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Are stainless steel appliances really top of the line?

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Are stainless steel appliances really top of the line?

Ask real estate agents and they will tell you—when buyers are paying top dollar to purchase a home, they expect the kitchen to have stainless steel appliances.  Is this just a trend or are stainless steel appliances really so much better?

When your fridge, stove and dishwasher are all made of stainless steel, they definitely make a noticeable statement.  The distinctive look of stainless steel first caught people’s imaginations about three decades ago, which started the move towards shiny, gleaming kitchens.  Appliance producers noticed the shift in consumer demand and began making their most innovative designs in stainless steel, while white appliances became the standard models that remained the same year after year.

Fine design has been the hallmark of stainless steel appliances, making them the choice of discerning buyers.  Still, stainless steel has its drawbacks.  It is really only “stainless” to the extent that the finish will not be affected by spills, heat or rust.  But ask anyone who has to clean an appliance with a stainless steel finish and they'll tell you that it’s almost a magnet for fingerprints.  Stainless steel also requires a particular method of cleaning—the finish readily develops streaks if it is not polished in a very specific way.  And definitely keep rings and sharp fingernails away from the softer finishes or your beautiful appliances will be marred forever!

Recognizing these problems with the upkeep of stainless steel appliances, some top rated manufacturers are starting to reinvest in quality design for white appliances.  Miele is a good example.  Their most exciting designs have been saved for a new line of white glass appliances.  Another way that the hassle of stainless steel is eliminated in the best appliances is to design them built-in.  This way your oven or fridge is hidden behind your exquisite cabinets rather than standing out as a distraction.

Whatever your choice in appliances, don’t feel you have no option but to buy stainless steel when you renovate.  There are other, more easily maintained solutions that will reflect your good taste just as well, and will similarly demonstrate lasting value.