Hello spring and good-day renovation season. I was reminded of the seasons while visiting my parents this past Easter weekend. They’re prepping their home for sale and renovating, everything from installing new hardwood flooring, to bringing-in new appliances and gardening to increase curb appeal.
A few years ago, I also took on a major condo kitchen renovation. By far, of the most arduous tasks was buying appliances. Size, features, colour and price all played factors. The way I look at it, outside buying a home or car, buying appliances is arguably the third biggest homeowners’ purchase. Spending big bucks means making sure I got the best value for the purchase.
Recently, Future Shop held its annual appliances training event, where 200 of the company’s top Product Experts flocked to Toronto where they received top-notch training from the world’s leading manufacturers. With a genuine interest in appliances, I was keen to see what’s new in this quickly changing category – some seen from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas. Here’s a look in photos some of this year’s exciting appliances line-up:
While at the CES show floor, my good friend at LG Canada, Frank Lee, shared some innovative appliances in laundry and the kitchen. One of the most exciting was seeing the beautiful French door fridge featuring Blast Chiller. LG’s Blast Chiller technology is housed within a cavity dedicated to cooling two beverage cans in about five minutes or a bottle of white wine or iced wine in roughly eight minutes.
Another head-turner from LG is their largest capacity washer-dryer pair that offers same-start and stop times of laundry loads, meaning there’s no longer the headache of waiting on clothes to either finish washing or drying. Physically, it’s about 20 per cent larger to allow 6.0 cu. ft. of space for clothes – Canada’s largest – offering less loads of laundry in the long run. When Canadian families average six wash loads a week, this pair is bound to be a time saver.
Also seen at CES, Samsung continues its commitment to convergence among its products including appliances. For example, their smart fridge and washer-dryer pair are wifi-enabled, allowing tablet-like features such as checking email, surfing the web and logging-in to social media accounts. Also, there are appliances-specific features built-in and offered on LED displays, such as the ability to send messages to post on the fridge, or allow access to start or stop a laundry load.
Last year, Future Shop saw induction range sales take off. What’s induction? Put simply, induction ranges use magnetism to safely heat a stovetop, offering gas-range-like qualities. This is particularly handy for home-dwellers who are bound by electric-only infrastructure in the kitchen but want the joys of cooking with gas.
This summer, Samsung is introducing a new induction lineup. The biggest enhancement is offering a larger surface of induction on the left side of the range (when facing it) so the larger or longer pans can cook even faster and eventually:
Whirlpool and Kitchen Aid
Both these brands have rolled out the world’s first 30” French door fridge and a new style of range. Fridge purchasers love the sleek and sexy-look of French door fridges. For several years in Canada, French door fridges were made in 36” and later 33” widths – larger formats, so folks in smaller spaces – be it a condo or townhouse – lost out if trying to fit in existing spaces (including me). That’s no longer a problem with the new, slender 30” Whirlpool and Kitchen Aid fridges launching this spring.
These fridges surprising can pack a lot of items, and have practical features such as a partially removable shelf to allow taller items to stand upright. The 30” fridge also features bonuses such as a packet that extends the life of produce, so gone are the days of having the lettuce, spinach or kale deplete in a hurry.
For ranges, Whirlpool’s YWFE710HOAS (stainless) and YWFE540COAW (white) models are super slick-looking. They offer bigger, weighted knobs, feature an induction cooktop and introduces Canadians to their proprietary self-cleaning system called Aqualift. The cleaning feature intrigues the most, as it’s a feature underused in Canada. (I recall using the self-cleaning once in my home and the smell of old, crusted food incinerator was atrocious!)
How Aqualift works
Whirlpool’s Aqualift technology uses just 250-degree heat (compared to 800 or so-degree temps by other ranges in the market), along with a new oven cavity enamel coating to clean without odours or smoke that can ensue when using a self-cleaning function. To use Aqualift, simply remove the racks, scrape off food debris and pour two cups of water into the oven. Turn on the Aqualift feature and in about an hour, the cavity needs only a quick wipe-down (cleaning kit supplied).
Appliances continue to amaze with how tech-savvy they are becoming. All we need now are appliances that can make us dinner. 2016?
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