Understanding electrical appliances

Main types of appliance

You can buy three main sorts of home appliance:

  • Appliances that are built into kitchen cabinets
  • Standalone appliances
  • Mobile appliances such as vacuum cleaners or heaters

Buyers of appliances are likely to consider key measurements as part of deciding whether or not to buy a particular model. Important measurements include:

  • Physical dimensions of the appliance
  • Energy efficiency of the appliance
  • Capacity of the appliance (e.g. size of load for a washing machine or food capacity for a freezer).
  • Performance of the appliance (e.g. output of a gas ring or electric heater, spin performance of a washing machine)
  • Noise

Built in appliances

Kitchen units are always built to standard depths and most widths correspond to multiples of 5 cm. Most units are between 30 and 125 cm wide. The standard kitchen unit depth is 60 cm.

Built-in units
Cabinets for built-in appliances such as fridges, freezers, ovens, microwave ovens are 60 cm wide. Built-in appliances therefore have a standard width so that they will fit 60 cm wide kitchen cabinets.

Stand-alone appliances

Store sign for metric sizesAn alternative to building in appliances is to use standalone ones providing sufficient spaces are available with suitable gaps between them. Most standalone appliances are 60 cm wide with some cookers offered with the narrower 50 cm width.

Dishwashers are usually 60 cm wide but are sometimes offered in the space-saving 45 cm width. The narrower appliance profiles may be used to save space in a really small kitchen.

Alternatively if a really large appliance is required, such as a range cooker, again standalone appliances are the solution. A range cooker is typically between 90 and 110 cm wide.

Mobile appliances

Mobile appliances such as vacuum cleaners, deep fat fryers and toasters are obviously not constrained by kitchen unit cabinets or spaces between units. Nevertheless the dimensions may be important because of the floorspace or worktop space that they occupy.