Learn the Basics About Kitchen Appliances

The right appliance can make an enormous difference to the way you use and enjoy your kitchen. With so many models and styles of appliances available, it is important to research before you buy.

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With so many types of appliances available, in unlimited styles and finishes, there is bound to be the perfect refrigerator, oven, dishwasher or warming drawer to suit your needs. From high-efficiency, climate controls, and quiet operations, there is also a growing number of operational features that distinguish models and brands in the marketplace. While there are standard sizes for most appliances, make sure you measure the appliance you are replacing, or the space you have set aside before you purchase any new appliance.

Stainless Refrigerator with Door Dispenser

Side-by-Side Stainless Refrigerator

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

In this type of refrigerator the freezer and refrigerator storage are adjacent horizontally. Ice makers are commonly featured on these models, as are door water and ice dispensers.

Paneled Refrigerator

Paneled Refrigerator

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Integrating the look of the refrigerator into the finish of the kitchen cabinets, paneled fronts are available on some models.

Freezer-on-Bottom Refrigerator

Freezer-on-Bottom Refrigerator

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Traditional refrigerators offer the freezer on top. This model has a freezer drawer on the bottom, making the contents more accessible via the refrigerator's French doors.

Wine Chiller

Wine Refrigerator

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wire shelves designed for wine are the main difference between a wine and regular refrigerator. Offering ideal humidity, this model also includes display shelving.

Refrigerators, sinks and dishwashers are usually located near each other in a kitchen, as they may all require plumbing. While sinks and dishwashers are commonly integrated into the kitchen counter, refrigerators usually break up the counter surface. Some models even offer paneled fronts that integrate the look of the refrigerator into the kitchen cabinets. All are offered in a variety of finishes and are usually chosen to match each other.

Side-by-Side Refrigerator
In this type of refrigerator the freezer and refrigerator storage are adjacent horizontally. Ice makers are commonly featured on these models.

Paneled Front Refrigerator
Integrating the look of the refrigerator into the finish of the kitchen cabinets, paneled fronts are available on some models.

Freezer-on-Bottom Refrigerator
Traditional refrigerators offer the freezer on top. This model has a freezer drawer on the bottom, making the contents more accessible.

Wine Refrigerator
Wire shelves designed for wine are the main difference between a wine and regular refrigerator. Offering ideal humidity, this model also includes display shelving.

Dishwasher

Dishwasher

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Advances in technology have made dishwashers virtually silent features in the kitchen. Rack configurations, energy-efficiency ratings and soil sensors vary.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Stainless Double-Sink

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Available in stainless steel, solid surfacing, cast iron and acrylic, sinks can be top-mounted or under-mounted. The number of mounting holes required corresponds to the type of faucet system.

Water Filter

Water Filtration System

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water filtration systems are designed to remove impurities from your tap water. The most common types available use either carbon or reverse-osmosis filtration. They can be whole-house systems or mounted on the end of a faucet or under the sink.

Dishwasher
Advances in technology have made dishwashers virtually silent features in the kitchen. Rack configurations, energy-efficiency ratings and soil sensors vary.

Sink
Available in stainless steel, solid surfacing, cast iron and acrylic, sinks can be top-mounted or under-mounted. The number of mounting holes required corresponds to the type of faucet system.

Water Filtration System
Water filtration systems are designed to remove impurities from your tap water. The most common types available use either carbon or reverse-osmosis filtration. They can be whole-house systems or mounted on the end of a faucet or under the sink.

Electric Stove

Electric Cooktop

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Electric stoves can be smooth, which make them easier to clean. They are offered in a variety of burner configurations.

Gas Stove

Gas Stove with Vent

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Offered in various burner configurations and designs, gas stoves offer instant heat. Some offer integrated trivets or special burners for woks. Some include exhaust vents.

Jenn-Air Double Oven

Double Wall Oven

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

This double wall oven integrates into the surrounding cabinets. It's offered in standard widths of 24, 27 and 30 in.

Free-Standing Oven with Cooktop

Free-Standing Oven

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Usually less expensive than wall ovens, free-standing ovens include a gas or electric range with the oven in one unit.

Exhaust Hood

Stainless Cooktop Hood

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Used to circulate air and prevent condensation and cooking odors in the kitchen, hoods can be stylish kitchen features.

Warming Drawer

Warming Drawer

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Warming drawers can be installed under a stove or under a wall oven. They are offered with variable temperature controls.

Cooking appliances are grouped into two general categories based upon their energy source: electric and gas. The other important selection criteria are based upon where and how you plan to install the appliances. There are stoves that integrate into the countertop, ovens that integrate into the wall and cabinets, and then there are freestanding oven ranges.

Electric Stove
Electric stoves can be smooth, which make them easier to clean. They are offered in a variety of burner configurations.

Gas Stove
Offered in various burner configurations and designs, gas stoves offer instant heat. Some offer integrated trivets or special burners for woks.

Wall Oven
This double wall oven integrates into the surrounding cabinets. It's offered in standard widths of 24, 27 and 30 in.

Free-Standing Oven
Usually less expensive than wall ovens, free-standing ovens include a gas or electric range with the oven in one unit.

Hood
Used to circulate air and prevent condensation and cooking odors in the kitchen, hoods can be stylish kitchen features.

Warming Drawer
Warming drawers can be installed under a stove or under a wall oven. They are offered with variable temperature controls.

Microwave Oven

Under-Cabinet Microwave

New to most homes in the 1980s, the microwave oven has since become a standard kitchen feature. They can be mounted above your gas or electric oven or may be freestanding on the kitchen counter.

New to most homes in the 1980s, the microwave oven has since become a standard kitchen feature. They can be mounted above your gas or electric oven or may be freestanding on the kitchen counter.

GE Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Garbage disposals and trash compactors offer solutions to handling the waste created during food preparation. Always unplug the compactor and turn off the disposal’s circuit before attempting any repairs.

Trash Compactor

Trash Compactor

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited View original photo.

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Garbage disposals and trash compactors offer solutions to handling the waste created during food preparation. Always unplug the compactor and turn off the disposal’s circuit before attempting any repairs.

Garbage disposals and trash compactors offer solutions to handling the waste created during food preparation. Always unplug the compactor and turn off the disposal’s circuit before attempting any repairs.

Garbage Disposal Unit
Once a luxury, now garbage disposals are fairly standard in new home construction.

Trash Compactor
Decreasing the load on landfills, trash compactors are available in finishes that match most kitchens.

Traditional Kitchen

Kitchen with Decorative Backsplash

Photo By: Design by Gail Drury View original photo.

Design by Gail Drury

Wide view of kitchen with cherry wood cabinets, kitchen island, stove with decorative backsplash, granite countertops and new design.

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