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Alexandria Living Magazine: Pandemic Nesting? Check Out These Appliance Trends

With more people spending time at home due to COVID-19, appliance-buying is on the rise. Here are some of the latest trends.

With many people spending more time at home during the pandemic, home improvement has been a big trend.

We talked with the experts at AJ Madison Home & Kitchen Appliances Store to find out what the hot trends are in home appliances, as more of us are hanging out at home during the era of COVID-19.

Jessica Petrino, educator and appliance expert at the company, breaks it down:

Refrigerators offer custom choices

"Counter depth and built-in refrigerators are trending right now because they don’t stick out beyond your cabinets. This design delivers a sleeker looking kitchen. Columns are all-refrigerator, all-freezer and wine preservation towers that can be installed together or apart. They are growing in popularity and several brands are offering them as a solution. Their modular design allows you to customize a refrigerator and freezer placement that works well with your floor plan. Columns are especially popular for small-space living."  

Latest ranges mean precise cooking

"Pro-style ranges deliver a grander kitchen look. They also deliver high-power performance. Features include high BTU gas burners for the perfect sear and super sensitive simmer burners for precise cooking. Niche brands like Fulgor Milano, Bertazzoni, AGA, Capital, and Bluestar offer customization options like color, hardware and burner configurations to meet your cooking needs and design."

Dishwashers big and small keep it clean

 "Both stainless steel and panel-ready dishwashers are in demand. Stainless steel is a classic look that goes with most kitchens. Panel-ready dishwashers are an upscale alternative where your dishwasher is covered in a custom cabinet panel that seamlessly blends in with the rest of your cabinetry. Dishwasher drawers are a great addition to an in-law apartment, refreshment nook, master suite or pool house."

Space-saving microwave drawers 

"Microwave drawers are hot right now. Instead of taking up counter space, microwave drawers are typically installed under counter, integrated into the kitchen island is the most common location. Most designs call for the 24-inch wide microwave drawer, but if you want to install yours under a wall oven, you can get a 30-inch wide model, so they line up." 

Go-anywhere washers and dryers

 "Many large homes are adding a second or even a third laundry set-up; 24-inch wide washers and dryers have increased to 50 percent of the market – and they’re not just for urban residences. Ventless stackable washer-dryer options can easily fit in a second-floor laundry closet. Miele even makes a stackable ventless washer-dryer set that only needs a 110V outlet. This means any spot you can run a water line, can now have a washer-dryer." 

"In the past, sanitizing washing machines were mostly marketed toward homes with pets and allergy sufferers. Today, everyone has concerns about removing germs, contaminants and viruses from our clothing. GE has a new front-loading washer with Microban technology to eliminate the growth of bacteria in the water." 

"It’s important to invest in a reliable washing machine. Many households do laundry every day. Heavy usage increases the wear and tear on the mechanical and electrical components of your appliance. Just like your car, your washing machine could need a service checkup to keep running for years to come. Buying a warranty with your appliance will give you peace of mind and keep you covered should you need repair."  

Appliance color and finish trends

"Stainless steel is still the top selling choice. Black stainless steel was introduced a few years ago and is a top choice by property managers and families for its easy-to-clean finish. Samsung is developing a totally custom line of refrigerator columns where you can pick your finish, color and configuration to create a bespoke design. We’re seeing a lot of color and hardware customization options offered by high-end appliance bands. Bluestar, Dacor, Hestan, Viking, and Fisher & Paykel offer color appliances (to name a few)."

Pandemic's impact on appliance-buying

"COVID-19 has impacted our lives in many ways. Many households have had to rethink how they prepare and store food. We are seeing an increase in demand for refrigerators and freezers as families are stocking up on more food to cook at home. Dishwashers are in high demand as more home cooking leads to more dishes.

"This summer we have also noticed families cancelling vacation plans and investing in more comfortable living spaces. Outdoor barbecue grills, wine coolers, and artisan pizza ovens are all must-have appliances this summer. It’s really put an emphasis on comfort, food preparation and storage and clean-up in ways that we never imagined."

Appliances in high demand

"Demand for appliances is at all all-time high and manufacturers are trying to work quickly to keep up with demand. It was hard to get a freezer early in the pandemic, but now the wait times are much shorter. If you need appliances right away, it’s best to buy proactively and have a little bit of flexibility. Buy what is in stock. I would suggest having a back-up selection or two just in case your top choice product is out of stock. If you’re planning a full kitchen project, then place your appliance order early just in case you need to wait on a few items. 

'Smart' appliances

"Customers are definitely asking about smart appliances. Smart appliances connect to your home wi-fi network and can be controlled through your smartphone, tablet, or smart speaker. Smart appliances deliver a variety of features simplifying use of the product, delivering new customization options, and providing peace of mind. 

"The primary purpose has been remote diagnostics – we’ve all been on the receiving end of a service visit only to hear that they know exactly what’s wrong but need to order the part. Smart appliances can monitor their own performance and let you know if your appliance needs a service call. Many smart appliances can identify the problem, and the part needed. Remote diagnostics benefits everyone as the process is more efficient.

"Remote monitoring capabilities will alert you to the refrigerator door left open, the end of a dryer cycle, a pre-heated oven is at temperature. Geo-location can assess your proximity to your appliance and will notify you if you left home with the oven running. All great features to have.

"Additionally, there are lots of brands that have integrated Alexa, Google Home, Bixby voice command capabilities into the appliances – such as “hey google, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Samsung has approached the market as a connected home vs. connected appliance and has created a smart network where the appliances can also talk to each other.  For example, you could answer your Ring video doorbell on your Family Hub Refrigerator." 

Advice for appliance shoppers

"We live in an age where there is so much information available to us. Before delving into specific models, I recommend doing a little bit of research to gain a basic understanding of the available products. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s easy to get bogged down with too much research, but a 10-30 minute cursory internet search will give you a basic understanding so you’re a more informed shopper. 

"Before you start shopping, think about how you use your appliance now. Are there any features you must have in your new appliance? Once you identify those “deal breaker” features it will narrow down your selections. Also think about how you aspire to live going forward. If you love to bake, for example, consider an electric convection oven with an even temperature for even results. 

"It’s also important to know what size appliances you need. If you’re installing new appliances into existing cabinets, make sure to measure the dimensions of your existing cabinet openings. This way your new appliances will fit. Also – take note of any tight areas along the delivery path such as door frames, stairwells, deck railings, or hallway corners as they could influence your appliance choice.  

"Once you narrow down your choices by your must-have features and measurements, you can select appliances that fit your style and budget." 

"At AJ Madison we work hard to make sure you have access to the best appliance deals and prices. Buying an appliance package will usually give you a better deal as manufacturers offer promotional rebate savings to encourage you to buy more products from the same brand. There are always rebates and packages available. There are retail holidays such as Labor Day, Black Friday, and President’s Day that offer extra rebates for an extra good deal."

Most luxurious appliance (at the AJ Madison store)?

"This one’s up for debate as there are several professional opinions here. There are many great luxury products and each brand has a certain expertise and precision that they execute. It also depends on what you’re looking for. If you want color customization, consider Viking, Bluestar or Dacor.

True Residential and Sub Zero make great refrigeration. Wolf and Thermador make powerful pro ranges. Gaggenau or Miele are great choices for wall ovens. Miele and Cove are top choices for luxury dishwashers. Many of these brands offer a full suite of appliances to match." 



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