Appliances Shopping Guide

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    Washing Machines

    Big and small appliances are at the heart of any home, but choosing the best ones for your needs takes lots of research and time. Here’s what you need to know before making a purchase for your home.

    Washing Machines

    One of the essential big appliances in your home, a washing machine come in multiple designs. A top-loader is very easy to use because you don’t have to bend over to load and unload it. On the other hand, front-loaders use up to 65 percent less energy, thus being cheaper to run over time.

    Look for a machine that only heats the amount of water that it needs for running the cycle, not the entire household water tank. A machine with a minimal water usage is also a top choice – check the labels and try to purchase a machine that consumes under 15 gallons per cycle for maximum efficiency.

    Dishwashers

    Capacity and special features are the important factors to consider for a dishwasher. The price range for these appliances goes from $200 for basic units to upwards of $2,000 for high-end models that come with a multitude of features, such as hidden controls. The good news is that a dishwasher uses less water than you would consume doing the dishes by hand.

    A standard-size dishwasher fits 12 five-piece place settings, but if you are entertaining frequently or have a large family, you can opt for models that fit 14 place settings instead and can also handle large trays and stockpots.

    Other features to look for include a delay-start option so you can turn on the dishwasher at a later time, and multiple cycles so you can deal with grime efficiently while using less water. A dishwasher with a short 25-minute cycle is a great choice for those who want to run small loads daily.

    Range

    The type of fuel you have in your home is a decisive factor when shopping for a new range. Electric models boil water and heat food faster, whereas gas models offer you much more precision than gas models because you can control the flame. Prices start at about $500 for both types, and can go up to a couple of thousands, depending on functions and size. If you wan to pair a gas cooktop with an electric oven, you may look into a dual-fuel range.

    When buying a range, look for convection capabilities as these allow the air inside to circulate, thus cooking the food about 25 percent faster. Other features to look for include warming drawers, which are generally located under the oven cavity so you can keep the food warm until you are ready to serve it, and steam technology that can infuse moisture manually or automatically into baked goods and roasts.

    Microwave Ovens

    Opt for a countertop microwave oven if you want an appliance that you can place anywhere, or go for an over-the range model if you want to save space. No matter what type you choose, look for a high wattage so your food will heat up or cook faster. If you only need a microwave unit for reheating food, a 600-watt unit should be enough. On the other hand, if you want to use it to prepare full meals, choose a model with up to 1,300 watts.

    Other features that you may want in a microwave oven include a turntable size and function for even cooking results, and a convection mode that offers very fast cooking results as well as a roasting and grilling function.

    Small Appliances

    Small appliances generally sit on a worktop and because they are visible, they are not only functional, but also contribute to the overall ambience of the kitchen. The appearance of the items is thus an important shopping consideration, and you can either choose to purchase all your small appliances in a certain color range or go for a more eclectic look.

    The category of small appliances includes diverse items, with some of them being essential for most kitchens and others being niche products that are appealing to a small segment. Essential small appliances include toasters, kettles, blenders or food processors, and coffee makers. A couple of examples of appliances that only appeal to a niche market include yogurt makers, meat slicers, electric pasta makers, waffle makers, and electric can openers.

    When buying a new small kitchen appliance, ask yourself if you have enough counter / storage space for it. Next, consider whether the item is easy to clean and maintain, and make sure it is available in a color or finish that would complement the rest of your kitchen. Finally, make sure you consider the safety ratings and reports before adding a new small appliance to your kitchen.

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