Home Appliance Definition and Types from Kitchen, Laundry to Cleaning

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A home appliance is a device or machine used to complete a household task, such as cooking or cleaning. A home appliance may also be referred to as a domestic appliance, because of its use in domestic environments. Some may refer to a home appliance as sub-categories like household appliance if used in the household, or electric appliance, if it uses electric power.

The main purpose of a home appliance is to assist with household tasks. This may include assisting with washing or drying clothes, baking foods, cleaning dishes, or grilling.

The average cost of a home appliance varies, depending on the appliance. A refrigerator ranges in price from $1,000 – $2,000. A freezer ranges in price between $150 – $600. A dishwasher costs between $200 – $4,000. A washing machine ranges in price between $250 – $2,000. A dryer costs between $800 – $1,200. A cooking range costs between $1,500 – $2,000. An oven costs between $400 $4,000.

Home appliances are available from a wide range of brands. According to Your House Your Garden some of the most common home appliance brands include:

  • KitchenAid
  • Whirlpool
  • Maytag
  • Kenmore
  • Tupperware
  • Frigidaire
  • Dyson
  • General Electric
  • Bosch
  • Westinghouse

Many consumers choose home appliances from the top brands. Buying home appliances from top brands ensures durability and a quality product.

While home appliances are available in different materials, including aluminum, the most common home appliance material is stainless steel. Stainless steel home appliances are popular because they’re durable, long-lasting, and offer a modern design. Home appliances are present in most U.S. households, with an estimated value of 420 billion U.S. dollars each year.

What are the 7 Types of Home Appliances?

A home appliance type refers to a subset appliance used to perform a specific task. Home appliance types are classified by the location where they’re used most often. The seven types of home appliances include the following:

Small Appliances

Small appliances are minor appliances used to complete a household task. A small appliance is portable and can easily be stored in a cabinet. Small appliances may include:

Small kitchen appliances are easily replaceable and use less energy than large appliances. A household may purchase several toasters or coffee makers and are less likely to replace an oven frequently.

Large Appliances

A large appliance is an appliance that assists with household tasks and is semi or fully permanent. Large appliances may include:

Large appliances are larger than small appliances and harder to move. Large appliances cost more than small appliances but should also last longer. They are a necessity in the household, whereas a small appliance is not always a requirement.

Minor Appliances

Minor appliances are small appliances that are semi-portable and assist with fewer household tasks than major appliances. Minor appliances may include:

Minor appliances are easy to replace as they are more affordable. Households may frequently replace minor appliances. Minor appliances uses less energy than major appliances and may have cheaper insurance options.

Major Appliances

A major appliance is a large appliance that assists with important household tasks, like baking or cooking. Major appliances may include:

  • Air conditioner
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven
  • Stove

Major appliances are costlier than minor appliances and may require more research and shopping comparisons to replace. The size and dimensions are important considerations when buying major appliances.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

An energy-efficient appliance is any household appliance that is designed to use less energy. A few types of energy-efficient appliances may include:

  • Refrigerator
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • TV

Energy-efficient household appliances may cost more than appliances that aren’t energy efficient but are cheaper to use. An energy-efficient appliance may last longer than other appliances because they use less energy.

Smart Appliances

A smart appliance is a household appliance that connects to a home’s technology. A few smart appliances may include:

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Security camera

Smart appliances connect to a smartphone. They allow users to remotely access controls even when not physically in front of the household appliance. Smart appliances may be costlier than other types of appliances but last longer and are convenient.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics are personal-use home appliances, including televisions or computers. A few consumer electronics may include:

  • TVs
  • Laptop

Consumer electronics are replaced more often due to technology upgrades. A consumer electronic is often purchased for personal use, with multiple electronics in households.

What is the definition of a home appliance?

A home appliance is a tool or device used to complete household tasks. A home appliance may include subsets of appliances, including cleaning or kitchen appliances. Home appliance is the general category that covers all appliances used in the home.

You can spell appliances as: A-p-p-l-i-a-n-c-e.

What are the synonyms of home appliances?

Home appliances may also be referred to as:

  • Home device: A home device refers to a home automation system. Smart appliances are a type of home device.
  • Home gadget: A home gadget is an item that simplifies household tasks. Home appliances and home gadgets can be used synonymously.
  • Home tool: A home tool is an accessory that assists with household tasks. Home tools are usually portable, like small or minor appliances.
  • Home instrument: A home instrument is an item used in the household. A home instrument may include small or minor appliances.

What is the difference between a home appliance and a kitchen appliance?

A home appliance vs a kitchen appliance refers to the different use cases of each. A home appliance describes any household device that assists with household tasks, whereas a kitchen appliance is a subset of home appliances that are specifically used in the kitchen.

Home appliances may range in size and weight and may come in all different materials. Kitchen appliances are either small, portable appliances or large, major appliances, and are often made with durable materials, like stainless steel. Kitchen appliances may also include kitchen utensils, which are smaller tools used to assist with kitchen tasks.

What purpose do home appliances serve?

Home appliances serve a variety of purposes. The use of home appliances include:

  • Small appliances: Assist with smaller household tasks, like chopping, prepping, cutting, or blending.
  • Large appliances: Assist with larger household tasks using a larger appliance, like cooking or baking.
  • Minor appliances: Help complete tasks that may vary between households, including grinding coffee beans or baking waffles.
  • Major appliances: Help complete necessary household tasks, like refrigerating ingredients or freezing leftovers.
  • Consumer electronics: Provide entertainment, including the ability to search the internet or play music.
  • Smart appliances: Connect to the home’s network, including voice-activated TVs or remote-controlled refrigerators.
  • Energy-efficient appliances: Reduce energy use and decrease home energy costs when using home appliances.

The material of the household appliance affects its durability and price. Stainless steel home appliances last longer than other home appliances.

Can a home appliance be used with networking?

Home appliances can be connected to the home’s network. Home automation refers to home appliances connected to the home’s network that automatically control household features.

What is the history of home appliances?

Home appliances have been slowly introduced over the last couple of decades with the purpose of improving the speed and quality of household tasks. The first home appliance to use electricity is the toaster by Albert Marsh. Shortly after, George Schneider invented the first enclosed toaster. The first oven was introduced by James Sharp in 1826. The first refrigerator was then invented in 1899 by Albert T. Marshall. The early-1900s brought home appliances like washing machines, kettles, refrigerators, and sewing machines. 

The early to mid-1900s is when many smaller, minor appliances were invented to assist with larger cooking tasks. This included the first coffee maker in 1908 by Melitta Bentz, the air fryer in 1918 by J.C. Pitman & Sons, the first blender in 1922 by Stephen Poplawski, and the crockpot in 1971.

What is the first known use of an appliance in literature?

The first home appliance used in literature is the electric iron, which was invented in 1821. The coffee percolator followed and was invented in 1865. However, the United States didn’t begin buying and using electric appliances until the mid-1900s. After World War II concluded, consumers had more discretionary income available.

What are the life spans of home appliances?

The life span of home appliances varies depending on many factors. Common home appliance lifespans include:

  • Washing machine: Washing machines last between 10-13 years. The initial quality and material affect how long a washing machine lasts with stainless steel, energy-efficient washing machines lasting longer than other types of washing machines.
  • Dryer: Dryers last between 10-13 years. Stainless steel dryers that use gas last slightly longer than electric dryers.
  • Coffee maker: Coffee makers last around five years. Stainless steel coffee makers with smart settings last longer than manual coffee grinders or percolators.
  • Oven: An oven lasts between 13-15 years. Stainless steel ovens with gas power last longer than electric-powered ovens. How often you clean your oven affects its longevity.
  • Stovetop: A stovetop lasts between 15-18 years. Electric stovetops last longer than gas coil-powered stovetops because they’re easier to maintain and clean.
  • Toaster oven: Toaster ovens last up to five years. Toaster ovens last longer than toasters because they’re made with higher quality, durable materials.
  • Blender: Blenders last between 3-5 years. Blenders last less time than food processors because they’re often made with cheaper materials.
  • Microwave oven: Microwave ovens last between 7-8 years. Stainless steel microwave ovens last longer than toaster ovens, but shorter than ovens.
  • Dishwasher: A dishwasher lasts around 10 years. Stainless steel, energy-efficient dishwashers last longer than plastic or aluminum dishwashers.
  • Refrigerator: A refrigerator lasts about 12 years. Stainless steel, energy-efficient refrigerators with cooling features last longer than other freezers, like aluminum.
  • Freezer: Freezers last between 12-20 years. The frequency of use and initial quality of a freezer affects how long it lasts, and freezers typically last longer than a mini-freezer.

What factors influence the lifespan of home appliances?

The lifespan of home appliances is affected by the following factors:

  • Frequency of use: How frequently you use an appliance affects how long you can expect it to last.
  • Initial quality: The initial quality of an appliance affects how long it lasts. Home appliances made with durable materials, like stainless steel, last longer.
  • Installation: Proper installation can affect how long an appliance lasts.
  • Maintenance and upkeep: Maintenance and upkeep of appliances, including timely repairs and cleaning, can help home appliances last longer.

The frequency of use affects some appliances more. Opening and closing doors of washing machines or dishwashers may cause them to wear out faster than opening and closing the doors of a refrigerator. The initial quality of an appliance affects some appliances, like ovens and stoves, more than smaller appliances like coffee makers or blenders.

Installation is more important for large, major appliances than small, minor appliances. Frequent maintenance is also important for higher-valued appliances, like stoves and ovens.

Is insurance offered for home appliances?

Insurance is available for most home appliances. A few of the most popular home appliance providers include:

  • Choice Home Warranty: Choice Home Warranty insures home appliances of all ages and won’t deny coverage based on the age of an appliance. Insurance policy prices vary depending on the appliance and the policyholder’s location but cover reservice for failed repairs and 24/7 emergency repair services. 
  • American Home Shield: American Home Shield is a large, well-established insurance company that lets consumers choose their own service fee. The cost of the policy ranges but they have plans available in different budgets with a network of over 17,000 professionals available for repairs.
  • Select Home Warranty: Select Home Warranty offers three plans to fit a variety of consumer budgets. Their plans reduce the cost of home appliance repairs on popular items like air conditioning, heat, water heater, and oven. Many of their plans also have free roof leak coverage.
  • The Home Service Club: The Home Service Club offers free quotes with plans that connect homeowners to local technicians. The Home Service Club covers both breakdowns and repairs of top appliances, including air conditioning, heat, plumbing, and electric systems.

The standard home warranty cost is between $25- $80 per month. Many insurance providers offer discounts for new customers.

How to repair home appliances?

The repair and maintenance cost of home appliances varies depending on the type of appliance and the type of repair needed. When an appliance breaks down, such as a popular kitchen tool like a coffee blender, homeowners have a few options including repairing it themselves or hiring a service technician. A DIY repair is more affordable and usually includes the cost of replacement parts, but may be more difficult with some appliances, like refrigerators or ovens.

The average cost of repairs for a refrigerator may cost between $200 – $300. The average cost of repairs for an oven is between $100 – $600. Dishwashers may cost between $100 – $250 to repair. A repair for a freezer may cost an average of $350. Location can also affect how much home appliance maintenance and repairs cost. Larger cities with more customers in close proximity on the east coast may pay less for a service call than customers in rural areas. Some states and regions in the United States also have a higher cost of living, which can lead to higher costs of repairs in California or New York.

Smaller appliances are easier to fix than larger appliances and may be safer to do so. Smaller appliances are also cheaper to replace than larger appliances, so it’s important to compare the cost of replacement versus the cost of repairs.

How much energy do home appliances consume?

The energy that each appliance consumes varies based on the specific appliance type. Home appliance energy use is measured using wattage, which is a measurement of electrical power. The size and type of power also affect how much energy an appliance uses. Here are some of the most common wattage of home appliances and the average energy use of each one:

  • Refrigerator: A refrigerator uses between 7-8 kWh per day, which is approximately $27.60 per month, or (€) 24.54.
  • Freezer: A freezer uses between 3-4 kWh per day, which is between $10.80 – $14.40 per month, or (€) 9.60 – (€) 12.81.
  • Oven: An oven uses an average of 2 kWh per day, which is approximately $7.20 per month, or (€) 6.40.
  • Dishwasher: A dishwasher uses an average of 1.5 kWh per day, which is about $5.40 per month, or (€) 4.80.
  • Toaster oven: A toaster oven uses an average of .75 kWh per hour, which is $0.10 per hour, or (€) 0.086.
  • Coffee maker: A coffee maker uses an average of 0.12 kWh per brew, which calculates to $0.02 per brew, or (€) 0.017.
  • Microwave oven: A microwave oven uses approximately 0.12 kWh per use, or $0.02 per use, or (€) 0.017.
  • Wine cooler: A wine cooler uses about 90 kWh per month, which is $10.80 per month, or (€) 9.60.

These average uses are based on an average electricity cost of .12 per kWh. Actual costs may vary depending on the appliance and how frequently it’s used.

Energy use is becoming more important today. Many U.S. brands are selling energy-efficient appliances that use less energy. The European Union requires all appliances to include a label between A-G, with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least energy efficient.

How to decrease the energy use of home appliances?

There are a few things that you can do to decrease your home appliance energy consumption, including:

  • Invest in energy-efficient appliances: Energy-efficient appliances can reduce the amount of energy used.
  • Replace parts with energy-efficient parts: Replacing light bulbs in your household can reduce overall energy use.
  • Keep up with routine cleaning and maintenance: Routine cleaning and maintenance help maximize the efficiency of appliances.
  • Be more efficient when using home appliances: Taking steps to close the oven door or reduce the amount of times you open the refrigerator door can maximize efficiency.

What is the average cost of home appliances?

The cost of home appliances varies, depending on the type of appliance, its material, and the brand name. Here are some of the average costs of the most common home appliances:

  • Refrigerator: A refrigerator costs between $1,000 – $2,000. The size and material selection of a refrigerator affects how much it costs. Brand names like Frigidaire and Samsung may cost more than other refrigerator brands.
  • Freezer: A freezer costs between $150 – $600. The size and efficiency of the freezer affect its price. Freezer brand names like Samsung and Frigidaire are on the higher end of the price range.
  • Dishwasher: A dishwasher costs between $200 – $4,000. Dishwashers made with stainless steel materials and energy efficiency settings cost more than aluminum dishwashers. Dishwasher brands like Miele and Thermador cost more than brands like GE or LG.
  • Toaster oven: A toaster oven costs between $25 – $1,000. Toaster ovens made with stainless steel materials and with more features cost more than aluminum or plastic toaster ovens. Toaster oven brands like Breville or Black & Decker cost more than Hamilton Beach of Cuisinart.
  • Oven: Ovens cost between $300 – $4,000. Stainless steel ovens with double cooking compartments cost more than metal ovens. GE and Frigidaire ovens are more cost-effective than La Cornue and Miele.
  • Coffee maker: A coffee maker costs between $20 – $100. The cost of a coffee maker varies, with stainless steel coffee makers costing more than plastic coffee makers. Some coffee maker brands cost more than others, with Breville and Nuova costing more than Black + Decker and Keurig. 
  • Wine cooler: A wine cooler costs between $400 – $1,000. Stainless steel wine coolers that hold more wine bottles cost more than smaller, plastic wine coolers. Wine cooler brands like NewAir and Danby are more cost-effective than wine cooler brands like Wine Cellar or Vinotemp.
  • Cooktop: Cooktops cost between $500 – $1,000. Multi-burner stainless steel cooktops cost more than cooktops with fewer burners. Top cooktop brands like Bosch and Samsung cost more than GE or Frigidaire cooktops but are also more likely to last longer.

Can home appliances be recycled?

Yes, home appliances can be recycled. You can recycle unused or broken appliances by dropping them off at a recycling location near you. Some manufacturers will also recycle your used appliance when you buy a new one.

There are many benefits of recycling home appliances, including:

  • Frees up space in landfills.
  • Reduces environmental pollution.
  • Repurposes materials like metal.
  • Prevents contamination of groundwater.

Recycling home appliances also helps the overall economy. Recycling home appliances reduces the use of incinerators and landfills by as much as 35%. Home appliances are also made out of valuable materials and recycling them means they can be reused. This can bring down the cost of appliances for all consumers.

The US EPA estimates that as many as 2.2 million tons of small appliances are not recycled each year, with only 5.6% being recycled. They also estimate that up to 9 million refrigerators/freezers are thrown out each year and not recycled. Electronics are recycled slightly more at a rate of about 12.%.

What are the home appliance brands?

Consumers have a lot of home appliance brands to choose from. A few of the best home appliance brands include the following:

  • Samsung: Samsung is a top home appliance brand that sells large, major home appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Many Samsung appliances are also smart appliances with features like touch screens or smartphone controls.
  • GE: GE is another top home appliance brand that sells large, major home appliances, like dishwashers, ranges, air conditioners, and refrigerators.
  • Whirlpool: Whirlpool sells large, major home appliances, like ranges, ice makers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Whirlpool is a top appliance brand for energy-efficient appliances with the Energy Star symbol found on many of their newer home appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers.
  • LG: LG sells large, major home appliances that are also smart appliances. LG makes appliances like refrigerators, ranges, freezers, and dishwashers. LG is a top brand for home appliances with smart capabilities, including touch screen surfaces and smart-home integrations.
  • Frigidaire: Frigidaire sells large, major home appliances, like refrigerators, ranges, mini-fridges, and wine coolers. Frigidaire is a mid-range brand that uses high-quality materials in most of its appliances, meaning they last longer and are durable to more routine wear and tear.
  • Bosch: Bosch sells a wide range of home appliances, including large, major, and consumer electronics. They are a high-end manufacturer, which usually means a higher price tag but better quality. Bosch sells products like refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, and cooktops.
  • KitchenAid: KitchenAid is known for selling small, minor appliances like hand mixers, mixing bowls, blenders, and kettles. They are also known for selling affordable large appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, and wall ovens.
  • Miele: Miele is a higher-end appliance brand that sells both small and large appliances, and major and minor appliances. Some Miele products include coffee makers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and range hoods. Miele also sells a lot of home appliances that are smart appliances.
  • Danby: Danby sells small appliances, like mini-fridges, built-in dishwashers, mini-freezers, and toaster ovens. Danby focuses on a small inventory of space-saving appliances rather than trying to compete with larger brands that sell major home appliances.
  • Hamilton Beach: Hamilton Beach primarily sells small, minor appliances like blenders, mixers, toasters, and coffee makers. Hamilton Beach focuses on selling affordable appliances.

What are the most common kitchen appliances?

Some kitchen appliances are necessary for completing certain household tasks like cooking or cleaning. A few of the most common household kitchen appliances include:

Some of these common kitchen appliances are necessary for cooking, like cooking ranges or ovens. Other kitchen appliances are important for preserving foods before and after cooking, like refrigerators or freezers. Appliances like a dishwasher may be less common in households because it’s not a requirement to make or store foods. The major appliances, including refrigerators and ovens, use more energy consumption but are more fundamental to a working kitchen. Learning how to use an appliance can help consumers determine which are important to their household tasks.

Small appliances, like microwaves or coffee makers, are not as common and may not even be a requirement. Many households do have small appliances because they’re more affordable.

Is a kitchen appliance a type of home appliance?

A kitchen appliance is a type of home appliance. Home appliance is a larger category of devices that consumers use to assist with household tasks. A kitchen appliance is a sub-category of a home appliance that refers to devices that specifically assist with kitchen tasks, like cooking or cleaning.

Is a wine cooler a kitchen appliance?

Yes, a wine cooler is a kitchen appliance. A wine cooler is often placed in the kitchen to store bottles of wine. Wine coolers come in different materials, like metal or aluminum, but stainless steel wine coolers are the most durable. The best wine coolers are set to a temperature between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a refrigerator is set to below 40 degrees. Wine coolers use minimal energy, usually around 90 watts.

Some consumers also use wine coolers for alcohol storage or other types of beverage storage, like soda or water. Wine coolers are good for all types of beverages, including red or white wines.

Is a TV a home appliance?

A TV is a type of electronic home appliance. While a TV is not typically a kitchen appliance, it’s possible to install a TV in the kitchen. A TV can provide consumers with entertainment while cooking or dining.

What is the etymology of the appliance?

The history of the appliance dates back hundreds of years. Home appliances didn’t include electric or gas power until the 20th-century. The invention of home appliances reduced the need for household servants. 

By the early-1900s, many home appliances were powered including washing machines, refrigerators, kettles, and sewing machines. Following World War II, consumers had more discretionary income, which increased the sales of home appliances. By the late 1980s, more consumers demanded energy-efficient appliances, and many manufacturers shifted their appliance designs.

By the late-1990s, much of the home appliance industry had consolidated, with over 90% of all home appliances being sold by just a few brands.