With the housing market improving, we are also seeing an increase in the sale of new appliances.  Are you looking for new appliances?  Even if you are not changing homes, you may be looking to upgrade your older appliances.  If you have an older appliance and it is still in pretty good shape, you may want to consider the impact that an older inefficient appliance can have on your home’s monthly electric bill.  Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993, could knock off anywhere from $65 to $100 off of your electric bill each year by replacing it with a new Energy Star qualified model. 

According to Dr. Jean Memken, Northwest Missouri State University, some other things to consider when choosing new appliances are:

Space Who uses the appliances and how is it used? What is important and what are some features that you would like? Will the appliance do what you want to do? Price – the range varies.  The higher the price, the more controls. Warranty and service Is it proven technology?

Some other industry trends to consider is the interest in green products.  More consumers are interested in purchasing environmentally friendly products and the increasing energy costs is driving consumers to look for green alternatives.

There are many good on-line resources provided by manufacturers.   If you do not feel that you have enough comparative information, that is an excellent place to look.  It is fairly common for consumers to choose aesthetics over performance, which can be a problem if the appliance does not perform the way you expect. 

Most consumers are looking for certain features such as ease of use.  Take note of where the controls are located, does the appliance require a lot of bending and reaching, how well do the doors open, are the racks adjustable and are they full extension racks.  Cleaning and how easy an appliance is to clean is a motivating factor.

There are many new features and materials in home appliances such as smart refrigerators that have a direct link to your smartphone or tablet. Though refrigerators are the second most expensive appliance to operate, behind the water heater, the newer models have cut energy use by more than half.  There are many aesthetic features that are appealing in refrigerators with French doors, retro refrigerators and even refrigerators designed for the garage.

We are seeing a demise of radiant heat cooktops, and the rise of induction cooktops. These are cooktops that have a smooth-top surface.  The electrical current is converted to a high-frequency AC current that flows through coils to create a magnetic field. The magnetic field generates heat in cookware that is made of magnetic materials.  The advantages are that they are fast, safe, clean, cool and energy efficient.  The disadvantages are that they are costly, less versatile and require a specific type of cookware. 

There is an increased interest in stoves with a larger oven capacity as well as side by side single ovens rather than stacked.  Double ovens are now available in a standard freestanding range with one of the ovens being a convection oven.  Convection ovens continue to improve allowing for more capacity as well.  Steam ovens are also another trend.  Humidity helps in the transfer of heat resulting in a 14 pound turkey being cooked in 1 ½ hours.  The convection feature assures browning and a crisp exterior while the steam assures moistness and flavor. 

Dishwashers are now available with stainless steel rather than plastic interiors, more energy and water efficient, improved sound (or lack of it), 3 racks rather than 2 and a steam function.  Dish drawers are still popular in a variety of finishes and drawers than can operate independently. Dishwashers are also available with internal controls.

So, if you are considering purchasing new appliances, the selection is extensive and the features are many.  The decision is ultimately yours.