Buyers guide to kitchen appliances
Kitchen appliances are some of the most important and relied upon electronics in your household. It’s more than likely that all of the appliances in your kitchen are used at least once a day - if not more.
That’s why it’s so important to choose appliances offering good performance, reliability and energy efficiency.
There are lots of other things to consider as well, take a look ahead for a guide on everything you need to take into account when buying a new kitchen appliance for your home.
One of the most important things to consider with an oven is the size. Always check that the appliance you decide to go with will fit everything that you want to cook in it.
Then consider what sort of oven are you looking for? A built-in or a freestanding one?
Well, a built-in oven will fit in with your cabinets and look more sleek compared to oftentimes bulky freestanding alternatives. Usually, they come with more advanced features such as self-cleaning and cool touch for your children’s safety.
A freestanding oven is a more traditional option that will usually come with an integrated hob. This makes it easier to install, and much more simple to transport should you move homes.
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Different types of ovens
The clue is in the name with microwave ovens. They combine your oven and microwave into one handy appliance - more often than not, however, they are limited in their size and advanced feature offerings.
Electric ovens are the most common type of oven. Using fans, electric ovens ensure that heat is spread evenly throughout, so your food comes out cooked consistently.
Touted as a healthier alternative, steam ovens use hot steam and air to cook food, locking in flavor as well as many of the nutritious properties.
There are three different types of hobs to choose from. Each offers its advantages. At the end of the day, however, they all do the same thing - heating your pots and pans ready for cooking. It’s up to you to decide which is best for you and your family situation.
These hobs are powered by gas and offer a tangible flame to heat your pots and pans. Thanks to this, the heat output is instant, though more caution is required when they are used and following their use. Cleaning is often quite simple, with removable grids so you can access all parts of the hob.
Safer for children, induction hobs only heat up the pot/pan rather than the surface of the hob itself. This does mean that specific pots and pans compatible with induction cooking methods are required.
Electric hobs come with glass surfaces that are easy to clean and usually quick to heat up. They’re the most common type of hob found in kitchens across the UK. They don’t require specific induction compatible pots and pans.
A hood is a vital appliance that works in combination with your hob. It extracts the steam and odor that is emitted from cooking food items on your hob.
More advanced options clean, filter and then recirculate the air, whereas others simply act as extractors - removing the steam and odors.
For induction hobs, it’s a good idea to find a hood that stretches the width of your hob plus a little bit extra.
Fridge and freezer
Your fridge and freezer will be running all day every day so you should look for a model and brand that offers great energy efficiency to reduce these running costs. Look for at least A+ but ideally, the best offer A+++ energy efficiency.
You can get two separate appliances for your fridge and freezer or you can look to an American-style option that will stack both into one appliance. Either way, ensure that the space inside is enough to fit all the food and drinks that your family needs.
Microwaves can be bought as a built-in unit, placed within the same setting as your cupboards, or as a freestanding appliance that can be put on worktops or elsewhere.
Microwaves can perform many functions such as defrosting and heating food. If you decide to go for a microwave-grill or microwave oven then you could potentially combine two appliances into one.
They may not be as powerful or spacious as a separate unit, but for smaller households or individuals they can be extremely versatile.
Power is of course a key consideration, with the average wattage suitable for most people’s needs being around 1000w - 1200w. You can purchase microwaves with power outputs up to 1600w and upwards.
The washing machine in your home is likely to be used at least once a day - sometimes more than once when the washing pile really starts to build up!
That’s why it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of the appliance, just as you would with fridges and freezers. Investing in a highly efficient (A+++) model will help to save you money in the long run.
How many clothes require washing per load, will your machine fit everything it needs to?
The size of your washing machine, both the drum and the machine itself, are vital considerations to make before settling on a purchase.
Drum sizes vary from 5kg all the way up to 12kg, so if you find that there’s usually lots of items to wash at one time then a larger drum size is a good idea.
If you’re looking for a less bulky, and loud option then an integrated machine will suit your needs.
Regularly using a tumble dryer is a surefire way of really ramping up your energy bills. More often than not, many people disregard them altogether.
However, an energy-efficient model along with sparing use - when you’re in desperate need of drying for your washing - is the best way to get the most out of a dryer without forking out monthly.
The most energy-efficient models are likely to cost a premium price but will save you money in the long term if your household needs a dryer.
Alternatively, you can choose to go with a washer-dryer combi, but that means losing some of the drum space as only about two-thirds can be filled when using the dryer function.
The dishwasher is another of the most used appliances in the average home. You could of course choose to skip it altogether and do all the washing by hand.
If you prefer the less time-consuming and altogether easier option of a dishwasher, then you should consider the size, noise level, functionality and features of the appliance you decide to purchase.
Often, dishwashers - like washing machines - are bulky and loud appliances. They can be integrated into cupboards, making them stylishly discreet, though this can come at some extra cost.
With how often the appliance will be used, you should check the decibels or sound level (the lower the better) and the dimensions to determine whether you have the required space.
Dishwashers will come with different settings for Eco wash cycles, or more thorough wash cycles - with the former usually costing significantly less per load.
Once more, energy efficiency is a vital thing to keep an eye on, it can save you lots of money on your energy bills in the long run.
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Look at the reviews for the appliances that you’re considering. They’ll give you a good overview of the item and what you should expect from it.
If you’re looking for a more stylish, discreet look then integrated appliances are the way to go.
Overall though, always keep an eye on energy efficiency as this can save you lots of money on your energy bills.