The appliance industry is exploding with new color and finish options. New colors like black stainless, black slate, black matte, and sunset bronze are pouring onto the market. With so many color and finish options it is getting hard to keep track of which brands offer which colors and finishes. We've put together this article to help you quickly navigate the landscape and get a solid overview of what is available and what is coming. Let's start off with a brief look at each of these new color options!
Quick Reference Color/Finish by Brand Overview
Black Stainless - Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, GE, and Bosch
Black Matte - LG only
Slate - GE only
Black Slate - GE only (however, it is being rebranded as Matte Black, although the color will not change)
Sunset Bronze - Whirlpool only (released in 2018)
GE has the broadest range available, both in the color options and the appliances available in these colors. LG, GE, and Samsung have the largest range of black stainless steel products, while Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and Bosch, and KitchenAid to a lesser extent offer a more limited range at the time of this writing.
Black Stainless Steel - What Is It, & Who Offers It?
Black stainless steel appliances are definitely the broadest new trend in the industry. As of this writing there a seven manufacturers offering the color. Bosch is the most recent brand to release black stainless steel appliances, with their take on the color entering the market in January 2018. Black stainless steel is the biggest thing to hit the kitchen since stainless steel. It still has that metallic look that's easier to match than trends of the past, like Bisque, but has a totally different impact on your kitchen.
Almost all black stainless steel is more fingerprint resistant than stainless steel, but the finish has a lot of variation between brands. In general, the affect is achieved in the same way across most brands: a black oxide coating is applied on top of stainless steel. Here's an overview of who is offering it and some details about the differences between brands.
Samsung was one of the first to offer black stainless, debuting it in 2015. It has a shiny, reflective, and fingerprint resistant finish with matching handles, and there are many models across the Samsung line offered in this color. It has more of a metallic steel look to it than other black stainless options. There has been some documented feedback from customers about the finish chipping in certain cases. However, Samsung's black stainless is more scratch resistant than almost all other black stainless options. It features a protective clear coating over the black stainless coating.
Frigidaire began producing black stainless steel appliances in 2017. They weren't one of the first manufacturers to enter the market but have come in strong. Like Samsung, Frigidaire black stainless has a shiny, reflective finish with a matching handle and looks like a graphite gray metal. They offer a line of Smudge-Proof black stainless steel as well as regular black stainless that may be more prone to smudges. It is offered in many models across the Frigidaire and Frigidaire Gallery lines. It consists of a stainless steel base with a protecting polymer coating that gives it the black stainless look.
LG began offering black stainless at around the same time as Samsung. They now offer a full line of black stainless steel appliances in their LG and LG Studio lines. Their black stainless is fingerprint resistant with a somewhat more satiny finish (rather than glossy) and matching handles, in a similar tone to the Frigidaire line. There has been some documented feedback from customers about the finish chipping in certain cases.
KitchenAid began producing black stainless steel appliances in 2017. Whirlpool, the parent company of KitchenAid, chose to go to market with the color in their high-end KitchenAid line first. They weren't one of the first manufacturers to enter the market but are performing well. Their take on black stainless steel is darker, like a brushed black metal rather than a smoky stainless steel. The finish has a more matte satiny sheen, and combined with contrasting stainless steel bar handles, these appliances definitely make a statement!
GE is one of the latest entrants into the black stainless steel kitchen appliance space, joining in late 2017. They've been focused on their slate finish and promoting their newly introduced black slate - more on that below in the slate and black slate reviews. It seems they felt they needed black stainless as well so they have rolled it out in their main GE Appliance line as well as their GE Profile line. They offer more high-end appliance finishes than any other brand as of this writing, and it's working for them: they showed huge growth last year and are confident for this year, too! GE's black stainless is a dark graphite with a shiny finish and matching handles.
The Whirlpool parent company originally rolled black stainless steel out in their flagship KitchenAid brand. They introduced it into their popular Whirlpool line in late 2017. The stainless steel used in the Whirlpool line appears to be slightly different than that of the KitchenAid products but it is very striking in its own right, with a glossy finish and matching handles.
Bosch is the last of the major mainstream appliance brands to introduce black stainless steel kitchen appliances, rolling out their take on the finish in 2018. They currently have a limited number of models available. Their black stainless steel is the most durable and scratch-resistant option, as of this writing, because they "bake" the black coloring into the stainless steel in the manufacturing process rather than applying a coating on top of stainless steel. However, the limited models available may be a pretty steep tradeoff for some consumers, and they currently do not have a range option, only single and double wall ovens.
Black Matte - Color Overview
Black Matte appliances are unique and only offered by LG. The finish is similar but not identical to that of the black slate appliances offered by GE. This is LG's entry into the matte finish market. As of this writing, LG and GE are the only two mainstream appliance manufacturers offering matte finishes. LG black matte appliances are beautiful to see in person. They hide fingerprints well and will look awesome against white kitchen cabinets. These are a must-see!
Black Slate - Color Overview
GE is the pioneer in the matte finish appliance market. They've been producing slate appliances for over five years and they have recently introduced their new black slate finish in 2017. Black slate appliances, available in their GE Cafe, GE Profile, and main GE line, may be poised to be some of the most popular on the market. They will look awesome against white cabinets, and have a stone-inspired finish which gives the consumer a very high-end matte look.
GE plans to rebrand "black slate" as "black matte" - the finish will stay the same, only the name will change. It is currently available in the GE Cafe Matte Collection - click the link to read more about it!
Slate - Color Overview
Slate isn't a new color but deserves a place in this discussion about new colors. All of the other colors discussed here are basically alternatives to stainless steel for the high-end customer. Slate was the first such color introduced. It is a stone-inspired matte finish with contrasting stainless steel handles that has been in production since around 2013. It has sold well for GE, and with all the interest in the new darker matte finishes, it may experience increased interest from consumers. It can be found in the GE Appliances and GE Profile lines. You can read more about it in our article on GE slate appliances or compare slate vs stainless steel - click the links to get started!
Sunset Bronze - Color Overview
Last but not least is our review of Whirlpool's new sunset bronze color released in 2018. You have to see this color in person to appreciate the subtlety and sophistication it offers. This unique product looks a lot like stainless steel but as you get closer to it you see the very faint bronze undertone. Don't let the word "bronze" fool you: the color is very light, sunset being the operative word. It also has unique minimalist handles. This product may not have the mass appeal that the stainless, black stainless and matte finishes have but for certain customers, this may be a perfect fit. Click here to read our full review of Whirlpool Sunset Bronze!
We hope you enjoyed our reviews of all of these hot new appliance color and finish options. There is a lot to digest. If you have questions, please leave us a comment below. We'd love to hear from you. Also, if you are looking to learn more about specific appliances, check out our education center to download one of our free product buying guides!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in September of 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.