The Most Unnecessary Electrical Appliances

As part of electrical training, many electricians will tend to see certain electrical appliances more often than others, either as part of an electrical fault they need to fix or when undertaking PAT tests at a company to ensure that every piece of hardware is safe to use.

The most common and largest examples of these are frequently known as white goods. These include washing machines, ovens, fridges and freezers, most of which were traditionally sold with white finishes and can typically be fixed with the help of practical knowledge and physical strength.

However, by contrast, if white goods are the most important and commonly used electrical goods in a home, here are some examples of the least unnecessary. These are complex, often hyper-specific gadgets that struggle to find a purpose in many homes outside of very specific niches.

Amstrad E-mailer

The last major product sold by Amstrad whilst owned by Sir Alan Sugar, the E-mailer was meant to be an evolution of the landline phone, that would provide the ability to send email, access exceptionally limited dial-up internet websites, and eventually could make video calls.

Launching in March 2000, it was one of the few Amstrad products Sir Alan had any fondness for, releasing three separate versions and selling the phones at a considerable loss, with the business model based around making that money back through pay-per-minute calls and internet use.

Whilst a serviceable landline phone, its additional features ranged from minimally useful to comically expensive, with the nadir being the ability to play old ZX Spectrum computer games at an obscene premium.

Amstrad was sold to Sky, who closed down every department except for the one making their set-top boxes.


For the low price of £650, you could buy a very slow, overengineered bag press that works as effectively as a part of hands.

The Juicero was intended to be the last word in cold-press juicing, not only featuring a highly engineered pressing system but also a complex ecosystem of fruit bags that had NFC tags on them, requiring your expensive juice press to also be connected to the internet to press any juice.

The idea was to provide the last word in nutrition as an incredibly arrogant trailer for the device claimed, but ultimately a Bloomberg video showing that the bags did not actually need the juicer destroyed the credibility of the company, which quickly went out of business.

Home Multimedia Systems

Before the rise of the smart television, there were many attempts to bring computers into the living room, and nearly all of these attempts were expensive unmitigated disasters.

The first of these was the Phillips CD-I, which initially sold for over £1000 but had the problem of being not a very good personal computer and not a good games machine, sold as a home entertainment device nobody asked for.

They were not the only company to fail to read the room, however. Computer giants Commodore launched the CDTV for just under £1000 and fared little better, with other systems such as the LaserActive by Pioneer and the Memorex Tandy Video Information System also doing terribly.