Separate steam ovens, which can cost several thousand dollars and are pitched as a healthful way to prepare vegetables, fish, and even desserts, are a popular trend in high-end appliances. “Restaurants have been steaming food for years. Now the technology is finally coming to the residential market,” says Laurie Haefele, a designer-architect in Santa Monica, Calif. Some models combine steam and convection cooking to lock in moisture while browning foods that require it.
For less. Many mainstream brands have upped their styling with “faux pro” features, including beefy controls and a stainless-steel finish. And they equal or surpass their pricey counterparts when it comes to cooking and reliability. GE’s $1,500 Profile PGB910SEM has sleek styling, and it’s our top-performing gas range. Or consider an induction range or cooktop, which uses electromagnetism to deliver pinpoint heating and control. Among refrigerators, cabinet-depth models offer the streamlined look of built-ins for thousands less.
Will this new finish dethrone stainless steel?
Stainless steel has dominated appliances for decades, but some experts say its reign may be coming to an end. “Our customers are ready for something new,” says Bob Baird, Home Depot’s vice president of merchandising for kitchens and appliances. “It’s just a question what’s going to take stainless steel’s place.” Daring alternatives such as oil-rubbed bronze and cobalt blue haven’t caught on, suggesting that the next finish will be more neutral in nature. One possibility: Whirlpool’s White Ice, a fresh take on classic white that’s being rolled out across refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, and microwave ovens throughout the year. Though it is metal, the finish has a glossy white sheen that mimics the elegance of frosted glass.