One of the best ways to find out what products and materials are truly trending in the industry is to consult data from the places that actually sell them. This is what we found out.
Our objective is to find out what are the hottest appliance trends, what cooking technology is most popular, and what other bells and whistles consumers are looking for in their cooking appliances.
For this undertaking, we partnered with AJ Madison, a 19-year-old online kitchen appliance retailer that also has luxury showrooms in Washington and Brooklyn, N.Y. The company claims it launched the first online appliance retail website in 2001.
We talked with Jessica Petrino, an educator and appliance expert at the company, to get the skinny on what’s happening in the appliance space at the moment.
“Many customers want their new cooking appliances to be reliable, good looking, and easy to keep clean,” Petrino says. “Gas is still the most popular cooking choice for cooktops and ranges. Many consumers however are interested in newer technologies like induction cooking, speed ovens, and steam ovens.”
Petrino confirmed what many appliance manufacturers have been saying: that many buyers are gravitating toward appliances with tech features. “Just like with our cars and phones, smart appliances can provide tremendous benefits,” she says. “Whether it's helping you time your meal perfectly, self-diagnosing a service issue, or providing new recipe inspiration, tech features are changing the way consumers interact with their appliances.”
She also confirmed what we have been hearing about color. “We're seeing colors everywhere!” Petrino explains. “Colored appliances have been around for decades but not in the same way. Today you have an endless variety of choices. If you're looking for a particular shade to compliment your design, you can find appliances to match. Adding a pop of color can be a cool focal point in an otherwise neutral design.” But it’s not just about color, though. Buyers trying to make their appliances unique are also considering a stainless steel alternative such as black stainless steel, matte white, matte black, Tuscan brass, or sunset bronze.
AJ Madison is seeing growth in the acceptance and demand for induction technology, a method of cooking that uses magnets instead of radiant coils. “Induction cooktops and ranges are sought out for a few reasons,” Petrino says. “Induction is the easiest cooking surface to clean, it's faster than gas, and it's the safest especially if you have young kids or elderly family members in your home.”
Finally, the company addresses the age old question that consumers often ask: Should all of the alliances in the kitchen match?
“Matching appliances is popular for both luxury brands and core brands alike,” Petrino explains. “There are two reasons to match your appliances. Buying appliances from the same brand will ensure that the handles and finishes go together for a more cohesive matching look. Buying appliances from the same brand is usually less expensive. Most brands will offer rebate incentives to buy a package. These rebates can be really compelling, in some cases you might even qualify for free appliances like a free hood or dishwasher with your package.”
Still, there's no harm in mixing and matching appliances. Designers and consumers have to be happy with your appliance selections. “If that means you want to mix and match products or brands, there's no rule that they need to all be the same,” Petrino says.
AJ Madison has crunched their sales numbers for us, and they have come up with a list of some of the most popular cooking appliances. The list is ranked in no particular order.
Part of the company’s Contemporary Series, the 36-inch Smart Pro dual fuel range is the first product of its kind to incorporate a large steam assist oven, AJ Madison says. It offers up to 22,000 BTU main burners, SimmerSear burners, and can be paired with an auto-connected hood, allowing users to activate and adjust the hood with Bluetooth and ConnectOn auto-responsive technology.
The 800 DLX Series is a 24-Inch fully integrated dishwasher offering capacity for 16 place settings, an advanced drying system that uses Zeolite rocks that create heat when wet, and operates with a low 42 decibels. Featuring a pocket handle, the unit has a flexible third rack with fold-down sides that add 30 percent more loading capacity.
The 30-inch Minimalist Series double smart oven offers WiFi connectivity, allowing homeowners to connect to their home W-fi network and experience personalized cooking solutions, such as step-by-step videos. It’s also equipped with Hot Air Fry mode for crispy, crunchy cooking and scan-to-cook technology to ensure that packaged foods are always prepared correctly.
Professional Series 30-inch single wall oven offers steam cooking for healthy meals, true convection technology, and a combination of steam/convection. It offers a full access telescopic rack that holds up to 45 pounds and self-clean functionality.
This 36-inch counter-depth Family Hub refrigerator offers four doors and smart features that allow users to manage calendars, stream media, recommend recipes, and connect to automatic ordering services to replenish groceries. It has three interior cameras so homeowners can check to see what they need during trips to the grocery store. The FlexZone compartment (bottom right) has five preset temperature selections.
The 30-inch Hearth single wall oven is a great solution for making artisan-style meals such as cast iron casseroles, baked fish, or roasted vegetables. Offering Wi-Fi connection, the oven has LCD touch controls, pre-set cooking options, simple installation with no additional ductwork required.
The PureLine 24-inch plumbed steam oven full oven functions, such as convection bake, conventional heat, and grill. Plumbed water connection and drainage are completely automatic and filling the water container and emptying the condensate container is no longer required. It also offers RemoteVision, a virtual link between your enabled appliance and the manufacturer’s customer service center for easy maintenance. The oven also comes in a variety of colors.
The Aspire 36-inch built-in grill features a ceramic infrared rotisserie, a variable ceramic infrared sear burner at 23,000 Btu, and stainless tubular burners offering 23,000 Btu each. It’s fully customizable in a variety of colors.
This freestanding 42-inch grill offers 1,200 square inches of cooking surface, the manufacturer says. With 73,000 BTUs of cooking power, the unit features three Burners (two Ceramic and one Trident), dual-position rotisserie with three-speed motor, and heavy-duty welded construction.