Choosing Your Kitchen Appliances
When planning a the kitchen it is a good idea to choose your kitchen appliances first. Otherwise it’s like getting house insurance before you get a house! So why exactly do I advise choosing your kitchen appliances first?
1. Because it is the appliances such as cooker, hob, oven, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher that make your kitchen work. Only you know how you like to cook and the type of cooker you need, what sort of refrigerator you need, how much frozen food you need to keep handy in the kitchen, what sort of dishwasher you prefer, the microwave you need etc. It is your choice of appliances that helps to shape the design of the kitchen.
2. It actually helps the kitchen designer to know what spaces to allow for your kitchen appliances as early in the process as possible. Knowing what has to go in and the sizes of the spaces required right at the beginning, reduces the likelihood of unwelcome compromises later on.
3. It helps both you and the kitchen maker with budgeting. Once your priorities are sorted out, and appliances are priorities, you have a better idea of what is left over for the cabinets, benchtops and of course, the kitchen sink.
Gather all the brochures together and give them (or copies of them) to your designer when you discuss his/her brief.
What New Kitchen Appliances Should You Choose?
These are decisions only you can make. There are essentials of course such as cookers, sinks and fridges but you’ll have to work out what you want and balance it against what your budget will stretch to. As a general rule choose the best quality you can afford, take advice from friends and perhaps a consumer organisation and check the guarantee. Consider an induction cooktop. The price for these has dropped dramatically in recent times and many people are replacing gas hobs with induction ones to enjoy the same instant control but without the high cost of gas installation. Check also the cost of an extended warranted. It is said that some suppliers make more profit from selling extended warranties than they do by selling the appliances themselves.
What About Brands
Everybody in New Zealand has heard of Fisher And Paykel. Indeed many people wont buy any other brand of appliance. It was originally a New Zealand company but sold to Haier, a Chinese company, a few years ago. Although it’s still considered by fans to be a New Zealand firm, none of their appliances are made here any more.
Like Fisher And Paykel, all the big-name brands are foreign owned and the kitchen appliances are foreign made. China would be the origin of most appliances sold in NZ because even many of the big brands have their products made there. There are some smaller NZ brands though such as Parmco and Polo. They too source their products from overseas, mostly China.
Some of the smaller NZ importer brands buy their products from the same huge Chinese factories as the big brands. So it is possible to buy the same or very similar appliances as the big brands but without having to pay the big brand price. Brands cost money, especially international one, due to corporate costs, marketing and sending profits overseas whereas the smaller NZ importers are much leaner.
How about Warranties
The best standard guarantee known to the author for kitchen appliances is by Parmco, a whopping 7 years. Now that shows confidence in the product! However, your purchases are covered in New Zealand by the Consumer Guarantees Act, which specifies that appliances should last much longer than the product warranties.
Replacing Old Kitchen Appliances
Appliances are also replaced when they’ve reached the end of their service life and are not worth the cost of repairing. If your appliances are very old (some of the old NZ made models were very durable) you will probably have problems fitting replacements. Although such NZ made appliances were long lasting they were not made to European standard sizes as are current ones. Replacing an old Shacklock oven with a modern one will inevitably require alterations to cabinetry. An old Fisher And Paykel hob might need a new benchtop.
These days kitchen appliance sizes are mostly standard. So a 600mm oven will fit into any 600mm cabinet, cooktops have similar benchtop cut-outs, dishwashers all fit under standard height benchtops, rangehoods come in standard widths etc. Just because the old appliance was a particular brand does not mean that the replacement has to be the same.
You already know that the Internet is a great place for research so don’t forget to shop around for your choices and the best prices. Most retailers have their offerings online and sometimes the best deal comes from out of town. If you are a patriotic shopper do give some thought to supporting New Zealand brands.