When it comes to appliance finishes, the demise of stainless steel is predicted every time new materials come on the scene. Some of these newcomers have fared better than others, but none has come remotely close to supplanting traditional stainless steel.
So where does black stainless steel, recently unveiled by KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung, fit into the appliance landscape? According to Daniel DiClerico from Consumer Reports, as the Magic 8 Ball might say, “outlook not so good.” But black stainless steel is an interesting alternative if the rugged industrial look of conventional stainless steel doesn’t appeal, or if you’re worried about smudges and fingerprints.
KitchenAid calls the new material “a softer, warmer alternative to traditional stainless.”
Judging from the KitchenAid five-door refrigerator, black stainless steel is definitely less
reflective, with more of a matte look and feel. In addition to several freestanding and built-in refrigerators, KitchenAid offers black stainless steel on a selection of single and double wall ovens, dishwashers, and range hoods. Samsung’s black stainless steel, which is similar in texture, tone, and smudge resistance, is available on a select line of refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, and microwaves. Samsung says it’s an option is to mix and match materials in the kitchen, i.e., doing the range and microwave in black and the refrigerator and dishwasher in traditional stainless steel.
As for LG, its black stainless steel is described as, “stainless steel coated with a darker hue and topped with a protective coating.” The result is a shade lighter than KitchenAid and Samsung. It’s available on a suite of appliances consisting of refrigerators, double-oven ranges, dishwashers, and microwaves. LG has also introduced a contoured-black-glass finish that’s more reflective and available on a four-door refrigerator.
Milwaukee is a little more conservative of a market and we tend to adapt to new products at a slower pace than more cosmopolitan markets. While it’s not everybody’s style, black stainless steel is a great look with the right mix of products. This offers another option to homeowner’s who do not love stainless steel products or the cleaning that goes along with them.
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