We’ve all got the same appliances in our kitchen; they are the building blocks of one of the most important areas of our home.  Most of the time they do the job they are meant to do – clean our dishes, wash and dry our clothes, and cook our food.  We generally have no complaints and manage just fine during the time they are with us which can be anything from eight to 15 years. When we are ready to replace appliances the amount of new features and the sophistication of the technology mean we can struggle to work out what makes an appliance truly fantastic as opposed to just functional.  Here we have chosen one or two features from each of our key kitchen appliances that we think make a real difference.

DishwashersBosch variodraw
Without a doubt, our favourite feature is a flat cutlery tray at the top of the dishwasher. It gets cutlery sparkling clean, is easy to load and unload and saves space on the lower levels. We also think a quiet dishwasher is worth a lot, especially if you live in a modern house or have an open plan kitchen/dining room. The very quietest dishwashers operate at 38/39 decibels and are barely audible so won’t disturb conversation (or sleep!). We Recommend: The Bosch SMS46MW02G dishwasher with the vario drawer cutlery tray and Eco Silence for a quiet wash.

Fridge Freezers
Look for a multi-airflow function; this rotates air evenly around the refrigerator cavity and will keep food on all shelves as fresh as possible. Without this, food on the lower shelves can start to go off earlier than necessary. Another fairly recent innovation is the ‘door in door’ feature in American style fridge freezers. Whilst this might seem like a bit frivolous, it actually prevents up to 41% cold air loss, making it energy efficient. It also encourages thoughtful food organisation!. We Recommend: The LG GSN961NSAZ door in door freestanding fridge freezer with insta-view, you can just tap the mirrored glass door to see inside the appliance, keeping your food fresher longer.

Washing machines
Capacity and speed are key with washing machines. Once you have chosen the right size of machine for your family’s needs, look for a machine that can do a quick wash at full capacity on a hot temperature. Some modern machines can now complete a cycle from between 25 to 45 minutes. That can make a very real difference not just to the amount of time it takes to plough through full laundry baskets but also to electricity bills. Another brilliant feature to look out for is sometimes called Plus Wash, Add Wash or similar. (We think it should universally be known as ‘leave no sock behind’!) It basically allows you to add laundry mid-cycle; specifics will vary according to the model and manufacturer but it’s certainly a very welcome innovation. We Recommend: The Bosch Washing Machine WAT28661 with 8kg capacity and the I-Dos automatic dosing system – precision dosing for perfect wash results.

Tumble dryers
Moisture sensors are the feature to zone in on with a tumble dryer. Having this feature means the dryer will stop when your clothes are dry. It’s very energy efficient, keeps your bills down and is environmentally better than having the dryer tumbling away for long periods. Also look for a dryer with heat pump technology. This uses hot air to absorb moisture from your clothes in order to dry them dry. After this air passes through the drum, it goes through an evaporator which removes the moisture; this is then collected as condensation and stored. The remaining air is re-heated and sent back to the drum to start the cycle again and continue drying your clothes, making it highly energy efficient.  We Recommend: The Bosch WTW863S1GB Condenser Heat Pump Dryer energy efficient, with a 7kg load and self-cleaning condenser

neff b57cr22n0bOvens
One of the most popular features of modern ovens (both built-in and range) is a capacity to self-clean, sometimes known as pyrolytic cleaning. This uses very high temperatures to burn off leftovers without the need for smelly chemicals. The food deposits are frazzled to the point of turning into ash which you can then simply wipe away. A catalytic oven operates along similar lines but is fitted with special catalytic liners inside the oven cavity. Finally, we couldn’t write this piece without mentioning Neff’s brilliant Slide&Hide oven doors. A mix of style and function, the unique design allows the oven door to retract and disappear under the oven cavity, giving you more space in the kitchen. We Recommend: The Neff built in Hide and Slide B57CR23N0B with retracting door. This model also includes Circotherm, which is Neff’s outstanding hot-air system for simultaneous baking and roasting on up to 3 levels as well as a steam cooking option (also includes pyrolytic cleaning).