White appliances challenge the supremacy of stainless steel

Consumer Reports News: April 26, 2012 04:08 PM

Stainless steel has been the most popular appliance finish for decades, but some experts say its reign is coming to an end. "Ten years from now I think we're going to look back at stainless steel and say 'wow,' that's really a 1990s or 2000s kitchen," says Greg Harth, a design-build contractor based in Spring House, PA, and one of many renovation specialists we interviewed for our upcoming kitchen remodeling package. The question is, if stainless steel does become the next harvest gold, what appliance finish will take its place? Based on the buzz at this week's Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Chicago, the answer may be a fresh take on classic white.

Whirlpool's White Ice appliances, part of its brand new Ice Collection, turned many heads at this year's show, which brought together manufacturers, designers, members of the media, and more for three days of trendspotting across various kitchen products and designs. White appliances are nothing new, of course, but this updated version has a glossy sheen that almost has the look of glass. Perhaps not surprisingly, opaque glass-fronted appliances with an elegant whitish hue are all the rage in Europe.

If white appliances don't dethrone stainless steel, maybe black will. Whirlpool's Black Ice finish, also unveiled at KBIS, has the same sleekness and high shine as its White Ice counterpart, and we hear other manufacturers are also developing new black appliances. Whirlpool's Ice Collection will be rolled out throughout the year. The finishes are currently available on dishwashers, starting at $799, and will move next to refrigerators, microwave ovens, and ranges. To see how Whirlpool models perform, check our appliance Ratings.

Daniel DiClerico

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