The Life Expectancy of Small Household Appliances

close up photo of a sliced bread in a toaster
Gabriela Tulian / Getty Images

If you know how long a small appliance lasts, it can be helpful when purchasing the item or budgeting for a replacement. Many factors contribute to the lifespan of a small appliance, such as:

  • How often you use it
  • Its quality
  • User care and maintenance

Overview of Appliance Lifespan

Life Expectancy by Appliance (in years)
Toaster6 - 8
Toaster Oven5
Slow Cooker6 -10
Microwave9
Coffee Maker6 - 10
Garbage Disposal12
Vacuum Cleaner8

Toaster

You may hear a friend has had a $10 toaster for 15 years with no issues, while another laments that their $150 two-slice died after two years. However, the median life expectancy for a toaster is six to eight years. 

Toasters vastly range in price, style, features, and reliability. The Hamilton Beach 2-slice toaster retails for about $25 and includes a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, so if it fails within that first year, it’s likely there was something defective. When buying an appliance, it’s important to consider the length and coverage of the warranty. 

Toaster Oven

report from ENERGY STAR claims the average lifespan for a toaster oven is five years. These popular kitchen appliances offer a convenient way to cook small meals using less energy.

A toaster oven takes about 1/3 to 1/2 less energy than a full-size, conventional electric oven and it creates less heat in the kitchen—ideal in warmer months.

Like toasters, this small appliance has a range of prices, sizes, and features.

Slow Cooker

The modern slow cooker derives from an invention patented in 1936 by Irving Naxon. However, it’s the Crock-Pot® introduced by Rival Manufacturing in 1971 that’s most recognizable today and comparable to slow cookers from manufacturers like GE, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, West Bend, Black+Decker, and others.

Slow cookers are typically durable appliances, lasting several years. Their average lifespan ranges from six to 10 years, but it’s not uncommon to hear of one that’s performed consistently for more than 15 years. 

Tip: One way to check if your slow cooker is heating properly is to fill it about 3/4 with water and set it to “low” for six to eight hours. Test the water temperature; it should be at least 185 F if the heating element is working correctly. 

If you do discover a deal on a slow cooker at a garage sale or online, check out the vintage cookware thoroughly. Avoid using any with cords wrapped in fabric or if there is a big space between the lid and the insert. Also, if your slow cooker is older, don’t leave it unattended.

Microwave

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the median lifespan for a microwave is nine years.

Whether mounted above the stove or sitting on the countertop, the microwave is the workhorse of small kitchen appliances. From a quick reheat of last night’s meatloaf to melting butter for popcorn, the microwave does it all.

Coffee Maker

Most consumers can expect a basic, drip coffee maker to last about six years depending on how much you use it.

A pad filter coffee maker like the Senseo Switch or Hamilton Beach Flexbrew averages about seven years. Typically, brewers with fewer parts have the potential for longer life. A French press coffee maker can last for 10+ years—no pump or tubing to wear out and/or break. 

For Keurigs, expect a lifespan of about two to three years. If used heavily, several cups a day, that estimated lifespan may be shorter by a year a more.

Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal sits out-of-sight, a convenient and important small appliance in the home. It’s sanitary and efficient, and if you don’t put the wrong things in it, the garbage disposal should last for about 12 years. A few foods never to put through the disposal include bones, pits, corn silks, and hard seafood shells (crab, lobster, oyster).

Vacuum Cleaner

The vacuum cleaner is a must-have small appliance for the home and you can expect it to last for around eight years.

Depending on how often it's used, the heaviness of the cleaning, and type of vacuum, it can last 10+ years or as few as five.

Maintain your vacuum per manufacturer’s recommendations to increase its lifespan. The robot vacuums like the Roomba® may have a shorter life of about five years.

Note: The lifespans listed above are an average estimate derived from a literature review of top consumer resources.