Small appliance

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Small appliances in a kitchen: a food processor, a waffle iron, a coffee maker, and an electric kettle
Glowing filaments of a modern 4-slice toaster

Small appliances, Small domestic appliances, or brown goods[1] (from the color of the wooden and bakelite cases once used) are portable or semi-portable machines, generally used on table-tops, counter-tops, or other platforms, to accomplish a household task. Examples of brown goods are: television and wireless sets; microwave ovens; coffee makers; and personal computers. In contrast, major appliances, or white goods (from their at one time common, white enameled metal exteriors), can not be easily moved and are generally placed on the floor. Major appliances include the dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, washing machine, and dryer.

All appliances are intended to perform, enable, or assist in performing a job or changing a status, such as the humidity of a room. In this way, they can be differentiated from other portable electrical items that provide entertainment. Some items not typically considered appliances, such as lamps, can be used as appliances if they are used to cook or warm food.


Some small appliances perform the same or similar function as their larger counterparts. For example, a toaster oven is a small appliance that performs a similar function as an oven. Small appliances often have a home version and a commercial version, for example waffle irons, food processors, and blenders. The commercial, or industrial, version is designed to be used nearly continuously in a restaurant or other similar setting. Commercial appliances are typically connected to a more powerful electrical outlet, are larger and stronger, have more user-serviceable parts, and cost significantly more.

Types and examples[edit]

An electric drip coffeemaker
An electric blender


Small appliances can be very inexpensive, such as an electric can opener, hot pot, toaster, or coffee maker which may cost only a few U.S. dollars, or very expensive, such as an elaborate espresso maker, which may cost several thousand U.S. dollars. Most homes contain several cheaper home appliances, with perhaps a few more expensive appliances, such as a high-end microwave oven or mixer.


Many small appliances are powered by electricity. The appliance may use a permanently attached cord which is plugged into a wall outlet or a detachable cord. The appliance may have a cord storage feature. A few hand-held appliances use batteries, which may be disposable or rechargeable. Some appliances consist of an electrical motor upon which is mounted various attachments so as to constitute several individual appliances, such as a blender, a food processor, or a juicer. Many stand mixers, while functioning primarily as a mixer, have attachments which can perform additional functions.

A few gasoline and gas-powered appliances exist for use in situations where electricity is not expected to be available, but these are typically larger and not as portable as most small appliances. Items that perform the same function as small appliances but are hand powered are generally referred to as tools or gadgets, for example a hand cranked egg beater, a grater, a mandoline, or a hand-powered meat grinder.


Small appliances which are defective or improperly used or maintained may cause house fires and other property damage, or may harbor bacteria if not properly cleaned. It is important that users read the instructions carefully and that appliances that use a grounded cord be attached to a grounded outlet. Because of the risk of fire, some appliances have a short detachable cord that is connected to the appliance magnetically. If the appliance is moved further than the cord length from the wall, the cord will detach from the appliance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ARCHIVE: e-Digest Statistics about: Waste and Recycling". Defra. September 16, 2003. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]