Stainless Vs. Titanium Kitchen Appliances
There are a number of kitchen appliances that can be made using both stainless steel and titanium, including refrigerators, electric and gas ranges and dishwashers. Stainless steel is an iron alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium.
Other elements such as nickel, molybdenum, copper, carbon and nitrogen, are added to the alloy to give it specific properties such as the extent of its resistance to oxidation and corrosion. Sometimes, titanium is used in stainless steel. Titanium is a durable, lightweight element that is metallic and silvery in color. In appliances, titanium appears in alloyed form, as either titanium dioxide or titanium titania. Both stainless steel and titanium have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using, cleaning and purchasing kitchen appliances.
Some kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, are used or opened multiple times in a day. This is especially true of families with children. The appearance of fingerprints is thus a common occurrence with both titanium and stainless steel kitchen appliances. According to LAtimes.com, however, genuine stainless steel appliances tend to show fingerprints more readily and more distinctly. While this may not seem like a big problem, the process of removing those fingerprints from stainless steel can be quite difficult.
Stainless steel appliances are known for their durability and resistance to corrosion. And while scratches in the metal can be easily sanded away, fingerprints may prove more difficult to remove. In general, stainless steel needs to be cleaned with warm water and a mild detergent (or an ammonia-based surface cleaner) and then rinsed and dried thoroughly (despite its name, stainless steel can in fact become “stained” with rust). Fingerprints and smudge marks have become such a problem with stainless steel appliances that products specifically designed to remove them are now on the market. While titanium appliances show fingerprints less and are generally easier to clean, their surfaces can peel off when scratched, and are less durable.
Certain types of stainless steel are not magnetic. While this does not seem like it should affect the quality of kitchen appliances, when considering refrigerators, magnetism becomes extremely important. For many families, the refrigerator is a communication board. Magnet collections decorate refrigerator surfaces, but also hold up phone numbers, important dates, report cards and artwork. Titanium alloys that are used in kitchen appliances are magnetic, though their magnetism is not incredibly powerful (strong magnets must be used).
In general, stainless steel kitchen appliances are more expensive than their titanium counterparts. For example, while the average cost of a titanium refrigerator is roughly $1000 on BizRate.com, the average cost of a stainless steel refrigerator is around $2000. Also, stainless steel weighs more than titanium, which makes stainless steel appliances more expensive to ship.
Due to their high-cost and susceptibility to smudging, consumers are starting to turn away from the ever-popular stainless steel appliances. Titanium, and other alloys, which are considered faux stainless, are becoming more and more popular, according to LAtimes.com.
Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.