Appliances alone don’t make a kitchen. However, from a functional perspective, they are arguably the most important elements in this space. We speak to leading appliance manufacturer, Miele’s Jon Molyneaux, for some guidelines on what to look for when choosing your kitchen appliances.
Most contractors will tell you that if you are renovating or building a new kitchen, it is best to start by selecting your appliances first, as they can radically influence the layout of your kitchen design. Whether they are laundry, dishwashing, cooking or refrigeration – they will take up a large chunk of your budget, so ideally, you want something that is durable, stylish, easy and convenient to use, and with state-of-the-art extras. But, with all the options on the market, it is not always that easy to know where to start.
Says Jon Molyneaux, from leading appliance manufacturer, Miele: “With so many options to choose from, selecting your kitchen appliances can be a daunting task. I believe that the best place to start is by choosing a reliable and trusted kitchen appliance brand and then working back from there. My reasoning behind this is that by choosing a well-known brand, you will have automatically narrowed down your search.”
Reputation and reliability
So how do you choose a quality brand? First off, Jon notes that any brand worth its salt must come with a good track record – the longer the better: “You want to avoid the newer brands that haven’t proven themselves yet, and the fly-by-nights whose longevity in the market hasn’t been defined. A long-standing, trusted brand that has built up a reliable reputation over the years, and who promises to offer long-term after-sales service and spare parts is definitely preferable. Take Miele for example, it has been involved in manufacturing high-end, state-of-the-art appliances for over 120 years.
“This guarantees that you know what you are getting when you invest in a Miele appliance – a best-in-market appliance that has been designed, manufactured and tested to last for a minimum of 20 years. An appliance where every detail has been crafted with meticulous German engineering, and perfected using techniques and knowledge that has been honed with over a century’s worth of experience. Its ongoing track record continuously earns Miele numerous international best brand awards. We are especially excited about the awards given by the consumers themselves. Miele has repeatedly been voted “Most Trusted Brand” by Readers Digest readers and has been awarded first place for best customer service several times by the German Kundenmonitor (customer monitor) – distinctions that reflect a high level of customer confidence in our products.”
Once you have narrowed your search to include only reputable appliance brands, the next step is to consider quality. This is a very broad term to navigate, however, it makes it easier to classify by using its three defining elements: craftmanship, performance and sustainability.
Craftmanship is an indicator of the quality of design and workmanship of something that has been made. It comes from creating with passion, care, and attention to detail, and it is a quality that is honed, refined, and practiced over time. In today’s modern world, we often sacrifice real craftsmanship at the altar of expediency – but at the end of the day, you always get what you pay for. Jon explains: “When it comes to kitchen appliances, even though you might be paying more for a well-crafted appliance from the onset, such as a Miele for example, your investment will pay off in the long run by saving you time and money – the appliance will last longer, it will do a better job, it will save you time and effort, and it will run more efficiently.
“Everybody talks about quality, making the grade, meeting the mark – but Miele goes the extra mile and looks beyond this. It doesn’t celebrate the 99% that made it, but focuses on the 1% that didn’t and tries tirelessly to better this. It means taking superb work and starting over to create designs that actually surpass what is currently considered state-of-the-art. Miele is so serious about adhering to the highest level of craftmanship that it makes its own parts, from its own iron, and each appliance is checked by hand. Miele even makes the machines that make the machines. Because only by crafting and perfecting every detail does Miele achieve ultimate reliability – and that’s quality and craftmanship ahead of its time!”
Performance is the action or process of performing a task or a function, and the quintessential defining character of any kitchen appliance is ultimately how well it performs the tasks it was designed to do. Performance of an appliance can be quantified through performance tests. Jon elaborates: “To ensure industry-leading performance results year after year, Miele proves its appliances performance with up to 10 000 hours of testing, running them continuously day and night for comprehensive and precise results. This is up to three times longer than the performance tests of some car engines!” He adds that Miele’s appliances are so reliable because a third of its development time goes into testing: “Due to the continuous benchmark-setting performance results of Miele’s appliances, the brand keeps on winning performance tests globally – a testament to their durability and functionality!”
Sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. With the state of our environment, sustainability is an increasingly important aspect when it comes to any kitchen appliance – not only must they run efficiently with regards to energy and water consumption, but the longevity of the machine also needs to be considered, as well as the sustainable practices used in its manufacturing processes.
For most consumers, the efficiency of the actual appliance is an important consideration, as using electricity and water as sparingly as possible is as good for the environment as it is for the consumer’s pocket. Efficient appliances allow for massive savings on utility bills over the appliance’s lifetime. However, the way the machine is made is also important – the brand in question should use sustainable practices when making it, and the better quality the machine is, the longer it will last, and the smaller its overall carbon footprint will be.
Says Jon regarding Miele’s annual Sustainability Report: “The company’s focus is on its range of products and thus on sustainability aspects that run the whole gamut of its business: from development, through the essential usage phase, to recycling and disposal. This holistic approach distinguishes Miele appliances and Miele’s sustainability strategy from its competitors.
“Miele boasts some of the best sustainable rankings in the world with regards to its business, as well as its products. Unlike the majority of other kitchen appliances that are manufactured to last for 7 years, Miele’s are designed, tested and manufactured to last for 20 years (www.miele.co.za/20years). Instead of using many appliances over the years, you will just need one Miele appliance that can be used and repaired over its lifetime. Furthermore, at Miele we recycle metal from our old machines into new ones to create a more sustainable circular economy.”
By investing in a reputable and trusted kitchen appliance brand, like Miele for example, you are investing in a defined level of quality, craftmanship, performance, sustainability, and service, as well as in the brand’s reputation that it has carefully grown over its lifetime. Jon says that what this means for you as a consumer, is that you are investing in peace of mind: “When you invest in a Miele appliance, you are investing in quality ahead of its time. So the next time you are in the market for a new kitchen appliance, remember that choosing your brand wisely will hold you in good stead.”