Check Out These Cool Refrigerator Options

Remember when refrigerators were just a cold spot to keep your milk? Well, a few brands are recognizing the changing tastes of Americans and the growing role of the kitchen in today’s home with innovations that are convenient and just plain cool!

If you’re like me, you might start second guessing your current model and cursing it for not anticipating your every beverage or grocery shopping need.

Samsung SodaStream refrigerator

samsungfridge462x347_feature2For others like me who like a little pep in their water, the idea of a sparkling water-dispensing Samsung refrigerator is amazing.

You may select up to three levels of carbonation for sparkling water using the same control panel you would use to select water or ice. The sparkling water dispenser uses a standard SodaStream 60L CO2cylinder that rests in a small, concealed area inside the left refrigerator door, which is easily accessible to change when empty.

No more taking up precious fridge space with bottled and canned sparkling water nor creating all that packaging waste; now water dispenses on demand. In addition, you’ll ultimately save money (ultimately…) because sparkling water gets pricey and the cylinder refills aren’t that bad.

GE hot water dispensing refrigerator

gefridgeJust as easily as you can have cold water at the touch of the button, the GE hot water dispenser fridge means no more microwaving water or heating it on the stove for common needs! Think baby formula for gosh sakes. You’ll pour hot, filtered water from your fridge dispenser in minutes. How easy is that?

With four pre-programmed settings for the most common food and drinks, hot water is dispensed at a perfectly accurate temperature every time.

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Simply select your temperature setting, then use the knob to dispense up to 10 ounces of perfectly heated water.

Plus, water is purified through the only refrigeration filter tested and verified to remove 98% of five trace pharmaceuticals* from water and ice, offering added peace of mind for your family.

The refrigerator comes in both standard-depth and counter-depth styles to suit your kitchen.

LG WiFi LCD screen fridge

lg-refrigerator-lfx28995st-large01lcd-food-management465x265Don’t you hate it when you’re at the grocery store and you think you have sour cream in your fridge but how old is it really? Wouldn’t it be sweet to access that information and an inventory of all your fridge’s contents from your smartphone? (Answer: yes, it would be sweet).

This LG French door refrigerator uses a 10″ WiFi enabled LCD display to manage calendars, check the weather, download recipes from The Food Channel, leave digital notes (“stop drinking out of the milk carton!” or “save that cake for Saturday’s party!!!”) and display family photos. Oh and yes, the “food management system” will help you remember what you have and how long it’s good for. From there, you can create shopping lists that can also be accessed via your smart phone. Super smart, right?

Carla Warner Talks Smart Appliances

We were so excited when Southwest Journal editor Sarah McKenzie interviewed Carla Warner for the Spring 2013 Home Guide. We love the Southwest Journal and have counted its readers among our customers for decades. We couldn’t find it online, so we’re sharing the tips with our readers here:

Do you often forget what you have in your refrigerator when you’re out grocery shopping? Have no fear! There will soon be an app for that. LG is developing technology that will allow you to investigate the contents of your fridge from your smartphone. The Southwest Journal recently interviewed Carla Warner, vice president of Warners’ Stellian, to get up to speed on the latest in high-tech home appliances.

SWJ: What are some interesting/noteworthy trends in appliances you’re noticing these days?

Steam is popular for both cooking and cleaning. Steam ovens prepare anything from fish and veggies to baked goods in an efficient and healthy way.

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For cleaning, steam washing machines sanitize clothes and linens, which is great for families with babies and elderly or allergy and asthma sufferers. These groups also appreciate a steam dryer, which can eliminate dust and allergens from nonwashable items like decorative pillows and stuffed animals.

MORE: Smart Appliances Are the Future

Stainless continues to be the most popular finish, but many choose to integrate appliances like their refrigerators and dishwashers with their cabinetry. The result is a “hidden” almost furniture like look.

Also, aside from just increasing their capacity (bigger fridges, laundry and ranges), consumers also look for appliances that multitask, like double oven ranges and convection microwaves.

What are the most innovative, high-tech appliances out there now?

Samsung is coming out with a four-door refrigerator in April that will dispense sparkling water at the push of a button. Using the same control panel you would use to select between water or ice, you can select up to three levels of carbonation for sparkling water. It uses a standard SodaStream 60L CO2 cylinder that rests in a small, concealed area inside the left refrigerator door.

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Though induction has been around since the 1970s, the super-efficient method of electric cooking that uses magnetic fields to directly heat cookware didn’t catch on until the last several years.

Thermador’s Freedom induction cooktop takes that technology one step further by recognizing the cookware size, shape and position to deliver heat without the boundaries of burners. Basically, the entire surface can work as a burner. Think of heating the entire surface of your roasting pan when making gravy or being able to accommodate side by side griddles for breakfast preparation.

Many new appliances allow internet integration. Samsung’s WF457 laundry can be remotely operated using a smartphone app, which can also diagnose operation issues on your washer and dryer. LG is coming out with a line of “smart” kitchen appliances that allow you to search the contents of your fridge from your smartphone (think grocery shopping). Its LCD touchscreen gives you access to online grocery shopping, calendars, photos — even Pandora. The new LG range lets you monitor the cooking progress from your smartphone as well.

If you can’t afford to replace an existing appliance, do you have some tips to keep common appliances working more efficiently?

The best tip is the most simple: keep them clean.

Cleaner burners use less fuel. Cleaner dryer vents and refrigerator coils don’t need to work as hard. Running vinegar through your dishwasher and washer every month can improve their performance.

What are the benefits of investing in an Energy Star appliance? 

Often the investment to upgrade to an Energy Star appliance is minimal and the payoff is quick. Though they often cost more upfront, you can expect great overall savings throughout its lifetime. For instance, we estimate that the money you’ll save by replacing your washer with a new, Energy Star washer will pay for the new dryer to match it.

How do you know when it’s better to replace an appliance versus fix an existing one?

That’s the preference of the person writing the check. It will likely vary by appliance type, but generally speaking you should replace when repair costs rise to 50 percent of the replacement cost or if the product is more than eight years old.

Microwaves are the exception, though. Because of their shorter shelf life and replacement cost relative to repair, we tend to recommend replacing over repair.

Common Cottage Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair

Again this year, Warners’ Stellian appliances among other eco-friendly home ideas in the Eco Experience Common Cottage exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Sure the house has a smart design and is constructed from reused and reclaimed materials, but you can also learn tips to improve the house you have: increase the energy efficiency of your home with an energy audit, incorporate composting and recycling systems, improve indoor air quality and install eco-friendly kitchen surfaces and appliances.

And if that doesn’t get you going, there are backyard chickens on the patio, covered by part of the now-defunct Metrodome roof (and a super pretty natural gas grill from Warners’ Stellian).

If you’re intersted in improving the energy efficiency of your home, you’ll be introduced to the best resources for financing your energy improvements, from loans, rebates, tax credits, or grants.

My camera ran out of batteries before I could take pictures of the STUNNING kitchen, with its blue-green colored reclaimed cabinets and recycled glass counter tops, but I can show you the smart and sexy appliances we chose to showcase this year:

Liebherr refrigerator

The architects on this project specifically requested Liebherr, and we couldn’t have agreed more. Liebherr goes beyond being super energy efficient (27% over federal standards) to become the most sustainable refrigerators; its refrigerators are manufactured in the greenest way out there. Plus, its two compressors ensure premium food preservation. Basically, your fresh (local?) foods will last way longer because the dry air from the freezer won’t disturb the humidity in the refrigerator.

Electrolux induction range

Elements on this Electrolux induction range automatically detect the presence of magnetic cookware, activate the induction field and adjust it to the exact size of the pan. This means that no energy is wasted heating anything else but the cookware holding your food. Induction is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas, though it boasts the same power and responsiveness that cooks love.

Bosch dishwasher

Not only is it whisper quiet, this Bosch dishwasher uses only 2.4 gallons of water per wash; the average kitchen faucet flows about 4 to 7 gallons per minute!

LG washer/dryer combination

 

This ventless LG washer / dryer combo takes up less space and washes and dry in one appliance. Plus the washer is Energy Star rated, meaning it uses less energy and water to do its job.

Mini Refrigerators and Dorm Microwaves for College Cooking

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment.

Dorm Refrigerators

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 5.5 cu. ft compact refrigerator and freezer has a a space-saving flush back design.

Dorm Microwaves


If you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.

Discount appliances at Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale this weekend

We’ll have thousands of appliance deals on hand for Warners’ Stellian’s (now-famous) Extreme Warehouse Sale, taking place 7 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m. Saturday, March 12 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 13.

Though there’s absolutely no early shopping allowed, I can give you this little preview of the appliance discounts smart shoppers will be snapping up at our St. Paul appliance warehouse (550 Atwater Circle, 1 miles north of I-94 & Dale).

See my tips on how to shop for appliance deals. Aside from the products pictured below, look for:

  • Electrolux laundry pair (gas dryer) for $1399
  • Up to 80% off professional built-in cooking products
  • A whole truckload of Bosch dishwashers
  • Up to 30% off blemished Frigidaire freezers
  • $249 for Dyson refurbished vacuums
  • $600 off our best-selling French-door refrigerator

All prices are good only while quantities last.

$349 GE stainless steel dishwasher with steam pre-wash

 

$399 stainless steel Frigidaire gas range with electronic oven controls

 

 

$599 stainless steel KitchenAid dishwasher with 4 stainless steel wash arms and stainless steel interior

 

$799 stainless steel gas KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

$799 stainless steel electric KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$799 Frigidaire washer (4 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value)

 

$999 STEAM Frigidaire washer (4.2 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value).

 

 

$1499 LG STEAM washer (4.5 cu ft) and electric dryer (7.4 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Pedestals available at additional cost.