Not sure what kitchen whiteware is best for you or your family? This kitchen whiteware guide will take you through all the kitchen essentials so you can make an informed decision when you purchase.
Fridge freezers: Choose between top or bottom mount refrigeration, these are a great choice for homes that are limited on space, or you don’t require a lot of storage space.
Top freezers: are more accessible, and fit better into smaller spaces. This style of fridge also tends to be the most energy efficient (the more stars, the more energy efficient). They also come in a wide variety of sizes and colours and are great value for money, perfect for small families or students.
Bottom mount: most households need to access the fridge more often that the freezer. So having the fridge on top stops you having to bend down every time you want to get the milk out. They’re perfect for small to mid – size families. Ice and water dispensers are available on selected models (plumbing required in most cases).
Side by side fridges: With a freezer on the left and fridge on the right, you’ll have easy access to fresh and frozen foods. These models are perfect for bigger spaces and large families due to their storage capacity.
French door fridges: Similar in size with side-by-side fridges, French door fridges are suited to big spaces and large families. They offer a lot more versatility with wide shelves that allow for storage of platters and easy to access freezer drawers.
Chest freezers: Chest freezers require a great deal of space so keeping them in the garage or other sheltered area is ideal. With a lot of storage space they are able to carry all of your frozen foods. Ideal for bulk buyers and those wanting to avoid frequent shopping trips. They open from the top, making it easy to access the contents.
Bar fridges: Great for entertaining or keeping a small amount of food cold, these fit in almost any space, making them a great choice for a gaming room and garage.
Getting the right size
First of all, measure the space you have available to ensure you will have enough space around the fridge or freezer to open the doors, and to allow enough ventilation. Then you can work out how much storage space you can fit. The sizes below are a guide; your needs may vary depending on how often you entertain, or if you prefer to eat takeaway more often than preparing a meal. A general rule of thumb for fridge sizes are:
- 1-2 people: 200-300 litres
- 3-4 people: 301-450 litres
- 5+ people: 451+ litres
When comparing different fridge models it’s important to understand how much energy your fridge will use. The energy star rating is an easy way to identify the efficiency of models you are interested in. If two fridges use the same amount of energy (kWh per year) but are different sizes, the larger one will be more efficient because it keeps a bigger space cold for the same amount of energy.
Shelving: Are your shelves made of plastic or tempered glass? These shelves are easier to clean than wire shelves, and stop liquids from dripping. Also consider the number of shelves you have available.
Water & ice dispenser: A common feature on french door, and side by side fridges, a water & ice dispenser is the ultimate for everyday convenience and entertaining. A plumber may need to connect this dependant on your model which is an additional cost that some people don’t want to spend.
Child-lock: Some models have a child lock, increasing safety and reducing the chance for unexpected messes!
Temperature control: Some models have the option to customise your chilled zones, allowing you to maximise your storage space.
Electric, Gas, or, Induction Cooktop?
Electric: Electric cooktops with solid or coil elements can be slower to heat up and cool down, while ceramic cooktops give a more modern feel and offer easier cleaning. Most electric cooktops are more affordable than the other options to buy and install.
Gas: Gas cooktops offer instant heat, and can be designed to be flush or raised off the benchtop. Cast iron trivets are a little heavier but will be more durable over time. It can be expensive to plumb in gas, so ensure you have considered this when purchasing.
Induction: Induction cooktops are the new benchmark in cooktops as they are more efficient, responsive, and safer than all the other types of cooktops, and they are very easy to clean due to their flat surface. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase new cookware as it uses a magnetic current to heat your cookware. While induction can be more efficient it can draw more current so it is worth getting advice from an electrician before making a purchase.
Features to consider
Easy-clean up: Look for removable knobs and dishwasher safe parts.
A useful burner layout: Ensure you have enough space for everyday pots and pans.
Ventilation required? If you need ventilation, consider a rangehood.
Types of rangehoods
Rangehood: Generally refers to a simple wall mounted appliance that is installed over the hob to extract air to the outside.
Canopy Rangehood: Refers to a more elaborate appliance that has a decorative chimney cover to the ceiling to hide the flue.
Built-in or Integrated Rangehood: Extractors can be built into kitchen cabinets to hide them or under them, where they are less intrusive.
Downdraft: Overhead rangehoods are not the only way to remove cooking vapours and odours. Downdraft rangehoods or extractors create a downward flow of air to effectively ventilate the hob.
Extraction vs Recirculation
Extraction removes cooking fumes such as steam, smoke, and oil, and helps to prevent condensation. Extraction is the best option if you have the ability to duct air outside the building.
Recirculation takes the fumes and cleans them with filters before returning the air to the kitchen. This can increase condensation and filters will need to be replaced which can be expensive, but this is another option for buildings which cannot have external ducting.
Sizes & Types
60cm: This standard oven size is the most common and has the most affordable price point of the ovens. They are available in many finishes to suit your needs and household.
90cm: This larger oven is only found as a built-in option and is ideal for entertainers due to it’s large capacity.
Wall ovens: Built into the wall or cabinetry, these ovens are a popular choice because they blend harmoniously into the kitchen design. Some wall ovens also double as a microwave, giving you two essential appliances in one so you can save on space.
Freestanding ovens: Freestanding ovens are simpler and easier to install, although the appearance is not as integrated as wall ovens.
Benchtop ovens: These are exceptionally portable, and are suited to homes with little or no space for a full sized oven. Benchtop ovens generally offer high versatility in cooking options, so you do not need to compromise on capabilities.
- Great for roasts, cakes, and casseroles due to the high humidity cooking environment
- Instant flame and temperature control
- Generally cheaper to run
- Can be expensive to install if your kitchen doesn’t already have a gas connection
- Great for baking bread and pizzas due to the low humidity cooking environment
- Heats more evenly than gas
- Generally more expensive to run
Self-cleaning pyrolytic ovens: This feature cleans by heating the inside of the oven to 500-750 degrees Celsius to burn any grease or fat into ash, which the user wipes away at the end of the cleaning cycle. Perfect for people who lead busy lives as this saves you time and effort
Sizes & Types
Full-sized: These dishwashers sit under the bench and can either be hidden within your cabinetry or with the exterior showing. Door styles include white or stainless steel. Great for families and entertaining.
Drawers: Buy single or double drawers, these dishwashers are the ultimate in lifestyle flexibility. Fill one draw for small loads, and then fill both drawers when needed.
Compact: If you are really struggling for space, the compact dishwasher could be the answer. Like a single drawer, these are suited to apartments or rentals, as they are ideal in smaller spaces.
Integrated: If design is important to you, consider an integrated dishwasher. These come as full-sized or drawers, and fit into the cabinetry to give a seamless finish to any kitchen.
Energy & water efficiency: A no-brainer, make sure you read the energy rating (stars & kWH per year) before purchasing, so you can save money in the long run.
Wash options: Most dishwashers come with multiple wash cycles, including half-load, eco-mode, and other cycles which can help you save on your energy bill.
Quiet technologies: Most models have decibel information available, anything quieter than 50 will allow you to get an uninterrupted sleep.
Adjustable racks: If your household is using different crockey for every load, a dishwasher with adjustable racks could be invaluable for freeing up unused space. Some models have a third tray which sits at the top for holding large cutlery.
Sensors: Dishwashers with sensors monitor the dirt & food particles on each load and adjust the water level & cycle time to suit. This helpful feature increases your water & energy efficiency, by only using what is required.
Delayed start: A great option to set your dishwasher to run when electricity is at its cheapest, or when you don’t want the background noise.
Microwave only: This option is great to heat, defrost, steam, and reheat food. A convenient option for households that don’t need extra options.
Combination: With a microwave, grill, and convection oven function, this microwave offers a wider range of cooking solutions and could suffice as a solution for smaller spaces that cannot fit a full-sized oven.
It’s easy to incorporate your microwave into your kitchen design with a trim kit or by building a specific shelf and door to enclose the microwave when not in use.
20-29L are great for small spaces and kitchens that have limited bench space
30-39L are commonly suited to families due to their higher interior height, allowing you to heat multiple plates of food
40L+ are the largest of the microwaves, used commonly in large households where size is necessary to cook multiple dishes at once
Power: Most models range from 800 - 1200 watts, determining how fast your food will reheat, defrost, or cook.
Automatic cook & defrost: Using weight sensors, the microwave will automatically optimise cook times as necessary.
Child lock: Stops children accidentally starting the microwave with nothing in it, which could damage the microwave.
Lining: Some higher end microwaves have catalytic or pyrolytic liners which are self-cleaning, ensuring you don’t have to deal with a build-up of grease or food.
Sensor cooking: Detects the amount of moisture in your food and the humidity within the microwave to adjust power levels and cooking time for best results.
Remember! Microwave ovens with a convection feature can heat with metal, and microwave-safe containers will ensure you don’t have any fiery meals!
If you want to see what the various kitchen whiteware will look like in your home, check out our Built-in Cooking Centre in 23 stores nationwide.
Offering passionate one-one-one demonstrations and advice, our specialist team are only too happy to talk you through the latest options and technology whether you are doing a complete kitchen remodel or upgrading appliances. By keeping ahead of the latest trends in kitchen design, we can help you select the perfect appliance and get the most out of your kitchen.
Want to see everything together in one place? Visit our in-store Built-in Cooking Centre!