GN Focus | Home Appliances

Home appliances buyer’s guide

From faster rotation cycles in washing machines to convection capabilities in cooking ranges, a battery of parameters help you narrow down your home appliances of choice

  • By Archana R. D. King | Special to GN Focus
  • Published: 01:00 February 21, 2013
  • GN Focus

  • Image Credit: Agency

Your home appliances are among the largest household investments you can make, and deciding on the best models can take up a lot of your time. Undoubtedly a daunting task, and when you look at all of the options, what do you choose? The energy-saving model? The high-end designer brand? The budget model? Also, with so many choices around, how do you really know if you are buying the most eco-friendly of appliances?

First of all, ask around. One of the things that can really make the difference to your choice is past experience. Talk to someone who already owns that particular make and model. Investigate a bit. Ask which features please them most, how often they’ve had to call for repairs, and if there is any feature they wish was different or better. A quick word here for those who watch celebrity cookery shows on TV — do not make the mistake of believing that the items TV chefs have in their kitchen or work areas are the best for you.

Second, note that there will, at any given point be plenty of promotions and offers in the market, and these most often result in an impulsive buy. Remember that on-ground salespeople have their way of enticing you to stretch your budget all the time, and such buys are often the easiest way to fall into a debt trap.

Third, don’t throw the manual aside as unnecessary information. It is important you understand the instructions, and if they aren’t clear and do not make sense to you, you might want to consider an exchange. Think deeply in terms of your personal preferences and requirements as you look for those devices that make your life easier. Here are some tips to ease out your buying process and help you save time, energy and money.

DISHWASHER 

Don’t feel guilty loading up these workhorses — they actually use less water than you would doing the dishes by hand!
 
What to look for
 - Place settings: If you host a lot of parties at home, consider ones with tall tubs. These store 14 place settings and can easily handle large pans and trays.
 - A delay-start option: This allows you to set a later start time as per your convenience.
 - Noise control: If you prefer a sound-proof washer, opt for an insulated machine.
A forced-air mode: Without forced air that has a fan circulating dry air downward, concave surfaces will collect water.
 - Green quotient: Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is to heat water. When looking for a new one, check out Energy Star-rated holograms. They use less water and 25 per cent less energy. Letting dishes air-dry can reduce your bill amount. Soaking or pre-washing also takes up extra energy, so use them only when you have stubborn stains on your dishes and not as a regular habit.

 

VACUUM CLEANER

Whether upright, barrel, bag-less or hand-held, consider your budget and the size of your home before you decide on vacuum cleaner models.

What to look for
Adjustable head height: Allows you to reach different surfaces — carpets with different pile heights, floors, tiles, etc.
Telescopic wand: An adjustable wand for your height helps so you don’t have to bend or stretch too much.
Retractable power chord: An extra-long chord helps you manoeuvre between rooms without unplugging and switching power points.
Dustbag Full indicator: Shows when the dust collector is full without having to open it up.
Useful attachments: A crevice nozzle for narrow corners and around chair cushions and an upholstery brush for curtains and soft furnishings help clean your space better.
Green quotient: Clean the unit at least once a year. A cleaner unit runs more efficiently. Remember to unplug the unit when not in use.
 

WASHING MACHINE

Conventional washers use up 40 gallons of water per cycle, but some machines consume as little as 14 gallons.

What to look for
Spin cycle: The faster the cycle, the less time clothes will spend in the dryer. Look for a high rpm (rotations per minute).
Water and energy efficient: A machine that heats water only when you set it and heats just enough water required for a certain sub-cycle is ideal.
Green quotient: Remember to look for a moisture sensor in your dryer to prevent over-drying and energy waste.


COOKING RANGE

Dual-fuel ranges pair gas cooktops with electric ovens and are very popular these days as you can control the flame with precision.

What to look for
Convection capabilities: Models with this feature cost a bit more but a fan in the back of the unit circulates heated air to cook more evenly and about 25 per cent faster.
Warming drawers: Typically located beneath the oven cavity, these keep food warm and serve as extra storage space as well.
- Green quotient: Look for self-cleaning models that come better-insulated, allowing faster heating.
 

REFRIGERATOR

Did you know that this is the appliance that uses the most energy in your home?
 
What to look for
Right size: For two to four people, an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator should be enough.
Easy-care finish: Stainless steel looks beautiful but will show streaks and fingerprints. Inside, glass shelves are easier to wipe down than metal grills.
Green quotient: The larger the model, the more energy it will use. The most efficient refrigerator models usually have a capacity of 16 to 20 cubic feet. Top-freezer models use 10 to 25 per cent less energy than side-by-side ones.
 

Environment-friendly disposal

Dubai Municipality’s Bulky Waste Collection Service helps residents get rid of home appliances such as refrigerators, TVs and washing machines in a responsible manner. The Dubai Municipality toll-free number is 800 900.

Another option is to leave your appliance at Enviroserve, an international e-waste recycler based in Dubai which offers e-scrap solutions. It collects and disposes of electronic equipment from across the UAE.

“We collect all sorts of e-waste and recycle it, but we send vehicles to collect only when there is a disposal in bulk or large numbers. If it is just one refrigerator or a cooking range that an end user wishes to get rid of, then he must bring it to our facility at Dubai Investment Park,” says Vinod Kumar, Finance Manager, Enviroserve.” For more details call Enviroserve at +971 4 885 2434 or email info@enviroserve.

GN Focus