by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers
Choosing kitchen appliances is no small task. Sheer functionality is at the forefront of your requirements during the researching and buying processes, but you also want to choose the models that fit your specific needs, add a new level of convenience to your life, and match your personal style. Technological advances have added innovative features to appliances that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, but that you will definitely want to consider for your own home, and that you will certainly appreciate once you get used to the luxury! While the absolute best solution will vary by family, here are some choices that anybody will love.
Refrigerators Meant for Organizational Success
We all like to come home to a fully stocked fridge, but many of us find that items get pushed to the back and lost. Digging them out can be a chore, so find a refrigerator that you know will work for the way you stock up. Bottom freezer models are ideal for most, because they boost fresher ingredients up to eye level and encourage you to use them. But many people still prefer side-by-side models because they have a freezer that is larger in proportion to most, and both sides have more shelves for stacking everything in an easy-to-access vertical arrangement.
When shopping for a refrigerator, be on the lookout for models that align with your organizational style. Do you like lining things up on shelves or putting them in the security of drawers? The more divided the space can be, the better. You can always remove a shelf if you need to accommodate a bigger item, but piling multiple smaller ones in a space too large is ultimately messy and will always create visibly empty, unutilized areas. Minimize those—they’re a waste!
The freezer can make or break a refrigerator design. For models where it is on the bottom, there are swinging doors and pull-out drawers, and each type has its benefits and drawbacks. Swinging doors give you shelves and are generally easier to organize, but they can be hard for people with mobility issues to access. A pull-out drawer solves this problem, but oftentimes creates a situation where things can get deeply buried and lost, and thus that much more difficult to find and use. Here’s where more division comes in handy again—get a freezer with more drawers and you won’t be left digging for dinner.
The latest built-in Jenn-Air® wall oven has an intuitive LED touch screen and can be controlled remotely with a smartphone or tablet through the Jenn-Air® Culinary Center app. That means you can keep an eye on what’s happening in the kitchen when entertaining guests or make sure the oven is preheated by the time you arrive home from the store. The brand’s V2™ Vertical Dual-Fan Convection System helps ensure consistent results whether baking, roasting, or broiling.
Intelligent Ovens That Monitor Themselves
Choosing an oven that fits your cooking style is easier now than ever before, thanks to the wide variety of options out there. While a range—a cooktop and oven contained within a single unit—is still the go-to solution for many homeowners, more are finding that splitting the functions into two appliances gives them greater freedom of movement and the ability to get more things done at the same time, so it’s perfect for people who like to host.
Wall ovens are easier on your back to use, and many come in a double layout that lets you cook at different temperatures at the same time. Now, they have even expanded to connect with our wireless lifestyles. Cooking used to mean constantly checking things in the kitchen, but now you can step away from the oven and let it do all the monitoring for you, and it will notify you of progress through an app. Wi-Fi connectivity can even help get you through the preparation process with instructions and pictures, so amateurs as well as veterans can produce their best work.
Precise Induction Cooktops for Fast Heating
It looks like a ceramic glass electric cooktop, but heats quickly and evenly like gas—an induction cooktop is the way to go! The flat surface is easily cleaned, but the real magic is that it isn’t hot on its own. A fluctuating magnetic field paired with a suitable piece of cookware—it must be magnetic as well—will produce eddy currents, heating up the pan directly. Heat energy isn’t lost around this system like with others, and the cooktop will only get as hot as the pan is. Basically, it’s a very efficient setup that gives you more control.
When shopping for an induction cooktop, look for any extras you might like. You can let precision programming set you up for success, because there is a bit of a learning curve for people who aren’t used to the speed and accuracy that induction provides. There are settings for getting water to the perfect boil, melting delicate chocolate, and keeping soups at a constant simmer. Just make sure to invest in cookware with iron in it and you’re ready to go!
Full-Coverage Dishwashers for the Cleanest Clean
At the end of a long day in the kitchen, you’ll want to clean up as efficiently as possible. A dishwasher has a tough job, and luckily technology keeps improving to provide homeowners with appliances that hold more, include space for awkward items, and offer full-range spraying action to hit every nook, cranny, and corner. All of these great features can even be wrapped up in quiet packages that won’t disturb you, no matter when you run a cycle!
It’s worth the time to explore the multitude of options available nowadays. For example, a third level rack, which is shallow and sits above the two main racks, gives you more functional space by accommodating long and flat items that don’t fit well elsewhere. Cooking utensils, chef’s knives, and even saucepan lids are finally given a place of their own here, where they can be properly cleaned and don’t create an awkward jumble amongst the silverware basket and plates. Just about everybody will enjoy the extra convenience of this rack.
As far as other features go, choosing the best ones is largely personal. A family with young children will find that specialty nozzles for washing bottles—just insert the long, flexible nozzle into an inverted bottle to blast the interior clean—provide something that parents of the past only wished for. For those who need to wash a lot of stemware, there are models with extra shelves with integrated holders for delicate glasses. Advancements in design have given us dishwashers with movable tines to deliver targeted cleaning power, and innovative washing and drying systems that clean better than ever before. When shopping for a new dishwasher, make sure to select one that matches your needs—with a little research, you can find a model that meets your requirements and completes your kitchen.