Appliance Selection Tips For Your New Kitchen
By Shane Bloomfield Bill & Ben The Cabinet Men
Making a good choice with the appliances for your new kitchen is one of the keys to ensuring you get the kitchen you want.
It seems simple – just go to some showrooms and pick the ones you want. But once you are there a cloud of complexity and confusion can swallow you up!
Here are some basic tips to get you moving in the right direction. And remember, there is no such thing as a “dumb question” when creating your kitchen. If something is not clear – keep asking until you know what is right for you!
A Great Place To Start..
Start by thinking how you use your existing appliances – and ask yourself these questions:
- Do your appliances do everything you need them to do, or is cooking, preparation and cleaning a chore? This is your chance to change your kitchen life for the better. Are there some things that happen that you would prefer didn’t? And are there some things you wish just happened automatically? And what things would you put on your “dream” list if money were no object? It might be something you have seen in a magazine, or one of your friends has. Or it might be something as practical as a “plumbed-in ice maker” for your fridge. Make the list!
- Do you cook for a large family or a couple? Think about how many people you usually cook for, and how many at peak times. Bigger is not always better, and the size and capacity of your appliances can make a difference to the design and set out of your kitchen.
- Do you entertain? And when you do so – would you prefer to be interacting with your guests? The way that your kitchen is set out and the appliances selected can impact heavily.
- Do you love to cook? Or do just cook because you have to? This question will help you determine just how many ‘bells and whistles’ you look for in your appliances.
Types of Cooktops
Gas means instant heat, and allows you to cook in a cyclonic situation! Usually economical to run, and many people like the ability to “see” the fire and directly control the heat.
Ceramic – is now the most common type of cooktop. However, be aware that not all ceramic cooktops are the same. Some have better quality elements which are faster and more responsive than others. Choose a good “quality” one. As a rule, the more money you spend, the better the quality.
Induction – Looks like a ceramic cooktop but offers so much more! Induction cooktops heat faster than gas, but can cook as slowly as a “slow cooker”. They are extremely economical and a breeze to keep clean. However, it is worth checking with an electrician to make sure your existing wiring is sufficient. Also be aware that you will need compatible saucepans which have a magnetic base. However, it is all worth it!
Ask your sales person for a demonstration at the showroom you visit.
Types of Ovens
Fan forced – are generally the most preferred. All modern fan forced ovens now have a grill element inside the oven, so you can have closed door grilling. Nearly everyone now prefers to cook with the fan forced option – it is faster and gives more even heat throughout the oven.
Multi-function – These come in a wide variety starting with 4 or 5 functions, with up to 12 cooking options. Your sales person should explain the different options so you can choose the one that suits your cooking requirements. If you particularly like to “bake”, a multi-function oven may be for you.
Pyrolytic – Of course we all LOVE to clean our ovens, but IF YOU DON”T – then this oven could be for you! These ovens are usually at the top of the range as they combine a fully multi-function oven with programming facility and the lovely cleaning function. The pyrolytic clean requires the oven reaching the temperature of approximately 500 degrees and incinerating the mess inside. Just a simple wipe with a damp cloth on completion, and job done!
Accessory – Catalytic Liners – Some ovens come with liners fitted, others you add to as an accessory. Not to be confused with the pyrolytic ovens, these liners will clean themselves but will not eliminate the ‘proper’ full cleaning of the oven interior from time to time.
Canopy – The canopy style rangehood is usually chosen for looks and design to make a feature of the cooking area. Generally, these have a reasonable to extremely good air movement and are best ducted externally.
Slide- out Rangehoods – These offer a sleeker look with the continuity of kitchen cupboards and your cabinet can integrate the fascia to match the overhead cupboards.
Undermount Rangehoods – These are becoming increasingly popular. Similar to the slide-out as the motor casing sits up into the overhead cupboard, but again it is a more minimal looking unit. These now come in a variety of sizes.
TO DUCT OR NOT TO DUCT – That is the question!!
This is a very touchy subject. In most cases, ducting the air from the rangehood externally (to the outside of your house) is preferable. But this is not always possible, which means the air is then recirculated (after filtering) back into the kitchen.
Some rangehoods offer charcoal filters and this will maximise the effectiveness of the recirculated rangehood. Choosing a rangehood depends on the needs and aesthetics and it may not always be best to choose the same brand as your other appliances. I suggest you also consider the amount of noise that you rangehood will generate – and use this as part of the brand comparison.
Once you have decided on a style or look, it is then time to choose one with the correct air movement capacity depending on your recirculating or ducting choice. Your sales person should be very clear on these specifications.
Most complaints about rangehoods not working properly are due to incorrect installation or the incapability of ducting for the required distance.
Rangehoods are often the last appliance to be thought of, but the one best chosen correctly. Rangehoods are essential to the long term health of your kitchen as they control the amount of moisture, and airborne oils that are present.
There are still a few of us who have never had the pleasure of owning a dishwasher. Most say that they do not mind the chore of washing up. While that is commendable there is certainly a lot more to a dishwasher than just an appliance to do a menial task.
A standard sink bowl holds approximately 24 litres of water. Now if you were to half fill it twice a day to do your dishes, you would use 24 litres without even taking into consideration the rinsing before and after. Most dishwashers now use no more than 13 litres for a whole load, this being used once a day.
And with a final rinse heat of around 70 degrees, not many hot water systems deliver water of that temperature to your kitchen so the hygiene aspect is also a great consideration.
The water used by your dishwasher is continually being filtered during the rinsing and washing process, whereas the water in our sinks is not, thus resulting in a much cleaner washes! After using a dishwasher and seeing the results, washing by hand just does not compare favourably. Who would have thought?
Most new model dishwashers are extremely user friendly and your sales person should be able to help you choose one which will suit your needs.