Thread Number: 85587  /  Tag: Refrigerators
Stainless steel appliances
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Post# 1101353   12/20/2020 at 14:14 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

I was thinking recently seeing an old commercial about just how long stainless steel appliances have been in vogue. I had forgotten that the current craze over stainless steel has lasted nearly two decades seeing an old Lowes commercial from 2002. While stainless has kinda always been around at the high end, I think they really started becoming more mainstream popular in the very late 90s (ala GE Profile and Viking, Five Star other high end brands in these finishes) and then more mainstream popular (like your basic BOL/mid range GE, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, Kenmore appliances being available in it) during the mid-late 2000s.

I do wonder what, if any, finish will replace them as the next big thing.

Another thing I've noticed is while say 10 years ago you could get high end appliances with all the bells and whistles in white or black, these days most of the TOL stuff tends to come ONLY in stainless or some variation thereof, but not so much black or white. Or in the laundry room, some space age color like gray, blue or red.

And come to think of it, I haven't seen bisque much as an option either, and certainly not anything other than barely above BOL.

Given how often colors have changed - think pastels like robin's egg blue and yellow in the early 60s, giving way to avocado, harvest and coppertone in the late 60s and then the late 70s/early 80s giving way to more mellow versions like almond, coffee and harvest wheat, and then quickly almond replacing all those by the mid 80s, it's surprising to me how long stainless has been king.

I know in the mid 80s almond was big, then at the end of the 80s and most of the 90s white-on-white or all black being were the high end finishes.

I know some finishes like black stainless steel and a more bronze toned stainless have come up here and there but they don't seem to have really caught on as well. So the biggest change I've seen since the early/mid 2000s is stainless steel with black plastic trim and handles has gone way to shiny silver metal trim like handles, etc. Which to me looks better. Not to mention on white appliances, smooth metal painted handles are so much better than textured white plastic (but I digress).

You see those home buying shows and the prospective buyers are all giddy because the house has granite and stainless. I personally could not care less about them. I actually liked last week when I watched one of these shows and the kitchen had white appliances and oak cabinets and the buyers said "the kitchen looks nice and updated." I couldn't imagine someone on these shows was happy about a non-up-to the-minute kitchen. LOL

Post# 1101360 , Reply# 1   12/20/2020 at 14:21 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Hotpoint had stainless refrigerators in the 50's.

Post# 1101371 , Reply# 2   12/20/2020 at 15:00 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Stainless Steel appliances ???

combo52's profile picture

Ten years ago most SSAs were actually a decent grade of non-magnetic SS, today almost everything is magnetic SS finish which rusts easily, this makes painted white and black appliances etc much more durable finish wise.


I am also amazed how popular SSAs have become along with ugly natural granite counter tops with their wild uneven patterns.


There is no getting around that SSAs do not look good with wood floors and cabinets, but bad style has seldom stopped people from buying things, LOL



Post# 1101376 , Reply# 3   12/20/2020 at 15:28 by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture

I hate SS appliances.  I’ll take good old fashioned white any day.  They never go out of style, white goes with any other color scheme or material and they don’t show every hand and finger print.


I also feel the same way about granite counters.  Give me the beautiful 3”x3” tiles of yore in the lovely colors that bring cheer and individuality to a kitchen or bath with a nice contrasting bullnose border.  Now thats individuality, not the follow the herd style of the HGTV buyers the MUST have SSA’s and granite counter tops, with those ugly, bleached/pickled hardwood floors, yuk!


It would be so nice if people once again showed appreciation for the vintage materials in homes that they contemplate buying.  Preserving the beauty of these materials that are appropriate for the era of the home that they are in.  Many give lip service to “conservation”, but  have no problem filling our landfills with the ripped out “dated”kitchens and baths that just “aren’t our style”.  


I cringe every time I see a beautifully preserved vintage kitchen ripped out to be replaced with an HGTV dime a dozen clone kitchen.  Its’ one thing of the tiles are all broken and damaged, then replace them with materials that are appropriate for the vintage of the home.



Post# 1101379 , Reply# 4   12/20/2020 at 15:50 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

I agree, and I'm getting off topic here but I'm so tired of every new and updated house having to have this same light gray wall paint, with rustic gray wood floor tile and every piece of trim and cabinet painted white or light gray look along with wood plank walls.

Along with all the wall art saying things like "gather" or "I love US" or "live, laugh, love" in this same scripty looking font.

It's so stupid how everything, even wall "art" is being copied so lock stock and key. There's no variety anymore, and everyone wants this "farmhouse look" even in a brand new house they copy it and it just does not fit in!

And I myself feel like stainless steel appliances actually did look really good 10 years ago when darker cabinet finishes were more popular in the mid to late 2000s along with dark granite tops. With today's all white and gray kitchens with marble tops, it is a little too much gray IMO.

I have no idea why people think stainless steel appliances are "higher quality" or whatever they think, unless they think they are built "restaurant grade" or something just based off the finish of them. But look at Viking, Sub Zero and other "restaurant style" household appliances and even those being so expensive, seem to have even more issues than the regular household brands.

Post# 1101389 , Reply# 5   12/20/2020 at 16:59 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Our 1975 KDI-17a was installed with stainless steel panels.  Also the Kenmore range hood (which the parents are still running).

Post# 1101394 , Reply# 6   12/20/2020 at 17:23 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

In addition to refrigerators as Kenny mentioned, Hotpoint had built-in wall ovens and cooktops in stainless in the mid 50's. They even had a 39" range with the top and doors in it.

GE had brushed chrome available for built-ins for many years. The house across from me has them from 1965.

I don't want anything stainless steel unless it's 300 series, as the 400 isn't very good.

Post# 1101396 , Reply# 7   12/20/2020 at 17:27 by sfh074 ( )        
John .....

you sayin refrigerator magnets with finally stick now? I guess they got too many complaints. LOL

Post# 1101397 , Reply# 8   12/20/2020 at 17:27 by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Westinghouse sold wall ovens and electric built in cooktops in ‘56 that were SS.  My aunt moved into  a new track home that year that was equipped with the much sought after AEK with these Westinghouse SS appliances.



Post# 1101408 , Reply# 9   12/20/2020 at 18:31 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Back around 1999 I replaced the Harvest Gold GE SXS fridge, which was probably about 30 years old, and came with the house, with a stainless steel Whirlpool version. I have no major regrets; the Whirlpool uses about 1/3 the energy of the old GE. The only thing I do regret now is that I had the old GE hauled away - the service that took insisted that the power cord be cut. Which means it most likely got the freon removed and the whole thing was crushed. If I'd known it would have fans I would have tried to find a collector to take it. I did prefer the icemaker on the old GE: it made little barrel shaped cubes, instead of the bigger half-moons that the current one makes.

Post# 1101449 , Reply# 10   12/20/2020 at 22:55 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I have an early 50's KA DW in stainless, forget the model number, but it's one of the units with the timer knob at the bottom. So stainless is creeping up on 70 years.

I am doing some minor updates around the house and replaced the 80's oatmeal colored knobs with brass back plates with brushed nickle. Half of the appliances are stainless and I think they look fine with my oak cabinets that I was considering painting until I put the new hardware on. My fridge is a SxS in Bisque as were all the appliances when I did the remodel in the late 80's. I have a new stainless SxS fridge in the garage and mull over swapping them out, but much prefer the interior of the current one over the new one. The new hardware took decades off the look of the kitchen, just not sure about the fridge swap out.

Post# 1101473 , Reply# 11   12/21/2020 at 02:58 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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It occurs to me that if one waits long enough, all one's appliances will be vintage.

Post# 1101493 , Reply# 12   12/21/2020 at 10:41 by Golittlesport (California)        
1950's stainless steel

My folks bought a newly built house in Pittsburgh in 1958. The builder had an option for a built-in electric cooktop and wall oven, which my parents took. It was a stainless steel Hotpoint set installed in pink metal cabinets. My mom was in heaven and relegated her Universal "dirty" old gas stove to the basement. Our house was one of the few that optioned the built-ins and mom was very proud of them.

It was very rare to see stainless steel on appliances back then, and flash forward 60 years to my all stainless steel kitchen.

Post# 1101938 , Reply# 13   12/25/2020 at 10:18 by Dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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In my recently renovated kitchen I had all new GE appliances installed in stainless. I like the appliances, but I hate the stainless. I think it’s hard to keep clean. I do clean then with a little Murphy’s oil soap and water once a week and it keeps them looking good.

Post# 1101985 , Reply# 14   12/25/2020 at 17:45 by jakeseacrest (Massachusetts)        

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I'm not big on stainless steel appliances either. I miss the panels you could change on dishwashers and compactors

Post# 1101989 , Reply# 15   12/25/2020 at 18:12 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Meh, I'll stick to black.

Post# 1102627 , Reply# 16   12/31/2020 at 09:09 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
even black....

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is becoming harder to get.

Post# 1102630 , Reply# 17   12/31/2020 at 10:20 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I actualy didn't specify or maybe forgot or the salesperson neglected to ask what color (color still?) I wanted my dishwasher in, and the display was in this gray, so this is what got delivered, installed, and has done its awesome job for months, and Imthink just as much goes well with its surroundings as if we move be accepted far more by the next owners of this house, who might otherwise abhor a stainless steel appliance enough they would discard a good, still-working one for what luckily blind faith retained:

-- Dave

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Post# 1102635 , Reply# 18   12/31/2020 at 10:35 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Black stainless

is very popular now. So is graphite, both in finger print resistant finishes.

Post# 1102637 , Reply# 19   12/31/2020 at 10:40 by chachp (North Little Rock, AR)        
Wow, tough crowd!

chachp's profile picture


Stainless appliances and Glass shower doors/enclosures:


We have them both and I like the way they look in our style of house.  I don't find them particularly difficult to keep clean.  I won't hold it against any of you, I still love all y'all.  I hope this finds everyone in good health (given our circumstances) and I wish everyone a much better 2021.



Post# 1102765 , Reply# 20   1/1/2021 at 13:51 by seedub (South Texas Hill Country)        

seedub's profile picture
I have preferred black appliances since 1977, and do not know what I will equip my kitchen with if black completely goes away.

Post# 1102791 , Reply# 21   1/1/2021 at 17:26 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Minority opinion: I'm fine with stainless, as long as it's a non-magnetic high chrome/nickel alloy like 304 or 316. These are most corrosion-proof and cleanable metal surfaces you can get for a reasonable price (outside of precious metals like gold/silver/nickel).

That said, I appreciate the reasoning behind the Bosch SHU43C in my kitchen: it's got an all stainless interior (outside of the plastic coated racks), but a black front. The stainless is where it's highly functional.

Post# 1102797 , Reply# 22   1/1/2021 at 18:14 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Monel is another highly corrosion resistant metal, though somewhat more expensive than SS. It was commonly used for sinks and countertops in the 1930's, along with range tops. My dad's Uncle Fred and Aunt Hazel's kitchen had Monel sinks and counters that were original to the 1936 house. They still looked new when the house sold in 1990.

Post# 1102840 , Reply# 23   1/2/2021 at 00:14 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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From Wikipedia:

"Monel is a group of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel (from 52 to 67%) and copper, with small amounts of iron, manganese, carbon, and silicon. (Alloys with copper contents 60% or more are called cupronickel.)

"Stronger than pure nickel, Monel alloys are resistant to corrosion by many agents, including rapidly flowing seawater. They can be fabricated readily by hot- and cold-working, machining, and welding.[2]

"Monel was created by Robert Crooks Stanley, who worked for the International Nickel Company (INCO) in 1901. Monel alloy 400 is a binary alloy of the same proportions of nickel and copper as is found naturally in the meteoritic nickel ore from the Sudbury (Ontario) mines and is therefore considered a puritan alloy.[i][3][4] Monel was named after company president Ambrose Monell, and patented in 1906.[5] One L was dropped, because family names were not allowed as trademarks at that time.[1] The name is now a trademark of Special Metals Corporation.

"It is an expensive alloy, hence its use is limited to those applications where it cannot be replaced with cheaper alternatives.[citation needed] Compared to carbon steel, piping in Monel is more than 3 times as expensive.[6] "'

Given the expense, I doubt that many if any dishwashers and other home appliances are made of monel.

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