Food for Thought

Choosing Major Kitchen Appliances

Making the right decisions about big-ticket kitchen appliances means considering design options, décor, current trends and budget.

Choosing major kitchen appliances can be fun, but homeowners should think of family and lifestyle first. If hiring a designer or doing it yourself, be prepared with a list of your desired appliances as they will impact space and traffic patterns. You will want this information first, as it will influence the shape and design of the rest of the kitchen.

Dishwasher Upgrades

Dishwashers have undergone changes over the years, replacing loud, clunky, eyesores with incognito models that are so quiet it is difficult to tell if they are on. Look for models that feature concealed control panels built into the top of the door and stylized paneling that keep this appliance from standing out. Quieter motors and stainless-steel interiors help deaden dishwasher noise—a crucial feature for open-plan homes or kitchens with adjacent entertaining spaces.

Don’t overlook the possibility of buying two or more dishwashers—a growing trend in kitchens and kitchen remodels. For larger families or homes that like to entertain, one dishwasher can be cleaning while the other is being filled with new dirty dishes.

Dishwasher Technology and Sizing

Homeowners interested in cutting-edge technology should be on the lookout for energy-efficiency, shorter cycles, and advanced features designed to cut time and fuss over dishes like ASKO, BoschFisher & PaykelJenn Air’s 3-tiered dishwasher, with adjustable racks and a washing arm under each rack, are setting new marks in dishwasher design.

Most under-the-counter dishwasher models are a standard 24 inches in width, so selecting a new unit to replace an old one may not require space reconfiguration. If purchasing a European model, check the measurements since they are often narrower than their North American counterparts.

Cooktop Features

Cooktops can now be fully independent from ovens, which brings more features and flexibility to both. Commercial cooktops are becoming more popular in residential kitchens because they truly cater to the gourmet chef. High-end gas cooktops feature low-level BTU output settings for cooking light sauces or melting chocolates, which provides maximum control for precise cooking. Look for burners with an inner and an outer flame for high-precision and consistent heating like you see in Wolf.

New residential units are chasing their commercial predecessors in terms of price and features, so do your homework. Electric residential cooktops may be less expensive, but will not have the same precision as gas models. Rangetops range in size from 30 to 36 inches wide, but may be as wide as 48 inches if a griddle is included.

An island cooktop allows the entertaining chef to face the guests and bring the cooking to the party. Downdraft ventilation systems can eliminate the need for overhead hoods, and emerging technologies like Induction cooking can create a safer cooking environment. With induction cooking, a magnetic-based pot or pan interacts with a magnetic field created by the cooking hob coils, inducing a current in the pot or pan. The pot or pan actually heats up and cooks the food while the surface stays cool. The system itself is entirely flame-free.

Standard and Convection Ovens

Ovens come in two types—convection and conventional. Convection ovens are more expensive, as they feature blowers that circulate the heat for faster, even cooking. As with dishwashers, two ovens is becoming the norm in today’s kitchen. Whether wall-mounted or fixed below the cooktop, two ovens allows for greater cooking capacity and flexibility.

Warming drawers, once a pretty prominent fixture in kitchens, are seeing a resurgence in kitchen design. Warming drawers can be set from 0 to 175° Farenheit to maintain the texture and temperature of cooked foods without drying them out. Warming drawers cost anywhere from $1000 to $1200, but are useful additions to kitchens that see a lot of use and provide large or complex meals for guests or families.

Innovative appliances like convection microwaves offer new cooking options for the pressed-for-time homeowner. With roasting, baking, and crisping capabilities, convection microwaves combine all the reheat features of a microwave with the cooking options of a convection oven. Cooking time is cut in half, but the desired flavour and texture of the food remains. New to the market also is the microwave drawer which is ideal for island installations or paired with the warming drawer under the wall oven clearing up counter space.


The exhaust system is an essential and often overlooked kitchen component. Exhaust system capabilities should match the size of the stove or cooktop below it. Exhaust systems are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The bigger stoves and gas cook tops require greater the exhaust capabilities of the system. Check with your contractor or certified dealer to be certain that the exhaust system matches and complements the stove that it services, make up air may be necessary. Check Best, Broan, Faber, Vent a Hood for design ideas.

Refrigerator Rundown

Refrigerators come as side-by-side, top-and-bottom, and built-in units. Choosing a style may be largely a matter of personal preference, but the size of the refrigerator should take into account the size of the family. A family of four may only require a 21 to 25 cu ft unit, while one of six or more might want a 27 to 32 cu ft unit. Let the needs of the family determine the size of the fridge, but be sure not to skimp—there’s nothing worse than having a packed fridge that doesn’t function to fit the family.

Both height and width need to be taken into account when looking at refrigerator size. Refrigerators can be as tall as 72 inches or more and as wide as 36 inches. A homeowner will want sufficient clearance from hallways, doorways and so on. A refrigerator that is going to be placed next to a wall will require a suitable door design.

One rising trend to consider is the addition of auxiliary fridge/freezer drawers like the Sub Zero. These under-the-counter units can serve as easy-access beverage centers or to store overflow items from the fridge or freezer. Reducing traffic through the chef’s space is a nice little perk for the busy kitchen. A beverage drawer can keep the kids out of the cooking area and out of the primary refrigerator.

Why Pay for Appliances to be Delivered Professionally…

Customers often wonder if it is worth paying the extra money to have their new appliances delivered by us. Here are a few points to consider:

If you decide to pick up your appliances on your own and manage to either dent or drop them during the process, you are solely responsible for any damage that occurs.

Delivery service from our affiliated delivery company differs from a “driveway drop”. Our delivery people will bring the unit into your house and into the space it needs to go. As well, before delivery we uncrate and inspect the appliances in our warehouse to ensure no hidden cosmetic damage and the bonus, you are not left with any excess waste.