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The Smart Buying Guide to the Home Appliances You Need

Diamonds may be a woman’s best friend, but for a woman juggling home, hearth and workplace, they’re often replaced by new BFFs: home gadgets! Can you imagine a day when the refrigerator goes on strike, the air conditioner refuses to function or the water purifier spews contaminated water?

Buying appliances can be a daunting task, especially when you are faced with all the options on the market – high-end, low-cost and energy-saving models. With prices often running into six figures these days, appliances are a big, big investment – on your pocket as well as your time. Choose home gadgets that wed form and function – this ensures that they will satisfy your aesthetic needs as well as be functional. Keep in mind that needs come before wants! Choose wisely, invest time to maintain them well, and your appliances are sure to serve you well for years to come.

We take a look at the 10 must-haves in every home and put together tips to guide your through the buying process in an informed and confident manner. Don’t forget to measure the clear opening width and height the space you have for new appliances. You’ll never forgive yourself if you bust the bank buying new appliances, and then find that they aren’t fitting into your home!


From being elitist appliances, ACs have now become essentials. An air-conditioning system must help maintain good indoor air quality and provide thermal comfort. A wide variety is available on the market – choose from window, split, multi-split and cassette. Just ensure that the AC matches your needs and requirements.


  • Pick the right capacity. An area of 100 square feet needs about one TR of cooling capacity. But the tonnage also depends on the room location, the number of occupants, use of other electrical appliances etc.

  • Ensure that the AC has a high energy star rating – this is good for you and the environment.

  • Check for an adjustable thermostat, at least two cooling speeds, and a minimum of two fan speeds as you may want to use variable speeds for different times of the day.

  • The air filter, which will need to be cleaned or replaced, should be easily accessible. These days, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial filters are also available.

  • Other factors to consider include comfort level, running costs and noise levels


Invented using radar technology developed during World War II, microwaves have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Speedy and smart, this appliance now comes in the form of a combination oven, offering a microwave, convection oven and a grill. So you can dish out a spread, defrost or heat up food. And yes, you can pop corn too!

After photos of the Perrota Kitchen. As seen on HGTV's Kitchen Cousins.

  • What will you use your microwave for? If only for reheating, go for a small model. But if you plan to cook, get a bigger one. Choose from small (up to 0.9 cu. ft.), medium (1.0 to 1.4 cu. ft.) and large (greater than 1.4 cu. ft.) models.

  • Most microwaves offer shortcut keys (auto settings), in-door controls (allows more interior capacity), removable racks and child safety loc.

  • Check if the model offers inverter technology. This delivers constant power when cooking at different power levels, resulting in foods being cooked more evenly.

  • High-ends models offer a steam function that allows you to opt for a healthy way of cooking.


How did our grandmums keep the kitchen up and running without refrigerators? This appliance is a kitchen staple – from storing milk for the morning cuppa, veggies for the afternoon salad and ice cream for a quick midnight snack, it stores everything. The range includes top freezers, bottom freezers, side-by-sides and mini-fridges.


  • Choose the capacity wisely. Families with growing children and frequent guests need larger models. Consider configuration, shelf and crisper placement to ensure you get the most usable space.

  • For better storage, look for spill-proof shelves that keep small messes from becoming big ones and crank adjusted shelves that allow adjustment of shelves without removing food and containers.

  • Those seeking bells and whistles can consider models with water and ice dispensers, and built-in filters.

  • Look for door alarms, LCD displays that provide temperature and other relevant performance information, and a fast-cooling compartment.

  • Ensure that the refrigerator has a high energy star rating – higher the energy efficiency, lower your bill!


When the help ditches you, the vacuum makes short work of housework! Be it cleaning the walls, paintings or carpets, the right vacuum cleaner ensures deep cleaning in quick time. Modern models promise to vacuum, wash as well as steam sanitise to ensure that your home always stays fresh and clean.


  • Choose the right model, keeping in mind your needs. A sturdy yet lightweight model ensures that carting it around isn’t a cumbersome chore.

  • For regular use, get a wet-dry vacuum with high suction. A cross-over floor brush (that combines a power nozzle for cleaning carpets and a bare floor tool for hard surfaces) is a good pick.

  • Look for a flexible hose and special attachments such as a crevice tool and upholstery brush for greater versatility with cleaning jobs.

  • Other functions to look for include 360-degree swivel function, quick release button for changing attachments, performance indicator, stair grip, pet attachments (specially to get pet hair off upholstery) and variable power controls (to reduce suction).

  • High-end machines offer features such as dirt sensors (a built-in infrared sensor tells you if an area is clean, or if needs more work) and a LED light to provide better visibility in nooks and crannies.


Handwashing clothes has to be one of the most hated chores in any home. But the right washing machine can make dirty clothes a thing of the past. Modern machines replicate motions of handwash to give clothes the most effective wash; the technology senses the wash environment and adjusts the wash cycle for the best wash.


* Consider the capacity – a family of four needs a machine of 5-6 litres.

  • Front-loaders have gained in popularity these days. Though more expensive, they are gentler on clothes, do a better wash and use lesser water.

  • Ensure that the washing machine has a high energy star rating – this is good for you and the environment in the long run.

  • Most machines have advanced touchpad controls that allow you to set the speed, washing cycle, water temperature and more. On days when you are not likely to be home, simply program your machine to do the laundry.

  • Check the cycles offered (delicates/hand wash/wool, extra rinse, heavy wash, prewash, baby wash and speed wash) and noise levels (front-loaders can be noisy).


Water’s the elixir of life, and if that is contaminated, there’s bound to be a big problem. With concerns over the quality of tap water rising across India, a water filter or purifier is a must in every home. But should it be a RO purifier or an activated carbon filter? What’s ideal for you?


  • A good water purifier, apart from ridding water of bad tastes, odours and colours, should also remove chlorine, along with most contaminants and pollutants.

  • Hard water can be softened by a cation exchange softener, which replaces minerals with a strong positive charge for one with less of a charge. This gets rid of calcium and magnesium (so no mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures), and barium and some other ions.

  • A UV disinfection unit can rid water of many contaminants, including parasites, heavy metals and other pollutants.

  • An RO water purifier uses a semipermeable membrane to weed out impurities. Pick this only if the water supply in your home has high levels of Total Dissolved Salts and impurities.

  • Do check the cost of cartridge replacements. Many purifiers may be cheap but have huge maintenance costs.

  • Ensure that you maintain your purifier well. A purifier works best when the buildup is tackled periodically – most manufacturers provide service contracts.


There’s more than a nip in the air, but standing under the shower, feeling the hot water beat down on your body, you couldn’t care less. A geyser is a necessity in all homes – you need it for baby’s bath, for mother-in-law’s home pedicure and for the husband’s nightly shower.


* A BIS / ISI mark is a must – that’s an essential requirement when it comes to meeting accepted safety and quality standards

  • A 5-star rating will give you the best value for money. The appliance may be more expensive, but it will lower electricity bills in the long run.

  • A copper heating element heats the water the fastest as compared to other coils and is also shock proof. A PUF insulated tank ensures longer heat retention.

  • A thermostat for auto cutoff at 60 degree, thermal cutout (a device to prevent dry heating) and a pressure-***-release valve (to avoid buildup of positive and negative pressure in the tank) are other features to look for.

  • If you live near the coast or receive bore/hard water, pick a geyser with a fibre outer body and an internal copper assembly set up. Copper is anti-corrosive and a good conductor of heat.

  • If you have the means and the budget, install a solar heating system. The initial cost may appear daunting, but it’s a worthwhile investment.


Home-made masalas, chutneys, soups and juices. A juicer mixer grinder makes all these and more a piece of cake. Before zeroing in on a model for your home, decide on the size and features you want. A small family can do with a medium machine, but a large family will need big-capacity jars.


  • Opt for a juicer mixer grinder instead of a mixer grinder. It saves you the hassle of picking up a separate juicer.

  • Most models these days come with at least three speeds. Ensure that you choose one with a pulse mode (useful to chop delicate food such as hard-boiled eggs, onions or parsley). It’s also helpful while whipping up milkshakes.

  • An overload protection function is a must for all those times when we tip in more food into the jar than recommended. Overload protection (which works like a fuse) is essential for safety and maintenance.

  • Pick a model with a variety and sizes of jars – these ensure that the machine is more versatile and handy.

  • A locking system that ensures that the machine does not start till the jar is correctly locked on to the basic unit is an essential safety feature – especially with kids in the home.


Your maid may be the biggest help around the house, but there’s no disputing the helping hand provided by your food processor.  Useful for mixing dough, slicing, chopping, pureeing and whipping, most food processors come with a dough hook, whisk, and blades for shredding and slicing.


  • When buying a food processor, look for a large capacity. Remember that this workhorse will be pulled into action most when you have guests!

  • A heavy chassis ensures that the food processor stands “still” while doing heavy-duty processing.

  • Other optional features include a mini-chopping attachment (perfect for chopping coriander and mint), a continuous feed slicer/shredder (allows you to chop without emptying the bowl) and touch pad controls.

  • To keep safe, ensure that the processor won’t start until the bowl locks onto the base unit and the top locks onto the bowl.


Wouldn’t you like your child to come home to the redolent aroma of spiced apple cinnamon cake or chocolate chip cookies? Time then to get an oven toaster griller. Most OTGs are multifunctional – they allow you to use a combination of top, bottom, grill and sometimes rear elements to optimise different cooking, baking and grilling needs. They come with accessories such as a wire rack, baking tray, crumb tray, rotisserie rod set, rotisserie tongs and regular tongs.


  • Choose an OTG with a door that’s light and easy to open, and has a large enough window so that you can get a good view of what’s cooking.

  • When looking at capacity, check the usable space and the number and range of shelf positions. Three shelves are useful for those who like to maximise their oven use at a time.

  • Look for shelves with safety stops and those that don’t slope down when a heavy casserole is placed on top.

  • A smokeless grill tray that traps fat and grease below it helps prevent the mess that comes with grilling meats.

  • Look for options such as a timer (oven will shut itself off after the programmed cooking time has elapsed) and delayed start (to start the cook cycle according to your convenience.

  • An oven with an outer body that doesn’t heat up is a must to keep big and small hands safe.

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