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Thanks to the pandemic and a desire to eat healthier, many of us have rediscovered the joys of cooking at home. But if your current appliances don't perform well or aren't meeting your needs, that joy can quickly turn into frustration.
So, if you're thinking about replacing your tired, consumer-grade appliances with gleaming, new professional kitchen appliances, you're not alone. Spending is up when it comes to kitchen appliances.
But what to buy?
You've seen all these terms before. But do they mean the same thing?
For most of us, the terms are interchangeable, thanks to marketing by savvy appliance manufacturers. In reality, true commercial, industrial, restaurant, and professional grade kitchen appliances may not be suitable for the home.
There's nothing quiet about a commercial operation. Therefore, there's little sound suppression in their appliances. For example, true commercial refrigerators have loud compressors that cycle frequently.
Commercial appliances may require 220-volt wiring. This means paying an electrician to redo your kitchen wiring. Refrigerators may have less insulation and put out more heat. And since they hold more food, they run more frequently, all adding up to greater energy costs.
Gas ranges may require a larger incoming gas line than residential homes have, necessitating a major overhaul of your gas plumbing. Flames may go higher. They may also have a standing pilot light as opposed to an igniter, thus using more gas.
All that heat, especially when it comes to cooktops and ovens, requires industrial-strength ventilation. This is another added cost in terms of installation as well as energy usage.
True professional kitchen appliances are not designed with pets and children in mind. And they are designed to be freestanding. That's because they freely emit heat on all sides, so they cannot be sandwiched between cabinets. They may also not meet local fire and safety codes for residential use.
Also, consider appliance weight. Professional equipment can weigh more. If your home is on a concrete foundation, you'll probably be okay. But, if there's any doubt, have this checked out.
And, it should go without saying, that commercial equipment needs to be installed by a company that specializes in it. Shortcuts and guesses can lead to hazardous operating conditions.
Industrial kitchen equipment requires cleaning on an ongoing basis. On the plus side, they are designed to be heavy-duty.
If you are going this route, it's best to use the same brand for all the appliances. Because, if an appliance stops working, odds are only a commercial kitchen service company can fix it and they are often authorized to work on just single brand. Be aware that many commercial repair companies are not licensed to work in residential homes.
There's also the appliance's warranty. Does it cover being installed in a private home? What about your home insurance policy? Will use of commercial appliances void the policy? And are there any local ordinances that need to be followed?
Finally, true commercial appliances are BIG. When it comes to refrigerators, they may just be simple shelves without all the bells and whistles we're used to like icemakers, filtered water in the door, or special spaces for butter, cheese, veggies, and soft drinks.
Because of the size differences, it's important to know how much space you have in your kitchen as well as the width of the doors from the outside of your home to the kitchen. So, measure both sets.
Of course, if you are remodeling to add a lot more space, or you're building your own home, you can make the space. But keep in mind the other issues discussed above.
For most of us, the easiest, most practical solution to taking our kitchen appliances to the next level lies in the last five terms we mentioned earlier:
These kinds of appliances mimic the look of stunning, professional kitchen appliances we all love while taking into consideration the realities of home use.
Size, however, is still an issue. Most standard stoves are 30 in. wide while higher end ones are bigger. Most home refrigerators are 36 in. wide while luxury ones run 48 inches and up.
So, measure your spaces. Thoroughly do your research online as well as instore so you can find high end appliances that fit your space and budget. And if updates are required to your power and gas outlets, check with your favorite electrician or plumber to see what's involved and get estimates.
There's a lot happening in the world of high-end kitchen appliances.
If you're interested in adding smart tech in the kitchen such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you'll find it in many luxury kitchen appliances as this is where the industry sees the most growth.
Other home kitchen trends include:
Convection ovens are hot too (pun intended!). Check out our blog on convection ovens vs conventional ovens to review various options.
Consumer Reports has put together a reliability survey of professional-style ranges.
"According to our member surveys, some of the most expensive pro-style range brands have some of the highest estimated problem rates by the fifth year of ownership. Of the 15 pro-style brands we rate from our surveys, only two earn a rating of Very Good or Excellent, while a staggering seven earn ratings of Fair or Poor."
Brands surveyed include Bertazzoni, BlueStar, Bosch, Café, Dacor, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Maytag, Miele, Monogram, Thermador, Viking, and Wolf.
Consumer Reports also noted that although the pro-style ranges had issues, their owners were more satisfied with them, possibly because nothing else matched their look and feel.
You must be a Consumer Reports member to download the results, but if you are contemplating these brands, it's worth the cost to do all the research you can upfront.
Most experts agree you should at least upgrade your refrigerator, your range/wall oven/cooktop, and your ventilation—i.e., range hood. A luxury kitchen might easily cost you $25,000 and up, depending on the brands you choose and the number of appliances you decide to replace.
They also agree you need to do a LOT of research to choose wisely. You might consider using the same brand across all appliances for a uniform look. Stainless steel, very popular in pro-style kitchens, does not look the same from brand to brand.
No matter how much of a changeout you do in your kitchen, when you replace an appliance, be sure to replace that humble power cord, gas line, ice maker line, or dishwasher hose with the matching item from Certified Appliance Accessories. You'll find they are much less expensive than their branded equivalents while delivering equal or greater reliability and performance.
And, after weighing everything, you decide that outright replacement of your kitchen appliances just isn't in your budget, you can choose to fix what's broken. Take a look at Certified's replacement drip pans, cooktop elements, and oven baking elements for electric ranges and cooktops. You can purchase them online at Lowe's, Walmart, Amazon, and other ecommerce sites.
Happy researching—and happy cooking!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Certified Appliance Accessories is not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.