If you're shopping for potential upgrades for your home, stainless steel may be the ticket to a sleeker, modern look. Stainless steel appliances have been popular for years, and interior designer Andrea Enns predicts they will retain their appeal. The cost of stainless steel appliances has come down as more manufacturers have offered these appliances, but you can still expect to pay a bit more for stainless steel than for a similar appliance made of enamel-covered steel. There's no one price, however, for stainless steel appliances, and the actual cost depends on the brand, the features, the unit's size and even where you live.
Factors Affecting Price
A number of factors affect the price of an appliance, including its size, features and energy efficiency. The brand name you choose and your geographic location can also play a role. However, stainless steel appliances are usually more expensive than enameled appliances, even when comparing similar models. You can generally expect to spend a few hundred dollars more on stainless steel. Some manufacturers only offer their more expensive or larger appliances in stainless steel, so with these appliances, you're paying for both stainless steel and additional features. Kenmore, for example, generally makes its stainless steel refrigerators slightly larger than its enameled models.
Upgrading to stainless steel will generally add a few hundred dollars to the purchase price of an appliance. As of 2013, Sears had both stainless steel and non-stainless steel refrigerators. The cheapest white full-sized refrigerator was $400, while the cheapest stainless steel refrigerator was nearly $600. The most expensive white refrigerator was $3,400, while the most expensive stainless steel refrigerator was more than $10,000. Similarly, the cheapest electric wall oven was $630, while the cheapest stainless steel wall oven was $900. When comparing similar appliances within the same brand, stainless steel is also more expensive. A 3.6 cubic-foot front-loading washer from Kenmore was $700 as of 2013, but the stainless steel version -- which is available at the slightly larger size of 4 cubic feet -- was $850. Sears' most expensive stainless steel dishwasher costs more than $1,500, while the most expensive black dishwasher will set you back $1,260.
The cost of an appliance only begins with its purchase price. Other factors to consider include the value it will add -- or subtract -- from your home and maintenance costs. You might save money in the long run if you buy a reliable appliance rather than a cheap one that will only last a year or two. Upgrading your kitchen to stainless steel appliances -- particularly energy-efficient ones -- can also increase the value and appeal of your home if you're hoping to sell, according to HGTV. The Bankrate website points out that matching appliances are particularly likely to increase your home's appeal.
Getting a Deal
If you're itching for stainless steel but can't afford to drop a small fortune, secondhand appliances could be a good option. Certified preowned or refurbished appliances are often available through manufacturers and may come with a warranty. Private sellers may offer steep discounts, but you could also end up with an appliance that breaks quickly. If you're aiming for an upgrade of an entire room, bundling several appliances could entitle you to a discount.
- Sears: Refrigerators
- Sears: Refrigerators
- Yale Appliance and Lighting: How Much Do Kitchen Appliances Really Cost?
- This Old House: Five Tips on Shopping for a Stainless-Steel Sink
- Bankrate: 10 Cheap Fixes to Boost the Value of Your Home
- Stanton Homes: 2012 Kitchen Design Trends -- Is Stainless Steel on Its Way Out?
- HGTV: 30 Tips for Increasing Your Home's Value
- Kenmore: Refrigerators and Freezers
- Sears: Electric Wall Ovens
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.