Miele Kitchen Appliances Advert from 1987

Miele kitchen appliances advert from 1987

1980s Kitchen Appliances That Were New and Exciting

by Jane Duncan, freelance writer

Jan 14 2022

According to a recent poll done by Kenwood, the average adult spends 61 minutes every day in the kitchen on domestic tasks like cooking, that’s 45 minutes less than people spent in the kitchen during the 1980s.

It was only towards the middle of the decade when 80s kitchens became more convenient and tasks began to take less time. The microwave came along, giving us the option of high-speed cooking. There was also the advent of the modern washing machine, making it easier and quicker to get clothes clean, and if you were really flush, you could even buy a dishwasher.
These everyday appliances are something that we take for granted, but in the 1980s, they were very exciting! 

Modern Washing Machines

During the 1970s, modern washing machines started to become more commonplace in the home, although the majority of families still made trips to the laundromat/launderette to wash their clothes. In the 1970s, washing machines were fairly simple, with only one setting for doing the laundry.
In the 1980s however, washing machines became more sophisticated. You had the option of top-loader or front-loader machines. Top-loading washing machines are more affordable, but often only have a few settings. The front-loading machines of the 1980s were revolutionary, as they offered a number of different temperature settings. Fabric softener was also new this decade, finally making people’s clothing soft and smelling lovely
Sunset Microwave Cook Book from the 1980s

80s Microwave Cook Book

The Microwave Oven

The modern microwave oven revolutionized the 1980s kitchen, but it came at a cost. The average machine was $425 to buy - that is the equivalent of $1,097 in today’s money. In the microwave you could prepare and reheat food in a matter of minutes.
With the microwave making its way into people’s homes, even more people began eating TV dinners, and ready meals also became popular. There were companies like Lean Cuisine that marketed calorie-controlled ready meals to customers, making it easier to watch your food intake.
The British and American public became fanatical about the microwave oven in the 1980s, cookbooks were published full of new and interesting microwave recipes and TV chefs showed off their best microwave dishes. If you were really lucky, your Mom even cooked you Calypso Pudding in the microwave - this stodgy recipe, which included canned pineapple, was considered to be the height of sophistication. 


Although the first dishwashing machine was actually invented back in the 1850s, modern dishwashers didn’t become common in people’s homes until the 1980s. Again, owning a dishwasher came with a hefty price tag. A small under-the-counter machine cost $249, the equivalent of $839 in today’s money. But if you were well-to-do, and didn’t fancy doing the washing up after your wine and cheese fondue party, then a dishwasher was a must-have appliance. A dishwasher cycle would often take over three hours though, so you’d be waiting a while to use the plates again.

The 1980s brought us fun gadgets like the SodaStream, but what really revolutionized the kitchen were the large appliances that we take for granted today. The washing machine, the microwave and the dishwasher meant that people living in the ‘80s had a bit more time to watch Great Chefs and Gourmet Cooking on TV.