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Why Information on Appliances.
So What's Expensive.
Big Savings or Big Mistake
Major Appliances
Small & Medium Appliances
Relevant Links

Why Information on Appliances???

  1. Voltage in Israel is on the European standard, 220v 50hz.  This means NOTHING electrical from the U.S. can be plugged in here (without a special power converter).

  2. Electrical appliances in Israel are expensive.

  3. American made appliances in Israel are extremely expensive.

So What's Expensive?

First, let's define expensive:

An Israeli made refrigerator (the Amcor Meteor 590) costs ~$1,400.
An American made refrigerator (I saw an Amana side-by-side on sale for this price earlier this week) is ~$4,500.  (They do sell U.S. made appliances here specially built for 220v.)

So, an Israeli made refrigerator is about 40% more expensive than a comparable size/featured US model.  An American made is 4 times the price!

Big Savings or a Big Mistake

The biggest mistake most American's make is getting rid of all their electrical household products.  Yes, the voltage here is different.  But the cost of replacement is so high that it is impossible to replace all those household gadgets that American's fill their homes with (or even to replace 25%).

Major Appliances

Because of the high voltage and constant use of major appliances, this is one area where it is probably better to either bring a special 220v U.S. model or buy here.  Here are the important things to consider in buying or bringing:

  1. Cost, buying in Israel is expensive.

  2. Quality.  The Israeli and European major appliances range from somewhat lower to absolutely terrible quality.  (Example, I had an Italian clothes dryer which died after 2 years of use.  The cost of repair was 70% the cost of a new one.  The repairman told me I used it too much for that model, so it wore out {it's only designed to be used once a week!}.)

  3. Size for use.  All Israeli and European appliances range from somewhat smaller to much smaller than their U.S. counterparts.  If you have a family with children this can be quite inconvenient.

  4. Size for placement.  Israeli kitchens and laundry rooms are designed around European appliance sizes.  In some cases U.S. appliances won't fit (it can be very inconvenient to find out you can't get your washing machine through the door.)

Refrigerator:  The largest Israeli refrigerators are small to medium by U.S. standards.  Further, the quality level is lower as well.  So, buy a U.S. refrigerator and bring it with you!  Of course, make sure that it's 220v 50hz (this is special order or is available in export stores in New York.)  In Israel I have only seen U.S. or Israeli made refrigerators (there are 2 Israeli manufacturers of refrigerators, Amcor and Tadiran).  Correction, I just saw a Sharp (Japanese?) recently and it was priced in the Israeli made unit range.

Range: Israeli stove-tops are much smaller than U.S. models.  The ovens are also much smaller.  (Stove-tops are always gas with the ovens being electric.)  However, here we run into a technical problem, the physical space in the kitchen for a range (the cut hole in the counters) is sized to the Israeli/European standard (meaning a U.S. model won't fit without changing the counter tops).  So, unless your buying a house/apartment on arrival, you'll have to buy one here.  The local brands are relatively cheap (~$375), but that's a quality statement as well.   Many European brands are also available with reasonable quality.

Washer/Dryer: The Israeli washer/dryer follows the European standard.   First, they are very small (1/3 the size of the normal U.S. washer/dryer).   Second, they run very long cycles (to wash takes 2 hours).  If you are a family with more than 1 child (meaning you have a decent amount of dirty clothes every day), using this standard size is a nightmare.  But, we have an opposing technical problem as well.  The Israeli wash-room is designed around the size of the standard washer/dryer.  Therefore, in many instances a U.S. washer won't even fit through the door!  The solution is to buy a stacked apartment-sized U.S. washer/dryer and bring it with you.  I have seen a Maytag model here (brought from the U.S.) that had a full-size washer/dryer working space but reduced exterior size (to fit a U.S. apartment).   This fit here just fine.  Another alternative is to bring a full size U.S. washer and dryer, have a special steel stacking-rack built and put them into the wash-room through the window (all Israeli wash-rooms have an extra-large window for hanging wash outside).  I have seen this done with it requiring a crane to lift it through a 3rd story window, but the person considered it well worth it.  Remember, if you bring it with you it must be 220v 50hz (this is special order or is available in export stores in New York.)

Small & Medium Appliances

hottip.gif (7020 bytes)Here's one of the biggest tips I've got for saving money and hassle on coming to Israel...for all small and medium appliances, bring your existing U.S. 110v appliances with you and buy a 220->110v converter in Israel.   These converters can go up to 3000 watt, so they can even run your biggest microwave oven.  (Note I said in Israel, in the U.S. you can't find a converter like this, in Israel they cost around $75.)  So, bring your blender, microwave oven, electric can opener, toaster oven, toaster, mixmaster, food processor, even your iron.

Electronics, Radios, Stereo, Computer, Telephones

Computer:  Most computer's in the U.S. have a voltage switch in the back to run 220v.  Check if your does (should be near where the power cord connects to the computer).  If so, bring it.  If not, go to a computer store and have them change the power supply to one that does (should cost less than $100 to do so) and then bring it.  Most computer screens automatically switch from 110 to 220v, check the label to make sure yours does.  The same is true for most printers (again, check the label).  The only thing you will need to do with your computer here is to get new power cords (the wall plug is different).

Radios:  If your radio has an analog dial (you turn a dial to tune it), bring it (and put it on a converter).  If not (if it has a digital tuner / digital channel number display), don't bring it as Israeli radio stations run on even numbers whereas U.S. stations run on odd numbers (and the U.S. digital radios tune to odd numbers only).

Stereo:  Unfortunately I have no firsthand information on doing this.  But, considering local cost it's certainly worth a try (bringing it).  Regardless, bring your speakers (the standard for speakers is the same the world over).

Portable's, Walkman, Car Electronics:  Bring them all.   Worst case is that you have to change out the power transformer (the big square power thing at the end of the plug) for plugging it in.  This can cost around $10.   (Note the section on radio applies here however.)

Telephones:  Bring them all.  Portable phones (that have to be plugged in for power) will have to change the power transformer (at about $10) and will also require a converter plug for the phone line (the actual shape of the plug is different), costs around $3.

Clocks: This is the only electrical item to leave behind. 

Relevant Links

Kef International - All About Importing, Appliances, Customs Duty, etc.

Manual Link: An excellent store for buying 220v appliances and having them shipped to Israel for you is Foto Electric in New York City (in downtown Manhattan).  Call (212) 673-5222 and ask for Sam.


Last Updated: 03-10-1999
Copyright 1999-2001 by Akiva M
E-mail to akivam .a.t. gmail 'd'o't com with questions/comments.