SELECTING APPLIANCES FOR YOUR HOME: A QUICK DECISION-MAKING GUIDE FOR LAUNDRY AND KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Not so long ago, a housewife or a maid had to do all the tough cleaning tasks by hand, and the kitchen often consisted of a fire and a bucket of water. Not so anymore! We are surrounded by machines that simplify our lives. When you’re in the market for new appliances, the number of choices can be overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand what your options are, and how to choose the item that will work best for you.
Laundry is often the most-disliked task in the house, probably because it is never totally complete. Choosing laundry machines that suit your needs will help alleviate that problem. First, consider the capacity you need. Home improvement stores often have a simple chart aligning the number of people in the home with the recommended capacity, but as an obvious rule of thumb, bigger families need bigger machines. When you know what size you’re looking for, turn your eyes to the energy usage. Each washer should have an Energy Star rating which shows how much energy they use per load, and how that usage ranks among other similar machines. This is important information to you because you’ll want to consider the cost of using it as well as the cost of purchasing it. Dryers do not receive Energy Star ratings, but often still have energy-use comparisons. Beyond this, there are plenty of options to consider, from the looks of the outside casing to storage compartments.
If there is a chore that competes with laundry for Most Disliked, it’s got to be washing dishes. Electric dishwashers have been around for decades, but are not always included in kitchens, and many people still choose not to have them. If you want to be free from scrubbing, check out your options. Dishwashers are pretty much all the same size, although you may invest in a professional-sized one if you choose, and they all work pretty much the same way. The first factor you should consider in your choice is the Energy Star rating the machine receives, so you can choose one that conserves energy and money. The other options you’ll have are largely cosmetic, such as the outside casing or the configuration of the racks inside.
The refrigerator is often the center of the kitchen, whether it’s sleek and stylish or covered with children’s artwork. There are several different types on the market, with single doors, side-by-side doors, French doors, extra wide, freezer drawers, and optional icemakers – it may be overwhelming. Think about the ones you’ve had, and the ones your friends have, and how they serve your needs. Take a stroll in the appliance department and spend some time with them to decide which layout works best for you. After that, take a look at the Energy Star ratings. The refrigerator is running 24 hours a day, so you will definitely want one that is efficient while it does its job. When you’ve chosen a model, you’ll probably have a choice for the outside casing. Do you want classic white, stainless steel, or maybe retro avocado?
Oven and Range
The oven and cooking range are a part of the kitchen that isn’t usually thought about unless it’s broken. When it is, though, that may be the best time to upgrade. Did you know that you can buy the oven and range separately? Homeowners often choose to locate the range on their kitchen island, where it can be central to the cooking process, while putting the oven off to the side, inside a wall and raised up to eye level for easier baking. If that’s not for you, traditional combined stoves are also still popular. These appliances do not receive energy ratings, but the salesperson should be equipped with information to help you choose one that suits your needs.
Small Kitchen Appliances
Alongside those large appliances, we often fill our kitchens with a number of small appliances to make our cooking tasks easier. The microwave, once large and expensive, is now small, cheap, and nearly ubiquitous because of its ability to simplify cooking tasks. These are available from many manufacturers at your local mass market store, and choosing one is as simple as comparing a few specifications on each model, and picking one that fits your budget as well as your needs. Blenders and toasters are good examples of items where your personal preferences are the main concern. If you have a smoothie every morning, or your kids are really picky about their toast, you may want to invest in the high end models. On the other hand, if you don’t need one that’ll last for decades, you can choose a model with less durability and a lower price tag. Slow cookers, waffle irons, and electric griddles are another category of small kitchen appliances which are even easier to choose between. In general, there aren’t many differences between these items, so you’re free to choose one based on nothing more than looks and price.
There are dozens of different appliances on the market, each with dozens of different options to choose from. These machines exist to make our lives easier, so choosing one shouldn’t be difficult.