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Should You Buy Black Stainless-Steel Appliances in 2024?

March 5th, 2024 | 6 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

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Should You Buy Black Stainless-Steel Appliances in 2024?

Black stainless steel once accounted for 20-30% of kitchen appliance sales in the US, as it was promoted as an alternative to stainless steel.

In 2024, it's less than 1%.

So, what happened?

When I originally wrote this in 2016, black stainless steel was the hot new finish.

It serves as a cautionary tale, similar to other highly publicized but untested new appliances.

You probably know or at least have an idea not to buy black stainless. This article will serve as a reminder to you.

By the end of the article, we'll also share less problematic alternatives for stainless steel finishes.

Let's dive in. 

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My Parents' Experience with Black Stainless-Steel Appliances

My folks have retired down South.

I visit them often. I feel they love seeing me only because they get to see my seven-year-old daughter.

Anyway, I walked into their home, and in their garage was a Samsung black stainless refrigerator.

Let's say they are not avid readers of the Yale Home Appliance Blog.

However, in their defense, the price was shockingly good.

It was also in their garage, so they didn't care about the issues.

We stopped selling black stainless shortly after problems started to arise and never bought into the hype.

However, during the pandemic, we sold Samsung black stainless French door refrigerators for $799, as people were looking for freezers.


Still, you shouldn't buy black stainless steel for your kitchen.

It's fine for a garage, pantry, or any other locations where looks don't matter.

Additionally, it could be an even better choice in such settings because black stainless appliances may be significantly less expensive than their stainless steel counterparts.

What Is Black Stainless Steel?


In terms of appearance, black stainless steel is a different hue of stainless and coordinates well with most cabinet styles.

It looks good, especially as an alternative to stainless steel, and the surface is much easier to clean than stainless.

However, black stainless steel is just a coating applied to regular stainless steel. For most brands, it's not a painted or baked-on finish, with Bosch being the exception.

The Decline in Popularity of Black Stainless-Steel Appliances

At one time, if you were sick of stainless steel, this finish was a good change of pace with its darker hues.

Black stainless steel stands out for being smudge and fingerprint-resistant, unlike most stainless finishes.

In 2018, black stainless appliances accounted for about 25-30% of kitchen package sales in the US.

However, at Yale, this number has dropped to less than 2%. That is a significant decline.

The two videos below outline the underlying problem with this surface: Scratching black stainless is easy; repairing it is the hard part.

Typically, you'd want a finish that's durable and easy to maintain, but that's not the case here.

That's the problem.

People stopped buying black stainless appliances because it scratches, showing the shiny stainless underneath like a constellation of stars.

You should especially worry about scratches if you have small children or use your appliances often.

Given these issues, you probably should not buy this finish under normal circumstances.

Read More: Does Black Stainless Steel Scratch Easily?

Should You Buy Black Stainless Appliances?

No, you should not buy black stainless-steel appliances.

Black stainless will probably be discontinued like most other specialty finishes.

If you must buy black stainless-steel appliances, then Bosch is the most scratch-resistant.

Bosch bakes the color into the process rather than applying the finish afterward.

However, if or when it's discontinued, the prices could drop dramatically. It may be worth banishing your kids out of the kitchen until they're older for a 10-40% discount.

Why You Should Not Buy Black Stainless-Steel Appliances

There are two more reasons to stop and reconsider before you rush into buying a discounted black stainless steel kitchen of appliances.

First, if it's discontinued, you will have to replace it with classic stainless-steel appliances one piece at a time.

Secondly, you can't repair scratches. I suppose you can pull off the black stainless coating and have a stainless kitchen, after all.

All black stainless finishes look different between the manufacturers, so you should not mix and match.

To review, this is what the scratches look like on all the manufacturers:


How Do You Repair a Black Stainless Steel Scratch?

I don't know how to remove scratches from black stainless steel. It bothers me because I feel like I should know how.

I have read through enough forums and other blogs. The best is this Reddit thread from years ago.

There are many ideas but no concrete solutions.

A simple black felt pen was the most creative, but you must match that shade. Most solutions are just for stainless, so don't get your hopes up for black stainless.

Think of black stainless steel as almost like tape. When you breach that tape, there is no way to re-tape or refinish a scratched black steel refrigerator.

Since the last rewrite, Samsung has been hit with a Class Action lawsuit.

Best Appliance Finishes Worth Considering

I would still recommend stainless steel or placing custom cabinet panels on your appliances for a different look.

However, there are other options.

It's important to keep in mind that many designer finishes can be discontinued if their appeal diminishes, even though they can add a unique touch to your kitchen.

I would put black stainless in that category, but it would have appeal without the issues.


White was the high-end finish before the stainless-steel craze when I started in 1986. It has returned and is the most popular alternative finish.

Café Appliances


Café allows you to customize your white appliance with six different handle styles.

So you can have trendy white with black handles white with polished brass.

Samsung & KitchenAid


Samsung and KitchenAid follow the old Frigidaire Gallery white look of the 1990s, which is white with stainless handles only.

It's pretty safe because most handles are stainless steel.

Samsung also has navy and tons of color options on the refrigerators.

Fisher & Paykel


Fisher & Paykel is a brighter, high-tech white than the other manufacturers.

Matte & Gloss Black

I asked a question on our YouTube channel for the most popular color alternative to stainless, and black received the most votes.

Yet, white is more popular in terms of sales.

Then again, more manufacturers are selling white, which is better than the ubiquitous white cabinets.

Café Appliances


Café again has a great option in a matte black with different options. They show it in brochures with copper for a unique look.



BlueStar has a beautiful matte black as well. We display that finish in our Hanover showroom.

Fisher & Paykel


Like their white finish, Fisher & Paykel has a shinier contemporary finish.

Other Stainless Alternatives

Custom Color Finishes



BlueStar has 1000 plus different trim and knob packages. You can even send them a color, and they will match it to your range.

La Cornue

la-cornue-chateau-in-pink (1)

La Cornue executes color better than anyone in terms of richness. You only have 50 color choices, but they can customize colors and materials.



Viking recently relaunched their 17 colors with a partnership with Benjamin Moore.

Note: Color is trendy, past stainless, black, and white. So place it on your range, which is central to your kitchen plan (hopefully).

I would avoid placing color on all of your appliances, but that's my opinion.

Read More: Best Color Alternatives To Stainless Steel For Kitchen Appliances

Key Takeaways

Research first before buying black stainless, regular stainless, or any designer finishes.

There are many ways to distinguish your kitchen from appliances. Just be mindful of all the pitfalls:

  • Scratching a black stainless-steel appliance reveals the shiny stainless underneath.
  • You will also have a black stainless kitchen with no replacement option in the next 7-10 years.

Buy black stainless-steel appliances if nobody uses your kitchen, as a spare in your garage, or if it's discounted beyond a reasonable amount.


Black Stainless Steel Appliances


Answers to the most commonly asked questions about black stainless steel appliances. 

What are black stainless steel appliances?

What are the pros and cons of black stainless-steel appliances?

Are black stainless-steel appliances more expensive than regular stainless steel?

Can scratches on black stainless steel be repaired?

Which brands offer the most scratch-resistant black stainless-steel appliances?

How do I clean and maintain black stainless-steel appliances?

Will black stainless steel appliances go out of style?

Additional Resources

Get the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with features, specs, and inside tips to all the brands. Well over 820,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

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