Good kitchen appliances make cooking so much easier. They can also increase the value of your home. With so many appliances to choose from, though, how do you know if buying that new appliance will be money well spent? Should you buy the most expensive, state-of-the-art appliance or should you go for something more economical? That depends on your lifestyle, really, but here’s a handy guide to help you decide where to splurge and where to save on kitchen appliances.
Most people do the bulk of their cooking on the stovetop, whether it’s a quick pot of pasta or a stew that will taste best when it’s simmered for hours. A good stove is always a plus in a kitchen. If you love entertaining outside, you could even consider an outdoor kitchen complete with wood-burning stove.
How often do you really use your oven? Unless you’re a professional baker, probably not that much. So, you probably don’t need that state-of-the-art oven. Opt for one that is more economical, but is energy-saving and easy to clean.
Splurge: Built-In Appliances
Built-in appliances can increase your home’s resale value, but there is a caveat: they need to be in good working order and shouldn’t look dated. If you opt for built-in appliances, spend a little more money on getting ones that will last longer and have the kind of classic look that will go with any colour scheme or decor theme.
Save: Free-Standing Appliances
Free-standing appliances are much cheaper than built-in appliances and are easier to replace too. If you like the streamlined look of built-in appliances, but don’t want to make that kind of commitment, choose cabinet-depth free-standing appliances.
Splurge: Counter-Depth Refrigerator
A counter-depth refrigerator that’s almost flush with the kitchen cabinets will improve the flow in your kitchen and do wonders for the design aesthetic. It’s also a great option for small spaces. However, it isn’t quite as deep as a regular refrigerator, so it’s not the best option if you have kids and tend to keep your fridge fully stocked.
Save: Smaller Refrigerator
The smaller the refrigerator, the cheaper it tends to be. Before you go and buy that huge fridge, think about how much storage space you’ll really need. A large refrigerator makes sense for a family with children, but if you’re living on your own and tend to have a fridge full of condiments and no food, all that extra storage space will just be wasted.
Splurge: Induction Range
An induction range uses magnetic energy transfer, so you don’t have to wait forever for the coils to heat and cool. This means that your dinner will be done faster. While an induction range is more expensive and requires special cookware, it uses less energy. In the end, we’re all looking for clever ways to save money on the hydro bill, aren’t we?
Splurge: Stainless Steel Finishes
Appliances with stainless steel finishes are more expensive, but they look more stylish and are easy to clean. They’re also one of the things potential buyers look for, so they can increase the resale value of your home.
Splurge: Water Heater
While not really a kitchen appliance, you do use an awful lot of hot water in the kitchen. Your water heater is supposed to last for many years, so don’t skimp when buying a new one. Since it’s one of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home, you want a quality one that is also energy efficient, such as an Energy Star certified one.
Splurge: Energy-Saving Appliances
Investing in energy-saving appliances is one of the easy ways to make your home more energy efficient. When you need to upgrade your appliances, it’s well worth the money to fork out a little extra for an Energy Star certified model. Not only will your hydro bill be much less every month, but in many cases these appliances are eligible for a tax rebate.
Save: Finishes on Hidden Appliances
Stainless steel finishes look great, but for an appliance that’s hidden out of sight, they’re not really worth the extra money. For a dishwasher that will be hidden behind a cabinet or a chest freezer that you might not even keep in the kitchen, you might as well save on a less luxurious finish.
Splurge: Dishwasher With a Stainless Steel Interior
The cheaper dishwasher models usually have a plastic lining on the inside. These plastic linings aren’t very durable and they can absorb odours. Pay a bit more for a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior instead. It’s easy to clean, smells, better, seals better and is also much quieter.
Save: Non-Integrated Dishwasher
An expensive, high-end, integrated dishwasher has its buttons hidden on the door top instead of on the front. This is really a matter of aesthetics and doesn’t affect the function of your dishwasher. Unless you tend to lean on your dishwasher and accidentally set it off, one with buttons on the front is a cheaper option that gets the job done just as well.
Splurge: Slow Cooker
If you work all day and don’t have the time or energy to cook from scratch at night, a good slow cooker is a lifesaver. You simply need to add the ingredients in the morning before leaving for work and the slow cooker will do its magic. When you get home, you’ll have a nutritious meal ready and waiting, so you won’t have to spend your hard-earned money on takeout.
A toaster is one of those appliances that really only has one function: to make toast. Unless you’re eating toast with every meal, your high-end toaster will just clutter up your countertop. Instead, invest in a toaster oven, which has multiple uses. With a toaster oven, it’s also easier to clean out the crumbs that can attract bugs.
Splurge: Food Processor
Instead of getting a blender, a coffee grinder, a grater and a mixer, splurge on a good food processor. This way, you can use one space-saving appliance for blending, grinding, grating, mixing, shredding, pureeing and chopping.
Serious cooks don’t use microwaves that much, since nuking your food affects the taste and texture. The only real advantage of a microwave oven rather than a regular oven or the stovetop is that it heats up food much faster. For that, a cheaper microwave oven will do the job just as efficiently as a high-end model.
Splurge: Electric Kettle
In terms of function and energy efficiency, there’s not much difference between a cheaper and a high-end electric kettle. However, an electric kettle is so useful that you’re more likely to keep it on the kitchen counter than hidden away in a cupboard. So, spend a little more on one in a fun colour or stainless steel finish that will add to the aesthetic of your kitchen. After all, stand-out appliances are one of the small things that make the biggest impact in a new kitchen.
Save: Pod Coffee Maker
You don’t need a high-end pod coffee maker. In fact, you don’t need a pod coffee maker at all. Those pods are an environmental disaster and let’s face it: if you care about the taste of your coffee, you’ll probably won’t like the quality of what the pod coffee maker has to offer. If you don’t want to brew more than a single cup of coffee at a time, invest in a French press instead.