Home appliance

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Home appliance
Numerous appliances are found in the kitchen
Industry Food & Beverages, Health Care
Fuel source Typically electric, some natural gas
Powered Yes
Wheels In some cases

Home appliances are electrical/mechanical machines which accomplish some household functions, such as cooking or cleaning. Home appliances can be classified into:

This division is also noticeable in the maintenance and repair of these kinds of products. Brown goods usually require high technical knowledge and skills (which get more complex with time, such as going from a soldering iron to a hot-air soldering station), while white goods may need more practical skills and "brute force" to manipulate the devices and heavy tools required to repair them.

A washing machine is a major appliance


Given a broad usage, 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] More specifically, Collins 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, afforded to the definition allows for nearly any device intended for domestic use to be a home appliance, including consumer electronics as well as stoves, refrigerators, toasters, air conditioners to light bulbs and well pumps.[5][6]

Google's Ngram viewer shows that published usage of "home appliance" showed increasing usage from the 1930s to 1950s before slightly decreasing throughout the 1960s. The 1970s saw a large surge in use that varied throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, but otherwise remained relatively steady into 2010.[7]


While many appliances have existed for centuries, the self-contained electric or gas powered appliances are a uniquely American innovation that emerged in the twentieth century. The development of these appliances is tied the disappearance of full-time domestic servants and to reduce the time consuming activities in pursuit of more recreational time. In the early 1900s, electric and gas appliances included clothes washers, water heaters and refrigerators and sewing machines. Post-World War II, the domestic use of dishwashers, and clothes dryers where part of a shift for convenience. As discretionary spending increased, it was reflected by a rise in miscellaneous home appliances.[8]

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 anti-trust legislation. The United States Department of Energy passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act in 1987 which set energy standards that required manufacturers to reduce the energy consumption of the appliances by 25% every five years.[8]

In 1987, home appliances the energy efficient standards helped every household save $2000 each or a total of $200 billion nationwide with the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act.[citation needed]

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% market share, Electrolux with 20% market share, Maytag with 7% market share and Thermador with just 2% of market share.[8]

Major appliances[edit]

Main article: Major appliance

White goods/major appliances comprise major household appliances and may include: air conditioner, dishwasher, clothes dryer, drying cabinet, freezer, refrigerator, kitchen stove, water heater, washing machine, trash compactor, microwave ovens and induction cookers. White goods were typically painted or enameled white, and many of them still are.

Small appliances[edit]

Main article: Small appliances

Brown goods/small appliances are typically small household electrical entertainment appliances such as: TV sets, CD and DVD players, camcorders, still cameras, clocks, alarm clocks, video game consoles, HiFi and home cinema, telephones and answering machines. Some types of brown goods were traditionally finished with or looked like wood or bakelite. This is now rather rare, but the name has stuck, even for goods that are unlikely ever to have been provided in a wooden case (e.g. camcorders). Another type of small appliances relate to heating and cooling such as: fans and window mounted air conditioners, and heaters such as space heaters, ceramic heaters, gas heaters, kerosene heaters, and fan heaters. Yet another category is used in the kitchen, including: juicer-mixer-grinders, food processors, electric kettles, waffle irons, coffee makers, dough makers, and electric chimneys.

Microwave ovens contain complex electronic boards (the clock and controller) but aren't repaired very often. Some brands send whole boards for replacement, and some have them repaired by such technicians.

Networking of home appliances[edit]

Main article: Home automation

There is a trend of networking home appliances together, and combining their controls and key functions. 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 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.


Main article: Appliance recycling

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "white goods". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "brown goods". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Appliance". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Definition of household appliances". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "What size generator do I need?". Ohio State University. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "List of the Power Consumption of Typical Household Appliances". Daftlogic. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Google Ngram viewer". Google. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of American Industries Volume 1. Gale Research. 1994. 

External links[edit]