Stainless steel has been the finish of choice in appliances for several years because it offers a high end look. It will also match your cabinets and backsplash.
Stainless is the most hygienic as well, which is the reason you see it in commercial and restaurant kitchens. Germs cannot proliferate on the solid surface of stainless unlike porcelain and other finishes. Thus, stainless is a cleaner surface and the code commercially.
However it is harder to keep looking clean, especially from fingerprints.
Before we talk about appliance finishes, there are some good cleaners designed especially for stainless. We recommend Champions. It's water based and non-toxic. I am sure there are others. Just look at the ingredients before you buy (some have unwanted chemicals).
Manufacturers have also devised various fingerprint proof stainless to hide and minimize fingerprints. Some are worth considering. Some are not. Let's look.
Frigidaire has a finish on their Professional and Gallery series. It is called Smudge Proof stainless steel. It resists fingerprints and is much easier to clean. This is achieved by a heavy brushing of the stainless steel which tends to have a darker look. In fact, Frigidaire has a much different finish and appearance than other manufacturers like Jenn-Air, Whirlpool and GE.
Frigidaire offers a complete suite of Smudge Proof appliances of all different prices. However, the finish does not match other manufacturers, so you would have to buy the whole suite from Frigidaire for a matching kitchen.
Miele also offers clean touch stainless steel. It is fingerprint resistant but not as a heavy in color as the Frigidaire. Miele has a slight brushing effect but still looks good with other stainless steel finishes.
Miele is polar opposite from Frigidaire. It's tough to have an all Miele kitchen even with their new stove introductions and expensive as well. However, it is a more natural shade of stainless and can be matched with other brands better than the Frigidaire.
GE CleanSteel and Frigidaire Silver Mist
Clean Steel and Silver Mist are really gray. They were originally for price driven builders as a lower price to stainless. Then they became advertising pieces to lure you into a store to then buy stainless.
Now you can buy stainless at the same price after rebates. I wouldn’t consider either CleanSteel or Silver Mist for your home. It is, however, a viable option for a lower priced rental if on sale.
Better Than Stainless Steel? [Video]
Both Frigidaire and Miele are good choices for care free stainless. However, combined they are only 15% of the market at best. Unless you like both, your best option is really to buy a good cleaner and not worry.
You would have better options and more to consider with a cleaner than marrying yourself to either finish. You can also wait for other brands to start producing more resistant stainless.
Read the Yale Appliance Buyers Guide with features, specs and answers to the 10 most asked questions when buying appliances. The Guide includes pictures and full descriptions. It's a great read for people considering an appliance purchase. Well over 100,000 people have read a Yale Guide.