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Electric motors account for a substantial proportion of the electricity consumed in American homes. In order to maximize energy efficiency, the US appliance industry has increasingly adopted, over the last decade, variable speed motor technology. State of the art solutions employing high-efficiency brushless (BL) permanent magnet (PM) motors and power-electronics drives are described. These include a variety of types, such as scalar voltage-regulated BLDC and vector controlled current-regulated BLAC. The motors comprise surface PM or interior PM (IPM) rotors and 3-phase stators with distributed or concentrated windings. Single-phase low power applications are also discussed. The review covers a wide range of power between 0.002 hp and 5 hp at relatively low speeds suitable for fans and blowers and higher speeds specific to pumps and compressors. A discussion of the trends and anticipated developments is also included.