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4K Ultra HD
This refers to the pixel resolution. 4K displays have a resolution of 3840 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically. This is 4 times bigger than the current standard of 1080p, which has a resolution of 1920x1080. By packing more pixels into a similarly-sized screen, the image becomes much sharper and more natural and detailed. The latest 4K TV’s have features such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) for improved colour and even sharper detail.
An LED TV uses a series of light-emitting diodes to generate the picture on the display. Typically, LED TVs use a backlight to illuminate the screen itself, creating a bright picture. Some LED TVs use Dynamic Local Dimming technology to allow for portions of the screen to be dimmed, resulting in darker blacks than other LED displays.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs are a new technology that uses an electric current to stimulate and generate light across an organic compound film. As OLED TVs are self-emissive and do not need a backlight to generate images, individual pixels can be completely turned off as needed, resulting in true blacks that cannot be found elsewhere. The lack of a backlight also allows for much thinner panels overall. This also means you have improved detail across the screen as each individual pixel can be changed.
Many 4K TVs come with an upscaling feature. The individual techniques used can differ greatly, using various processes to achieve discernible upscaling. 4K upscaling is a process where the TV will actively monitor content being displayed that is below 4K resolution, adjusting the picture being displayed to improve clarity and overall sharpness. The result is content that makes the most out of the increased resolution of an Ultra HD TV, with some 4K upscaling processes capable of improving content to near 4K levels of quality.
For the avid gamer. The Game Mode option is a picture mode that removes any unnecessary post-processing effects that many TVs will employ for general viewing. This is intended to reduce the latency between your actions and the displayed image on-screen; faster response times and lower input lag creates a better gaming experience.
Compatible speakers can be linked together wirelessly, forming a network that can play audio back in a number of ways including; playing audio to individual speakers, playing different audio on different speakers simultaneously, or even playing the same audio on all speakers in the network at once. Most manufacturers offer multi-room speaker networks in modern audio products, though the official term may differ.
Number of Channels (Audio)
Every audio setup will have a certain number of channels that sound outputs through. The most common options are 2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 channel systems. Systems using 5.1 or 7.1 channel sound are capable of delivering an authentic surround sound experience. The first number depicts how many speakers are used (2 speakers in the instance of 2.1 channel sound), whilst the decimal indicates whether there is a subwoofer in use (1 subwoofer in the instance of 2.1 channel sound).
A Smart TV will have a built-in operating system that allows you to use a number of apps via the internet. Access to popular services (such as Netflix, YouTube or BBC iPlayer) is available to stream directly on your TV, without the need for additional peripherals. Many TVs come with Smart features, which allows for a range of new ways to interact with your favourite content. Some TVs will come with more robust features than others, but all require an internet connection to make use of their Smart features.
VESA Wall Mount Compatible
A standard defined by the Video Electronics Standards Association, wall mounts are largely designed to meet these regulations. Each wall mount is checked against VESA specifications to see whether they are compliant, ensuring that the wall mount can be used for the intended TV size and design. There are a number of categories that help to detail what size of TVs can fit each wall mount.
Condenser dryers collect moisture whilst in use, which is then deposited into a container integrated into the appliance itself. The user can then empty the container when required. This has the added benefit of flexibility when installing into your home, thanks to no external venting requirements.
Vented dryers take the damp air generated from the drying process and expel it outside via a ducting kit that must be installed. Vented dryers tend to be slightly less costly to purchase than condenser dryers.
Appliances with an Anti-Crease function employ a number of different tactics to reduce the creasing of garments in the drum.
Ways of reducing creasing include the drum alternating its rotation periodically, to keep clothes from tangling, or continuing to spin in intervals after a cycle has finished, to prevent garments from sitting still too long.
The amount of laundry a washing machine or tumble dryer can accommodate is calculated based on the weight, in kg, of dry items that can be placed into the drum. Whilst this figure represents the official capacity of the product, it is often advisable not to fully fill the drum - performance will be affected if overfilled. Washer dryers have separate capacities, depending on whether you are washing or drying. This is because the drying function requires additional airflow for optimal performance, resulting in a lower capacity than that of a wash cycle.
Appliances with a Half Load feature can detect how full the drum is, reducing energy and water consumption without affecting overall performance. This is a great feature for improving the efficiency of an appliance without affecting cycle results.
Out of Balance Load
The appliance has built-in measures to avoid a performance impact that often occurs if the appliance becomes unbalanced due to the high spin rate of the washer or dryer.
Appliances with a steam programme allow for short cycles that use steam to gently freshen and clean garments. Fibres are relaxed by the steam and easily penetrated, enabling a deeper clean. In addition, as the garment fibres are loosened during the steam process, creases are less likely to form during the programme cycle. Steam cleaning can be used to quickly refresh laundry for reuse, with an average cycle time of 20-30 minutes.
This appliance is capable of manual selection of the spin speed of a cycle, offering additional customisation options.
This appliance is capable of manual selection of the temperature of a cycle, offering additional customisation options
Perfect for a space-conscious kitchen, compact dishwashers are designed to sit on a worktop or in a small space. Aside from smaller capacities, compact dishwashers are generally comparable to other types of dishwashers in many ways.
A fully integrated dishwasher is totally covered by a full height cabinet door and the controls are on the top edge of the appliance once the door has been opened.
A semi integrated dishwasher is covered by a drawer line door, yet the control panel remains visible for use at all times.
A slimline dishwasher is another option for saving space when purchasing a dishwasher. Slimline models feature a smaller width in comparison to normal dishwashers, helping you to fit it into spaces other appliances couldn't. As a result of this design choice, slimline dishwashers will have a proportionally lower capacity. You can purchase freestanding or fully-integrated slimline models.
Cutlery Basket or Tray
Most dishwashers will come with either a cutlery basket or tray, which will alter the way you load and unload your dishwasher quite a bit. It’s very important to understand which you’d prefer when purchasing. A cutlery basket is the more traditional style of storing cutlery in a dishwasher, with a (generally) removable basket that has holders for bulks of items. This is great for quickly loading the dishwasher, but can often result in less-than-ideal cleaning results if items are particularly close together.
A cutlery tray sits at the top of the dishwasher, offering specific slots for spoons, knives and forks. Additional space is often available for larger items, such as ladles, spatulas and cutting knives. Cutlery trays take longer to load, but offer superior cleaning performance and can free up space in the main compartment.
The Eco option on a dishwasher will set the dishwasher to save energy at the price of a lengthier wash time. This occurs due to the nature of Eco programmes, whereby the water used to clean is heating gradually in comparison to standard programmes.
Much of the energy required is spent on the initial heating of the water, so using a gentler method can save quite a bit of energy in the long-run.
Dishwashers with the Half Load function are able to monitor how full the compartment is when a cycle begins, adjusting the energy and water consumption to improve efficiency without impacting negatively on performance.
Sensors monitor various factors during a wash, such as the internal moisture level, to calculate when the load is dry. The cycle will automatically finish once the desired level of dryness has been met. Different brands use different methods to monitor dryness, but the overall result is well-dried dishes time after time.
A similar feature to Sensor Dry, dishwashers that have a Sensor Wash feature are capable of detecting when a load has been cleaned optimally, ending the wash cycle and moving on to the next stage of the programme. The result is reliably clean dishes and cutlery across a range of programmes.
Built In or Built Under
A built-in refrigerator (sometimes referred to as an integrated refrigerator) is installed into the kitchen unit itself, often hidden behind a cupboard to maintain the décor of a kitchen. Most styles of refrigeration have built-in options. Built-under refrigerators are designed to fit beneath your kitchen work surface and will feature a front-opening door for easy access. Many built-under products are fridges, though some may come with additional ice boxes for some extra frozen storage space.
Antibacterial Door Seal
Antibacterial door seals are designed to resist bacteria from forming around the fridge door, helping to keep the interior of the fridge in optimal condition.
This feature will drop the temperature of a compartment to levels below standard operation. After a certain period, the temperature will return to normal. This is a brilliant feature for rapidly cooling food that has been freshly stored within the freezer compartment.
Models which are classed as Frost Free employ a heating element around the evaporate coil to ensure that ice build-up doesn't reach unmanageable levels. This means that in most circumstances, a Frost Free appliance will not need manually defrosting.
The reversible door feature allows you to detach the door of the appliance and re-attach it to open from the other side. If the door originally opens from the right, it can be altered to open from the left instead. This is a useful feature to consider if you are unsure about whether the appliance can fit into your home.
Cookers & Ovens
Built-In Double Oven
A built-in double oven allows for both the style and space-saving benefits of a built-in model, whilst providing more cooking options with the addition of 2 separate oven cavities. Each cavity can be programmed to use different cooking functions and temperatures at the same time - a great middle ground between a normal built-in oven and a freestanding cooker.
A built-in microwave can be installed in a cupboard or other location within your kitchen, offering a fast and efficient method of cooking food. Some built-in microwaves even come with additional cooking modes, such as a grill option.
A built-under oven is installed underneath your worktop, providing a more traditional aesthetic than built-in models.
Built-under ovens often have 2 oven compartments, making these great for a home that needs a little more control in the kitchen.
A conventional oven will have a non-uniform temperature across the cavities. This means that the top portion of the oven will be a higher temperature than the bottom. Take advantage of this by cooking food that needs more time, or a higher heat, at the top of the oven, and food that cooks better at lower temperature towards the bottom of the cavity. Conventional ovens cook more effectively after pre-heating.
Dual Fuel Cookers
A feature that's often seen in range cookers, this means that the model uses both gas and electric methods to cook food in the various cavities. Having access to both cooking options ensures you can cook every meal accurately.
A fan oven (often referred to as a fan-assisted oven) distributes heat evenly throughout the cavity by using a series of fans to circulate the air efficiently. Fan ovens will often heat up much quicker than alternative cooking methods, which is perfect for a busier household. The even spread of temperature ensures the same results when cooking dishes on different shelves.
Multi-function ovens combine the best aspects of conventional cooking and fan-assisted cooking, resulting in a versatile oven that can handle most dishes. Often, multi-function ovens can also act as a grill too, helping you to cook authentic grilled meals without the need for an additional cavity. Some higher end ovens may also come with a range of cooking modes, which will heat the cavity in specific ways to assist in cooking certain foods. Modes include browning, bottom heat and top heat.
A single oven has one cooking cavity, which usually includes oven and grill cooking functions. These are most commonly built into the kitchen furniture at eye-level or under the worktop, allowing for easy access in a stylish package.
Steam ovens generate steam to surround and saturate food inside the cavity, gently cooking it in the process. Steam cooking is excellent for retaining the flavour and texture of food, as food won't be dried out whilst cooking. Steam ovens usually come with a water tank, which will need to be filled up occasionally in order to function correctly.
Oven cavities with catalytic liners (also known as easy clean enamel) inside are easier to clean and maintain; the liner itself consists of a rough surface that catches grease and food spills. Heat generated from cooking burns away any residues, making the interior much easier to clean on a regular basis. Catalytic liners can be provided on the sides, back and roof of an oven cavity.
Functionally similar to catalytic liners, ovens with easy-clean enamel interiors have a hard-wearing, bumpy surface that traps grease and dirt. Heat from cooking burns away excess grease in the process, making the surface easy to clean by simply wiping dirt away. Easy-clean enamel interiors are a part of the oven cavity itself, unlike catalytic liners.
Flame Failure Safety Device (FSD)
Flame Failure Safety Devices monitor the gas supply to your cooker (providing your model has one) and safeguards against any potential leakage of gas. The second a flame is unnaturally extinguished, the FSD will cut off the gas supply to prevent any escaping into the air. Flame Failure Safety Devices are standard on any cooker or oven that uses gas cooking methods.
Pyrolytic Self-cleaning Function
The ultimate in self-cleaning power and convenience. In a Pyrolytic self-cleaning cycle, the oven is heated to around 500°C. At that temperature, any deposits are quickly reduced to a thin layer of ash, which can then be simply wiped away with a damp cloth to leave a completely clean oven. No need for detergents or back strain.
These shelves are mounted on rails, allowing them to be easily pulled out for direct access. The shelf slides out until reaching a certain point, whereby the safety measures stop it from travelling any further. Telescopic shelves enable you to work with food in a safer and easier way.
A ceramic hob uses an electric heating element concealed under the glass of the hob. This method heats the surface quickly but lacks the temperature accuracy that gas or induction methods provide. Ceramic hobs are often designed to be sleek and fit into a contemporary kitchen setting.
Domino hobs are designed to be fit together with a number of other domino hobs, or even existing installed hobs. The modular nature of the domino hob allows for a personalised setup that can feature different hob types and fuel types. Essentially, a domino hob refers more to the size and design of the hob, rather than the way it heats pans. Therefore, a domino hob could be a griddle, wok-style hob, deep fat fryer, teppan grill, or other types of hob.
An induction hob uses electromagnets positioned below the ceramic cooking zone. The connection made between induction burner and the pan allows for heat to be directly transferred, without heating the cooking surface itself. Whilst induction hobs are very efficient and quick to heat, these hobs can only be used with appropriate pans. It is important to consider when purchasing an induction hob.
This is a traditional design of hob with cast-iron plates. Modern solid plates hobs are quicker than older versions, heating the solid plate that makes direct contact with the pan or wok.
Automatic Pan Detection
Certain induction hobs are capable of checking whether a pan that is placed on a burner will be suitable for induction cooking. If the pan is not deemed fit for use (largely due to a non-conductive material being used) then the hob will alert you. This is a handy feature for checking whether your old pans are still usable, whilst also ensuring that you don't cause any damage to incompatible pans.
Hobs that feature a boost setting (though the name may vary) allows for a short burst of temperature, above the usual 1-9 power setting, that will last for a pre- determined amount of time (approx. 10 minutes on most hobs). This is useful for rapidly bringing water to the boil so you can get cooking right away, or even if you are running short on time and need to speed up the cooking process.
Gas hobs will come with a pan support - cast-iron or enamelled - that has been designed to support the weight of heavy pans.
Enamelled pan supports are the most common, offering a good balance of durability and affordability. Enamelled pan supports are generally considered safe for dishwasher use. Cast-iron pan supports are much higher durability, but this comes at the cost of weight and the possibility of rust forming over long periods of time
A canopy hood is designed to fit into the base of a wall cupboard and its controls are usually located on the underside. These hoods are generally only visible from below and are excellent for kitchens which want a discrete hood.
A more traditional style of cooker hood that resembles a chimney. This hood looks superb in most kitchen decors.
Downdraft extractors are often installed next to, or behind, the hob itself. Whilst not in use the extractor sits flush to the work surface, only rising up when in use. These offer a unique design and in some case better performance - the extractor itself is closer to the hob, catching air quicker before it can disperse into the room.
Extraction or Recirculation
Cooker hoods can either be set to extraction mode or recirculation mode; most models can be installed either way, but certain hoods can only be installed in a specific manner. Extraction is generally the more desirable option - steam and odours are completely pulled out of the room and vented outside. This provides the cleanest kitchen environment but requires a ducting kit to be fitted for external venting, which can be difficult for certain kitchen layouts. Recirculation relies on charcoal filters to draw in and filter out bad smells and unwanted vapours, redistributing the air back into the kitchen after the filtering process. Whilst much easier to initially install, results tend to be less impressive than an extraction hood.
An integrated cooker hood is built into your kitchen furniture and is covered by a cupboard door. This is the best solution for installing a cooker hood into your home without affected the overall design of your kitchen.
Often installed to sit above an island work surface within your kitchen, island hoods are built into the ceiling for an impressive aesthetic.
Traditional hoods can be mounted directly to the wall or suspended beneath a reduced height wall cupboard.
Delay Start Timer
Many appliances come with a delay start timer (sometimes referred to as a minute minder). The appliance can be programmed to turn on and perform a set action at a set time, such as beginning a washing cycle whilst you are out of the house. This is an incredibly useful feature for increasing productivity and saving you time over the course of a day.
This is a measurement of the appliance's drying ability, graded on a scale from G (the least effective) to A (the most effective).
Appliances are tested and rated for their energy efficiency, with a given rating between G (the least efficient) and A+++ (the most efficient).
Built-in or built-under appliances will have the appliance dimensions labelled, along with niche dimensions. Niche dimensions refer to the space required in the location that the appliance will be installed into, measured in height, width and depth. Often this is slightly larger than the dimensions of the appliance itself, in order to allow for optimal performance. Always make note of the niche dimensions required when considering a product.
This is a measurement of the appliance's spinning ability, graded on a scale from G (the least effective) to A (the most effective).
This is a measurement of the appliance's washing ability, graded on a scale from G (the least effective) to A (the most effective).