Finally, a kitchen finish that gets five stars for looks and is a breeze to keep clean.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated February 14, 2018
Kitchen with black stainless steel appliances
Credit: in4mal/Getty Images

Anyone with a kitchen (so, almost everyone) can agree that nothing beats stainless steel—nothing, that is, except for black stainless steel.

If stainless steel gives a space a polished, clean look, black stainless steel does that and more: It introduces some warmth into kitchens, preventing them from feeling too cold and industrial, which is a real risk if too much stainless steel is present. (Who knew you could have too much of such a good thing?)

And that’s not even the best part of this kitchen trend. According to Consumer Reports, black stainless steel is also easier to keep clean than its standard stainless steel cousin. Black stainless steel appliances are able to resist smudges and fingerprints better, and their surfaces are easier to wipe down when they do get dirty.

Trading in a stainless steel refrigerator for a black version means saying goodbye to specialty cleaners—and cleaning hacks for polishing stainless steel (no matter how useful they are). “Black stainless doesn’t require any special polishes to keep it looking good,” Nancy Bock, senior vice president of education for the American Cleaning Institute, told Consumer Reports. “Cleaning is generally simple and can be accomplished using warm water and a soft cloth.”

Consumer Reports went so far as to test out several refrigerators, finding that—as Bock predicted—coated black stainless steel was easily cleaned with a damp cloth followed by a soft towel. (Note: uncoated stainless of any shade may require the help of a specialty stainless cleaner.)

The only downside? It may be tricky to match black stainless steel appliances from different manufacturers, as each offers a different dark finish.

But if you want appliances to suit your minimalist black and white kitchen, want a look that stands out among a sea of silver, or are simply tired of finger-print-covered stainless steel, a sleek black shade may be the perfect addition to your kitchen.