8 Common Household Appliances and Devices That Use Motors

January 4, 2018

The invention of motors is a world-changing event that greatly and irrevocably affected the way we live our lives.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the forms of transportation we take to get from one place to another. From our cars, seafaring ships, and the airborne planes plying the very skies above us.

Motors have also influenced how we live at home, especially when it comes to doing house chores. Here are some surprising examples of household appliances and devices that use electric motor technology (or at least those you may not have thought of at first).


One of the most common household appliances ever since the dawn of the Internet! Computers do in fact sport motors, even if at first glance it doesn’t seem to have any moving parts. The motors have to do with its hard disk drives. It ‘spins’ the platters in a drive and read the data stored on them. The cooling fans that wick hot air away from the inside of the unit also requires motors to spin.


Another common household appliance, the refrigerator needs small motors to operate its compressor. This compresses the refrigerant chemical into a liquid to create the cold temperature that helps preserve fresh goods. Air conditioners work in a similar fashion.

Microwave oven

There’s also a motor in the microwave oven, a kitchen appliance used to heat leftovers and thaw out frozen goods. It’s mainly in the turntable mechanism that slowly rotates your food as the microwave itself starts the heating process.

Washing machine

A washing machine needs a heavy-duty motor to be able to do its job— cleaning your dirty laundry! For twin-tub machines that have a washing tub and a spin dryer tub, two motors are needed. The front-loading machines on the other hand generally just make do with one.

Vacuum cleaner

This ever-reliable device requires a powerful suction motor to ‘suck in’ dust and dirt off floors and carpets. Some models even allow for the flow of air to be reversed. This allows you to use your cleaner as a blower in a hurry.


Yes, that pocket-sized computer in your bag or pocket does have a couple of motors inside it too! One of them is easy to find— the one that gives your phone its vibration function. There’s also one in your phone’s camera lens to help it focus, zoom as well as stabilize the image.

Electric toothbrush

This automated wonder that lets us clean our teeth quickly and thoroughly also has a micro motor in it. This makes the bristle head vibrate and spin at the touch of a button.

Electric fan

The alternative to the air conditioner has one of the largest motors ever made to be operated inside a home. Depending on its size and make, it can be the loudest as well. No one can deny though how energy- and cost-efficient it is in bringing down the temperature on a hot and humid afternoon.

There you have it – eight of the most common household appliances and devices that use motors! Some quite obvious, others not overly so, especially if you’ve never really had experience in taking them apart. But it really does go to show just how much the advent of the electric motors has changed the landscape of modern convenience—and we can only speculate what sort of game changer could come next as technology advances ever onward.

Do you have any other motor-powered appliances or devices in mind that has been helpful in your day-to-day activities? Let’s talk about it in the comments below 🙂

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