It’s hard to overestimate how important appliances are to a home buyer or to a consumer building a custom home.

As the kitchen has become the center of the home, kitchen appliances have become particularly significant—elevated to status-symbol level in some cases.

Even in the custom home market, clients who generally defer to their architects on most decisions tend to make appliance choices themselves.

"For some reason, people have strong convictions about them," architect Donald P. Lococo, of Washington, D.C.-based Donald Lococo Architects, tells Builder.

The point is this: builders need to pay special attention to the appliances they use. Fortunately, the appliance category is not what it used to be. Products are much better than they once were, and even the lowliest brands offer Energy Star options. Technology moves fast, and it’s creating a raft of products with amazing features and capabilities.

Here are 11 that offer something special for consumers.

Nigel F. Maynard is a senior editor at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.