Product Features I Wish My Home Appliances Had


Refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. We don’t think of our home appliances much, but we sure use them a lot.

Let’s take a look at our home appliances — how they have (or have not) improved over the years and what killer product features could be added to them!

The Fridge

The refrigerator hasn’t changed much since the first home refrigerator was sold in 1913. It chills and freezes your food. If you have a “new” refrigerator from the past 10 years or so, you may have a small screen with temperatures. Styles come and go, and while refrigerators are bigger and more durable (they do last a long time — you can expect a 10 year lifecycle with a bit of luck), they haven’t changed much in the past 50 years.

Internet of Things (IoT) promises to connect our refrigerator to the internet — mostly for the benefit of allowing an online supermarket to remind us we need to make another purchase. I can live without food notifications.

What I would like to know is “How many calories I just took out of the refrigerator”. When I grab cookies or make dinner, it would be nice to know how many calories — and not weight — I am removing (and likely putting in my stomach). If I’m eating with others, I can split the numbers myself.

How about expiration dates? I don’t want to read about the food in my refrigerator on my computer. I want my refrigerator’s voice to tell me when I open it, “Your bread has 2 days left.” “That Domino’s Pizza has 10 minutes left before it rots.”

The Washing Machine and Dryer

Different appliance, same story. I doubt there is a long book on washing machine and dryer improvements since the 1950s. The newest machines have a small digital screen with numbers and a few words. My 2006 washing machine does the job fine. My newer dryer has another missing product feature: It is too loud.

Most of the new washing machines and dryers still create a lot of noise. Yes, there are quieter models, but most of us own machines which clean and dry our clothes at a high decibel rate. Product Managers — please invent the first silent washing machines and dryers. My Bose noise cancellation earbuds do the job while I am on airplanes. Washing machines and dryers need built-in noise cancellation speakers, if they can’t make the motors silent.

The other product feature I want with my “clothes devices” is the 2-in-1. Dual washing and drying machines exist, but they are novelty appliances and not mainstream. I want 2-in-1 to become the norm, so we can all save space in our homes.

The Dishwasher

I grew up in a home with a dishwasher. It helped, but it wasn’t fun drying dishes and putting them away. The problem with the dishwasher is simple — it is in the wrong place. The dishwasher belongs in the sink. Imagine the marriage of the sink and the dishwasher!

You finish eating, put your dirty dishes and silverware in the sink. Push a button, and soap suds appear. The Sink-Dishwasher recognizes large and small items, and tiny robotic arms grab everything and soap it all up. Then a thorough rinse cycle and hot air dries everything. Your dishes are organized and stacked in a pristine clean sink.

Now all you need is a robot to put the dishes away!


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Yonatan Levy