As we move into a new year, many of us will be considering which appliances in our kitchens could do with an upgrade – or even looking into appliance options in the context of a full-scale kitchen revamp.
Though there are a variety of other considerations that may need to be made on top of these, here we take a look at three topics that often come up in relation to appliance purchasing: energy efficiency, capacity and integration.
Things like dishwashers, washing machines, fridges and a variety of other things you might use in the kitchen feature letter-based energy efficiency ratings, which could play a part in helping you choose your appliance.
At the top of the ratings scale – indicating highest efficiency – are various A grades – including 'A's with plus signs next to them.
You'll find this detail on the EU energy label. As well as letters, there's a colour coding system for each rating. A wide range of items use these labels, not all of them linked to the kitchen.
Exactly what is on the label changes between products – including what the top grade is (for some things it goes up as high as A+++), and some other details.
For example, a washing machine's label features info that wouldn't be needed on a lightbulb label, like indicating how much noise the item makes and how much water it uses.
Also look out for the label's listing of the amount of energy an appliance uses in a year.
Kitchen-specific items that use this sort of EU label:
Fridges, freezers and combined models
Tumble dryers, washing machines and combined models
How to spot the EU label:
The EU label is easy to spot: it features the EU flag at the top, a blue border and the prominent colour-coded ratings system.
Capacity is something that will be a consideration for many appliances that you would use in the kitchen.
For an oven, it might be how much hob and in-oven space there is, for a washing machine how much clothing you can fit in the drum at any one time and for a fridge how much food and drink storage space is offered, for example.
When deciding how much space you need, it might be best to think about day-to-day use, rather than anomalies.
For example: is it worth basing your fridge choice on the amount of food it could be required to store over Christmas, when your grocery storing is at its peak?
The answer to this will probably take into account other things, such as whether your choice of smaller fridge would cost less or could be run more cheaply.
There are different levels of integration available where many types of kitchen appliance are concerned.
For example, you may like the idea of a fridge that is a perfect match for the kitchen's cabinets, because it is housed in a matching outer shell. Or you might not mind simply displaying a fridge that doesn't specifically match your kitchen, but still looks good to your eyes.
For more useful guidance on kitchen appliance selection, why not check out our kitchen appliance guide, covering ovens, fridges and more?