rain_lan

Best kitchen appliances for moderate budget

Stirfryin
last year

I am buying a new construction (4000sf, close to a million) but the appliance allowance is only 6k. What do houzzers recommend an amateur cook and food lover get for this? (Willing to top it up a little. Btw doesn’t this sound overly low?)

Fridge - need reliable good one, prefer external dispenser. I have a maytag right now that’s highly rated and I hate it.
Range - can I afford any higher btu range even if not pro level? I make a lot of stirfry.
Hood
Dw - i know I want a bosch here, less than a grand.
Microwave - sharp 24 microwave drawer seems higher rated
Garbage disposal- never had one before.

Comments (22)

  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    last year

    seems like a low budget for that price range home. I would start with the range or cooktop you really want. Garbage disposals are a few hundred bucks. easily changed out, but I wouldn't get less than insinkerator 1/2 hp. and an air switch.
    Drawer microwave is nice, according to my friends who have one. Not much of a microwave user.

    What don't you like about your current fridge? The organization?

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Fridge - need reliable good one, prefer external dispenser. I have a maytag right now that’s highly rated and I hate it.

    They're more reliable and last longer if you don't use the in-door water and ice features.

    Range - can I afford any higher btu range even if not pro level? I make a lot of stirfry.

    Hood

    Be aware that the higher the BTUs, and also the larger the range, the more you'll need a more powerful range hood and make-up air, which can add substantially to your budget.

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  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen
    last year

    For the size house, and cost, it's 3-4x low. This is how contractors make a home seem unrealistically affordable. They lowball the allowances. I'd have concerns about any of the other allowances as well. What's your cabinet allowance? Plumbing? Lighting? If all are equally as unrealistic, then you may need to step back and realize how much this house will really cost you by the time that you get everything that such a size and cost demand as amenities.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last year

    I agree with Cook's Kitchen, and yes, the appliance budget seems low.

  • M
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Agreed, don't skimp on garbage disposal. Cheap models are $100. Expensive models are $300, but last much longer. For a $1M house, it really makes no sense to save $200 on a part that will fail earlier. The high-end Insinkerator models have stainless steel chambers, the lower-end ones don't. That alone is worth the extra cost.

    As far as a microwave is concerned, that's the easiest place to save. Built-in models are in the $1000+ range (depending on features), but basic counter-top models are in the $100 range. If you don't really use your microwave a lot, get the countertop model. On the other hand, if you want multiple ovens, it can make sense to get a combined oven/microwave. But that's nowhere in your budget.

    $6000 is really tight for all these appliances. People easily spend that much on just one of those appliances (but admittedly, those are the top-of-the-line models).

    For dishwashers, I would look for an entry-level Bosch. That should be under $1000, if I recall correctly. And everybody here seems to love their Bosch or their Miele (out of your budget) dish washers.

    For the hood, you ideally want something with at least 600CFM, but probably better close to 1000CFM. Or you can read the detailed discussions about hoods that come up here all the time. But if you are looking for something on a budget then use that as your guideline. Make sure you get a model with baffles, and make it 3" wider on each side than your range (i.e. get a 36" hood for a 30" range).

    I don't have personal experience with it, but I have seen people comment on Zephyr making good-quality budget hoods. I just checked and their Tempest model looks OK'ish and would cost you about $1000. That sounds about right.

    Talk to your contractor, whether you need make-up-air though. That can easily cost a bunch more. The cheapest option is for it to tie into the return air for your forced air system. The HVAC contractor should know if that's possible and how much it'll cost. But estimate at least $1000 for that, unless your contractor already planned for it.

    Fridges are the big unknown. Most of the cheaper models have insanely bad reviews here on Houzz (and ironically, stellar reviews on Consumer Reports for some reason). I really don't know what to recommend in that price range without you hating me when it fails in two years. The only brands that nobody ever complains about are way outside of your budget. So, you'll just have to take your chances -- and from what I have read here, whatever you do, don't buy Samsung.

    Ranges or rangetops/cooktops are a huge area where you can make lots of different choices. First of all, do you want gas or do you want induction? Both have pros and cons. But we can't really decide for you. And once you decide on that, there is a huge price range. Basic models can be had for around $1000. But you can easily spend your entire $6000 on a really nice range, as well.

    And that's not even talking about wall ovens, which can inflate your budget by quite a bit. I suspect, within these budget constraints, you are probably better off getting a range instead of rangetop and wall oven.

    If you are willing to blow your budget, get a Bluestar RCS 30" with open burners. It'll cost you close to $4000 alone. It's not the most powerful model that they make. But if stir frying is important to you, that's the closest you can come to a range that can actually stir fry instead of stir sautee. The killer feature is that the open burners can hold a round-bottom wok and can direct the heat towards the center, which is exactly what you need for wok cooking.

  • Hamma
    last year

    I suppose we have to consider your location as well. In my area (outside of Seattle) most new construction homes start at close to 1 mil, and you won't see high-end appliances there, most of the time. More like mid-range ones. Crazy, I know...

  • M
    last year

    Even if going mid-range, $6000 is really tight for this many appliances. It's doable, and I tried to spell out examples for brands that might work.


    But at $1000/appliance (give or take) you are getting very close to the range where you are compromising quality or where you have to pass up on features that would really be nice in a $1M home.


    Personally, I'd rather spend more money up-front, if I know that I'll get an appliance that will either 1) last a long time, or 2) be repairable if it fails after 10 years. In the mass market appliance segment, that's unfortunately getting much harder to do (not impossible, but certainly difficult). And in the end, you spend more money, if you buy a new fridge every four years.

  • Stirfryin
    Original Author
    last year

    Ty for the helpful comments. I am in the NE suburbs so this is not a mansion, but this is upper range in the neighborhood. (Homes of this size/finish range from 750K-1m) should have pushed for more allowance I guess but that’s water under the bridge.

    I will look for good disposal. Never had one before, not sure what they do tbh but it sounds like they are useful.

    Everyone here seems to like bluestar - I am seriously considering paying out of pocket for the 30inch gas. Right now I am resigned to paying a few k more to outfit my kitchen.

    My maytag fridge is the one rated high on wirecutter. The temperature control is a bit wonky and doen’t seem to be even. The doors also need a teensy more effort to close shut compared to my prev fridge.

    I could use recommendations on fridges. What’s almost as good as subzero?

    There are no other allowances negotiated. This isn’t a custom build, just a builder spec that we negotiated allowances on.

  • GreenDesigns
    last year
    last modified: last year

    A 1M house that is at the top of your market is going to look totally out of place with cheap appliances. 6K is a barely above entry level budget. Not mid level. mid level would be more like 10K. And still wouldn't fit the house you described. To fit the house, you need more like a 20K budget. You should be in Wolf SubZero territory, not Maytag.

    I shudder to think of what the kitchen, and everything else, looks like if the builder is trying to cheap out like that in the appliances. You might want to put this on pause and make sure that you’re actually getting a 1M house here. Because it doesn’t sound like it.

  • wdccruise
    last year
    last modified: last year
    • Consumer Reports has reviews, recommendations, and predicted reliability info. for all these appliances except hoods. Quality appliances are not necessarily expensive. For example, CR finds "regular" ranges to be better than "pro-style" ranges and, among Bosch dishwashers there was little difference in performance from models that varied wildly in price. https://www.consumerreports.org/join ($10/month digital).
    • Both build.com and Home Depot have lots of reviews of range hoods. build.com has an excellent search engine you can use to narrow down the choices. Home Depot has lots of reviews and generally good prices.
    • The InSinkErator Evolution Compact is a good, moderately-priced garbage disposer.
  • Mittens Cat
    last year

    Alas, I can only nod my head in sympathy. We live in a similar area, with seemingly endless rows of $1 million cookie cutter homes built lickity-split by billion dollar developers. They sell "the dream" without much in the way of extras. Such is life in the 'burbs these days, at least in many parts of the East or West coast.


    Have you considered discount outlets that offer high-end appliances with minor cosmetic defects? Or check your local independent kitchen appliance stores and ask if they have any demonstration kitchens that they're about to change out (they often sell off the older appliances at discount prices). We managed to put together a pretty decent appliance collection (Wolf, Bosch) that way and saved around 35%.

  • Stirfryin
    Original Author
    last year

    Ty everyone for suggestions. I am going to look for discount outlets and hope for the best. I think I have a fair idea what I will get now (except fridge!) though i’m trying to limit to less than 6k more.

    Are there key words to google for in discount outlets?

  • Mittens Cat
    last year

    We used Save More, but I'm sure there are lots like it. I've also had friends successfully find amazing deals on Craigslist in LA and the Bay Area...thanks to wealthy people who just like to change their entire kitchens every few years! :-o


    Also, check out Renovation Angel: https://renovationangel.com/

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last year
    last modified: last year

    +1 to Renovation Angel.

    Yale Appliance website and blog is helpful, as is searching through the Appliance and Kitchen forum archives.

  • darbuka
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Consumer Reports does a great job of reviewing cars. Their advice is spot on. But, kitchens? Not so much. Heck, in their annual kitchen review, soapstone wasn’t included in countertop reviews until 6 years ago, and even at that, it was filled with misinformation. Miele wasn't on their radar, either, and, they were way behind in including SubZero fridges, too.

    wdcruise is a Whirlpool fanboy. He has a tendency to call high end appliances, “fancy pants.” He’ll tell you a basic Whirlpool fridge is as good as SubZero...which is hilarious.

    I‘m not saying you need to get the top of the line in each “high end” appliance brand, but I can assure you that any Bosch dishwasher will out perform your Maytag (which you said you hate), and other, less expensive brands. We have the 800 series, and love it. However, there have been posters here who have the lowest Bosch, the 100, say it does a great job. It’s just noisier, and doesn’t have as many cycles. Miele is the other top brand to consider.

    There are two appliances I would not cheap out on, and that’s the vent hood, and the fridge. Wdcruise is suggesting you consider Home Depot for a hood. You will not find a quality venting system there. I’m not the first person on this site to say that. Go to an independent appliance store...not a big box store...to get your hood. There are several high end quality hood makers. Vent A Hood and Modernaire, are two. Many people like their Wolf hoods. When we were doing our research, we found the Wolf too noisy. We got a Vent A Hood, and are very satisfied. It does a great job containing odors, grease, and any steam or smoke, and is pretty darn quiet, even on high.

    As for fridges, I have 40 years of experience with SubZero. Our first, a 36” over/under, was still going strong at 36 years old, when we sold our home. In our new (to us) home, we installed a SZ 42” French door, paneled. Great machine. It fits a ton of food, and keeps food fresh for long periods. Almost 4 years now, and not a lick of trouble...unlike the stories I’ve read about LG, Samsung, and others. Also, as has been suggested by several posters, if you stay away from through the door water and ice, you’ll reduce the chances of needing repairs. That goes for any brand. Oh, and btw, SZ has the best costumer service in the industry.

    I would suggest you find an independent appliance dealer for all your appliances. Their salespeople are much better educated about the various brands, than those at HD, Lowe’s, and the like. If you purchase all your appliances from them, they’re likely to bump you up to a higher model dishwasher, at no cost. That’s what happened to us, anyway. Also, many independent stores have their own repairmen, who are certified to service Miele, Bosch, Thermador, SZ, Wolf, etc. Should we have a problem with any of our appliances, we just have to call our independent store, Appliance World (Huntington, Long Island, NY), and they’ll take care of everything. Well worth the piece of mind.

  • Ted and Kathy Howe
    last year

    I'll generally agree with what Donald says just above - you don't have to have higher end appliances if you don't place the value on them yourself. Don't chase the "level" of appliance that your house "should" have if it isn't what you want.

    Having said that, I think that $6,000 is far too low of a kitchen appliance budget these days.

    Earlier this year, we completed a whole house renovation (fire restoration) and after several conversations with our builder we ended up taking the appliances themselves out of the contract - I researched and sourced the myself and provided them as owner supplied materials.

    Even doing that, and spending months deciding on the appliances and watching sales like a hawk, our total was well above $6k.

    Here's what we ended up with (prices include tax):

    Bosch 800 series dishwasher: $1,131.87

    Samsung 36" Induction Cooktop: $1,932.43

    Samsung Combination Wall Oven/Microwave: $2,816.58

    InSinkerator Evolution XTR garbage disposal: $263.94

    Ikea Datid Exhaust Hood: $634.94

    GE 28 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator: $2490.99

    The total of the above is $9270.75

    In addition, we spent about another $700 on extended warranties on the appliances. I am generally against third party warranties, but Square Trade warranties on today's quality of appliances are a reasonable bet.

    So the total was right about $10k on the kitchen appliances.

    None of the above appliances is "high end"... they all have their plusses and minuses.

    We did spend a bit more on the cooktop and the combination microwave/wall oven than we had initially planned, but they fit what we were looking for without busting the budget too badly.

    Definitely pay attention to the advice about Make Up Air with higher capacity gas cooktops. We initially were going to go with a moderately powerful gas cooktop (I've always had gas before) but that would have required a hood above 400CFM - which would have necessitated a MUA unit. We didn't like either the approximately $2k in labor and materials that was going to add or the design compromise we would have had to make in order to get space for the install of the unit.

    What we essentially did was move that money from the MUA unit to the appliances and still be able to go with the Ikea hood that we liked for design reasons.


  • wekick
    last year

    I think the budget is really low.

    If you stir fry, I would make the burners your top priority and spend a little more there. It’s a small percentage of the total budget in the scheme of things. I would also go for the RNB if at all possible. Is there a way you could buy a 30” rangetop and cut back on the oven?

    More BTUs is just part of the story. With the BS, it is how the BTUs are delivered. Many burners today have a “cap” which can cause the flame to widen out and hit the wok up the walls by quite a bit. BS and a few others are uncapped so the flame is more straight up.

    BlueStar star burner

    Capital triple ring, also uncapped

    Capped


    The term “open” is used in an ambiguous way by many manufacturers when they are talking about an uncapped burner or even BTUs. It refers to the burner tray. Here Viking refers to this design as an “open” burner, but it is still capped. The cap vs uncapped is what determines the performance in cooking. Sealed vs open is more of a consideration in cleaning.


    This is a new design KitchenAid has.



    “CR finds "regular" ranges to be better than "pro-style" ranges”

    They have a very limited perspective. I don’t think they are testing stir frying.

    “among Bosch dishwashers there was little difference in performance from models that varied wildly in price”

    Some people want the extra features. I wanted the 30 min quick wash for baking days so had to pay a little more.


  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    last year

    Everything depends on cooming style, and budget.
    i chose a midrange bosch dishwasher, the lowest on the lineup with the third rack for flatware, which I love.
    For me , induction is the way to go. Again, not top of the line, but incremental controls without multiple presses of the button. just above midrange.

    bought kitchenaid convection/ oven combo on closeout. A Samsung fridge, which i hate/ move. organization is great. icemaker freezes over still, after two replacements and four or five service calls. warranty is up. someday, it will move to the garage, and I'll get a whirlpool or kitchenaid...
    I'm about 5 years in. Bosch has been great. Kitchenaid, ditto. Samsung, thumbs down.

  • toxcrusadr
    last year

    We bought a Frigidaire gas range a couple years ago after looking at dozens of them. I had a list of features to look at when I kicked the tires. How many oven racks, what was the highest BTU burner, were the knobs metal or plated plastic, was the center grill plate part of the stove grates or did it sit on top, and did it come with the stove, how cheap was the feel on the control panel, etc. For more $ you get the same base unit with more features like bread raising setting for the oven. We found the Frigidaires had the best features for the money, and to go up in quality from what we were spending was a jump into the next class. We stir fry too and ours has a super burner that's more compact than the large burner to get the heat in the center. Not Wolff or Viking mind you but very good for the price, and under $1000.

  • Stirfryin
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    I benefited so greatly from comments here I thought I should post an update. Ended up spending way more out of pocket for my appliances (total about 18k after taxes).

    Splurges:
    Bluestar 36 RNB with center griddle
    Bluestar 1200cfm hood (for 1k rebate)

    Compromises:
    GE profile fridge (dispenses hot water. Very cool)
    Bosch 800 dishwasher
    Sharp microwave drawer
    Maytag washer/dryer
    1hp inksinarator disposal

    All in I am happy with these choices so far and can’t wait to use my ferrari of a stove.

    The main appliance I cut out was my dream sz fridge. It really would break the budget at this time and kitchen is a bit small anyway. Next time...

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    11 months ago

    Those sound like great choices to me. While the refrigerator may not be the best, it will surely do its job well enough until the next time you may need a new one. The Blue Star should be a joy to use.