Kitchen Appliances: When to Splurge vs When to Save

Appliances are a quick way to run up your budget when remodeling, so prioritizing and finding value is paramount

Remodeling a kitchen is a process. Whatever the size and scope of your endeavor, you are likely working with a budget and though kitchen appliances aren’t cheap, there are steps you can take to find value. ESTATENVY consulted a handful of experts to help homeowners assess their options when in the market for kitchen appliances.

Where can buyers find value in kitchen appliances?

“You get what you pay for when it comes to appliances,” said Kevin Krasney, a 3rd-generation owner of Cole's Appliance & Furniture Co. in Chicago. “Consumers can find value by sticking with one manufacturer. This way, they can utilize rebates that come with bulk purchases like this.”

Krasney recommended that remodelers shop for their appliances near holidays because manufacturers usually have discounts because of special marketing incentives. He mentioned Memorial Day, the 4th of July and around Christmas time as prime times to find good deals.

“Ditching chains for local retailers is another way to find value,” Krasney pointed out. “People that operate as more than just sales people and are knowledgeable about their business are as invested in the longevity of the appliance as consumers are. It can be a great cost-saving endeavor when factoring in frequency of service,” he added.

Amy Roach, a purchaser at Harry Miller Appliances in Alsip, Illinois, said investing in smart appliances allows appliances to adapt with buyers’ needs on top of providing great resale value. “With new technology, today’s appliances re adapted to work with phone apps. They are equipped to help the cook of the house access recipes with WiFi capabilities, adapting to the consumer’s needs more easily. A mere smartphone connection even allows buyers the ability to save settings and access the appliances remotely. There are great time-saving features for the busy cook.”

What trends in kitchen appliances are you noticing?

Melissa Soria, also of Harry Miller Appliances, said she has seen homeowners’ purchasing patterns shift in a number of areas recently. Buyers are trending toward smaller sized microwaves, with most electing to not putting it above the range oven. “As Americans become more health conscious, microwaves are becoming outdated. Kitchen appliances are adapting to those changing needs,” she said.

Soria also pointed out that buyers are looking into energy-efficient appliances and exploring color more so than ever before. “Stainless steel is still there, but major brands are trending toward black stainless and black slate, a darker matte color. Whirlpool just released a sunset bronze line of appliances that are almost rose gold in color. This variety appeals to more modern tastes because millennials are beginning to purchase homes,” she added.

If a buyer can only invest heavily in one appliance, what should it be?

The experts all agreed that the decision of where to most heavily invest should be based on individual need. “By asking simple questions like whether the consumer entertains often or is a single person versus a family, we can pinpoint what appliance would fit them best,” Roach said.

“If a buyer is a cook, they tend to shop fresh more often, sometimes every day. For them, I’d recommend investing in a nice range or cooktop and oven. Shopping fresh makes a fridge less important,” Krasney said. Roach agreed. “For a buyer who loves to cook, a professional range is likely the most worthwhile purchase.”

Soria added that high-quality ranges are becoming the go-to piece in most kitchens. “The free range oven stands alone, which optimizes counter space. Buyers are leaning away from investing most heavily in fridges and dishwashers in favor of the standalone range. A lot of appliance companies are also vying for the one staple piece, usually a different color,” she has noticed.

What are some of the best inexpensive yet durable options out there?

Krasney mentioned GE as his go-to for that inexpensive, consistently quality product. “Bosch is another durable product. There’s a bit higher of a price point, but that brings a superior pedigree of quality,” he added.

“Any product made by the Whirlpool Brands is worthwhile. They offer a variety of products at different price points, making these appliances more accessible to a wide variety of people without sacrificing quality,” Roach said. The team at Harry Miller Appliances also mentioned Whirlpool Brands an affordable appliance option, with the added benefit of incorporated technology, plus brands like Amana, Maytag and KitchenAid that offer great quality and design while being manufactured in the U.S. to boot.