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Is Stainless Steel Out For Kitchen Appliance Packages?

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You are buying a new kitchen and do not want it looking like your neighbors. Perhaps you are sick of the stainless steel look or are looking for the next trend.

We also just finished with reviewing the newer Black Stainless Steel last week, so an article about the older stainless finish seemed in order.

Guess what? You will still be probably be buying stainless. Let me tell you why.

By the way, I originally wrote this in 2012. Let's see if I was correct or whether I owe you an apology.

In this article you will learn the problems with new finishes, then a few alternatives you should consider, and then why you should look at stainless again.

Popular Alternatives to Stainless Steel

 
 
 
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Colors 

About 11 years ago, the Wall Street Journal called us and asked: "Is stainless steel out for kitchen appliances?"

Our answer was no at that time.

In 2018, we would still say no.

For an example, let us take a tour of once popular and heavily marketed finishes from some very large manufacturers.

All of these finishes have been discontinued.

Whirlpool "White Ice"

Whirlpool-ice-1.jpeg

GE "Slate"

ge slate kitchen appliance finish

Miele "Truffle Brown"

Miele-Gen-6000_Truffle-Brown_Lifestyle_1.jpg

Brown is like one of those zombie movies. You can’t kill it. Manufacturers equate it with the promise of selling a brown finish with your wood cabinets.

You, on the other hand, probably view brown as a dark color absorbing light and choking the life out of your kitchen. You aren’t alone.

Our Grandparents had their brown finish, Coppertone. It never became popular.

Jenn-Air had their brown years ago called oil rubbed bronze, their code word for brown.

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Miele equated their brown to a high end consumable, The Truffle, in hopes you would see a color other than brown.

Undaunted by their recent failures in colors for appliance packages, there are even more new finishes like Sunset Bronze and Black Slate.

Whirlpool-Brand-Sunset-Bronze

Whirlpool Sunset Bronze

If these companies finally get their proprietary color right, you will be enticed to buy the whole package.

Unfortunately, these proprietary colors are hard to match when discontinued in the future.

Love the colors?

You should still consider color, just not on every appliance. You can execute a pop of color while making a design statement, especially on the range.

La Cornue and BlueStar are the best for color and style. Fisher & Paykel, Bertazzoni, and Ilve have high fashion colors at a better price.

It's much easier to replace one product than a whole package.

Here are a few examples:

Black Stainless Kitchen Packages Pros and Cons

Black Stainless Steel has some promise at 30% of total package sales in the US, because like regular stainless it matches every cabinet style.

Its dark hue is nice looking and better at resisting fingerprints.

Now the bad news: It can be scratched revealing the shinier, stainless underneath. In many ways, this accentuates the scratch unlike stainless.

Now the good news: Bosch is manufacturing the black in the stainless, so like stainless, it is scratch resistant.

Have a look at this video before you buy a Black Stainless appliance.

Black Stainless Steel Scratch Test

 

My answer 10 years ago is the same as it is today. Stainless steel is not going away, and here's why:

  1. More selection. Every company manufactures stainless in a large number of different packages
  2. Colors and specialty finishes have limited appeal. Viking has tried for years to sell a number of color packages with very limited success.
  3. Stainless Matches. It matches every wood tone and finish. Dark wood, light wood, and white cabinets all look good with stainless steel.
  4. Price. You can buy a stainless steel kitchen for $1,499. You can buy it in different configurations, size, and options.

Final Thoughts

Well, stainless steel will still dominate as the predominant finish for the near future.

Black Steel has a chance to be a legitimate choice when the manufacturing process allows fewer scratches like Bosch.

In the meantime, if you truly do not want stainless, then add a bit of color and place your cabinet front panels on your refrigerator and dishwasher

Additional Resources

Get the free Yale Appliance Buying Guide. You will like this guide. It has features, specs and inside tips to all the brands like Sub-Zero, Thermador, Bosch and Miele. It covers built-ins, counter depth, freestanding vs. slid-in and much more (plus a ton of good product shots as well). Well over 350,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 3, 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness, accuracy and freshness.

  Appliance Buying Guide
Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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