Like with many other commodities, appliance technology is constantly improving.
Years ago, you had to spend big bucks to get the innovative features. Today, most appliance brands produce a warming drawer and an induction cooking product, and almost every oven has convection and self-cleaning. For gas ranges, every range has at least one power burner equal to an expensive professional range.
For many families, making the decision to purchase a new kitchen is an enormous one. It requires both a financial and time commitment.
Fortunately, affordable luxury brands produce compelling products with cutting edge features at a more affordable price. What once was a $5,000-$7,000 dollar refrigerator is now a $3,500-$10,000 appliance package of stove, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator.
Following are the 5 best affordable luxury brands for people who still want good looking, yet functional appliances at a decent price.
The appliance industry is constantly evolving. Every brand releases new products on a rolling basis. In the past, the conversation was more about "who has which product categories", capacity and BTU output. Today, the conversation is more interesting.
Technological integration, maximizing versatility, and attractive aesthetics have been prominent themes over the last year in the affordable luxury sector. Three years ago, we wrote about this topic for the first time and are revisiting it in 2017 because the industry is very different than it was a short time ago.
What is an affordable luxury brand?
The good news is, you no longer need to break the bank to own attractive and functional appliances. The affordable luxury appliance market spans the gap between your basic four-piece kitchen package and ultra-high-end professional-style products.
Most appliance buyers will purchase products from the affordable luxury market. For this reason, there are many brands to choose from and many products and features to sort through. This article will address the top five affordable luxury brands of 2017, their points of pride, and their shortcomings.
The 5 Best Affordable Luxury Appliance Brands
5. Frigidaire Professional
Frigidaire is a well-known appliance brand in the U.S. market. Today, Frigidaire is owned by the Electrolux Corporation, a major Swedish appliance manufacturer. Frigidaire makes three levels of product: Frigidaire, Frigidaire Gallery and Frigidaire Professional.
Although from a features perspective the Frigidaire Professional and Electrolux offer similar levels of product, typically Frigidaire Professional comes in at a more affordable package price.
Pros: The Frigidaire Professional line has been very popular. It is aesthetically pleasing with clean lines, smudge proof stainless steel, and a bit of industrial flair. The gas ranges have a large center griddle burner, temperature probe, and glide rack for an afforable price. They make a counter depth refrigerator with two ice makers.
Cons: I wish the Frigidaire Professional ranges had a warming drawer, it doesn't make sense that some Frigidaire Gallery ranges offer a warming drawer and the Pro line does not. I also think this line would benefit from offering a wall oven/microwave combination which many of the competing brands offer.
KitchenAid is probably one of the most recognizable appliance brand names in the industry today. KitchenAid is owned by the Whirlpool Corporation along with brands Jenn-Air, Maytag, Whirlpool and Amana. About two years ago, KitchenAid underwent major aesthetic improvements and today also sports an industrial look. KitchenAid has been been a go-to mid-brand with a variety of products spanning from entry level to built-in products. Although KitchenAid is best known for dishwasher and refrigeration, they make a full line of cooking products as well.
Pros: The high-end Whirlpool brands, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air, have recently made massive improvements to the aesthetics inside their counter depth refrigerators. KitchenAid also makes a few full depth models with a platinum interior or clever middle drawers for optimal organization.
A few years ago, having a range with two ovens was a huge trend. The first models to hit the market did not gain popularity because many people found it difficult to bend over to access the larger oven on the bottom. The high-end Whirlpool brands (Jenn-Air, KitchenAid) also make ranges with a full-size top oven and baking/warming drawer underneath.
Cons: I wish KitchenAid offered a dishwasher that could install flush in a standard depth cabinet, especially in panel-ready. I also think that there are a few refrigerator models that are built to a price point that should be updated to create greater differentiation from Whirlpool's value brands (Maytag, Whirlpool and Amana).
They have a 5-door refrigerator, but it lacks the curb appeal of Samsung or LG. Like most companies, their technology and Wi-Fi compatibility are increasing with each new release but are not very robust at the moment.
3. Bosch Benchmark
Today, Bosch is considered one of the highest-end affordable luxury brands out there. They are part of the BSH Corporation along with Thermador and Gaggenau. In the past, Bosch products spanned the value range, today Bosch offers product that is comparable to the other affordable luxury brands on this list and can sometimes compete against high-end Miele, Wolf, and Thermador packages.
Pros: Bosch is growing in the high-end market with attractive products at relatively reasonable prices. About two years ago, Bosch released the Benchmark line including integrated refrigerators, steam ovens, and side-swing ovens.
They are expected to incorporate technology into their built-in coffee maker and dishwashers this year and possibly other appliances in the future. Their ovens can install flush, which is rare for an affordable luxury brand.
They offer several levels of ranges, ovens, cooktops, and dishwashers to appeal to your needs and budget. Bosch also makes one of the industry's best dishwashers with over 50 models to choose from. Bosch dishwashers are also typically label-less so they can integrate seamlessly in any kitchen.
Cons: Bosch discontinued a huge portion of their value line products. Bosch is becoming a high-end appliance brand and Bosch Benchmark products offer their best features. Their value products could use improvement. The 800 Series ranges have less features compared to other brands at similar prices.
This is a company with a very limited two refrigerator models and three ranges. Like KitchenAid, they should be focusing on apps and Wi-Fi compatibility.
For the first time, Samsung makes this list, and impressively enough, in a top spot. Samsung is a huge South Korean company best known for manufacturing electronics and televisions. Their claim to fame was originally rooted in attractive and afforable refrigeration and laundry.
Today they are known for incorporating technology, attractive design, and product innovation. Recently, Samsung purchased the high-end brand, Dacor, and I am curious to see what Samsung will be able to do in the industry's high-end sector.
Pros: Samsung makes some of the most advanced freestanding refrigeration. The 4-door flex refrigeration system is arguably the move versatile out there. It brings your fresh food to waist level like a French door, yet allows you the organization of a side-by-side underneath. The flex system allows you to customize the temperature in the bottom right refrigerator/freezer to accommodate your needs as they change.
The Family Hub refrigerator is also unique. It looks like a giant Samsung tablet on the front of your refrigerator.
Samsung also debuted the Flex Duo oven, a range that can be separated into two separate oven sections operating at two slightly differnt temperatures with reduced flavor transfer. Their Wi-Fi induction cooktop could be the best on the market.
They are the most technology-forward company in the appliance industry today.
Cons: Although Samsung refrigeration, laundry, and cooking have been popular, Samsung's dishwasher lineup still has room for improvement. Samsung has been more responsive than ever, but parts and service have been a challenge for this brand in the past.
Since 2008, Jenn-Air continues to be the highest-end brand in the Whirlpool family. Jenn-Air products span from front control ranges and microwaves to pro gas ranges and built-in refrigeration. Jenn-Air is one of the only brands to offer downdraft ranges and cooktops.
Their slide-in package at $5,000 includes a slide-in range with convection and warming drawer. You also have a convection microwave, so you have two ovens and a warming drawer for cooking. Also included is an integrated dishwasher and counter depth French door refrigerator.
Pros: Despite Jenn-Air's status as a high-end appliance brand, their products package very aggressively. Jenn-Air 4-piece packages typically fall within the same price bracket as KitchenAid, Frigidaire Professional, and Bosch 800 Series but offer a 2-year full coverage warranty (the other brands have 1-year full coverage warranties).
They were one of the first and only affordable luxury appliance brands to adopt a menu-driven cooking system in their wall ovens and are not incorporating smartphone app controls. Jenn-Air is also well known for their obsidian refrigerator interior on their built-in refrigerators and select freestanding models.
Cons: For a high-end appliance brand, their dishwashers need to be more distinguished from their sister brands. There are a select few refrigerator models that could also use some updating, especially against Samsung.
Once again, they need to improve their design and technology to keep pace.
You don’t have to spend over $10,000 to get a nice appliance package. The affordable luxury market gives you great options in a variety of brands. Typically, in the same brand you have access to both high-end and entry level packages, so you can buy affordable packages with great features.
So before you spend $18,000-$23,000 on a luxury appliance package, check out these brands for less than half the price.
Download the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with buying strategies, specs and descriptions of every major brand. Over 200,000 people have read a Yale Guide.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 28, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy, freshness and comprehensiveness.