stainless steel vs. stainless look a like

annie08July 20, 2008

I have heard that stainless steel is very hard to keep clean and straches easily. I am planning a kitchen remodel and have two small children (boys) 4 yrs and 18 mths. I don't want to spend money on a product that I wont be happy with because I can't keep it clean or nice looking. Does anyone have any experience with the look a likes? Are they better with children or not?

Thanks

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rmkitchen

I can't help you with the look-alikes but I can tell you that in a previous house there were stainless appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, trash compactor) and they were always filthy. It didn't matter how often I wiped them down, they just showed every water drip, every fingerprint.

At the time of that kitchen, my sons were two years-old and six months-old (it was a temporary place before we moved into this house) and you know what? They weren't the culprits! (clearly not the infant ...) It's just the nature of the beast.

I would never, ever recommend a stainless refrigerator or dishwasher to someone because of how those appliances are used (meaning water is dripped down the front of the dishwasher, fingerprints are inevitable on a refrigerator). In our current (remodeled) kitchen, we do have some stainless: a stainless apron-front sink, a stainless cooktop, stainless wall ovens (not sure these count as their faces are hidden by glass) and a stainless over-the-counter microwave. For whatever reason, the sink and cooktop are a breeze to keep clean -- esp. the sink. The microwave is a bear and again, the children (who are now four and two) are unable to use it. All those fingerprints come from their father and me! (mostly me)

Anyway, I've never seen a look-alike in person, but anything which is fingerprint-proof has got to be better with two kiddos (or adults, take your pick!) than stainless!

1 Like    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:09PM
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cate1337

Our refrigerator is stainless look-a-like, and we're very happy with it. It does have some big scratches and dents, but we bought it that way. I don't think we've added any (two young children in the house). I like that it's magnetic, a bit more matte, and was less expensive. (The price of a look-a-like finish is usually more in line with the price of a black finish, i.e., $200-300 less than stainless.)

If you're worried about smudges, a forum member suggested using Pledge in the brown can on stainless surfaces. It works quite well. I recklessly :P tried it without checking the owner's manual first, but you may want to read the company's recommendations.

Hth - Cate

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:15PM
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cate1337

Oh, and the fingerprints are much worse on the stainless oven than on the look-a-like refrigerator, even though the refrigerator is touched many times as often as the oven.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:18PM
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ccoombs1

One problem I have heard of with the look-alike is that they are plain steel under the coating so if they ever do get scratched they will rust. It may take years, but the scratched areas will develop rust. On the plus side, because they are steel, you can still use refrigerator magnets! lol!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 4:05PM
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julie92

Frigidaire SS appliances boasts genuine coated SS that hides fingerprints. Does anyone have these and ifs so, please let us know your opinions.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 9:22AM
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decodilly

I think that many of the newer stainless appliances are now fingerprint resistant. Our old stainless fridge was difficult to keep clean and also difficult to even polish so that it looked good. Newer (1 year old) Kenmore Pro stainless fridge always looks good and we only spot clean it once every 2 weeks. We are really happy with it! Go to a store see which ones show their spots!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 9:36AM
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ccoombs1

When I was appliance shopping, I tried to put fingerprints on the refrigerators. I had a hard time getting any of them to show, except for one that had a really glossy door (I think it was a jenn air). A big problem I notices with the stainless look-alikes, is there was a tremendous variation of colors, meaning you'd have to use matching applinaces. I am using matching applinaces for the most part (I want the handles to match) but the stainless range hood and stainless DW are different brands and match just fine because they are all stainless.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 10:43AM
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charlikin

At Lowes there was a Frigidaire range made of normal stainless next to a Frigidaire made of this coated stainless. The normal SS showed fingerprints - the other one didn't. I tried putting a fingerprint on the normal one - yup. On the other - I could just *barely* make out where I had touched the stove. (And I had even wetted my finger first before touching it!)

The texture/color of the coated SS was *slightly* different from the regular stuff - not *quite* as shiny. But you'd only notice it right next to a regular SS appliance. Definitely looked like SS, unlike most of the SS-look stuff.

I was pleased. I'm planning to get this for my range & m/w. I wish they had a top-mount refrigerator in the stuff.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 11:08AM
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alku05

Our fridge is a "satina" finish- a fingerprint resistant SS-look finish. It looks pretty good and does a great job resisting fingerprints. It also wipes up much more easily than the real SS in our kitchen.

Fingerprint resistant finishes vary a great deal. Some (like ours) look very much like the real thing, and others (eg LG's) look not at all like the real thing. Our fridge matches our reall SS appliances very well; no one notices it's a different material.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 7:50PM
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dixie615

Try Orange Pledge Clean and Shine spray. It works great on our Jenn-Air stainless appliances and doesn't seem to leave a film. I also like to use a miracle cloth to buff.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 3:46PM
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dfw17

I agonized over this when we did our kitchen 3 yrs ago, and again this past winter when we finally updated the refrigerator. (We had kept the glaring white one when we remodeled because it was only 3 yrs old at the time.)

I ended up going with everything stainless. I have 2 kids (6 yrs old & 11 yrs old) and a messy husband. The hardest appliance to keep looking good is the dishwasher. It is just touched/handled so many times and stuff just drips. I was surprised with the stainless refrig (with water & ice to the door) that it stays looking pretty good. I had a "training session" for everyone when it arrived and we all try to use the handles. Nonetheless, about once every 2 - 3 weeks, I end up using a SS spray and wiping everything clean. (I drape old towels over the adjacent cabinets and on the floor because of overspray.) In between times, I can usually lessen smudges by a slightly damp miracle cloth.

So, if I had to do it again, I would definitely keep the SS stove and range because of the "restaurant look" from a design standpoint. I would try to do a cabinet-covered dishwasher and refrigerator though.

Good luck. (BTW, since I already had all the other appliances in place when I shopped for the new refrig, I didn't go with a ss look-alike because I didn't think it would match closely enough to the stainless that I already had.)

--DJ

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:13PM
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