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Category: Appliances and Electronics

Would You Steel Your Appliances

By Donald Grummett

Would you steel your appliances? That is a question many consumers are now asking themselves.

The “in” style ----------

Stainless steel household appliances are the “in” style right now. People are being drawn to the clean look of stainless steel for their kitchens.

Stainless steel has become the fastest growing sector of household appliances. Not only for major household appliances such as refrigerators and ranges, but even for toaster, kettles, can openers, microwaves, bread makers and range hoods. There seems to be no end to the demand for the steel look.

So if a kitchen-remodeling project is in you’re near future then steel may be something you are considering.

Steel can provide the consumer with a feeling of strength, simplicity, elegance, and durability, all at the same time. Part of its appeal is the commercial or professional look it suggests to people. As part of the Martha Stewart generation we are fascinated with, and drawn towards, all things shiny and metallic. To this generation steel denotes: expensive – professional -- status.

Pros and cons of stainless steel -----------

But are the steel appliances any better than other types of finishes? The simple answer is no.

Do they operate any better than other high-end products? No, not usually.

Are they worse or more troublesome? No, of course not. They are simply a style of appliance that the public has fallen in love with at this period of time.

Consumers like the idea that stainless steel appliances always appear clean, if properly maintained. Also stainless steel can be a very durable product. Hence the reason it is the standard in the commercial area, including restaurants.

Stainless steel is becoming the new “white”. That is, it will go with just about anything else in the kitchen. It will match most finishes of cupboards, countertops, and flooring you have chosen. You can match a classic design of kitchen with an ultra-modern looking stainless appliance. This is a very positive feature that has been discovered by both consumers and designers.

On the negative side, some people dislike the idea of having to work to maintain the clean look. Stainless steel does require cleaning.

Fingerprints have always been a problem for stainless steel. Steel cleaner has to be used to alleviate this problem. The cleaner leaves a light oily residue on the steel, which will resist the fingerprints.

General Electric and Sears are both about to introduce a new stainless finish. They claim it will resolve the fingerprint problem associated with stainless steel. This will be a major marketing advantage for these manufacturers.

Also, stainless steel is very expensive to produce. So if junior decides to scratch the dishwasher door you should be prepared for a large repair bill.

On the positive side, as the prevalence of these appliances has grown the price of stainless has fallen drastically. This trend will continue.

Steel, chromium, and nickel -----------

Stainless steel is steel to which has been added nickel and chromium. This results in steel with a very hard surface. It is durable, and will resist both pitting and rusting.

The chromium added to the steel gives it the characteristic shiny surface layer.

The nickel gives it the non-magnetic character. So when your refrigerator magnets do not stick, blame the nickel.

If scratched, stainless steel can in fact self heal. A new layer of oxide will be produced that can cover over small scratches. But, since the surface layer is extremely thin rust can result if the scratch pierces this layer and exposes the base steel.

Stainless considered high end ----------

Most appliance manufacturers offer stainless steel appliances in their high end product lines. General Electric calls their stainless series Profile or Monogram. Frigidaire calls theirs Pro Gallery. Maytag, Whirlpool, and LG also offer stainless steel versions of their products.

Frigidaire has recently upped the stakes with the introduction of an even higher priced series called Icon. The Icon is an all steel finish that stresses clean and contemporary lines while maintaining all necessary functionality. Other manufacturers will be responding.

Fad or functional -----------

Are you old enough to remember other fashions from the kitchen? Do you remember green, yellow, or brown refrigerators? How about turquoise stoves, or black washing machines. At one time these were all considered the “in” thing.

So is the stainless steel appliance just another fad?

I don’t think so.

Stainless steel appliances are a style that has captured the public attention and will continue to do so. They are a style of appliance that has attracted consumers in ever-increasing numbers for reasons that even the manufacturers don’t fully understand.

Whatever the reason for the recent love affair with stainless steel it appears that it will continue. It is safe to say that they will remain on consumer wish lists into the foreseeable future.

About the Author: Copyright  Donald Grummett. All right reserved. In the trade over 30 years as a technician, business owner, and technical trainer. For more information about appliances including FAQ, Stain guide, and Recycling visit


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