Home appliance

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Home appliance
Home appliances may be used in kitchens
IndustryFood and beverages, health care
Application Kitchens and laundry rooms
WheelsIn some cases
Examples Refrigerator, toaster, kettle, microwave, blender

A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, [1] is a machine which assists in household functions [2] such as cooking, cleaning and food preservation.


The domestic application attached to home appliance is tied to the definition of appliance as "an instrument or device designed for a particular use or function". [3] Collins English Dictionary defines "home appliance" as: "devices or machines, usually electrical, that are in your home and which you use to do jobs such as cleaning or cooking". [4] The broad usage allows for nearly any device intended for domestic use to be a home appliance, including consumer electronics as well as stoves, [5] refrigerators, toasters [5] and air conditioners.

The development of self-contained electric and gas-powered appliances, an American innovation, emerged in the early 20th century. This evolution is linked to the decline of full-time domestic servants and desire to reduce household chores, allowing for more leisure time. Early appliances included washing machines, water heaters, refrigerators, and sewing machines. The industry saw significant growth post-World War II, with the introduction of dishwashers and clothes dryers. By the 1980s, the appliance industry was booming, leading to mergers and antitrust legislation. The US National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 mandated a 25% reduction in energy consumption every five years. By the 1990s, five companies dominated over 90% of the market.

Major appliances, often called white goods, include items like refrigerators and washing machines, while small appliances encompass items such as toasters and coffee makers. [6] Product design shifted in the 1960s, embracing new materials and colors. Consumer electronics, often referred to as brown goods, include items like TVs and computers. [7] There is a growing trend towards home automation and internet-connected appliances. Recycling of home appliances involves dismantling and recovering materials.


Early 20th century electric toaster Toaster, Universal, Model E947, c. 1915, Landers, Frary and Clark, New Britain, Connecticut, Wolfsonian-FIU Museum.JPG
Early 20th century electric toaster

While many appliances have existed for centuries, the self-contained electric or gas powered appliances are a uniquely American innovation that emerged in the early twentieth century. The development of these appliances is tied to the disappearance of full-time domestic servants and the desire to reduce the time-consuming activities in pursuit of more recreational time. In the early 1900s, electric and gas appliances included washing machines, water heaters, refrigerators, kettles and sewing machines. The invention of Earl Richardson's small electric clothes iron in 1903 gave a small initial boost to the home appliance industry. In the Post–World War II economic expansion, the domestic use of dishwashers, and clothes dryers were part of a shift for convenience. Increasing discretionary income was reflected by a rise in miscellaneous home appliances. [8] [9] [ self-published source ]

In America during the 1980s, the industry shipped $1.5 billion worth of goods each year and employed over 14,000 workers, with revenues doubling between 1982 and 1990 to $3.3 billion. Throughout this period, companies merged and acquired one another to reduce research and production costs and eliminate competitors, resulting in antitrust legislation.

The United States Department of Energy reviews compliance with the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, which required manufacturers to reduce the energy consumption of the appliances by 25% every five years. [8]

In the 1990s, the appliance industry was very consolidated, with over 90% of the products being sold by just five companies. For example, in 1991, dishwasher manufacturing market share was split between General Electric with 40% market share, Whirlpool with 31%, Electrolux with 20%, Maytag with 7% and Thermador with just 2%. [8]

Major appliances

Swedish washing machine, 1950s Wascator.jpg
Swedish washing machine, 1950s

Major appliances, also known as white goods, comprise major household appliances and may include: air conditioners, [10] dishwashers, [10] clothes dryers, drying cabinets, freezers, refrigerators, [10] kitchen stoves, water heaters, [10] washing machines, [10] trash compactors, microwave ovens, and induction cookers. White goods were typically painted or enameled white, and many of them still are. [11]

Small appliances

Small kitchen appliances Small appliance.jpg
Small kitchen appliances
The small appliance department at a store Tong Luo Wan Dian Xiao Jia Dian Bu .jpg
The small appliance department at a store

Small appliances are typically small household electrical machines, also very useful and easily carried and installed. Yet another category is used in the kitchen, including: juicers, electric mixers, meat grinders, coffee grinders, deep fryers, herb grinders, food processors, [12] electric kettles, waffle irons, coffee makers, blenders, [12] rice cookers, [5] toasters and exhaust hoods.

Product design

In the 1960s the product design for appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, and electric toasters shifted away from Streamline Moderne and embraced technological advances in the fabrication of sheet metal. A choice in color, as well as fashionable accessory, could be offered to the mass market without increasing production cost. Home appliances were sold as space-saving ensembles. [13]

Consumer electronics

Consumer electronics or home electronics [10] are electronic (analog or digital) equipment intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment, communications and recreation. In British English, they are often called brown goods by producers and sellers, to distinguish them from "white goods" which are meant for housekeeping tasks, such as washing machines and refrigerators, although nowadays, these could be considered brown goods, some of these being connected to the Internet. [14] [n 1] Some such appliances were traditionally finished with genuine or imitation wood, hence the name. This has become rare but the name has stuck, even for goods that are unlikely ever to have had a wooden case (e.g. camcorders). In the 2010s, this distinction is absent in large big box consumer electronics stores, which sell both entertainment, communication, and home office devices and kitchen appliances such as refrigerators. The highest selling consumer electronics products are compact discs. [16] Examples are: home electronics, radio receivers, TV sets, [5] VCRs, CD and DVD players, [5] digital cameras, camcorders, still cameras, clocks, alarm clocks, computers, video game consoles, HiFi and home cinema, telephones and answering machines.

Life spans

A survey conducted in 2020 of more than thirteen thousand people in the UK revealed how long appliance owners had their appliances before needing to replace them due to a fault, deteriorating performance, or the age of the appliance.

ApplianceLongest average estimated lifespanShortest average estimated lifespan
Washing machine21 years13 years
Tumble dryer24 years17 years
Dishwasher22 years13 years
Built-in oven29 years23 years
Fridge freezer24 years14 years
Fridge29 years18 years

Home automation

There is a trend of networking home appliances together, and combining their controls and key functions. [18] For instance, energy distribution could be managed more evenly so that when a washing machine is on, an oven can go into a delayed start mode, or vice versa. Or, a washing machine and clothes dryer could share information about load characteristics (gentle/normal, light/full), and synchronize their finish times so the wet laundry does not have to wait before being put in the dryer.

Additionally, some manufacturers of home appliances are quickly beginning to place hardware that enables Internet connectivity in home appliances to allow for remote control, automation, communication with other home appliances, and more functionality enabling connected cooking. [18] [19] [20] [21] Internet-connected home appliances were especially prevalent during recent Consumer Electronics Show events. [22]


New Orleans, Louisiana, United States after Hurricane Katrina: mounds of trashed appliances with a few smashed automobiles mixed in, waiting to be scrapped Low9AppliancePiles2 (1).jpg
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States after Hurricane Katrina: mounds of trashed appliances with a few smashed automobiles mixed in, waiting to be scrapped

Appliance recycling consists of dismantling waste home appliances and scrapping their parts for reuse. The main types of appliances that are recycled are T.V.s, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and computers. It involves disassembly, removal of hazardous components and destruction of the equipment to recover materials, generally by shredding, sorting and grading. [23]

See also


  1. "Brown" from the bakelite and wood-veneer finishes typical on 1950s and 1960s radio and TV receivers, and in contrast to "white goods". [15]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Homemaking</span> Act of overseeing the organizational, financial, day-to-day operations of a house or estate

Homemaking is mainly an American and Canadian term for the management of a home, otherwise known as housework, housekeeping, housewifery or household management. It is the act of overseeing the organizational, day-to-day operations of a house or estate, and the managing of other domestic concerns. A person in charge of the homemaking, who is not employed outside the home, in the US and Canada, is called a homemaker, a term for a housewife or a househusband. Historically the role of homemaker was often assumed by women. The term "homemaker", however, may also refer to a social worker who manages a household during the incapacity of the housewife or househusband. Home health workers assume the role of homemakers when caring for elderly individuals. This includes preparing meals, giving baths, and any duties the person in need cannot perform for themselves.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Domestic technology</span> Usage of applied science in houses

Domestic technology is the incorporation of applied science into the home. There are multiple aspects of domestic technology. On one level, there are home appliances, home automation and other devices commonly used in the home, such as clothes dryers and washing machines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Small appliance</span> Portable or semi-portable machine in use to accomplish household task

A small domestic appliance, also known as a small electric appliance or minor appliance or simply a small appliance, small domestic or small electric, is a portable or semi-portable machine, generally used on table-tops, counter-tops or other platforms, to accomplish a household task. Examples include microwave ovens, kettles, toasters, humidifiers, food processors and coffeemakers. They contrast with major appliances, such as the refrigerators and washing machines, which cannot be easily moved and are generally placed on the floor. Small appliances also contrast with consumer electronics which are for leisure and entertainment rather than purely practical tasks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Major appliance</span> Large machine which accomplishes routine housekeeping

A major appliance, also known as a large domestic appliance or large electric appliance or simply a large appliance, large domestic, or large electric, is a non-portable or semi-portable machine used for routine housekeeping tasks such as cooking, washing laundry, or food preservation. Such appliances are sometimes collectively known as white goods, as the products were traditionally white in colour, although a variety of colours are now available. An appliance is different from a plumbing fixture because it uses electricity or fuel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Home automation</span> Building automation for a home

Home automation or domotics is building automation for a home. A home automation system will monitor and/or control home attributes such as lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security such as access control and alarm systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Consumer electronics</span> Electronic products for everyday use

Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment, communications and recreation. These products are usually referred to as black goods due to many products being housed in black or dark casings. This term is used to distinguish them from "white goods" which are meant for housekeeping tasks, such as washing machines and refrigerators, although nowadays, these would be considered black goods, some of these being connected to the Internet. In British English, they are often called brown goods by producers and sellers. In the 2010s, this distinction is absent in large big box consumer electronics stores, which sell entertainment, communication and home office devices, light fixtures and appliances, including the bathroom type.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clothes dryer</span> Appliance used for drying wet clothes

A clothes dryer, also known as tumble dryer, is a powered household appliance that is used to remove moisture from a load of clothing, bedding and other textiles, usually after they are washed in a washing machine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Haier</span> Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliance company

Haier Group Corporation is a Chinese multinational home appliances and consumer electronics company headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong. It designs, develops, manufactures and sells products including refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, dryers, microwave ovens, mobile phones, computers, and televisions. The home appliances business, namely Haier Smart Home, has seven global brands – Haier, Casarte, Leader, GE Appliances, Fisher & Paykel, Aqua and Candy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maytag</span> American home and commercial appliance brand

The Maytag Corporation is an American home and commercial appliance company. The company has been owned by Whirlpool Corporation since April 2006.

White-Westinghouse is an American home appliance brand used under license by trademark owner Westinghouse Licensing Corporation. It was created in 1975 when White Consolidated Industries bought the Westinghouse Electric Corporation's major appliance business. White Consolidated Industries was in turn acquired by Electrolux in 1986.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">European Union energy label</span> Energy consumption labelling scheme

EU Directive 92/75/EC (1992) established an energy consumption labelling scheme. The directive was implemented by several other directives thus most white goods, light bulb packaging and cars must have an EU Energy Label clearly displayed when offered for sale or rent. The energy efficiency of the appliance is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes from A to G on the label, A being the most energy efficient, G the least efficient. The labels also give other useful information to the customer as they choose between various models. The information should also be given in catalogues and included by internet retailers on their websites.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Miele</span> German home appliance manufacturer

Miele is a German manufacturer of high-end domestic appliances and commercial equipment, headquartered in Gütersloh, Ostwestfalen-Lippe. The company was founded in 1899 by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann, and has always been a family-owned and family-run company.

Hotpoint is a brand of domestic appliances. Ownership of the brand is split between American company Whirlpool, which has the rights in Europe, Chinese company Haier, which has the rights in the Americas and Turkish company Arcelik which has rights in Russia and the CIS.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grundig</span> Turkish consumer electronics manufacturer

Grundig is a consumer electronics manufacturer owned by Arçelik A.Ş., the white goods manufacturer of Turkish conglomerate Koç Holding. The company makes domestic appliances and personal-care products.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Limited is a major appliance manufacturer founded in 1934. It is a subsidiary of Chinese multinational home appliances company Haier and is based in East Tāmaki, New Zealand.

Olympic Group is an Egyptian group of companies operating mainly in the field of domestic appliances. The main products it manufactures are washing machines, refrigerators, electric water heaters and gas cookers. It also operates in the fields of IT and real estate. It owns the licensing rights for Sony products in Egypt. Olympic Group has acquired "IDEAL", a formerly state-owned appliances giant.

BSH Hausgeräte GmbH is the largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe and one of the leading companies in the sector worldwide. The group stemmed from a joint venture set up in May 1967 between Robert Bosch GmbH (Stuttgart) and Siemens AG (Munich), and it posted annual sales of 14.8 billion euros in the year 2023. BSH is an acronym for Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte.

Household goods are goods and products used within households. They are the tangible and movable personal property placed in the rooms of a house, such as a bed or refrigerator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Index of home automation articles</span>

This is a list of home automation topics on Wikipedia. Home automation is the residential extension of building automation. It is automation of the home, housework or household activity. Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, HVAC, appliances, security locks of gates and doors and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salon des arts ménagers</span>

The Salon des arts ménagers was an annual exhibition in Paris of domestic appliances, furniture and home designs. It was first held as the Salon des appareils ménagers in 1923, with 100,000 visitors. By the 1950s each exhibition attracted up to 1.4 million visitors.


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Further reading