Yesterday we talked about commercial-grade furniture
and discussed a few agencies that establish standards for commercial furniture, and today we’d like to continue the discussion with commercial-grade appliances.One theme you likely noticed in all this regulatory hubbub is that a lot of folks – many with no government mandate at all – feel compelled to wade into the business of establishing commercial furniture standards and then obliging companies to meet them.Naturally, the same is true with appliances
, although it could be argued that one organization called NSF International rules the roost, due in large part to the accreditation bestowed upon it by the American National Standards Institute, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
and even the International Accreditation Service
, which seems both ironic and redundant …NSF International (nee National Sanitation Foundation)NSF International
has its thumbs in a lot of pies. From light bulbs and bottled water to kitchen products and automotive parts, NSF stamp of approval can be found in nearly every corner of your everyday life.The organization got its start in 1944 by developing health and safety standards for small-town soda jerks (seriously), but eventually branched out into other products, foodstuffs and services with the help of juicy contracts from the likes of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fast forward to today, and now they’re the go-to in certification for all manner of household products – including appliances (and furniture, for that matter).But, do they determine what qualifies as a commercial-grade appliance?Establishing Appliance Standards
To answer that question: Yeah, pretty much.Appliances differ from furniture in that they are often a) electrical, b) require human operation and/or c) interact with food. These factors raise the stakes dramatically when it comes to their expected safety and performance, which all of a sudden makes certification a BIG DEAL.The thing to remember, though, is that these standards are uniform in that appliance certification requires meeting a threshold for “material safety, design, construction and product performance” commensurate with its use.So what’s the difference between a home fridge
and a commercial fridge, then? For the latter, it’s the expectation of increased use and wear over a shorter period of time. Much like with commercial furniture, that doesn’t translate to “better” products – those products are simply rated for performance you may not need.So, when you're shopping for commercial-grade appliances, it may be more helpful to view their value in terms of how you will use them rather than how they are rated to be used.