Left-handed appliances for your home

June 14th, 2012

Appliance Talk Clothes Dryers Cooktops Fridges & Freezers Ovens Taps Washers & Dryers

We’re going to talk about appliances for Lefties.  By “Lefties”, I’m not talking about anyone’s political leanings, but rather something far more sinister…

Left-handed people.

Geddit? “Sinister”?  Latin for “left”?

*crickets chirp*


Studies show that as human beings tend to be naturally co-operative creatures (outside of politics), most of us use our right hands in an unconscious effort to fit in and support our fellow homo sapiens.  It is believed that this is one reason for why lefties are so strongly represented in elite levels of professional sport, where it pays to be competitive and different.

But on an everyday level, lefties living in a right-handed world have it a bit tough.  All manner of everyday objects are designed with righties in mind, leaving a good ten percent of the world’s population struggling with simple tasks until they learn to adapt.

Here are a few appliances that can help make life a touch easier for lefties – and there are even a few benefits they can offer to righties.

Left-handed doors


Next time you visit an appliance showroom, check the fridges and freezers on display.  It’s extremely likely that the majority of these will open from left to right, with their door hinges on the right hand side.

A right-hand opening 390L Westinghouse Fridge

This design is meant to make opening the door with your right hand feel easy and natural – just reach across your body, grab the handle, and gently pull the door open, bringing your arm back to its natural resting position in the process.

Fortunately for lefties, many fridges are also supplied in models that open in the opposite direction, from right to left, with the hinges on the left.  In some cases, a switching kit is supplied so you can reverse the door yourself without having to order a specific left-opening model.

A left-hand opening 390L Westinghouse Fridge

But left-handed/reversible doors aren’t just for lefties!  Much like Inigo Montoya, I am not left handed, yet I use a left-opening fridge.  This is because my oven sits to the right of my fridge, and a right-handed fridge’s door would get in the way when I’m trying to add extra ingredients to my cooking.

Other appliances with left-handed doors

It’s not just fridges that get this treatment:

  • Several types of wine storage cabinet are available with reversible doors, to make accessing your wine very simple, no matter your handedness or the arrangement of your home.
  • Ovens typically open from the top down, which is a fairly convenient arrangement for both left and right-handed people.  But if you’re a southpaw that prefers a side-opening oven, there are several electric wall ovens that fit the bill including models from DeLonghi, Westinghouse and St George.
  • Laundry appliances often need to fit into some very tight spaces, making the way they open an important factor to consider.  Lefties actually do pretty well in this regard, as many washers and dryers are left-opening, with right-opening and reversible models proving the exception.  That said, you could argue that they’re still rightie-biased, as they open in such a way that makes it easier for righties to load them full of laundry.  If you really need a door that opens the other way, some right-opening and reversible door models are available, and in some cases you can mount your appliance upside-down.
  • Most microwaves open with a leftie-style door, but the button that unlocks this door and the timer controls are typically located on the right, making them less leftie-optimised than you’d expect.  The best option available for lefties is probably this built-in Bosch microwave, which uses a drop-down oven-style door that’s equally usable by anyone.

Other left-handed appliances

As well as appliances with easy-opening left-handed doors, there are a few more features to be found that make life simpler for southpaws:


Many taps use a single top-mounted lever to control the flow of hot and cold water through the sink, which is equally simple for both lefties and righties to use.  However, some designs are reminiscent of the classic, more old-fashioned style, placing the lever on the side of the spout, and often these end up on the right-hand side.

A few of these designs though, such as the Franke model pictured above, offer lefties a great-looking tap that’s convenient to use.


Alas, many cooktops tend to be biased towards righties, with most controls for the hotplates being located either down the right hand side, or in the front-right corner (such as in this DeLonghi gas cooktop).

However, many cooktops are now providing centrally-located controls, that are simpler to use with either hand.  This arangement is fairly common in a variety of induction cooktops, including this one from Omega.

Until cooktops with left-handed controls start becoming common, lefties will have to be satisfied with having the largest burner on most cooktops typically being conveniently located in the front left hand corner, for easier pancake-flipping.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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