Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Quick Comparison

Look at this GE Cafe slide-in...

It was state of the art when first introduced 4 years ago, and why not? It has 5 burners, convection, as well as a second oven. At $2500, it seems like a competitive price for such a well designed and styled range. But can you buy smarter? Maybe...

Electrolux: Nicer range. Induction technology is faster to boil and simmer and Electrolux has an intuitive control panel with any kind of mode. But at $3300 plus, it should be better. So how about something better for less dough...

Frigidaire: Not exactly better, but at $1800+, this range has two induction burners, convection and a warming drawer. So you add induction, but remove the second oven from Cafe, as well as $700.

Frigidaire also has additional incentives for packages.


While Pat is logging in 10 days of posts, there are some pricing updates for this industry. First Bosch was incredibly aggressive in January. 10% of these interlocking rebates expire today.

Electrolux, Whirlpool and GE have announced a 8.8% increase starting in March. Bosch is expected to announce a similar increase this week(that would be an 18% difference between March and January).

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Big Mistake

The introduction of the Maytag Neptune was the biggest mistake in the history of this industry. It was on the forefront of front-loading, energy-saving technology. It was even marketed properly and was introduced at Radio City in New York.

Only problem was a 60% fail rate. That they didn't address the issue was the real tipping point for consumers depending on their heritage of reliability. Four years later, Maytag ceased to exist as an independent company with thousands of jobs lost in Iowa.

Flash forward 10 years, Bosch has recently announced that they will no longer be in the laundry business.

Unlike Maytag, this is a great machine marketed and distributed poorly. They cited competition from the Korean companies as the reason. Currently, at $549, their machine sells for $100-250 cheaper with much better reliability. The real reason may very well be Bosch's lack of market penetration in box stores, especially Sears. Thus, they cannot derive volume needed to maintain a factory.

So, do you as a consumer knowingly buy a machine which will be discontinued in 2011? Only if it is good and cheap...and right now Bosch is both.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Bad Twin

Have a look at KitchenAid's new range...

This is actually an old range. It was first marketed by Maytag and was called the Gemini, for two ovens. As history has shown, nothing designed by Maytag between 1995-2001 was any good. In fact, their new products; the wide by side refrigerator, the infamous Neptune and to a lesser degree the Gemini were instrumental in Maytag's destruction and sale to Whirlpool.

Some people will say, "two ovens are a great idea!" To that, I say...look again.

Oven is way too low...Better design is oven on top with the smaller lower oven below

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shake, Rattle.....

I am now on the road with techs every once in awhile. Lets say it has been enlightening...

Here is a problem. Customer complaint of shaking in her front load.

You should expect some vibration, because the front load spins out 3 times faster than a top load. The faster spin dries the clothes so there is less time and energy spent in the dryer. This is a great benefit to front loading machines

However, most floors cannot handle this type of vibration, so the unit will shake.

Detergents are another issue. If you do not use HE detergents, the suds sensor will deactivate the machine...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shopping For A Light

It's tough wading through 4,000 plus lights to choose the right one. Decorative lighting doesn't light the room.

The task element, like recessed and track, are the backbone and decorative is the jewelry. So pick what you like; any size, shape or texture. Take this light for example...

You wouldn't think of placing it in a real estate office, would you?

This is the Tri State Realty group.....WWW.TriStateRealtyGroup.com

Monday, January 24, 2011

Don't Do This

You can't see in this kitchen, have a look.

Now look at the culprit...

This is a great system by Juno called Trac-12. Unfortunately, it is designed for under the cabinets, not for the main task lighting. Yes, there are 6 track heads, but they only acommodate 5-10 watts a piece. That is not enough especially in a dark kitchen

The solution: Buy regular track...This kitchen can be illuminated for less than $100.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Kitchen

Wolf vs Viking, etc, etc.....You can still buy very good, functional, aesthetically pleasing and well featured items at a budget....Have a look at the video.

Kitchen is pretty nice, isn't it. She renovated it with us 6 years ago with Frigidaire Professional appliances.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Happened To Steam Appliances

Look at this KitchenAid wall oven...

It has a steam setting, but you would not know that (they probably don't). Steam has not developed a following amongst manufacturers who don't understand it and the general public who don't want to pay the premium for the feature.

It's a shame. Steam is the healthiest way to cook. Instead of baking out nutrients, you are adding steam to contain them. You can even bake brownies in a steam oven.

The two best products:

Miele...their Masterchef controls prompt you for everything, so it is easy.

Gaggenau...The pioneers of steam cooking. They even have a direct water feed into the oven.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bosch vs KitchenAid

This is perhaps the most competitive segment outside laundry with two very good, marquee brands.

Bosch....starting at $499 after rebates. USP (unique selling proposition): Quiet, water and energy efficient.

KitchenAid: Fairly quiet, eviscerator (fancy term for grinder) and heated dry.

I like Bosch's efficiency and KitchenAid's grinder (although Bosch's mesh filter is more than adequate). Heated dry uses way too much energy and is only 1.4% more efficient.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have Some Control

Ah..JennAir. JennAir carved its niche with downdrafts in the 70s and 80s. In the 90s, it was french door shallow depth refrigeration and then...nothing (except rebates on older designs).

The parent company, Whirlpool, actually retooled and spent some dough. The centerpiece of the new line is this wall oven...

Frankly, I am impressed.

Best controls on the market...BTW, sorry Mom.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Filter It

Why are you still drinking bottled water? If you are drinking one per day, your habit will cost $474 per year. This does not include the effect packaging does to the environment. Why not filter your own? Most bottled water companies are actually just filtering municipal water, which is the same idea.

The difference is the same money will allow you to filter 4,000 Gallons of water rather than 45.63. That's a 1,000 time premium for bottled water.

Here are two to consider:

Everpure PBS400 (I have this one): Filters 4,000 gallons right through the main faucet. Simple, easy filtering for drinking water.

Parallel 202 Whole house Filter: Try buying a water filter for your home. It's worse than insurance. Everpure has a number of cartridge options and filter replacement is easy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fluorescent vs Incandescent

Look at this curious installation in my closet...

You never see both lamp types in a closet. If you everinstall this for a client request, place them at least on separate switches

But it begs the question: Which is better in a closet? Closets are different from kitchens and baths as I will explain in a moment. Let's review the lamps.

Incandescent: 7 month lamp life is short lived, 300 degree heat is derived from only 10% efficiency. However, its color rendition or Kelvins is superb at 2500 degrees, which casts a soft yellow glow.

Fluorescent: 7 year lamp life and 70% efficiency ranks second to LED in terms of bulb characteristics. However, 5000 degree Kelvins casts a harsh, unflattering light in kitchens and bath (unless you buy it color rendering, which this bulb isn't).

Fluorescent is a better light for a closet. 5000 degree Kelvin is unflattering, but it is better for distinguishing blues and blacks or the opposite of the color spectrum from wood tones...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Minute of Your Time

Look at these two Electrolux pairs of laundry. One is 2010 and the other is 2011.

First Electrolux is very like-able. It is the largest in capacity, has the most intuitive controls in the industry and actually has a 17 minute wash cycle. Their is also no additional 4 inch allowance for the vent like other brands. For closets and other stacking installations, this is important.

So what is the difference? At this writing, the 2011 is one minute faster on their quick cycle and .4 of a cubic foot bigger. The 2010 at $1699 for the pair( I only bought agua marine, sorry its all they had) is almost $1100 less than the 2011.

Pretty expensive minute.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Light a Bath (Again)

So many bath sconces...Must be hundreds in here, which offers the question: How do you light a bath? The answer is to cross illuminate with lights on either side of the mirror at about 64-66 inches off the ground. Thus, you can see your face when shaving or applying make up.

You can accomplish the same with recessed lighting as well...Just place on either side of the sink, and not behind you (unless you want to see your shadow).

In lighting a home, kitchens and bath are the most important task-oriented rooms in the house.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I am finally excited about a product. You are probably thinking it's some ridiculously expensive product which I can foist upon you...

Have a look at this 10 second video.

The magnetic collar on a Commodore disposer is inspired. You do not have to worry about silverware, wedding rings (unless you want) or anything metallic being chewed in your disposer

How to buy a disposer:

1. Type: There are two types, batch and continuous feed. Batch is turned on by a a cover, and continuous is activated by a switch. Conventional wisdom says batch is safer, but continuous is easier to use.

2. HP: Horsepower dictates the speed of the grinding. More horses (and the best is 1 1/4) means better grinding capability.

3. Warranty: Runs the gamut from almost none to lifetime.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wolf vs Viking Round 2

With all due respect to the others, Wolf and Viking are the best names in the appliance business. A name can be important, especially if you are reselling in a tight market. There are plenty of worthy options, but these two are considered the best in pro ranges. The 48 inch range is the marquee product of both companies.

Yet only one can be number 1...



Top: Viking has a powerful 18,500 BTU right front burner, and the rest of the units are 15,000 BTU, whereas the Wolf has just 15,000 BTU...Advantage Viking.

Wolf has a 3 stage simmer with a low of 500 BTU. Viking has the Vari-Simmer, but Wolf has the lower temperature...Advantage Wolf.

Controls: Wolf has the lighted knobs and a flip down control for clock and timer. Viking(new feature) displays on the knob...Tie

Ovens: Wolf has 2 convection fans, and Viking has one larger fan. The Wolf has more cooking modes, so slight advantage...Wolf.

They actually both have self cleaning convection in the smaller oven.

Accents: Wolf has the ubiquitous red knobs, whereas Viking is available in tons of colors. If you have the right design scheme, the colors really look sharp. But then again, 98% of sales is stainless...Slight 2% advantage Viking.

Rebates: They both have great rebate programs...Wolf with SubZero, and Viking with other products....Tie.

I am calling this one a tie for political reasons. It's funny, but it really is close for the first time. Viking owned this market until 2003(?), and then Wolf stole considerable share by designing a better product. Viking woke up in late 2008 and actually improved.

We will look again.......In the meantime, there are plenty of Pro Range options with a bunch of new features. Have a look at a buyers guide, which may help you sort the information

Buyers Guide

Friday, January 07, 2011

Rebates (Again)

Ok, the dishwasher on the left is $399 and on the right, it is $619. What is the difference?

If you guessed the handle, you are correct. As I have posted many times, rebates are a differentiator. The one on the left has $150 in incentives (still is a $60 handle).

How about the difference between these? Lefty is $399, righty is $449.

There is a big difference between these two. Left is last years. The newer model has a steam cycle and is 30% larger for $50 extra (after 200 in rebates).

1. Find comparable brands like Frigidaire, GE and Amana and look at their products.

2. Find desirable features. For example in cooking, it could be convection, 5th burner, etc.

3. Then look for rebates. I love Bosch (stylish, etc), but I could learn to love another brand for $300 less in rebates.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


A shallow depth refrigerator (24 inches depth with or without the door) is a good design idea for upscale kitchens. Since the refrigerator cabinet does not protrude into the kitchen, the refrigerator can be placed anywhere. You also do not see a textured or unfinished side.

SubZero actually manufactured the first shallow refrigerator in the 60's. Now almost everyone manufactures some type of shallow product. There are three styles: regular counter depth, professional and integrated.

Have a peek...

Counterdepth (regular): This is the least expensive option starting at $1349. It is a refrigerator only less shallow. The doors protrude, but the actual refrigerator is hidden in the cabinet at 24 inches.

Professional: Professional is the style started and popularized by SubZero. Compressor is on the top for a more commercial appearance in stainless or can be paneled.

Integrated: This is the newest and fits within a cabinet at 24 inches WITH the door. Unlike the Pro and the regular, an integrated refrigerator is totally hidden inside the cabinet.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Welcome Groupon Subscribers

Yale will be featured on Groupon on Thursday, January 6. The offer is $100 for $50. I like action based marketing. It's much easier than creating radio spots. You can join Groupon here.

But anyhow, January is an interesting time to buy an appliance. Consumers don't want to purchase after holiday spending. Manufacturers, especially this year, need the sales. New products will be available in June, so inventory needs to be moved.

Thus, you see this:

Frigidaire $99 dishwasher (after $250 in rebates)..with a Groupon deal, this actually nets to $49.

Boschs' best selling integrated dishwasher $849 (after $200 in rebates).

Frigidaire stainless stove $499 (after $125 in rebates).

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Best Induction Ranges

Induction is magnetic electric heat. It is 90% efficient, and thus is way faster than even professional gas. It is also virtually child safe and requires less venting. About 10 years ago, induction was offered only as a cooktop for about $3500, now it is now cheaper even as a whole stove.

The best Induction Ranges:

Electrolux - approximately $3300: Great technical, feaure-laden range with two ovens. You can bake and broil in any mode effortlessly.

Samsung - approx $1829: Decent all induction range with a warming drawer...Not as easy to operate as the Electrolux, but a good value.

Frigidaire - approx $1350: Hybrid induction with 2 induction burners and electric burners as well. Frigidaire is a great value with convection and warming drawer as well for a few hundred dollars more than a standard electric range.

Monday, January 03, 2011


This is an all encompassing post about appliance categories, brands and features...Start the new year off right...



Brands: SubZero, Wolf, Viking, Miele, Thermador

Features: Professional or integrated refrigerators, pro range or cooktop and wall oven, integrated dishwasher.

Budget: $15,000 plus

Comments: Category has been affected by the building market along with stagnant home values. Still, SubZero et al still has cache and great features for consumers who really use their kitchen.

Affordable Luxury

Brands: Electrolux, GE Cafe, Bosch, Samsung, KitchenAid and JennAir.

Features: Shallow depth refrigerator, slide in range, stainless interior dishwasher.

Budget: $2749-$10,000

Comments: Great niche for consumers who want luxury and aesthetics on a budget

Near Luxury

Brands: Frigidaire, Frigidaire Pro, GE, Maytag

Features: Stainless Steel, Convection cooking

Budget: Under $2000

Comments: This is another great segment. Product looks good and performs well. Doesn't have shallow depth or slide in, but is otherwise comparable to the affordable luxury brands.


Brands, Frigidaire, GE, Maytag, Whirlpool

Features: Basic

Budget: Depends

Comments: Still a big segment with great value as prices haven't really changed much in 10 years

How to buy:

1. Rebates....Products can have up to 30% at any given time

2. Service....Know the service provider before you buy anything, especially the more exotic brands

3. Social....What to buy and whom to buy from is much easier. Social media sites like Yelp and CitySearch can help somewhat.