The Best Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen Appliances
Preparing meals from a wheelchair is possible with wheelchair-accessible kitchen appliances. Learn more about ADA-compliant appliances for your accessible kitchen.
Home appliances were designed to make our lives easier. The cool thing is appliances aren’t a one size fits all solution. Home appliances come in many different shapes and sizes, there’s something out there for everyone. Preparing meals from a wheelchair is possible with a wide selection of ADA Compliant appliances.
Once thought to be a tiny segment of the home improvement market, accessible kitchen design is a trending topic. There are several reasons for this including an increase in multigenerational households, residents aging in place, and inclusive design providing independence for residents with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was enacted to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. ADA Compliant appliances were first introduced to public spaces like schools and hotels – but ADA appliances are also available for residential use as well. Most residential kitchens have 36-inch tall counters. ADA Compliant kitchens have 34-inch tall countertops. The 34-inch counter height makes it easier to prepare and cook meals from a seated position.
Here are some great suggestions for accessible kitchen appliances by category:
Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen Appliance Ideas
1. ADA Compliant French Door Refrigerators
If you’re planning to add a full-size refrigerator there are nearly 300 models to choose from. Top freezer and French door styles are the most popular. The French door refrigerator design has been a top choice for an upscale look. In terms of accessibility, the French door design has a freezer drawer on the bottom making it possible to use the freezer without reaching. With a French door refrigerator model, the crisper bins are in the middle of the fridge making it easier to reach fruits and veggies. Additionally, the two-door design is a top choice for small kitchens or kitchens with narrow pathways.
2. ADA Compliant Under Counter Refrigerators
Keeping refrigerators under the counter makes it possible to store fresh ingredients without having to reach for high shelves. There is a wide variety of under-counter refrigerators including fridge drawers, glass front refrigerators, refrigerator-freezer combos, and wine coolers.
3. ADA Compliant Induction Cooktops
Induction is the fastest-growing cooking technology on the market. It’s amazingly fast to heat your food, easy to control the temperature, and is the safest cooking surface. Induction cooktops are electric, they use a magnet to heat your pans directly. Although induction cooktops get warm from touching hot cooking pans, they are far less likely to cause accidental burns. Another benefit is induction cooktops must have a pot or pan on the surface to turn on. Therefore, you can’t turn an induction cooktop on by accident. Finally, induction is an easy cooking surface to clean. Since the surface never gets as hot as with gas or radiant electric cooktops, it’s much easier to keep the glass surface looking new. Induction cooktops and stoves are available in many sizes and prices.
4. ADA Compliant Bluetooth Range Hoods
An important factor in accessible kitchen design is limiting reach. Ventilation hoods are typically mounted 30 to 36 inches above counter height. It’s impossible to control most range hoods from a seated position. A few vent hoods are remote control compatible or can be connected to a wall switch. More recently, smart appliances can sense cooking activity and automatically turn on the vent hood using Bluetooth technology.
5. ADA Compliant French Door Wall Ovens
Wall ovens are a great choice for accessible kitchen design and aging in place because you can install the ovens at any height that is most convenient for you. French door wall ovens are a great choice as it’s easier to get dishes in and out of the oven without having to lift heavy trays and pans over an oven door. Side-swing ovens provide similar access but instead of two French doors, there’s just one larger door that swings to the side.
6. ADA Compliant Microwaves
Like with wall ovens, built-in microwaves can be installed at any height making them a great choice for accessible kitchen designs.
7. ADA Compliant Dishwashers
Accessible dishwashers are just like regular dishwashers except they are designed to fit under a 34-inch tall countertop. You can find a wide variety of ADA-compliant dishwashers including full size, apartment size, and dishwasher drawers. ADA dishwashers come in all colors and finishes including stainless steel, or even cabinet panel ready. Full console dishwashers have controls on the front so it’s easy to see how much time is left in the cycle. Bar handle dishwashers are another popular choice as it’s easier to pull the dishwasher open when the cycle is complete.
8. ADA Compliant Washer Dryer Sets
Laundry room renovations are trending right now as residents are looking for new ways to get laundry day done faster – and in style. There are many ADA compliant washer dryer sets out there including full size and compact sets. Front-loading washers and dryers are easier to use from a seated position. Order your washer dryer on pedestal risers for even better access to the washer and dryer drum. As a bonus, some pedestals can be used as storage drawers.