There’s a common saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Like most cliches, it has some truth to it. Naturally, you can’t worry about every single thing that might perturb you, either in life or in much more specific and small matters – such as shopping for new kitchen and home appliances. But at the same time, sometimes it can be important to pay attention to the smaller aspects of a product, because they play into the greater whole package. In fact, in some instances, they are what can make or break a design.

This brings us to the topic of handles – specifically, handles on refrigerators and dishwashers. While they might seem like only small things about these appliances, the handles affect the most basic aspect of their functionality that there is – namely, the simple act of opening and closing them. As minute as this might seem, when you are on the lookout for a new kitchen appliance, you may want to consider the aspects of all the different types of handles available. It’ll also be wise to look at some individual models that boast such handles. We’ve found that most consumers want to be assured that the style of their handles match the handles of other appliances as well as their cabinetry.

Recessed handles
In refrigerators or dishwashers with this feature, the handle is not really a handle at all – more like a concave-shaped indentation into the surface of the appliance’s door. More than anything else, the main advantage of this handle type is an aesthetic one. In a setting such as a high-end kitchen, it might look awkward to have the handle of your dishwasher or refrigerator sticking out. If the design of your cabinets and other appliances happens to be flush or sleek stainless steel or something that’s very modern-looking, you may want to continue the stream-lined look with a recessed handle.

For an example of a recessed handle appliance, check out the Bosch dishwashers. They are designed to install perfectly flush into a kitchen, which can offer a smooth and seamless look that many homeowners find appealing. The handle also allows for a self-latching door design, so that it remains securely closed while you are doing a load of dishes. On top of that, this dishwasher also includes plenty of other valuable features, such as three height adjustments, nine possible rack positions, a load size sensor that automatically selects the proper temperature for a load, leak protection and a 24-hour delay start timer.

Standard handles
Of course, there’s also something to be said for standard handles on a dishwasher or refrigerator. They might not have the flush look that comes with recessed ones, but they allow for easy opening and closing. In a busy kitchen situation, such as when you are cooking or constantly going in and out to fetch drink and foodstuffs at a party, that’s probably what you want. Many of our customer hang a kitchen towel on the handle to assist with clean up.

A refrigerator has standard handles for its French doors and lower freezer compartment. These are ideal for that design, and coupled with the pull-out freezer baskets and temperature management system allow for everything to remain as fresh.

Designer handles
These handles are different from the types discussed above in that they’re available in various configurations. For example, the Miele stainless steel refrigerator is available with either a left-hand or right-hand door swing. In this instance, they’re also available to be installed with a custom panel in lieu of the stainless steel front. Combined with the stability hinge that comes standard on this model, these allow for the refrigerator door to open safely even when holding up to 200 pounds in the shelves attached to the inside. Often, handles for custom panel appliances are added by a general contractor or design professional.

As small of a detail that handles seem to be, our kitchen design professionals prioritize the handles of cabinetry and the refrigerator first and then work with how the dishwasher and other appliances fit into the overall design. A great tip so we actually “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

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