By JOSH BAKER
We’ve all seen enough commercials, magazine ads and sales fliers to know that kitchen appliances are always evolving, and manufacturers are in a race to reveal the next big thing. But which ones are catching the eyes of kitchen experts and their clients? Whether you’re looking to replace one kitchen staple that is on the fritz or you’re planning a kitchen remodel and need everything and the kitchen sink, the following appliances highlight some of the top items featured in today’s kitchens.
Move Over Microwave
Speed ovens offer the same quality, texture and taste you’d expect from a conventional oven, in a fraction of the time. No pre-heating is required, so it’s ready to use as soon as you walk in the door. This appliance is a great option for those of us who are always on the go (and who isn’t these days?) and folks who have young children and need to heat up meals in a hurry. The GE Advantium Speedcook Oven is available in either a 120-volt or 240-volt model and features multiple cooking options all in one unit. The 240-volt model can cook food up to eight times faster than a conventional oven, while the 120-volt up to four times faster. The true European Convection mode bakes, roasts and browns foods, and a warming mode keeps prepared dishes at ready-to-serve temperatures. The unit can also be used as a sensor microwave to reheat and defrost.
Although they’ve been around for a while, induction cooktops have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. Using a high-energy induction coil and harnessing electromagnetic energy, only the cookware itself is heated. This type of cooktop heats faster than a gas or electric model and wastes less energy. As it features precision heating, it is ideal for melting chocolate and cooking delicate sauces. One caveat is that the cookware used must have some iron content, so not all pans will work. A nice bonus is you’ll have an easier time keeping this type of appliance clean, since the unused portion of the cooktop remains relatively cool and most spillovers won’t cook onto the surface. If the element is accidentally turned on, no heat is generated unless a pot or pan is actually placed on it, which is a great safety feature.
If you’re looking for more flexibility and customization in cold food storage, consider refrigerator columns. These units are available as stand-alone refrigerators, traditional freezers, bottom freezers and wine coolers and in a variety of widths — 18, 24, 30 and 36 inches. You have the design flexibility in whether you want to have a single column or custom side-by-side combinations. Hinge style, lack of an exposed frame and a door panel that hides the compressor make these appliances fully flush. You can also add custom panels to make the refrigerator disappear completely, and they work great to create furniture-style cabinetry.
Soda and sparkling water fans might want to check out Samsung’s refrigerator with the first-ever automatic sparkling water dispenser. The company teamed up with SodaStream to deliver carbonated beverages at the touch of a button while saving storage space in the kitchen and reducing bottle waste.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
For the coffee lovers out there, sometimes there’s nothing better than awakening to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. However, some java drinkers don’t make it into the kitchen until it’s time to leave the house, if at all. Built-in coffee makers are popping up more frequently in master bedrooms and suites, and even master bathrooms. These machines are also great for home offices when you want to break up the daily grind.
Ever have trouble finding a place in your dishwasher for those awkward sized utensils and spatulas? Some new dishwashers are including a smaller third rack at the top of the machine that holds large spoons, tongs and other cooking tools. A dedicated silverware tray in this rack allows you to load silverware without bending over and also prevents flatware from nesting for a more targeted cleaning.
Whether you’re an aspiring chef, a novice in the kitchen or somewhere in between, there’s a wide variety of appliances available on today’s market to help you improve your life at home.
Josh Baker is founder and co-chairman of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction company specializing in luxury renovations, remodels and additions in the greater Washington, D.C. area. BOWA has more than 25 years of experience and has been honored with 160 local and national awards. For more information visit bowa.com or call 703-734-9050.