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Should You Buy Black Stainless Steel Appliances? (Reviews / Ratings)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  April 24, 2019  |  8 Min. Read

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You're probably curious about black stainless steel if you are just buying appliances. You may be looking at it as an alternative to the stainless steel you see everywhere.

Black Stainless Steel has become a very popular finish in a short period of time comprising a whopping 30% of package sales nationally last year. 

When I originally wrote this in 2016, Black Steel was the hot new finish. Our Black Steel Scratch Test video has over 35,000 views on our site and YouTube since October of 2017.

In this article, you will learn about what black stainless steel is, the pros and cons, the best brands for black stainless steel, how it cleans, and if it can be repaired if scratched or damaged.

In the end, you will know if this finish is right for you. 

What is Black Stainless Steel?

Samsung-Black-Stainless-Stell-Kitchen-Package

Samsung Black Stainless Steel Appliances

In terms of appearance, black  steel is a different hue of stainless and coordinates well with most styles of cabinets. It looks good especially as an alternative to stainless steel.

However, black stainless steel is simply a coating over stainless steel. It's not a painted or baked-on finish for most brands, except for Bosch. 

Bosch bakes their black finish to their stainless.  It is much more scratch resistant, but not scratch proof. 

Black Stainless Steel Popularity 

If you are sick of stainless steel, this finish may be a good change of pace. Black Stainless Steel is also smudge and fingerprint proof, unlike most stainless finishes. 

Black stainless steel has an appealing metallic look, so it matches most cabinet styles. It's not a far stretch from a stainless steel finish. 

Black stainless steel in 2018 was roughly 25-30% of total kitchen packages throughout the US.

At Yale, it's less than 2%. That is a significant difference.

We like the finish, but are less optimistic about its wear in your kitchen.

Let's look at the manufacturers and the reasons why.

What Brands Make Black Stainless Steel Appliances?

LG black stainless steel kitchen

LG Black Stainless Steel

LG and Samsung were first. Now Bosch, GE, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, and Whirlpool now manufacture a full line of black stainless steel appliances. 

Should You Buy Black Stainless Steel  Appliances?

kitchen-aid-black-stainless

KitchenAid Black Stainless Steel Appliances

It depends on your mindset. The finish is different and will work in your kitchen. If you are extremely careful, then it is a definite consideration.

If you have small children or use your appliances a great deal, then you should worry about scratching this finish.

It is impossible to repair as you will see.

If you are in the middle and intrigued, Bosch and Samsung are your best choices.

Bosch is better but they have limited availability of products and an absence of a gas or electric range.

For the other brands like Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, and Electrolux, Samsung is the most scratch resistant.

You should look at this finish closely before buying any appliance in black stainless steel - bring a fork.

In the final analysis, Black Steel is a legitimate option to regular stainless steel. You just have to be very careful to not scratch it.

Why Not to Consider Black Stainless Steel

There are two reasons to stop before you rush and buy a black stainless steel kitchen.

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

At 30% of sales, black stainless steel will probably not be discontinued anytime soon. However, it is a concern.

Secondly, black stainless may be metallic looking, but it's not scratch resistant like stainless.

In a way, it actually accentuates the scratches, because it is just an overcoat placed on stainless. Watch the video below to see our scratch test.

Is Black Stainless Steel Scratch Resistant? [Video]

 

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Only Samsung passed the key scratch test.

Samsung may be the best for commodity brands. However, Bosch is the best-made black stainless steel.

Unlike every other brand, the black color is mixed in the steel itself. It is not a coating, but part of the steel. 

Is Bosch's New Black Stainless Steel Scratch Resistant? [VIDEO]

 

Bosch is by far the most scratch resistant, but they have a different problem. They do not manufacture a range in black steel. You would have to buy a wall oven and cooktop increasing your costs substantially.

Their black stainless steel range will be available in 2019 (maybe).

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

Black-Stainless-Scratch-Test-Yale-Appliance 

How Do You Repair a Black Stainless Steel Scratch?

I don’t know. It bothers me because I should know.

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

There are many ideas, but no concrete solutions. I thought the most creative was a simple black felt pen, but you would have to match that shade.

Other solutions may be colored wax or metal refinishing.

There isn’t anything I have read to fix this issue.

Think of black stainless steel as tape. When you breach that tape, there is no way of re-taping or refinishing a scratched Black Steel refrigerator.

Other Popular Designer Finishes Worth Considering

blog.yaleappliance.comhubfsYale-Home-Show-Framingham-Wolf-Kitchen

Sub-Zero Wolf Stainless Steel Appliances

I would still recommend stainless even today or placing panels on your appliances as a different look.

However, there are other options.

Many of these finishes will distinguish your kitchen, but be mindful that many designer finishes are discontinued after appeal diminishes.

Best New Finishes

GE Cafe's White and Black Slate Finish

GE Appliances White Finish (1)

 

White was the high-end finish before stainless steel. GE Cafe has reintroduced that and Black Slate.

You have different handle choices as well like copper and brass in Cafe to customize your appliances even further.

Whirlpool's Golden Sunrise Finish

Despite the name, the finish looks good as a more golden hue of stainless. Better yet, it is stainless, not a peelable finish.

Best Colors for Appliances

Instead of buying a full suite of colors, add just a pop. Ranges in particular are good candidates for a different style.

La Cornue

la_cornue_range

La Cornue has a bunch of colors including pink, blue, green, black, white and so on.

BlueStar

BlueStartraditional-kitchen

BlueStar has 750 plus different trim and knob packages. You can even send them a color, and they will match it to your range.

Fisher & Paykel

Fisher & Paykel OR36SCG4R1 Range

Fisher & Paykel has decent color selections in a lesser expensive range as well.

Our Final Piece of Advice

Before you buy black stainless steel, stainless steel or any designer finishes, just do some research.

There are a number of ways to distinguish your kitchen for appliances...just be mindful of all the pitfalls as well.

Additional Resources

Get the Yale Appliance Buyers Guide with features, specs, and inside tips to all the brands. Well over 350,000 people have read a Yale Guide. 

View our appliance buying guide

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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

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.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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