clothes ready to wear again within a few hours. It all depends on how convenient you want your appliance to be, crossed with how much you’re willing to spend.
Another aspect of convenience is just how easy your new purchase is to clean and maintain. Plastics, chrome and stainless steel are some of the easiest covers to your appliance, as they can be so easy to clean. Of course, some are better than others. You should also consider the possibly cost of parts, further down the line- try to opt for an appliance that comes with a warranty, which can help out in a few years’ time as your appliance becomes worn and begins to break down.
Kitchen style and space
There are usually only two options you can choose from when it comes to kitchen styles and what you buy will likely come down to amount of space you have available (more options are available but aren’t particularly worthy of note). The first is whether your kitchen comes with integrated appliances or has the room for your cupboard space to be changed into integrated appliances.
This just means that your new items will be built-in to your kitchen space, where they likely won’t be seen until you do a little digging. Their benefits are mostly the fact that your kitchen will look a lot neater without them and you won’t need a specific area to keep your appliance, as long as the main factors, such as water and electric, are considering when installing them.
The second is the freestanding option. This is where you can buy pretty much any appliance you like, as long as your kitchen has the room to pop your newest purchase into an allotted space. They tend to be a little more stable but can cost a little more, due to the extra material required in production.
On a much simpler note, you’ll also want to consider your personal style when buying a new appliance. You’ll most likely discover this as you go, so don’t worry too much about this- the biggest factor being the colors available and design of the appliance. It’s all about whether you like appliances that feature as much as possible, when it comes to gadgets and gizmos, or if you prefer a minimalist look.
Somewhat tied in to both your budget and lifestyle, the energy usage of your appliance is becoming a bigger selling point with each passing year. An appliance that is more energy-efficient will likely cost a little more- but they will also save you money on your gas and electric bills over time.
Each item should come with a general guide as to how much is used by the average household, so do a little reading and decide on whether the cost vs yield will make a big difference to your family.
This can be a key factor in deciding on the best appliance for your home. If you’ve found an item you love, whether in-store or online, it’s important to do a little homework surrounding it. Check out the reviews to find out what kind of slip-ups are likely to happen further down the road, and make sure that your new item will one that will last. You should also check out the reviews for the company you’re buying from, as this can often make or break the overall standard of your appliance.
In-store or online?
The last option you’ll likely have is whether to buy your items in-store or online. There are pros and cons to both, since you’re likely to get a better “feel” for a product that you can see and have a play with. Thus, your best option here is to be a little sneaky- once you’ve got your essentials down, go and take a look at different options in your local store.
Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of appliance you like, head back home and do your research- check out your reviews and compare the item you liked to others online. It’s likely that you’ll be able to find a similar product that more closely matches your expectations, this way.
Kitchen appliances: The essentials
Thanks to the miracles of modern science, there’s a huge range of ovens available to the general public these days. Gone are the days of having to fork out for a commercial-grade oven that can handle the trials and tribulations of family life. Now, you have the option to get the most powerful oven in a compact format- if you’re willing to pay for it.
Before buying your oven, you’ll need to check these factors:
Probably one of the important parts, you should measure the distance between your worktops or cupboards before buying your oven. You’ll usually find there are three main sizes available- range (the largest and available between 90cm and 150cm), standard (between 60-90cm) and compact (usually around 50cm).
Your oven is likely to work on one of two supply lines- gas or electric. Check this before buying, as you’ll also need to ensure you can get the right fit, which usually requires a gas plumber or electrician to visit and fit your appliance.
Similar to your oven, your hob can sometimes come with your oven- as a full cooker unit- or separately. If it’s attached, then you’ll likely save some money as the combination cookers are more likely to be budget-friendly. Otherwise, you’ll need to check the size and supply here, too. The only other factor you should consider, if you have an electric supply, is whether you should buy an induction hob.
Induction hobs are environmentally friendly because they require less energy to heat up your pots and pans. However, you’ll usually need to get induction-friendly pans in the first place, as they use electromagnetic energy to heat up your pots in half the time as a standard hob. They are also cool to touch, as the heat itself comes from the pan. These are great for families with young children, as they’re less likely to accidentally touch a hot stove.
Fridge and fridge/freezers
There’s a whole range of options out there for those looking to buy their fridge and freezer. Naturally, these all come with their own pros and cons, so have a good read before deciding what to buy.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, under-counter fridges and freezers sit below your worktop. They tend to be cheaper but also come with less space.
Unless you have a lot of space and a big family, there usually aren’t preferred by standard households but they can hold a LOT of food and are great for commercial purposes
Available with a range of ratios, these are the most popular types available on the market. For those with a little less space, you can opt for a slimline fridge-freezer which can have a ratio of 20:80 in terms of freezer to fridge. Meanwhile, larger kitchens may be able to host American fridge-freezers, which are 50:50 and come in full height, allowing for more food storage.
They are also more likely to host more features, although you’ll need to check for adequate supply for some of these, such as a water or ice dispenser, which will need access to plumbing.
Sinks and taps
Arguably one of the most important appliances in the home, since we all need to use our kitchen faucets. There’s a whole host of features available here, but the main things to consider should be what features you’d like in your faucet- for example, a pull-down tap is great for those who do a lot of washing up, since it will get into every corner of your dishes- as well as how energy-efficient your sink will be.
Washers and dryers
Since we all wear clothes and those clothes probably require washing from time to time, it’s a good idea to invest in a washer (and dryer, if you have space). The key here is to look for the drum size, which will allow you to pop in as many clothes as is possible, which links back to our convenience aspect.
Speaking of which, features can make up the majority of deciding factors here. Some washers will be a washer-dryer combination, which frees up space for your kitchen. Others will include a higher spin, which means you’ll need less drying time once the wash has been completed. And some might come with the ability to add clothes once the wash has begun or use a quiet spin which allows you to continue with your day without the rattling of your washing.
There are more examples here, but you get the general idea. Opt for a washer that fits in with your space and lifestyle, and you won’t go too far wrong.
Other appliances you might want to consider for your kitchen come under the small appliance category. These won’t cost as much but can make your life much easier as you go about your day-to-day routines:
- Coffee maker
- Slow cooker
- Food processer
- Stand mixer