How to avoid a lemon

Appliance reliability survey shows which brands are built to last

All the best laboratory testing of household goods can’t tell you which ones will stand the test of time.

“While CHOICE conducts rigorous testing on new household appliances purchased straight from the showroom floor, we turn to our many members to find out how these are performing years down the track,” says Christopher Zinn, CHOICE spokesperson.

And the reliance reliability survey results are just in. Covering 11 major household purchases, the results are based on over 15,000 responses and identify the most and least reliable brands.

“The report tells you which brands are built to last and which are more likely to cost you in the long run. Our CHOICE testing always rates performance and ease of use for new products, but we cannot test their longevity.

“CHOICE experts weren’t surprised by the results, with the top-rating brands in our tests generally performing well in the reliability survey,” says Mr Zinn. The stand-out performer in a number of appliance categories was Miele. It is the most reliable brand for washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and vacuum cleaners.

Some appliances are a safer bet than others, with digital cameras and fridges proving to be generally reliable products across the different brands. CHOICE warns consumers that they should ask about service arrangements before they buy.

“These are expensive items and if something goes wrong, you don’t want to find out that you have to pay to transport the item for repair or that spare parts are not easy to obtain in Australia. A cheaper product can end up costing you more,” says Mr Zinn.

The survey highlights where each appliance is likely to experience problems, such as door seals and hinges on ovens, and controls/switches on dishwashers.

Also included in the survey were car GPS devices. Among the complaints, a whopping 38% cited wrong directions as a problem.

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