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Appliance vs. Device: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 7, 2023
An appliance is a machine designed for a specific home or kitchen use, while a device is a general term for an object or instrument made for a particular purpose.

Key Differences

Appliance and Device are both nouns that refer to objects or instruments crafted for specific tasks. However, their scope and general usage differ considerably. An appliance often denotes a more substantial, typically electrical machine used in homes for daily tasks. Think of kitchen gadgets like microwaves or blenders. In contrast, a device usually refers to a smaller, often portable object designed for a broad range of purposes, from electronics like smartphones to medical instruments.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023
An appliance, because of its association with household tasks, often implies a level of domesticity. It's an object we might find integral to our daily routines at home, aiding in chores or providing comfort. A device, however, doesn’t possess this domestic limitation. Devices permeate various sectors, from medical to technological to industrial.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023
Appliances have a specific functionality tethered to their design. For instance, a washing machine's primary function is to wash clothes. A device might have multiple functionalities, often adaptable based on software or specific settings. A tablet, as a device, can be an e-reader, a web browser, and a drawing pad.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023
Additionally, in the world of technology, the term device is more prevalent. We talk about mobile devices, storage devices, or input devices. Appliances, while they can be tech-savvy, are not as embedded in the tech jargon as devices.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023
Ultimately, while both terms might sometimes overlap, especially in the world of smart homes where a fridge can be a device too, appliances are usually more specialized, larger, and domestic-focused, whereas devices encompass a broader range of objects with varied functionalities.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Usage

Household or kitchen machinery.
General object or instrument with a purpose.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Scope

Domestic settings.
Varied, from tech to medical to industrial.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Size & Portability

Often larger and less portable.
Typically smaller and more portable.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Multi-functionality

Limited; specific to design.
Often multi-functional based on settings.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 03, 2023

Technological Association

Less associated with tech jargon.
Prevalent in technology discussions.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 03, 2023
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Appliance and Device Definitions

Appliance

A substantial gadget for specific home use.
Air conditioners are appliances that regulate room temperature.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Device

An object designed for a particular purpose.
The scientist used a device to measure radiation levels.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023

Appliance

An apparatus operating on power, aiding in daily routines.
Without the laundry appliance, washing clothes would be tedious.
Harlon Moss
Oct 03, 2023

Device

A piece of equipment or a mechanism.
The lock is a simple mechanical device.
Sara Rehman
Oct 03, 2023

Appliance

A device with a primary domestic function.
The oven is an essential kitchen appliance.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Device

An electronic object for specific tasks or entertainment.
Her mobile device has a multitude of applications.
Sara Rehman
Oct 03, 2023

Appliance

An electrical instrument aiding in domestic chores.
She bought a new appliance to grind coffee beans.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023

Device

An instrument used to achieve a specific outcome.
The doctor used a medical device during the procedure.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 03, 2023

Appliance

A device or instrument designed to perform a specific function, especially an electrical device, such as a toaster, for household use
A store that sells the newest kitchen appliances.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A gadget or tool aiding in various operations.
This device helps users navigate through the building.
Harlon Moss
Oct 03, 2023

Appliance

A dental or surgical device designed to perform a therapeutic or corrective function.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

An object designed and manufactured to perform one or more functions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

An implement, an instrument or apparatus designed (or at least used) as a means to a specific end, especially:
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A literary contrivance, such as parallelism or personification, used to achieve a particular effect.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

A non-manual apparatus or device, powered electrically or by another small motor, used in homes to perform domestic functions (household appliance) and/or in offices.
Many house fires are caused by faulty appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines and dryers.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A decorative design, figure, or pattern, as one used in embroidery.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

An attachment, a piece of equipment to adapt another tool or machine to a specific purpose.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A graphic symbol or motto, especially in heraldry.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

(obsolete) The act of applying.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A plan or scheme for accomplishing something
“Now Lydgate might have called at the warehouse, or might have written a message on a leaf of his pocket-book and left it at the door. Yet these simple devices apparently did not occur to him” (George Eliot).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

(obsolete) A means of eliminating or counteracting something undesirable, especially an illness.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Any piece of equipment made for a particular purpose, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

Willing service, willingness to act as someone wishes.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(computer hardware) A peripheral device; an item of hardware.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

The act of applying; application.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A project or scheme, often designed to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

Subservience; compliance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(Ireland) An improvised explosive device, home-made bomb
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

A thing applied or used as a means to an end; an apparatus or device; as, to use various appliances; a mechanical appliance; a machine with its appliances.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(rhetoric) A technique that an author or speaker uses to evoke an emotional response in the audience; a rhetorical device.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

An apparatus or device, usually powered electrically, used in homes to perform domestic functions. An appliance is often categorized as a major appliance or a minor appliance by its cost. Common major appliances are the refrigerator, washing machine, clothes drier, oven, and dishwasher. Some minor appliances are a toaster, vacuum cleaner or microwave oven.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(heraldry) A motto, emblem, or other mark used to distinguish the bearer from others. A device differs from a badge or cognizance primarily as it is a personal distinction, and not a badge borne by members of the same house successively.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

A device that is very useful for a particular job
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(archaic) Power of devising; invention; contrivance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

Durable goods for home or office use
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(legal) An image used in whole or in part as a trademark or service mark.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Appliance

A machine or tool used for a household task.
The dishwasher is a useful appliance for cleaning dishes.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023

Device

(printing) An image or logo denoting official or proprietary authority or provenience.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(obsolete) A spectacle or show.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

(obsolete) Opinion; decision.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

That which is devised, or formed by design; a contrivance; an invention; a project; a scheme; often, a scheme to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice.
His device in against Babylon, to destroy it.
Their recent device of demanding benevolences.
He disappointeth the devices of the crafty.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Power of devising; invention; contrivance.
I must have instruments of my own device.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

An emblematic design, generally consisting of one or more figures with a motto, used apart from heraldic bearings to denote the historical situation, the ambition, or the desire of the person adopting it. See Cognizance.
Knights-errant used to distinguish themselves by devices on their shields.
A banner with this strange device -Excelsior.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Anything fancifully conceived.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

A spectacle or show.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Opinion; decision.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Any artifactual object designed to perform an action or process, with or without an operator in attendance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

An instrumentality invented for a particular purpose;
The device is small enough to wear on your wrist
A device intended to conserve water
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Something in an artistic work designed to achieve a particular effect
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Any clever (deceptive) maneuver;
He would stoop to any device to win a point
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

Any ornamental pattern or design (as in embroidery)
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

Device

An emblematic design (especially in heraldry);
He was recognized by the device on his shield
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 04, 2023

FAQs

Do appliances always serve domestic purposes?

Primarily, but commercial versions, like industrial refrigerators, also exist.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Are all electronic objects devices?

Mostly, yes. Electronic objects made for specific purposes are termed devices.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Can an appliance be manual, or is it always electric?

While many modern appliances are electric, manual appliances, like hand-cranked egg beaters, do exist.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Can one object be both an appliance and a device?

Yes, especially in smart homes where a refrigerator might also be an internet-connected device.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023

Why are kitchen gadgets called appliances?

The term appliance implies a domestic utility, and many kitchen tools fit this description.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Is a computer an appliance or a device?

A computer is generally referred to as a device.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Is a television an appliance or a device?

It can be termed both, but it's commonly called an appliance.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 03, 2023

Can a smartphone be considered an appliance?

Typically, a smartphone is termed a device, but as technology evolves, boundaries can blur.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Are all appliances devices?

Technically, yes. An appliance is a subtype of device designed for specific domestic functions.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Can an appliance be portable?

Yes, like portable heaters or fans, though they're less portable than many devices.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Can a device be non-electronic?

Absolutely! A device is any tool made for a purpose, like a mechanical lock.
Harlon Moss
Oct 03, 2023

Is a smart speaker an appliance or device?

It can be termed both, but it's commonly referred to as a device due to its tech nature.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Are watches devices?

Yes, especially modern smartwatches, which have multiple functionalities.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 03, 2023

Can a tool be a device?

Yes. A tool crafted for a specific function can be termed a device.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 03, 2023

Which term is older: appliance or device?

"Device" is older, with roots in Old French. "Appliance" in its modern sense came later.
Sara Rehman
Oct 03, 2023

In tech jargon, which is more common?

"Device" is more common, as in "mobile device" or "input device."
Sara Rehman
Oct 03, 2023

How do their functionalities differ?

Appliances have specific, often domestic functions, while devices can have varied, multi-purpose functionalities.
Janet White
Oct 03, 2023

In the medical field, which term is more prevalent?

"Device," as in "medical device" or "assistive device."
Harlon Moss
Oct 03, 2023

Do appliances and devices always need external power?

Not always. While many operate on electricity or batteries, manual versions exist.
Sara Rehman
Oct 03, 2023

Are appliances always more substantial than devices?

Typically, but not a strict rule. Some devices can be large, and some appliances can be small.
Harlon Moss
Oct 03, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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