Stainless steel has ruled the appliance world for many years, with no serious contenders on its heels. But now, here comes black stainless steel, fighting for dominance in the kitchen.
Like any new finish, we won't know if it has true staying power until some time has passed. But if you're looking for the newest thing, if you know you're going to be in your home for a while, or if you're getting it ready to sell, black stainless is a great choice.
But first, what exactly is black stainless steel? "What major appliance manufacturers, such as LG, KitchenAid and Kenmore, are trumpeting as ‘black stainless' is essentially traditional stainless steel coated in a sleek, dark finish," said the Washington Post. "The actual hue varies by brand."
If you're thinking about incorporating the look into your kitchen, here are a few things to consider.
Expect to hear some "oohs" and "ahhs" when people walk into your kitchen. Black stainless steel has that sleek look that gets attention, so if you're hoping to create a show stopping space, it may be an easy choice.
But, in this case, that might not be a bad thing. While design experts warn clients against chasing trends, black stainless steel offers a way to be on the forefront of one.
"According to home improvement expert Karl Champley, whose job includes traveling the world looking for the latest design trends, the move toward darker appliance finishes started in Europe and is slowly making its way westward," said the Washington Post. "Champley, winner of ‘Ellen's Design Challenge' and a spokesman for the National Kitchen and Bath Association, says that although black stainless won't dethrone classic stainless in the U.S. market any time soon, that doesn't mean homeowners shouldn't consider it now. "It looks fantastic," he said. "It's going to be quite a few more years before it goes mainstream, and you're already ahead of the game."
It gives off an inviting, high-end feel
Black stainless steel is an easy way to make your space look upscale while also creating a warmer feel. "Since black stainless steel appliances debuted several years ago, they've been touted as a warmer alternative to the industrial look of regular stainless," said Consumer Reports.
It resists fingerprints
For many people, this is the No. 1 selling feature. Traditional stainless steel is great, but it's always smudged (in our house, anyway). "Manufacturers say that their black stainless steel appliances resist smudges and fingerprints and that cleaning is easier," said Consumer Reports. Nancy Bock, senior vice president of education for the American Cleaning Institute, told them, "Black stainless doesn't require any special polishes to keep it looking good. Cleaning is generally simple and can be accomplished using warm water and a soft cloth."
The difference is a fingerprint-resistant finish that also resists water spots and streaking. But...
No more and no less than how traditional stainless steel scratches, but still. Keep in mind that in busy households with kids and animals, it might be hard to keep a scratch-free surface forever.
Selection is still somewhat limited
As with any newer finish, manufacturers have not yet rolled out a ton of options - at least not when compared to traditional stainless steel. That being said, you will find options from Samsung, LG, KitchenAid, Kenmore, Frigidaire, and Bosch, which just introduced its first kitchen suite in black stainless.