DIY Network

Learn the Basics About Kitchen Appliances (page 1 of 2)

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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Courtesy of Design by Gail Drury

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.


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.

Dishwashers and Sinks

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

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.

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