The Latest in Kitchen Appliances
From high-tech to colorful to eco-friendly, appliances on display at the 2008 International Builders' Show are chock full of features—and style
Appliances in all the colors of the rainbow greeted us at the 2008 International Builders' Show—apparently stainless steel, so recently edgy, is on its way out. We also saw green (figuratively) options, with appliances touting their Energy Star badges and claiming water-saving steam as the new way to clean. Balancing all that eco-talk was the 50-amp TurboChef, which makes no apologies, it just makes dinner—fast—behind an oven door in any color you can imagine.
Roasting 12-pound turkeys in 42 minutes and chocolate souffles in 3 has left the Turbo Chef team plenty of time to expand its color options. The $6,000 supersonic convection cooker currently comes in seven colors, but this year they plan to expand their line to over 200 custom hues. The crowd munching on lamb chops at the booth (inset) seemed plenty pleased with what was going on inside the ovens, too.
Viking also amped up its color options this year, expanding its existing 14 shades by 10. Some of the tasty-sounding new hues this year include pumpkin, plum, chocolate, sage, and apple red.
Thermador's new electrical cooktop has an infrared dial that reads the temperature of your enamel cookware, maintaining a constant desired temperature as you cook. Our only question about the feature, called the SensorDome: Who knows what temperature they're cooking something at, anyway? Apparently, the stove does—its CookSmart program has nine pre-programmed temperature modes to cook a range of common recipes.
The pivoting glass canopy on Thermador's Easy Lift Range Hood works like a windshield for smoke—tilt it up when working on the front burner, tilt it back for the rear. The glass diverts the smoke directly into the vent, maximizing the filtration efficiency by adjusting to the contents of the stove.
Broan has released the first Energy-Star qualified range hood to the US market. To achieve this mark, they've cut down the sound, streamlined the motor, and replaced the lights on the 30 inch hoods with (you guessed it) compact fluorescent bulbs. Looks nice, in black, white, or silver.
People love sticking pictures of their family on the fridge, but the stainless steel models of recent years don't have the iron a magnet needs to stay. Whirlpool has devised a gadget to resolve the conflict: a digital photo frame mounted to the front of the fridge. Simply load the images into the screen hanging from the Central Park refrigerator, and scroll through them like a digital album. Later this year, the company plans to release an iPod dock, a little laptop called a “digital message center,” and other fridge-front gadgetry.
A dry-erase board on the front of the Amana fridge helps you scribble out grocery lists, notes to the family, record phone messages, or, as Amana suggests, “play a friendly game of tic-tac-toe.” On a visit to the booth, however, we had a product rep tag it with the name of our magazine, complete with underlines, exclamation points, and a big heart. Watch the Video
The MasterCool from Miele is so interactive it could almost keep you company. Program the four compartments' at individual temperatures, set the freezer at “supercool” to chill groceries to -22 degrees, or tell the fridge whether you're adding vegetables, cheese, meat, or fish to a drawer and it will set the proper temperature and humidity level. With the RemoteVision option, teams of technicians around the country keep an eye on your fridge, ready to respond to an alarm in case, you know, you leave the door open.
Steam is paramount in the latest appliances from Maytag. Its dishwashers save water by giving stuck-on food particles the Turkish bath treatment, microwaves give a moist blast to veggies, and ovens self-clean via a similar method once you pour a cup and a half of water in the bottom and fire it up.
In addition to kitchen appliances, steam is showing up in Whirlpool's laundry units as well. The washer uses high heat to knock out oil-based stains, letting you sanitize clothing without using bleach. The steam-driven dryer deodorizes and de-wrinkles, and a Y-connector between the pair lets you use them both via a single plumbing hookup.
Bosch's condensation laundry units are perfect for washing clothes when space is tight—they require no external venting, and are compact at 3.4 cubic feet. To prove the capacity doesn't shrink with the unit's size, the Bosch booth had 14 pairs of jeans in a bin by the laundry, ready to be washed in a single load.
You could easily spend $15,000 on one high-end appliance, but for that same sum, Gaggenau's will give you the whole kitchen. Like an IKEA starter box, the First Professional kitchen includes a fridge, dishwasher, gas range, vent hood, and a 30-inch convection oven. As they see it, even if it's entry level, it ought to be pro-grade.