Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Perils in Appliance Shopping

I dreamed about appliances last night. I don’t know what the dream was or what transpired, but I clearly recall a blinding amount of stainless steel. Hmmm. I wonder why that could be. Maybe because appliance shopping sucks?

It could be that since the weekend, I know I’ve glanced at at least 1,000 different ranges, range hoods, and microwaves. (We got to install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliver reh reh eh eh ehs) Sorry. My brain tuned into the 80s for just a minute and I had a college flashback. Could be all that time I've spent either in a store or online lately comparing appliances!

The reason I’ve looked at so many is because we changed plans and then changed them again. We decided to look at “slide-in” stoves which open directly to the backsplash and to find a coordinating over-the-range microwave. I’d narrowed down a few suspects when it occurred to me that these microwaves were pretty tall. There didn’t seem like there would be a lot of room between the top of a pot on the stove and the exhaust fan/light above it!

So I began searching for some kind of guidance on how much clearance between stove-top and microwave is needed. I don’t remember right now what the minimum is (I want to say 30 inches), but whatever it is, we don’t have it! That meant we had to go back to full-size ranges.

I’ve managed to narrow that to two for the mother to pick between. (A GE and a Frigidaire, both quite nice.) I also found a few nice range hoods, though they aren’t fancy. (The ones I like cost five or six times the ones I’m recommending to the mother.) But microwaves. Ah, there’s the rub!

We want a full-size countertop model in stainless finish and the mother insists that it have a handle similar to the stove and refrigerator. The odds aren’t working in my favor. Almost all the countertop microwaves with handles are small-sized. The ones that have the handles that I need to see and that are the size we want are over-the-range models.

In general, full-size countertop models don’t have handles. They’re designed that way to be “sleek and unobtrusive” on a countertop. Makes sense. Our current, almost 14-year-old model doesn’t have a handle. You mainly find them on smaller units, I'm guessing so that the latch mechanism doesn't take up space on the control panel.

Even so, I found a few to recommend to the mother. I even found a couple I like, including a Panasonic model, which is the brand we have now. And, in all these years, nary a problem.

I also found an ideal Whirlpool handle – no microwave, just a handle. Wondering if I could incorporate it onto one of the handle-free models I like …