Surprising Differences in Stainless Steel Appliances
See them all at Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center
Manufacturers began using stainless steel in appliances because of its appearance as well as its durability, and resistance to corrosion. Today, they also use stainless steel because buyers want the stainless look in their kitchens.
Categories of Stainless Steel
There is stainless steel and then there is stainless steel. All stainless steels are not created equal. The metallurgists among us will point out that there are 5 different categories of stainless steel: martensitic, ferritic, austenitic, duplex (ferritic-austenitic), and precipitation-hardening stainless steels.
The vast majority of major appliances are made of 304 (austenitic) type stainless steel or 430 (ferritic) stainless steel. Even within these two different categories there are different grades, gauges, and finishes. Moreover, some manufacturers will use different types of stainless steel on the same appliances. For example, a dishwasher tub might have different stainless steel than the dishwasher door. Some stainless steel has superior fabrication characteristics, while others works better in specific temperature ranges, or is more corrosion resistant.
Stainless Steel Finishes and Coatings
Your stainless steel appliance also has a finish called a “grain” that goes in a certain direction. On some appliances and in some lighting, the grain is more noticeable than others. Also, there are a few appliance manufacturers that offer stainless steel appliances with a protective coating. Frigidaire promotes their Smudge-Proof™ line of appliances that does a great job of hiding fingerprints. Some KitchenAid stainless steel appliances are made with clear coat, designed to prevent stainless steel discoloration. Finally, there are faux stainless steel appliances such as GE's CleanSteel™ which is not stainless steel at all, but gives you a stainless steel “look” without the stainless steel cost or fingerprints.
As you can see, there is more than meets the eye when choosing stainless steel appliances. Go to Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center to see for yourself the variations. As always, the staff there can give you advice you need to select the appliances that will work best for you.
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