Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

kitchen, appliance, products

Reviewing IKEA Kitchen Appliances

By House*Tweaking on Jun 29, 2012

Everyone on the web and in real life has been asking how we’re liking our new IKEA appliances so I thought I’d write up a review on our experience with them so far. We purchased our refrigerator, dishwasher, range and hood through IKEA. IKEA appliances are actually made by Whirlpool. Even the owner manuals say Whirlpool. They are backed by a 5-year warranty.

The fridge is the NUTID S23 and it looks like the water dispenser appearance has changed in the year since we purchased ours. It’s a side-by-side, counter-depth model and sticks out past the edge of our counter by about 2.5″. So far, we haven’t had a problem with the fridge, freezer or water/ice dispenser.

Never mind the clutter on the counter next to the fridge. We have plans to add open shelving in this little corner at some point. Oh, and the rug probably won’t stay forever but it’s there for now. It was the rug in our entry at our previous house.

{I can’t believe I’m showing you the inside of our fridge/freezer as-is, frozen breast milk supply and all.}

The interior of the fridge/freezer functions well for us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we prefer the side-by-side model but understand that everyone has their own opinions when it comes to keeping food cold. We’re not food supply overstockers. I try to purchase the bare minimum to get by for a week and use it all up before making another trip to the grocery. It helps to keep grocery costs down and we have little waste. This shot was taken the day after my weekly grocery trip.

My only complaint about the fridge concerns the transparent shelves on the backside of the fridge door {where you see our apple juice, milk, mayo stored}. The fridge came with 3 of them but we had to remove one of them to make enough room for the taller items. The shelves are adjustable but the clear ones only fit into the upper part of the door {the bottom solid shelf is adjustable as well but only fits into the bottom part of the door}, so we aren’t able to move the lowest one any lower to allow for the third shelf plus the extra headroom for taller bottles/easy reaching. That’s the only bummer about the fridge.

We did have a ‘scare’ a few weeks in with the fridge. Handy Hubby and I stayed up later than usual one night and heard the freezer making drip-drop noises. We were sure the freezer was leaking but couldn’t find water on the floor anywhere around or under the fridge. HH turned off the ice maker thinking that was the culprit, then turned to the internet for help. Turns out, the freezer was cycling through a self defrosting cycle…totally normal. Whew. {We’re a little paranoid about water leaking anywhere in our house after our very first house’s basement flooded – three times! I have dreams about water seeping in from all sources frequently. It doesn’t matter where we’re living; it’s a recurring nightmare I have.}

In summary, here are the pros and cons of the fridge:

PROS

*side-by-side {we like it, maybe you don’t}

*water/ice dispenser in the door

*counter depth

*5-year warranty

*LED lightbulb is maintenance free

*stainless steel handles blend in nicely with the sleek appearance

CONS

*adjustable in-door shelves don’t meet our needs 100%

*HH thinks some of the fridge drawers feel a little flimsy {I haven’t noticed this.}

*shows fingerprints

On a scale of 1-10 {1 being completely dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied}, we’d give our fridge an 8.

On to the dishwasher…

It’s an integrated model which means the door panel is the same design as the rest of the kitchen for a seamless look. I love this!

The two wire racks are far enough apart that large pans and taller pieces {like the pitcher to my Ninja blender} fit in easily on the bottom rack without bumping the top rack. For me, the silverware basket is a little too small. I have to get creative and mix forks with spoons sometimes. Typically, I separate my flatware in the dishwasher. It makes it easier on me when I put them away.

Going along with the whole seamless look, the controls are located on top of the door. The dishwasher runs verrrry quietly. At least in comparison to any other dishwasher I’ve ever owned/heard. The heated drying cycle is way better than any other dishwasher I’ve owned as well. {We had a newer GE model in our previous house.} Another thing I’ve noticed about this dishwasher is that it goes through rinsing agent like water. I have to refill the dispenser once to twice weekly and I run it once daily. However, the dishes do come out crystal clear so maybe that’s why?? My old dishwasher didn’t use as much rinsing agent but our glasses would get spotty and cloudy after repeated washings. So maybe this isn’t a bad thing.

We did run into a little snafu with the dishwasher after it was hooked up. The first time I ran it, I could hear it going through all the cycles but when I opened it up at the end, the dishes were still dirty and the dishwash detergent had been released from its dispenser but was all gloppy on the inside of the door. No water had run through the dishwasher. After checking the water lines to the dishwasher and checking the float {both of which we read could cause water not to enter the machine}, we were at a loss. Both seemed fine to us.

We called the service number on the manual which directed us to an IKEA service representative. They set up a time for a local certified Whirlpool repairman to come take a look at the dishwasher. We called on a Friday and the repairman came the following Wednesday. For 5 days we were without a dishwasher. I hadn’t had a functioning dishwasher for 8+ months, so I figured I could wait another 5 days. Turns out, something was amiss with the float from underneath the dishwasher. We had only checked it from inside the washer. It didn’t require any new parts or anything, just some jiggling. We haven’t had a problem since.

In summary, here are the pros and cons of the dishwasher:

PROS

*deep racks for larger items

*runs quietly

*seamless integrated design with doortop controls

*heated drying cycle works great

*5-year warranty

CONS

*subpar flatware basket

*required a service call to adjust float before first use

On a scale of 1-10, I’d {HH doesn’t touch the dishwasher} give our dishwasher an 8.

On to the range…

Our range is last year’s PRAKTFULL model. It’s a gas range with an electric convection oven. We’ve nowhere near tapped the possibilities {we don’t bake a lot} with this bad boy. The oven has so many different options! But I’ll tell you what we have noticed so far from making dinners.

The gas stove top is awesome. I totally prefer a gas stove top to an electric one. It lights and warms up quickly and maintains a constant heat well. That’s what gas tops are known for, right? The cook top burner grates are heavy duty – not wobbly – and are very easy to remove for cleaning. I like that the range is wider than it is deep. That’s great for me – a petite person. I can easily reach pots and pans on the back burners. I feel like my cooking is closer to me on this cook top.

The range does sit out from the wall by a few inches. Our granite installers made a custom piece to fit behind the range for a seamless look. It really gives the range a built-in appearance. We’ll add a backsplash in the future but for now those few extra inches of countertop space behind the stove top keep cooking splatters on the wall to a minimum.

The controls are located on the front of the range. This is a pro and con in itself…I like the ease of use but worry that my kids might mess with the knobs. Fortunately, Layne and Everett have no interest in cooking or helping me cook so they’re rarely near the range. Still, they’re kids and kids can be unpredictable. The cook top controls do have to be turned to ‘lite’ then pushed in to ignite a burner and I don’t know that the boys would figure that out on their own. Still, they’re boys.

The oven controls are more difficult for kiddos to decipher. There is a main power knob that isn’t marked clearly so I really don’t think they would ever figure that one out. It even fooled HH and me! After repeatedly trying to turn on the oven after installation {the burners were igniting, no problem}, we yet again made a service call. {IKEA was able to have a repairman make one visit for the dishwasher + range.} This time the problem was user error. We hadn’t figured out that whole not-obviously-marked control knob thing. The repairman had the oven heating within minutes of his arrival. Dolp. Basically, there’s one oven knob that trumps all the other oven knobs. If it isn’t turned to the correct setting, then it doesn’t matter what the other knobs are turned to…the oven won’t heat. Now that we understand this feature, we actually like it because it eases our minds about the kids messing with it.

Another thing about the location of the controls is that I keep leaning against them. When I lean against one of the cooktop controls, it immediately starts clicking like it’s trying to ignite. But, rest assured, it can’t because the knob must be turned to ‘lite’ for it to ignite. So that’s not so much of a problem but an observation. I’m just going to have to stop leaning against the stove.

Since the range is wider than deep, I worried about my baking sheets not fitting in the oven. I’ve been pleasantly surprised though. I haven’t had a problem at all with my baking sheets, dishes or pans not fitting in the oven. I guess I never really used those extra few inches of depth anyways. The oven cooks great from what I can tell. Again, I’m no sweets baker. We use it more for baking fish, corn bread muffins, hot dips, etc. So far, so good. No complaints here. The oven cooks evenly and accurately.

In summary, here are the pros and cons of the range:

PROS {there are many cooking and cleaning functions that we haven’t used yet}

*gas cooktop and electric oven both cook exceptionally well

*sleek industrial design

*front controls – easy to use, allows for a streamlined look

*five burners for multipurpose use

*5-year warranty

CONS

*front controls – maybe not ideal for young families

*unusual size and dimensions would make it difficult to completely replace this model if it were ever to be discontinued {We could always remove the strip of granite at the back and add plinth to the sides to build in another model if it ever came to that.}

*shows fingerprints

On a scale of 1-10, we’d give the range a 9.

On to the exhaust hood…

It’s an older version of the LUFTIG model. HH installed it so that it vents air to the outside rather than simply recirculate air {which it can be used for as well}. Since it vents to the outside, it pulls odors and heat from the house really well. The fan has three speeds. At the lowest setting, the sound is a low hum. At the highest speed, the fan is rather loud. Right now, we like that because we use it to calm Mabrey when she’s fussy and it works every time! It has two grease filters that are removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. {We haven’t had to clean ours yet.}

The controls are located on the underside of the hood, at the front. This differs from the newer version which features the controls on the front outside edge of the hood. Still, we find them easy to manipulate from their position.

There are two task lights within the hood that light the cooktop well. Sometimes we turn them on at night just for ambience – not for cooking.

In summary, here are the pros and cons of the exhaust hood:

PROS

*pulls odors and heat to the outside

*sleek design with undermount controls

*efficient task lighting

*5-year warranty

CONS

*loud at its highest speed {but your newborn may like this feature!}

On a scale of 1-10, we’d give the hood a 9.

Even though none of our IKEA appliances scored a perfect 10, we’re pretty happy with them. Take that with a grain of salt…we’ve only been using them for a month so who knows how those scores may or may not change in the future. It’d probably be worth revisiting these reviews in a year or so after more use.

I will say that the service calls we made were pleasant…as far as service calls go. We had to hold for a few minutes and the customer service rep was kind and empathetic of our situation. {We told her we had just moved in after a major, looooong renovation and had just hooked up the dishwasher and stove.} When the repairman visited, he gave us his business card and told us we could call him directly for anymore problems, meaning we no longer have to go through IKEA first.

We bought our appliances during one of IKEA’s kitchen sales, so we were able to score 20% off our entire kitchen purchase. Minus countertops, sink, faucet and microwave {we purchased those items elsewhere and I’ll be sharing our reviews of them soon} our IKEA kitchen came in at ~$8,000.

I’m working on writing up a post about our IKEA kitchen experience – from design to reality – and hope to share that with you soon. It will go into more detail about the process of designing, purchasing and installing the kitchen. Now that I’m thinking of it, it may work better as a series. So much info!

For the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with a shot of the kitchen today, unedited. Just to show you how much natural light the skylights let pour in on a sunny {106 degrees!!!!} day.

This shot was taken in the morning before the sun was high in the sky. Those skylights have got to be one of my favorite things about the renovation.

Don’t forget to click here to see who won this week’s NOVICA giveaway!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Visit House*Tweaking »

blog comments powered by Disqus