Author Topic: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device?  (Read 3298 times)
dor123
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Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « on: October 26, 2017, 07:44:39 AM » Author: dor123
While the control panel of appliances in most parts of the world, located at the front part of the device, which is most accessible, the American appliances have the control panel located at the rear part of the device, which is much harder to reach and often requires the user to climb on the device in order to reach the panel and operate it.
What is the reason for that?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 08:30:00 AM by dor123 » Logged

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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 09:49:49 AM » Author: 589
Is there a specific group or groups of appliances that you are thinking of?

What comes to mind for me is top loading style washers/dryers and stoves.
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dor123
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 10:33:32 AM » Author: dor123
The appliances you mentioned, are the ones that I've thinking of. As washers, dryers and stoves always operated by using a control panel, and outside North America, the control panel is located at the front part of the device, while in the US and Canada, it is located at the rear part of the device (With the exception of front loading washers).
In fact, the European top loading, horizontal drum washers, also have their control panels located at the rear part of the machine, but the European top loading, horizontal drum washers have a thinner profile than the front loading washer, that allowing the user to reach the panel easily even if it is located at the rear part of it. Dryers in the US and Canada have the control panel located at the rear part of the device even if they are front loading, and so with stoves, which have no advantages then when the panel is front located.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:43:51 AM by dor123 » Logged

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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 07:20:26 PM » Author: Lodge
With stoves the only thing I can think about is it stops them from getting filled with food that gets spilled and so they are out of the reach of small children (and I would be going with, Liability being the number one reason) they also can use less wiring so the cost would be lower to manufacture, and if the manufacture can save a buck they will because when you add a buck saved to a million stoves a year it's a million dollars right there for the CEO's bonus payment..

But you can buy stoves and washers with front mounted controls or get the odd ball stove like I have, were all the gas burner controls are in the front while the gas oven and broiler controls and warmer draw are on the back, and I also have an old 1970's gas stove with every thing even the oven controls all front mounted, the only thing mounted to the back was a clock and the oven light switch which never got used because the light turns on when you open the oven door... 
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 10:45:52 PM » Author: 589
The only thing that comes to me as it must have started as some sort of solution to a problem, cost, or a restriction by law of some kind. It might have just propagated out of convention from that point. The thing about stoves I have noticed is most times with gas stoves the burner controls are mounted in front with oven controls on the back, but electric ones tend to have all the controls on the back. I do think child safety comes into play as well these days with the gas stoves being an exception to this. It would be interesting to know how these conventions became to be in the first place.
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #5 on: October 27, 2017, 01:40:05 AM » Author: dor123
So laws regarding to child safety is one of the main reasons why American dryers, washers, stoves and ovens, have their control panel located at the rear part of the device. Here only top loading, horizontal drum washers have their control panel located at the rear part. Front loading washers, dryers, stoves and ovens, all have the panel located at the front part of the device. Interesting if in the rest part of the world, there are less or no law regarding to operating appliances by children (Here in Israel, there isn't have any law regarding to operating appliance by children).
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 02:11:01 AM » Author: Lodge
Dor123 I don't think it's a law, it's more common sense if a small child can't turn on the stove because they can't reach the controls by design there is less risk of injury to the child, and in reality if the kid can't reach the controls unassisted they should not be cooking with anything other then a microwave (and even that is questionable) and there is less chance the manufacturer will be sued for being negligent in there designs, the same is true in front mounted controls like my gas stove you have to push and turn them to reduce the chance of accidental activation, while it's not 100% kid proof it does stop very young children..

And at home there really isn't any laws preventing a child from cooking and using appliances, but there is in a businesses, so in really it comes down to being a responsible parent, and teaching the child when they are old enough to cook and cooking for them while they are to young, and the same is true for laundry, but young kids are great at finding and fetching the dirty clothes from all over the house..   
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 04:54:44 AM » Author: Mercurylamps
When you mention controls at the rear of the machine I thought it would be ease of manufacture and convenience. Probably easier to have the wiring run to the rear where the control panel and run down from there to the motors, pump etc. That was my guess.
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 05:11:32 AM » Author: Ash
The controls on the back of a stove are not safe. A bigger kid who is able to safely cook will still have hard time reaching to the controls without stretching over hot cookware. If something on the stove caught fire you won't be able to get to the controls at all
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #9 on: October 28, 2017, 02:07:09 PM » Author: Lodge
The controls on the back of a stove are not safe. A bigger kid who is able to safely cook will still have hard time reaching to the controls without stretching over hot cookware. If something on the stove caught fire you won't be able to get to the controls at all

Then the bigger kid might have have to ask the parent supervising them to adjust the controls for them, and as for reaching for the controls if there is a fire there is other options like a fire extinguisher, or a pot lid, a box of baking soda or salt, and there is also the circuit breakers or calling the fire department and if it's something like an entire pot of oil on fire simply turning off the control won't do much to stop it from burning on its own, 1 liter of vegetable oil has just shy of 10 kwh or 32000 BTU of stored energy, and it will melt an aluminum pot in seconds so even with front mounted controls you might be out of luck accessing them, you should suppress or smoother the fire first if your able to safely, and then retreat out of the kitchen because with an oil fire you won't be able to stay in the kitchen long as they will rapidly fill with smoke and the air temp will increase rapidly, and it's way easier to replace a building then a person attempting to save a building, most buildings have insurance and I'd rather talk to the person... (on a side note, never attempt to move a burning pot of oil and never use water)

Also if your prone to having kitchen fires they do make equipment that will automatically shut off the power in the event of a fire, right up to completely automatic fire suppression systems, they even have a system that uses motion detectors to see if your in the kitchen paying attention to the stove. They also have the same for gas stove owners..
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #10 on: October 29, 2017, 12:54:03 AM » Author: HomeBrewLamps
Honestly i dont have any trouble reaching the controls of my stove, washer, or dryer, and I'm only 5'3 or 4.
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #11 on: October 29, 2017, 10:48:47 AM » Author: takemorepills
Dor, nobody needs to climb onto their appliances to adjust the rear controls.

A few years ago, we decided to buy all new appliances for our house we had just remodeled. We thought we didn't like the look of rear mounted controls on the range (stove/oven). So I found a few front mounted control models. I research everything because I feel modern quality is severely lacking. I did find a lot of issues with these front mounted controls:

-some brands have way too sensitive buttons and can be activated/adjusted just by brushing up against them.
-earlier control systems were subject to damage by liquids, newer ones are sealed.
-many control systems are damaged by the heat coming from the oven door directly below the control panel.

Also, regarding euro-style appliances, my wife has them in her apartment in China, and they suck. We had euro-style front loading washer and dryer here in our USA home, and they suck too. Weak, flimsy, low power appliances that are no where near as good as old-school American iron! We recently got rid of our euro-style front loading washer and dryer for the old style top load washer, front load BIG dryer with REAR controls. These appliances are made in USA and can clean, don't leak, haven't needed the warranty repair guy yet (both of my euro washer and dryer needed them 1st year) and yes, they use more energy I am sure. Doesn't take 2 hours to clean clothes any more either.

My wife would like to get USA appliances for the China apartment, but that probably can't be done (220v-50c and shipping costs). Take it from people who have experienced both styles in 2 different countries, the USA style is better, and my wife is impartial but totally agrees.
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #12 on: October 29, 2017, 08:17:11 PM » Author: sol
I have a gas range in the kitchen, and the stovetop controls are in front because they are real valves that control the flow of gas to the burners (and can work without electricity, too). The oven controls, however, are on the back panel.

@takemorepills : I'm curious, what is the make of your new powerful top loading washing machine ? I know good quality is out there, just not sold to the masses because of the high price.

I have a front loading washer, and while it does work, it's far from the best. It's a middle-of-the-line Fridgidaire.
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #13 on: October 29, 2017, 08:42:45 PM » Author: takemorepills
sol, the front loaders we had were Frigidaire.

We ended up going separate gas cooktop and oven, so we are not using a rear control range anymore.

The washer is available from Lowes, it is a Whirlpool 5.3 cu/ft top load, about $600-700 depending on region. P/N WTW8040DW
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 08:46:53 PM by takemorepills » Logged
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Re: Why the American appliances have their control panel at the rear of the device? « Reply #14 on: October 29, 2017, 08:56:16 PM » Author: sol
Oh, ok. I also know of Speed Queen washers. They are very expensive, about 2000$ or so, but according to reviews and "independent testing and reporting" they are top-of-the-line.
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