need help picking appliances!
November 14, 2008 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm redoing my kitchen. Looking to buy an oven and dishwasher and not sure what to look for & what is good...ideas?

Im looking at doing my kitchen over. I'm going to buy one appliance at a time. I have read that you need to pick a brand(ie. Frigidaire etc) and buy all three appliances in the same brand or the stainless won't match. Can anyone give me pointers on good ovens? Im not sure what to look for and my research hasn't uncovered much thus far. Oh Hive Mind I need appliance help!
posted by femmme to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Without knowing what features are important to you, it's hard to recommend a particular oven, but I would recommend going to consumer reports for research purposes. By looking at different features, you can decide which is important to you. I have a KitchenAid Superba, which is a great oven, have had zero problems with it, but it is a lot of oven for my purposes. Also, it may be hard to commit to a particular brand for all appliances -- the company that makes the best dishwasher for you may not make the best fridge. If they're not close to each other, the slight variations in the stainless may not matter.
posted by *s at 8:30 PM on November 14, 2008

The four major stainless appliances in my kitchen (range, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave -- maybe the last one's not major, but it is stainless) are all made by different manufacturers and they match just fine. It's a pretty big kitchen, so there are cabinets or space between the appliances, but I'm not sure you'd see a difference even if they were all lined up in a row. Door handles might be more of an issue -- my fridge and dishwasher just happen to have the same style, but it might be a little jarring if you had three very different door-handle styles.

As for what to look for and what's good, the answer depends on a lot of variables that you haven't provided. Budget is obviously big. Space is another one (a 48" range probably wouldn't fit in a small galley kitchen). Then there's the gas vs. electric thing. As someone who likes to cook on the stovetop, I think nothing beats gas, but some houses don't have a gas hookup, and I've also heard that some people who bake prefer electric (I've never understood baking, but apparently gas ovens create some moisture, which is good for some things but not others).

I will say one thing on dishwashers: think twice before going with those cool multi-drawer dishwashers. Some people love them, but I find that they do a sub-par job of cleaning and don't fit large objects like baking sheets (which I use for things other than baking), cutting boards, and serving trays. This would probably start a major controversy over at the Appliance forum on That Home Site (which you should check out), but just my take.
posted by lionelhutz5 at 8:40 PM on November 14, 2008

Do you actually use your kitchen at all? Or is it just for show? If the former... Screw the matching stainless. Design and functionality is too important in the kitchen. If I were buying a dishwasher I would buy Bosch. The ones I've known have cleaned amazingly well, used half the detergent, are completely silent, and I trust the brand pretty well. Stovetop has to be gas if at all possible, oven is supposedly marginally better being electric. Brand-wise, not really sure. First order of business is something that can pump out the heat (which is what generally distinguishes the higher-end brands).
posted by madmethods at 8:59 PM on November 14, 2008

I got a two drawer dishwasher and it's possibly the greatest appliance I've ever bought. Perhaps if there were more than two in the house and we washed more dishes it wouldn't be, but the ability to load one drawer through the day, then put it on when it is full and start using the other drawer is something I couldn't live without. It works great in dinner parties too where you can do small loads through the evening, entree dishes in one drawer then start it up, main dishes in the other drawer, then the first drawer is finished by dessert so you unpack it and do those, the the main dishes are done when everyone is heading home so do one final load with all the glasses or whatever. No real different to doing two big loads through the night but it just seems smoother and like less of a chore when you're dealing with smaller amounts through the night.

Remember that you can buy dishwashers and fridges that you place front panels on that match your cupboards if you want stuff to match, rather than trying to get varying stainless steel finishes to match.
posted by markr at 9:31 PM on November 14, 2008

If you're in the beginning stages of research, I'd recommend reading old Consumer Reports magazines for reviews of the different appliances. If you don't have easy access to the old magazines, subscribe to their online site for $5.95 for 1 month (don't forget to cancel after a month because it auto-renews). Then you'll have online access to all their articles. I did this for choosing the appliances in our recent kitchen remodel and it's well worth the cost.

We have 3 different manufacturers for our s.s. fridge, dishwasher, oven/range and microwave/vent and they all match very closely, so I wouldn't sweat it about mismatching colors.
posted by jaimev at 9:41 PM on November 14, 2008

I recommend the book, Kitchen Remodels without Suicide, Murder or Divorce, which was indispensable in the planning of my kitchen re-model. It kept me focused on what I needed to know and the necessary questions and stages of a remodel. Definitely not a kitchen porn book but it will definitely save you a load of money.
posted by jadepearl at 9:55 PM on November 14, 2008

Here's another cheer for the (Fisher-Paykel) drawer dishwasher. I have the single drawer and, after a year of daily use, I love it still and forever. They really re-invented the dishwasher with this. I also have the Fisher-Paykel fridge. This is counter depth and very well designed. I agonized with the oven/stove top decision and decided on the Jenn Air downdraft pod system. The griddle pod is simply perfect, and the electric enamel 2 burner top is pretty good for everyday cooking. For a gas burner (crepes, sauces, etc.) I got a Max Burton single (butane) burner. It should be heavier and it only works safely with the Burton canisters, but it has a wonderfully controllable flame. Best of the bunch. For an oven, I went convection/microwave combo. This took a lot of time to adjust to, but, after a year, I'm finally coming to terms with it. The compu-cook features are quite amazing. Stick a potato in it, press 'compu', Press #! (potato). That's it. Perfect everytime. It weighs it or something. Or, maybe it is magic.
So, what's missing?? No big, huge oven. None!. Nothing below counter height but cubboards.
If I want to cook a big turkey or 20 dozen cookies, I'll borrow my neighbor's professional gas range. But, after a year I haven't once. You really can adjust and change your cooking habits.
posted by Pennyblack at 10:09 PM on November 14, 2008

Consumer Reports is an excellent resource. In the economical category, Kenmore consistently gets good ratings.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:37 PM on November 14, 2008

Be careful with using Consumer Reports for dishwashers. If you look around for online reviews of what they rated most highly, you'll find quite a lot of people saying "We bought this Kenmore because of the CR rating but it's bad for XYZ" which are legitimately bad reasons. Because of that we were going to get the Bosch as mentioned upthread until we found out that it doesn't have heated dry (go ahead, call us Americans, we're used to it). We wound up going with the KitchenAid and although it's only been a month or so, it's so far so good.
posted by arabelladragon at 6:40 AM on November 15, 2008

We remodeled our kitchen recently and relied heavily on Consumer Reports and our own research. We ended up going with three different manufacturers for the cooktop, the ovens and fridge, and the dishwasher. There really is such a tiny, tiny difference in the stainless that my slightly OCD husband isn't bothered at all. As far as ovens, we have GE Profile double wall ovens. One is true convection and I really like them.

I'd suggest a trip to an appliance center. Or rather, several trips to as many as you can find. Ask questions of the salespeople but keep in mind that they're there to sell you things. Get the spec. books and compare the ones you like. Don't make yourself crazy, though. You really want reliability to be your benchmark.
posted by cooker girl at 7:59 AM on November 15, 2008

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