Survival Guide: Can you live without stainless steel appliances?

While having friends over to watch a game, one of them exclaimed, “I can’t live in a home without Stainless Steel Appliances!”.   A few others echoed the same sentiment.  They said this as they were enjoying cold drinks and ice from a white refrigerator and hot food cooked from a white stove/oven.  The dishes, silverware, and glasses were cleaned in a white dishwasher.  I had to bite my lip as I listened their thoughts.

So, is it possible to live without Stainless Steel Appliances?  YES!

Let’s evaluate :


Advantage:  Tie.

Both Stainless Steel and Non-Stainless appliances perform the same functions.  The Stainless Steel appliances don’t make your food taste better, make it healthier, or cook it faster.

This holiday meal tastes delicious, despite not being cooked in a stainless steel oven!

Cost – Upgrading to Stainless:

Advantage:  Non Stainless Steel.

The cost of new, basic Stainless Steel appliances is around $2,000 for a refrigerator, stove and dishwasher.  Many people spend much more.  Often, people will dispose of their perfectly good working appliances to “upgrade”.

  • Opportunity Cost:  $15,000 when evaluating the cost over 30 years at 7% Return, plus the waste of potentially scrapping working appliances.

Cost – Replacing Individual components at end of their life:

Advantage:  Non Stainless Steel, but not too significant.

If you want Stainless Steel appliances, it makes the most sense to do so when you have to replace an appliance at the end of their life.

  • Stainless Steel Refrigerators cost approx $100 more than their non SS counterparts
  • Stainless Steel Stoves cost approx $100 more than their non SS counterparts.
  • Stainless Steel Dishwashers cost approx $100 than their non SS counterparts.

Style and Prestige Factor:

Advantage:  Stainless Steel (but only if you care!).

First of all, I care more about function than style or prestige.  I don’t really care what others think about my appliances, and I don’t care to keep up with the up with the neighbors/friends who spend a lot of money to “upgrade”.  I will admit, the look of a stainless appliance does look cooler than a non SS appliance, but as long as the appliance works, I personally don’t care.

Final Thoughts:

Since the appliances perform the same function, if function is more important to you than style, then keep your working appliances.  It doesn’t make sense to dispose of perfectly good running appliances to replace with stainless steel just for the style and prestige.   I fit in this category.

If having the style and prestige of stainless appliances is somewhat important to you, or you have other financial priorities, consider replacing your old appliances when they are at the end of their life with stainless, as they are only ~$100 more than their non-stainless counterparts.

If you really care about prestige, wanting to keep up with the Jones’s, and are in good financial standing, then go-ahead and help the economy by purchasing stainless steel appliances and disposing of your perfectly good current ones.  I disagree with this approach and see it as wasteful, but I do appreciate you helping to contribute to the economy!

What are your thoughts?  Can you live without Stainless Steel Appliances in your home?

3 Replies to “Survival Guide: Can you live without stainless steel appliances?”

  1. My understanding it’s that stainless is already “so 2015”! Black anodized metal appliances are the new shiny. So see, you skipped a whole fashion cycle and are many dollars ahead!

    1. Haha. Yes, you are correct! That’s why I don’t try to keep up with style. Function>Style!
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. We have SS – in the product lines we were looking for, we didn’t find any difference between colour, or they didn’t even offer white! I think the finger prints are annoying though!

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