I saw the first black stainless steel appliance nearly three years ago at the PCBC (Pacific Coast Builders Conference) in San Diego. It was a KitchenAid French Door refrigerator. They were previewing the new finish/color at the time, testing builder responses at the industry show. KitchenAid indicated that they would soon be launching a full line of black stainless steel appliances. Of course, I was skeptical. I’m always skeptical.
Now, almost three years later, black stainless steel is the new thing. Since KitchenAid’s intro of the black stainless fridge, they have introduced a full array of black stainless appliances including dishwashers, vent hoods, and microwave vent hood combinations. Whirlpool has jumped in with black stainless steel, and Frigidaire/Electrolux are boasting that they will be on board with black stainless steel throughout their line.
Samsung and LG are already selling black stainless steel, but unfortunately the Samsung black stainless is different from LG’s black stainless steel. The LG looks more gray than black.
GE has been offering Slate, a grey finish, as an inexpensive alternative to Stainless Steel, and has recently announced a black slate finish. So far in the premium sector, only Dacor with its new Modernist Collection is on board with the new color/finish. It will be interesting to see when, or if, the luxury brands such as Sub Zero Wolf, Viking, Thermador, and Miele will add black stainless steel.
In order to have a complete kitchen, it’s important to have matching hoods, microwaves, and etc. Not to worry, Zephyr has already launched a black stainless steel vent hood, and I’ve heard that at least one other hood producer is adding black stainless steel. Sharp Electronics has announced a black stainless version of its popular microwave drawer. Bosch appliances is launching a black stainless dishwasher.
With all these manufacturers producing black stainless steel appliances, will the old stainless steel soon fade away? Current industry data shows that our traditional shiny stainless steel is not slowing down, and is actually increasing its share of total appliance sales.
So, there you have it. Black stainless steel is here to stay…not…maybe…maybe not. This I know for sure.
Art Johnson MBA, is a writer, speaker, trainer, and social media marketing professional with broad experience in the appliance industry. Art may be reached at Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org