More Time at Home Calls for Appliance Upgrades

Walton EMC has tracked down the latest innovations and features for the kitchen and laundry room.

With school closures, work-from-home directives and most public spaces shut down this spring, many Walton EMC customer-owners have turned to the kitchen for entertainment as well as meals. We’ve used extra hours at home to whip up three squares daily, bake old favorites and experiment with new food preparation techniques.And the more we cook, the more interested we are in our kitchens, observes Marilyn Wilkes, a Walton EMC customer-owner and co-owner of Athens Refrigeration & Appliance in Watkinsville.

“The average person has been using the same appliance for 8 to 12 years, so those models don’t have the new technology that’s available today,” she said. “With all the extra cooking many have been doing, there’s a lot of interest in appliances with new features that make cooking easier and better. You can find a lot of great new features on entry-level appliances as well as on the more expensive ones.”

If you’re considering some appliance upgrades, there’s good news: Top appliance makers showcased plenty of kitchen innovations — as well as a welcome upgrade for the laundry room — during the 2020 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).

Retailers typically run sales on major appliances during the Memorial Day holiday, so now is good time to identify appliances you want so you’ll be ready to shop around. Here are some of the new features and products showcased at KBIS that caught our eye.

The Kitchen Hub combines a smart-touch screen, microwave and ventilation hood

Watch TV on your microwave

Wilkes predicts GE’s new Kitchen Hub shown at KBIS will be THE next big thing in kitchens. The product is a 27-inch integrated smart-touch screen/1.9 cubic foot microwave/ventilation hood combo that can be placed above your range.

“The door of the microwave has all the functionality of a tablet, so you can read emails, record and share your cooktop or even binge-watch TV shows while you’re cooking,” Wilkes said. The appliance has three cameras⁠ — one over the range, one for chats and another inside the microwave.

GE has not announced pricing details for the microwave Kitchen Hub, which is expected to be available later this year.

GE’s in-oven camera can be monitored from any smart device.

Monitor cooking food from your phone

GE debuted an industry first at KBIS: the in-oven camera. Wilkes predicts consumers are going to like this feature that works in tandem with the oven’s Wi-Fi capabilities.

“Wi-Fi has gotten really popular in the last year because people want to be able to adjust oven settings from their smartphones,” she said. “The camera will make it possible to use your smart device to monitor your food while it’s cooking.”

The in-oven camera will be available on the GE Profile 9000 Series wall ovens, 30-Inch GE Profile Induction Cooktop Slide-in Range and the CAFÉ 30-Inch Induction Cooktop Slide-in Range. Look for them in stores later this year. Single wall oven models will start at about $3,350.


Easy open oven

If you’ve been teaching the kids to cook and bake, it’s probably become quickly apparent that negotiating a traditional drop-down oven door is difficult for them. Wilkes suggests taking a look at the GE Café French Door Oven. “The doors open to each side rather than dropping down, so it’s easier and safer to get hot dishes out of the oven,” she said. A single wall oven currently starts at $4,149.  


Paykel’s Professional Range has induction and gas cooking surfaces plus two convection ovens.

Cooking on a dual fuel range

If being homebound has you now going all-in on cooking, the Fisher & Paykel 48-inch Professional Range might be worth the $12,500 splurge. You can create a feast with this dual fuel range that features a 24-inch induction cooking surface as well as four gas burners. It also has a large convection oven that can fit catering-size baking sheets as well as a smaller one for quick weeknight dinners.

Both induction and convection cooking methods are trending with home cooks, so this appliance is on point for those looking to adopt new practices, Wilkes said. She cautions that some homeowners will also need to invest in an electrical wiring upgrade to accommodate the power requirements for induction cooking.


InstaView refrigerators

Knock, knock. LG’s door-in-door refrigerators with InstaView technology won’t respond with a “Who’s there?” but a glass panel on the appliance’s door will illuminate, allowing you to see what’s inside without opening the door.

InstaView technology is an energy-saving feature.

If your kids — or maybe you — have been trekking to the icebox frequently while staying home, the energy-saving benefit of this appliance feature is obvious: You can browse for a snack or a beverage without holding the fridge door wide open for several seconds, allowing precious cold air to escape.

Instaview also connects to an app that lets you control temperature and provides alerts. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Refrigerators with InstaView have been around since 2016, but LG announced at KBIS that the feature is now available on several models that are more affordable for the average family.


Frozen find

In an industry first, LG has added a craft ice maker to some of its residential refrigerator models. The slow-melting round ice (measuring 2 inches in diameter) is ideal for keeping drinks colder for longer. Models with the craft ice feature also have crushed and cubed ice in the refrigerator door. LG plans to add the craft ice feature on 15 smart refrigerator models this year.


Water Works

Precision detergent dispensing

Miele’s G7000 dishwasher automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent.

More meals at home means more washing up. The Miele G7000 Dishwasher with PowerDisk is the world’s first dishwasher that automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent based on the cycle you select and how dirty the load is. The dispenser holds a PowerDisk, a hockey puck-shaped product that distributes enough powdered detergent, oxy stain remover and rinse aid for 22 washes. Miele claims the disk helps reduce the amount of detergent and energy used to wash dishes.

The G7000 dishwashers will be available at Miele retailers nationwide in July. Pricing will range from $1,499 to $2,999. Each PowerDisk will cost about $10. If you're not sold on the PowerDisk, the G7000 dishwasher will also have traditional dispensers for liquid and powder detergents.


Delta’s Glass Rinser makes it easy to thoroughly clean glassware and baby bottles.

Easy glass washing

You’ve seen them in coffee shops and bars, but now countertop glass rinsers are coming home. Delta’s Glass Rinser uses high-pressure water jets to rinse every ounce of residue from hard-to-reach places inside glassware, baby bottles, travel cups and more. The rinser can be installed in an empty countertop hole, such as those used for soap dispensers and sink sprayers. It sells at major home improvement stores for about $100.



Smart faucet

Ideal for those who are more conscious of germs in the kitchen, the U by Moen Smart Faucet is the only kitchen faucet on the market to offer both voice- and hands-free activation. The faucet can perform other tasks through digital assistants, including Alexa and Google Assistant. Or, you can turn the water off with a simple hand gesture. Prices start at $450.



GE’s new UltraFresh washer uses new technology to eliminate odors.

No more smelly washer

The GE UltraFresh Front Load Washer has the earmarks of being a laundry room game-changer, says Wilkes. “We have people asking for this,” she said, explaining the washer uses first-of-its-kind technology to prevent the odors often associated with front-load models.

The washer’s internal components are infused with an antimicrobial agent to help combat the growth of mold and mildew. Ventilation added to the door allows the interior of the washer to fully dry out after a load.

The UltraFresh has a 5 cubic foot capacity, so it’s large. “If there is a downside, it’s that it’s oversized,” Wilkes said, advising consumers to measure laundry room space carefully before purchasing.

The washer retails locally for $1,099.

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