Review of the Latest Appliance Finishes
Choices of Appliance Finishes Abound at UAKC
The last half of the 20th century began with most appliances having porcelain enamel on steel cabinets. Porcelain was durable and easy to clean, but the manufacturing process was expensive, porcelain was subject to chipping, and was not environmentally friendly. Eventually, porcelain enamel disappeared in appliance cabinets to be replaced by steel with powder coat painted exteriors or stainless steel.
In the last decade, we've begun to see some different choices in appliance exteriors. While painted surfaces remain a standard for base appliances, more expensive stainless steel is enormously popular. In recent years, we've seen new smudge-proof Frigidaire and fingerprint resistant stainless steel in Maytag brand and others. They're still stainless steel, but they have properties that eliminate or greatly reduce the possibility of smudges and fingerprints. European luxury brand, Miele, has introduced a fingerprint resistant steel called CleanTouch, as a replacement to stainless steel.
Even more recently, Black Stainless Steel has hit the appliance market and appears to be taking off. Black Stainless Steel is essentially stainless steel base metal with black painted finish. KitchenAid was the first to Black Stainless Steel, and it seemed to take off slowly. But now, it is available in more brands and seems to be rapidly taking hold as an alternative to the shiny stainless steel we see everywhere. Here are some of the brands that are now offering Black Stainless Steel appliances:
Brands offering Black Stainless Steel
- Frigidaire Gallery
It's also important to note that vent hood manufacturers and ancillary appliance brands such as Sharp (microwaves and microwave drawers) have jumped on the Black Stainless Steel bandwagon.
Finally, a personal favorite of mine among the new appliance finishes is GE Slate. GE introduced Slate as an alternative to stainless steel at a popular price. It is definitely not stainless steel. I might describe it as gunmetal grey. I've had two friends choose GE Slate quite recently, and they are delighted. Slate provides the contrast from their cabinets that consumers want, and it is definitely fingerprint resistant. Slate is not shiny, and lacks the grain that is so noticeable on stainless steel appliances. Unlike white or black painted finishes, Slate has a commercial/industrial look. GE produces a full array of kitchen appliances in Slate so you won't have to mix appliance finishes. However, Slate appears to exist only in the GE brand family.
It's great to have all these new and attractive choices available for your upcoming appliance needs. Call Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center for the latest information on all your appliance and decorative plumbing needs.