HELP NEEDED WITH NEW KITCHEN APPLIACES
Hi Hounds - I'm buying a condo and need to replace the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. I don't need the most expensive models with all the new bells and whistles, but I do want well made reliable appliances. I'm a single woman and generally cook only for myself. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. TIA
Installing a kitchen for a woman-who-only-cooks-for-one might not be the best choice for resale value.
I don't think there is a "best brand," but there are brands with the best features for the type of cooking and price point that one wants. You need to seriously define both those points first.
Induction is the way to go; Fagor and Diva make really nice and reliable cooktops and Diva does have a pull-out induction range though it's upwards of 9 large. Of course you'll need induction-ready cookware. If you go with a cooktop you'll be looking at a built-in oven (Miele also nice, especially their pro 36" that can hold specific temps and fit two turkeys side by side).
I think you do need an oven; a toaster oven is a nice backup but it can't adequately handle roasting tasks.
Dishwasher, I'd vote for Miele primarily for the noise dampening and the placement of that third rack. Many people I know have and like Asko.
Refrigerator: depends on your needs, but bottom-freezer seems to be where these are going. Miele's is overengineered (and expensive!), but there's also GE Profile and Monogram.
before going for a toaster oven, try some. I have never found one that could do much other than heat frozen nuggets, toast really slowly, and dry tinned steel pieces too intricate to dry with a towel. I actually tried to bake in one once. Since they are so small there is little clearance between what is baking and the elements, leading to burning, but maybe there is a good one out there. I have a Cuisinart toaster oven because I have an autistic son and he likes the simplicity of one button operation for toasting. So that is a plus, and he loves nuggets and FFs, which it heats nicely.
A few more thoughts: Do you actually need an oven? Since you're cooking mostly for 1, how about the Breville counter top oven? http://tinyurl.com/ydepqp2 Or another brand of toaster oven? Cuisinart, Krups, etc.
Also, maybe you don't need a full-size dw....There are small dw's available...a single friend has one (sorry don't remember brand) & is very pleased with it.
You'll need to do far more research than just asking folks what is the best well made appliance for a single woman who generally only cooks for herself. The designs of these applianes come into play, and since you are gonna pay for them, You might as well get the best you can. If it was as easy as "which one is best?" there would only be one brand and model.
Side by side vs french door vs freezer on top fridges - personal preference. Which one is preferential to you? Water/ice dispenser - do you want it? Where? In the door, away from door?
American vs European? Noise level? On board heater? Food grinder? Top tray for silverware? What is important to you might not be as important to other people.
Gas / electric? Induction? Combo?
After gutting my kitchen down to the studs earlier this year, I have some random thoughts /opinions of my own:
Side by side refrigerators are worthless unless you get full size - separates. IMO, a side by side is just a skinny fridge and a skinny freezer. Very limiting. Furtermore, I have no want to bend down to get stuff out of the fridge. So, for my needs, a fridge on top model was the only model for me. I would also suggest that whatever model that you conclude is correct for you, that you SERIOUSLY take some time to test the sturdiness of the drawers. I didn't. I ASSUMED they were well made. They don't glide in/out very easily, and it's become a pain in the butt. Sometimes I just can't open the fridge and grab an apple out of the drawer, and then close the drawer. I have to fiddle with it a little. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a MAJOR issue, but in a sense it is, because if I had known this, I definitely would have purchased a different fridge. As for "in door dispensers," imo, it's a total waste of fridge space.
I went sep cooktop and wall oven. Gas cooktop for me. I do a lot of wok cooking, and need high, controllable heat.
I'd suggest taking a look at consumer reports, and the gardenweb appliance forums for an educated guess of what brand of appliances you'd like after you figure out what features are important to you.
I have read enough of these threads to know that with a nod tot he possbility (but not a certainty) that there is some thoroughly reliable brand out there, every brand has people who have great experiences and people who have had less than great experiences. So I have concluded one ought to buy based on the best price for the features one wants and forget the brands (unless it some obviously low budget line, in which case it likely will not have the features you want anyway!).
I have a KitchenAid architects series stove (gas). I love the oven. I know everyone seems to love dual fuel (electric oven and gas burners). The burners have been a huge disappointment. My next range will have a lot more BTUs, hopefully with more than one burner (how about at least three) with some high BTU capacity. It will have as little by way of electronics as possible. How ironic is to have a gas stove that you could not even light with a match because of a freakin' blown motherboard? I am thinking next time around I splurge on a Wolf and skimp on the other appliances. One other tip, look at the diameters of the burners. Regardless of BTU output, a very small diameter burner, even on ultra low, will still create a small hot spot even in the center of a heavy copper pan with tin lining.
As regards D/Ws, I have a bottom of the line Bosch and am quite pleased. It is a good cleaner and it is very quiet.
With regard to fridges, I have a French door GE with the chilled water in the upper compartment and an ice maker in the bottom. I love the design. The water inside is noticeably colder than the in the door option was on the prior (also a GE). I prefer the icemaker rather than the dispenser. The crusher feature was always breaking and the cubes were dangerous with thin rimmed glassware. All of the design pluses aside, the thing has had two motherboard problems over about four years. But when it works it works really well...cold and stable. If you don't have the space and budget for full width fridge and freezer, the French door is a great second choice.
Be sure to look around your area for an "appliance outlet." We've bought a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, refrigerator and my beloved dual-fuel downdraft Jenn-Air range from a local outlet and have never been sorry. They were either discontinued models or, at worst, came from the scratch and dent room. We saved $100 on a washing machine whose fatal flaw was an almost invisible ding on the control panel.
Not every outlet offers delivery/installation (or delivery/installation at a price that makes sense) so do your homework. Make sure you get the same warranty that you'd get if you bought elsewhere.
We have a Maytag refrigerator with french doors up top and freezer below, ice and water in the door, that we love. Of course this is after many years of filling ice trays, so maybe we are more tolerant than most.
The most important thing to remember is to measure the space that you have to put it in! It took us *years* to find the style that we wanted that would fit into the space allotted. Just ask the guys at Lowe's and Home Depot hoe many they deliver that don't fit and have to be returned!
You will be getting an extremely varied response from different people here many of them very passionate about their choices.
Dishwasher – IMHO you will find very little difference in cleaning/drying between high quality low end units and much higher priced units.
These are the “IN” brand names, so if name plates matter to you buy one of them
Bosch – Owned 2 – 3 failures in first 6 months of ownership, lousy racking, poor cleaning. It was the repair guy that suggested we purchase a different unit, they are legendary for having the pump seals break and spewing water all over the place.
Miele – Neighbor owns the Optima series ($2000), with the exception of mine being just a little louder he says that I have better racking and it cleans better
Fisher & Paykel – High maintenance issues, talk to repair people, if you get one that works they do fine, but your paying through the nose.
Kitchen Aid – Love/Hate with these some work fine others are lemons out of the box and will be maintenance hogs.
So what I have owned, a lowly Whirlpool bottom of the line Gold dishwasher, I have owned 3, one is still in use with no repairs after 17 years at a house we sold. The other two have been in use at my current house for 4 years. I paid under $ 500 for em. Don’t have a fancy name-plate but have a dishwasher that runs and runs and runs and runs and cleans the dishes and believe it or are fairly darn quiet too.
Refrigerators – I use the same principals, with the exceptions of two compressor units $$$$$$ there really is not much difference between them except for their little creature comforts, styling, etc. LG has gotten to be a very good brand among repair people so I would probably start there and see if there are other models that I like better. Bottom line is watch you $$$$ unless you like to spend lots of money a $ 1800 refrigerator is nor going to ‘perform’ much better than a $700 one. The $1800 one may have more insulation, cool led lights, fancy racking systems, a nice nameplate, etc, but the actual refrigeration/freeze function will not vary that much.
Range, like another poster said look at induction (sob, I love gas). Induction is the way to go, you ‘may’ have to buy different pots and pans, but it is a truly great system. I have no recommendations on manufactures for you, sorry.
PS Let’s watch the flames begin, dishwashers to some people are like kids and I just called the kid ugly and stupid.
RetiredChef: "IMHO you will find very little difference in cleaning/drying between high quality low end units and much higher priced units. . . . Let’s watch the flames begin, dishwashers to some people are like kids and I just called the kid ugly and stupid."
We will not call you stupid, but I do suggest that you have set the bar pretty low. I agree that most dishwashers are pretty close in cleaning/drying performance, but that is not the whole story.
We moved into the house we still live in in the mid-1970s, and it already had a dishwasher in it, on its last legs, that we managed to squeeze a couple of more years out of before it died. We replaced it in -- let's say 1978: that's pretty close, anyway -- with a Whirlpool, which lasted, in a manner of speaking, for 25 years. We had to have the Whirlpool repaired a few -- more than three, less than a half dozen -- times over that period, and it kept breaking door counterbalance springs, which we stopped replacing after the third time. It also kept breaking glassware during the washing cycle, which we solved by washing all of our good glasses by hand. But generally, it was a fairly sturdy warrior for a quarter century, when one day it asked us to give it a merciful end.
We checked out every "major" model on the market and were thisclose to getting a KitchenAid (the upmarket version of Whirlpool Corporation), when we ran into an old acquaintance, the former owner of a neighborhood appliance store who at that store had been very generous in spending his time to run down from obscure distributors a part for an old discontinued Westinghouse range that he had not even sold us, for a sale (of the part) that returned to him less than $10 gross. Having "retired" from his business around the turn of the century, in October 2003 he was working two days a week as a commissioned salesman at a much larger (but still locally owned) chain of appliance stores. I asked him about the KitchenAid that I was prepared to buy and which the store he now worked for sold. He did not dis' the KitchenAid at all, but he told me, refreshingly frankly, that the dishwasher I really should get was a Miele -- but I would have to get it somewhere else than the store where he worked, because the store we were standing in was not a Miele dealer.
We subsequently found a Miele (model G848, since discontinued) elsewhere and bought it largely on the recommendation of the old pro appliance man, who had selflessly given his best advice against his own putative financial gain had he sold us a dishwasher from a line that was sold in the store he worked in. The price for the Miele, in November 2003, was $821, which seemed like a lot at the time, but over the last six years it has proved a genuine bargain. Believe me, if you ever use the silverware tray at the top of a Miele, you never willingly will go back to using any other method of washing silverware. And we can -- and do -- wash our most delicate crystal stemware in the Miele.
So, although I can agree with you that there likely is little difference between the Miele and lesser dishwashers in cleaning/drying ability, the Miele is still a bargain because of its better handling of delicate dishes, its more convenient (and it DOES wash better) placement of silverware, and -- last but not least, its rock solid reliability: six years of hard use and never a hiccup or repair needed.
MARIKANSKY: "need to replace the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. I don't need the most expensive models"
DOS Tip! Avoid all refrigerators -- any brand -- that have "through the door" ice or water. Pretend that they do not exist.
Overall, bottom freezer refrigerators are the most reliable. Whirlpool Corporation's KitchenAid division makes some excellent bottom-freezer models.
As for cooking, seriously -- seriously -- consider induction. Take a day off and read http://theinductionsite.com/