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Would You Steel Your Household 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 appliances such as refrigerators and ranges, but even for small items like toasters, kettles, and bread makers. 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.

Pros and cons ---------------------

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. We are fascinated with, and drawn towards, all things shiny and metallic. To this generation steel suggests: expensive – professional -- status.

Consumers like the idea that stainless steel appliances always appear clean, when properly maintained. Also stainless steel is 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 kitchen with an ultra-modern looking stainless appliance. This is a positive feature that has been discovered by both consumers and designers.

One negative about stainless steel is that it is very expensive to produce. So if junior decides to scratch the appliance door you should be prepared for a large repair bill.

Also, some people dislike the idea of having to work to maintain the clean look. Stainless steel does require persistent cleaning.

Fingerprints have always been a problem. Special cleaner is used to alleviate this problem. It leaves a light oily residue on the steel, which resists the fingerprints.

Rumors say that General Electric and Sears are both about to introduce a new stainless finish they claim will resolve this problem. It will involve the bonding of a transparent vinyl coating to the steel panels. If true, this will be a major marketing advantage for these companies, and a boon to consumers.

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

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

The chromium gives it the characteristic shiny surface layer and 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 manufacturers offer stainless steel appliances as part of 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 --------------------

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. A style of appliance that continues to attract consumers in ever increasing numbers each year. So, whatever the reason that people love stainless, it would appear they will remain on consumer wish lists into the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2005 by 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, Recycling, and Newsletter visit

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About the Author
MSM is a Practicing Planning Agent & building design team offering Architectural Services to their clients specialising in residential development.  The views & opinions expressed here are personal ones based on relevant life experiences.  These views & opinions are not intended to be actioned or copied by others.

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