The kitchen is normally filled with all kinds of different appliances. It contains everything from the toaster to the microwave, dishwasher, fridge, oven, rangehood, mixmaster and any number of other specialist machines and gadgets stowed away underneath your benchtops or in your pantry.
Not every kitchen will need every appliance, of course - and in many cases there's a lot to be said for knowing exactly what to shop for in terms of quality, standards compliance, warranty support and energy efficiency when you're after a specfic appliance. The cheapest appliances are rarely the best ones, of course - but the most expensive aren't always going to suit your needs either.
Which brands should I buy?
There are so many brands available for each kitchen appliance - and choosing the right ones can make all the difference as far as quality's concerned. Cooking appliances in particular need to be seriously scrutinised. For instance, these days most of the brands that make pyrolytic and induction appliances are the European brands, so you can be reasonably well assured that these will last.
Although they're not the only good appliances, European cooking appliances in particular are renowned for the quality of their construction, and are just as much prized for their style and lasting appeal. This may even factor into your house's value in future when you sell your house. In many cases, house listings on real estate sites mention that a home is fitted with a particular prestigious brand name for all its cooking appliances.
Buying appliances manufactured by well established kitchen appliance brands helps to ensure that you're getting quality construction, established local support and the assurance that the products are built to last. You can reasonably expect a fridge or a dishwasher from a reputable, well known brand to last at least 10 years. Ovens from better brands should last considerably longer than this. It's always better to splash out on something you know will last than to have to buy twice.
Standards and safety
Australia has some of the highest safety standards in the world, and appliances sold in Australia are required to meet Australian Standards in terms of performance and safety. While it's easier than ever to buy products online from overseas, it's a good idea not to, simply because you won't be assured that they've been adequately tested and approved.
Regardless of the reputation of the brand, you need to ensure that the appliances you buy meet Australian safety standards.
Kitchen appliance warranties
New laws in Australia have become very stringent on the warranties that manufacturers can offer. Most warranties for large kitchen appliances last for two years, with an added five years on the components. For instance refrigerators will have five year warranties on the compressor and the motor. Even oven trimming can have up to a 10 year warranty.
For peace of mind, it's worth factoring in how lengthy the warranty is when you buy kitchen appliances. As much as anything, these warranties reflect the manufacturer's confidence in their own products.
Kitchen appliance energy efficiency
Whether it's water efficiency for dishwashers, or energy efficiency for refrigerators and dishwashers, all larger kitchen appliances are required by law to be energy-efficiency rated and approved before going to market. These ratings are leading to consistent improvements in appliance efficiency. Compared to five years ago, for example, a fridge is likely to be 45% more efficient.
Energy efficiency labels on larger kitchen appliances provide an indication of how much energy each appliance will consume - and in turn, how much they'll cost to operate.
Get a discount
If you're building a house with a volume builder, you may be able to negotiate to get better kitchen appliances as a value added extra. Likewise, if you're buying from a retail store, it's worth asking whether the vendor if they're willing to give you a discount if you're buying a range of different appliances all at once. In most cases, buying everything at once will give you a fair bit more arm-twisting power!
Looking for inspiration for your kitchen? Check out the beautiful kitchens in our kitchen ideas gallery.