Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Winners

2008 was a great year for appliances....Not. Although 2008 was a difficult year for every industry, certain segments of the appliance and lighting business saw big increases.

Appliances: Affordable luxury...Bosch, GE Cafe and Frigidaire

Lighting: LED (finally) and color rendering fluorescent.

2008 will be remembered as the year we turned the corner certainly for many of the energy efficient products which will be the standard in the future.

Happy New Year

Monday, December 29, 2008

Features, Gadgets and Gizmos

Have a look at this Bosch integrated dishwasher

The Bosch does not protrude into the room like most of the others, which ironically defeats the purpose. But why the three tags?

Its the same dishwasher with different features. When you typically step up within a brand, additional features not quality of manufacturing is the additional cost.

In this case, a cycle on a dishwasher is control of time and temperature.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Not For Sale...Yet

Perhaps the most successful brand in 2008 is GE. Their products are really well priced with decent features like high output burners on the stove, LED lighting in the refrigerators and Smartdispense on the dishwasher.

Have a look:

Ironically, GE has been trying to sell the appliance division for a long time and intensively ..In a year when they absolutely knocked the cover off the ball and finally gave someone a reason to buy the company, nobody has the funding.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from the Yale Blog team

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Win

I did not want to turn this blog into a promo for Yale. It would lose objectivity and credibility. On the other hand, I am fortunate to work with some great people who are truly the heart and soul of this place.

We have won Best of Boston Home for 2009. Yale is the only appliance retailer to ever have won Best of Boston, and we have done so every year since 1999. So pardon the promo...to my colleagues at Yale this one is for you:

What they said:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Better Times Ahead

Let me tell you a story....It is a good story. We need good stories these days, and it is actually appliance related. In the 1980s, California decided(to their credit) that energy standards needed to be stricter, much stricter on refrigerators.

Industries have always been reluctant to change based on regulation. From their perspective, it is a ton of investment for no plausible advantage. In this case, manufacturers had no choice if they wanted to sell refrigerators in California. To their credit, they did not lobby or squawk about the net increase to the consumer.

The net effect of this legislation is you as the consumer pay 10% more for refrigeration. However, you save almost 2/3 in energy consumption over the products manufactured in the 1980s...or about $120-180 per year.

Like I posted one month ago, this product is cheaper than your 10 year old refrigerator to operate...Now for the good news, the man responsible for the legislation, Steven Chu, is your incoming Energy Secretary.

Read about Mr. Chu and his challenges here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Future is Not Now

Buying products like cars, appliances and lighting is tough currently without question. These products need service and/or maintenance in the future. The problem is to ascertain which store will actually be in business in the future. You certainly want that dealer or provider in business 5 years later. Appliances have a rate of repair roughly 18-20% in the first year. You want someone invested in the sale to actually facilitate the repair process.

Some telltale signs of store problems:

1. Bankruptcy: Chapter 11 allows for reorganisation, but what retailer has ever reorganized.
2. Lack of Inventory: Possibly shut off from vendors due to nonpayment.
3. Old displays: Not enough money to reinvest.
4. No sales help or inexperienced help: Paying less for labor is a sign of financial problems (this is not fast food.)
5 Missed deliveries or commitments: Once again, the retailer probably does not have enough credit to pay for the merchandise.

Small tip: Do not buy an extended service agreement from any teetering retailer. Wait a year and contact the manufacturer directly. You will pay more, but at least service problems will be rectified.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Before you buy that stainless kitchen consider integrating or hiding the unit. It is an interesting understated look, and can now be carried through all the products except for cooking.

Have a look:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Inexpensive, Not Cheap

According to most blog experts, I have to connect to readers with short bursts of compelling info. In the last 2 months, I have shorten the narratives to be more hard hitting. The old stuff, in my opinion, is better for people who are looking for the nuts and bolts on renovating, etc, especially the very first blogs up to early 2007.

Shifting gears, there seems to be more housing inventory on the market lately. Unlike years previously, there are, however, tons of ways to distinguish your home inexpensively....

Let's spend less than 2600:

Complete Frigidaire Gallery kitchen with 2 colored Tech Pendants.

GE Profile Range and wine cooler.

For about $2800, how about an induction cooktop, 5 LED replacement trims and 2 low voltage french optic pendants.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Future is Almost Now

Unbelievably, I have been blogging for 2 years. I have watched LED for almost three. We have ventured to lighting shows waiting and eventually leaving disappointed.

LED is truly compelling technology. Light emitting diodes are 7 times more efficient than incandescent, last 20 times longer and do not emit heat into the room (incandescent heats to 300 degrees.)

As I have written previously, there are no standards to the lumen output of LED, so most bulbs render blue. The only white rendering recessed is LRF....

Until now LED has been almost absent in decorative...Until now...Lets look at some new products almost available....

Notice the equivalent to a 50 watt low voltage is now a 5.8 LED

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Light is not Always Right

As we blog away about appliances, there is a fundamental understanding that appliances typically work (with some exceptions). There seems to be a uniformity of manufacturing. Factories churn out washers, dryers, etc in a logical progression.

This is not true in lighting. There seems to be very good and at the same time very bad identical looking products available. Once a light malfunctions, it costs $150 to have an electrician re-install it.

Avoid when shopping for a new light:

1. Lights that blink or flicker....Typically it is a cheap transformer.
2. Lights that do not hang straight or wobble.
3. Cheaper, painted canopies...on low voltage lights, paint will flicker.

Truth is...very good lighting does not cost much more. Have a look at lights that cost less than $150.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Identical Products...Different Prices

Let's save some cash to put us in a good mood this weekend...First some pictures.

Whirlpool Duet vs Maytag Epic

JennAir vs KitchenAid refrigerators (except for the brand new one from last post)

There are many circumstances where products are identical except for minor cosmetics, some features and the label. My advice: When the products are identical, buy the cheapest iteration.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surprise, Surprise

Just when you thought Whirlpool stopped manufacturing innovative products, they actually impress you...Have a look.

The Worlds first 22 cubic foot shallow depth product is the new KitchenAid...It is taller and 2 cubic foot bigger than anything else.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What Happened To This?

About 10 years ago, JennAir introduced their expressions lineup of downdraft cooktops. After initial success, Expressions has stopped selling. Without question, as a subsidiary of Maytag, JennAir was at a marketing, R&D and manufacturing disadvantage, there were, however, other contributing factors.

Better downdrafts: These units were better at venting with CFM ranges of 50-150% greater. Also, the component downdrafts are compatible with any cooktop.

Better Hoods: The Italian companies actually manufacture beautiful products...that vent.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Meaning of Brands

In my view, there are 2 classifications of appliances...Have a look.

Consider these brands for value and replacement.

1. Frigidaire
2. Bosch
3. Ge Cafe

Consider these brands for name recognition and resale in a competitive market.

1. SubZero/Wolf
2. Viking
3. Miele

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Meet Joe And See a Great House

About 8 years ago, I was referred to a gentlemen through a builder friend of mine. Joe introduced himself as an electrician and I worked with him on a few projects.
It became clear to me he wasn't an just an electrician, but a home builder as well.

Joe is your not so average, hard working, master craftsman and cutting edge builder. Over the years, we developed a rapport, but his last house is incredible and certainly blog worthy.

We supplied all the lighting and appliances. Small plug for my colleagues, Henriette and Bobby. They drew the plans and really chose the pieces (we do actually go to customers homes)...Enjoy, its worth looking.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Save a Buck or Three

One way to save money is to buy closeouts.....Now I am not saying buy crap. Manufacturers discontinue products and cut skus in recessionary times. Usually they will offer dicounts and incentives to move the pieces....That is the time to buy.

Have a look at a couple:

The Bosch range at $799 is $200 less than last year. The washer dryer combo is $225 less than a few months ago....Smart way to save.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dirsruptive Technologies, BU And Consumer Goods

I have to teach a class at BU this evening about disruptive consumer goods, and how we merchandise and market new technologies to the public. I know these kids are watching this blog as part of the assignment, so I will not tip my hand (hopefully I can keep up.)

Disruptive technology is really anything that changes the status quo. It could be partial like Red Bull energy drink or it could become the status quo like an Ipod.

Tonights discussion is a curveball for these MBAs to be. It is about the disruptive product which blew up the once proud Maytag Corp. Anyone have an idea?

We are on the cusp of some very interesting products, which could be the status quo in the future. Here is my view on some potential disruptors in our industry.


Still on expensive side, but LED has massive potential, because it does not generate any heat, has a 20 year lamp life and at present is about 7 times more efficient. One day soon a 1 watt LED will be equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent.


Induction has already claimed nearly all the upscale electric cooktop market. In 5- 10 years, induction should be the cooking standard.

Speed Cooking

TurboChef and Advantium are the only examples in a market ripe for disruption, but presently there are no products with mass appeal and none on the horizon.

BU grad students....See you tonight.

Monday, December 01, 2008

New Induction Range

In about 90 days, this range will change cooking forever.


This is a prototype of the new Viking induction range. For review, induction is 90% efficient versus 60% for gas and 55% for standard electric. Thus, it is faster to boil and simmer. Induction also does not emit heat into the room, so you can also downsize the venting.