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20 Home Appliances That Didn't Exist When You Were Young

Try explaining Alexa to your grandma.

Technology is an ever-evolving medium, and one that's seen some incredible changes over the past few decades. However, while it may seem as though many of the appliances we have at home get only minor upgrades over time, there are countless others that virtually no one could have predicted existing even a few years ago.

We've compiled a list of some of home appliances we use every day that didn't exist when we were kids, each more impressive than the last. And when you're ready to upgrade your own home, start by ditching The 30 Worst Home Appliances Ever Created.

Smart TVs

Wifi television

Just a few decades ago, TVs still had knobs on them. They had antennae. Your favorite shows were replaced with static after a certain hour. Today, we have Smart TVs, internet-enabled flat screens that let you play your favorite streaming services, listen to music, watch music videos, and more, all with the touch of a button. And when you want something fun to watch, check out these 30 Most Outrageous Late-Night TV Moments Ever.

Bluetooth Speakers

Mini speaker

30 years ago, when you wanted to listen to a song, you had two choices: sit in the same room as your tape player, or unplug it and move it. Today, Bluetooth speakers have afforded us the luxury of leaving our phone in the bedroom and still bumping Beyoncé in the shower down the hall. And for more info on your favorite music, discover the 40 Most Hilarious Song Titles.

Induction Stoves

Electric range

While induction heating has been around for the better part of a century, it wasn't until the 1970s that a model was created for home use, thanks to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Research & Development Center. Today, induction stoves are everywhere, with companies from Viking to LG producing these popular appliances, which cook food faster, and without a gas hookup. And when you want to improve your cooking skills, start with these 25 Kitchen Gadgets Every Man Needs.

Mini-Split Air Conditioners

air conditioning
Kwangmoozaa / Shutterstock

A mere 20 years ago, there were two schools of thought when it came to keeping cool in the summer: install a huge, expensive central air unit, often forgoing closet, attic, or basement space in the process, or opt for unsightly window units. Today, thanks to ductless mini-split heating and air conditioning pumps, you can heat and cool your home with the windows closed and without a massive renovation job. And when you want to warm up with the temperature dips, try out these 12 Genius Ways to Stay Warm This Winter.

Robot Vacuum

Robot vacuum

There used to be a single way to vacuum: plug the thing in, and get to work. Now, all we have to do is press a button and sit back while our robot vacuums do all the hard work for us. Ready to make your house spotless in no time? Start with these 20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind.

Wireless Alarm Systems

Wireless alarm system

While alarm systems have been a home security feature for decades, it wasn't until recently that that protection was available, no matter where you are in the world. Today, wireless, wifi-enabled alarm systems mean you can still protect your house, even from thousands of miles away. And when you're ready to make your house safer, start with the 15 Best Ways to Protect Your Home!

Amazon Echo

funny amazon Alexa questions

That grocery-list-making, Spotify-playing, wise-cracking robot that's become such a part of our everyday lives that we hardly notice it? Probably not so easy to explain to even a tech-savvy person 20 years ago. And for new ways to use your Echo, check out these 20 Funny Things to Ask Your Amazon Alexa.

Smarthome Systems

Smart home app

When you used to want to turn off your lights, arm your alarm system, or turn on your sprinklers, you'd have to go over to said appliance and get the job done. Today, thanks to smarthome systems—some of which can integrate with the Amazon Echo or Google Home—all you have to do is say that you want the lights off and it's as good as done. And when you're looking to make your home more tech-friendly, start with these 10 Tech Items You Never Knew You Needed.

Smart Fridges

bad puns

Twenty years ago, a fridge was just another place to keep your groceries cold. Today, thanks to the advent of the Smart Fridge, you can watch TV on your fridge, play Pandora, build grocery lists, and even add items to your digital calendar. And when you're stocking your fridge, start by loading up on the 25 Foods That'll Keep You Young Forever.

Wireless Routers

Wireless router

Long gone are the days when going online meant sitting tethered to your modem while it made that earsplitting dial-up noise. The wireless router, most people can agree, has made virtually everything about getting online exponentially easier. And before you go online again, make sure you know The Single Best Way to Sign Your Emails!

Doorbell Cams

Doorbell cam

When someone rang your doorbell just a few decades ago, you had two options: run to see who it was, or turn off all the lights to make it seem like you're not home. Today, thanks to the advent of systems like the Ring, you can find out that someone's at your door even when you're not home, and even talk to them through the doorbell's speaker.

Natural Light-Emulating Alarm Clocks

woman waking up punctual stressed out

Those who don't love being violently awoken by the blaring siren of their radio can now enjoy a much more natural way to wake up. Thanks to alarm clocks that brighten the room gradually, we can now wake up a whole lot more peacefully (and better rested, to boot).

Learning Thermostats

Nest thermostat

If you told someone 20 years ago that their thermostat would get an idea of their temperature preferences and eventually start setting itself, they would have called you crazy. However, that's exactly the kind of convenience learning thermostats like the Nest offer us.

Streaming Devices

50 compliments

Just a few decades ago, if there wasn't anything you wanted to watch on TV, and Blockbuster was closed, you were pretty much out of luck. Today, thanks to streaming devices, you can watch virtually any show you want at the touch of a button, thanks to streaming devices like Roku.

Mini Washers

crazy facts

In the '90s, washing clothes at home was pretty simple: you either had a full-sized washing machine, and did your laundry in it, or you didn't. Today, thanks to the creation of mini-washers, which come in two varieties—compact models that you can attach to a sink, or those found in the lower drawers of standard washing machines—you can wash just a few items quickly without wasting the water you'd use on a full load.

Touch-Free Locks

Touchless deadbolt

Anyone who's ever tried to unlock their front door while holding eight grocery bags and the hand of a screaming toddler can tell you: the only problem with smart locks is that we didn't have them sooner. Now, you can simply unlock your door with your smartphone, or, in some cases, just stand near it with your key and it will open itself.

WiFi Enabled Bulbs

LED light bulb

Light bulbs used to be pretty simple: you turned them on, they provided light, and you turned them off when you were done. Today, wifi-enabled bulbs mean you can turn your lights on and off with your phone, all without ever having to leave the couch.

Smart Faucets

Kitchen sink

It seems like every home appliance is getting a little smarter these days, faucets included. Now, with the installation of a smart faucet, you never have to suffer the indignity of turning your faucet on yourself. Better yet, thanks to the lack of human error, smart faucets may be able to save you a significant amount on your water bill, too.

Solar Garden Lights

Solar garden lights
Shutterstock/Grisha Bruev

Keeping your yard well-lit at night used to be the job of wired-in floodlights. Today, we can keep our outdoor spaces illuminated without so much as a battery, thanks to outdoor solar lights, which simply harness solar energy during the day and use it to brighten up your spaces after dark.

Laser Projectors

Laser projector

Projectors, once school staples used to deliver grainy presentations to many a bored elementary school class, have come quite a long way over the past few decades. Case in point: laser projectors, which can now deliver crystal-clear pictures to your home screen or wall. And when you're looking for something classic to watch, start with these 37 Movies Every Man Over 40 Should Be Able to Quote.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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