Appliance reliability survey 2007

See how your appliances rate for reliability.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:25 Aug 2007
 

01 .Introduction

reliability

Every couple of years CHOICE surveys subscribers about some of the big ticket appliances you rely on daily. This time we received more than 13,000 responses.

Based on your responses, the most reliable appliances are digital cameras and televisions, while the machines most likely to need repairs are dishwashers and lawnmowers.

For three major appliances (washing machines, dishwashers and ovens) BOSCH and MIELE top the reliability list - and our tests show that their models are often among the best performers as well.

Please note: this information was current as of October 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market. For more recent information, see our Appliance Reliability Survey 2012


Tips when buying

  • Use our reliability results when buying - a bargain isn't a bargain if you're likely to be paying for a lot of repairs
  • Ask about the servicing arrangements - if something goes wrong, especially if you live outside a metropolitan area, ou don't want to have to ship your fridge halfway across the country to get it fixed.
  • If you're buying a brand manufactured overseas, check whether spare parts are readily available in Australia.
  • As soon as you bring a new appliance home, staple the docket, warranty and manual together and put them in an 'appliance file'.
  • If your appliance breaks down after the warranty expires, you may still be entitled to what’s called ‘implied warranty rights’ under the Trade Practices Act, which say manufacturers must provide goods of ‘merchantable quality’ that meet the basic level of quality and performance expected for their price and description. So, for example, if your expensive television breaks down just after its written warranty expires, you may still be entitled to a refund or repair.

Overall appliance reliability

Digital cameras (9122) 96
TVs (8319) 94
Fridges (6286) 91
Washing machines (7000) 90
Air conditioners (5018) 90
Ovens (4330) 88
Lawnmowers (4113) 86
Dishwashers (5049) 85

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.

Percentage who would buy again

TVs (8383) 89
Lawnmowers (4153) 88
Digital cameras (9097) 88
Air conditioners (5058) 87
Fridges (6219) 87
Washing machines (7001) 86
Dishwashers (5055) 80
Ovens (4340) 77

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

See the results from our 2010 Appliance reliability survey.

 
 

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In the survey, digital cameras came out on top as the most reliable appliance, with 96% not needing repairs in the 12 months before the survey.

Most of the brands in the table are very reliable. CASIO and RICOH were the least reliable, with 9% of CASIO and 10% of RICOH cameras breaking down in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Problems for newer cameras were:

  • Batteries: KODAK (7%)
  • Lens: RICOH (7%)
  • Shutter: RICOH (6%)
  • Storage cards: FUJIFILM (3%)

Percentage not needing repair in the 12 months prior to the survey

All digital cameras (9122) 96
Kodak (1052) 98
Panasonic (534) 97
Konica Minolta (189) 96
Nikon (565) 96
Fujifilm (618) 96
Olympus (1121) 96
Sony (900) 96
Canon (2753) 95
Pentax (488) 95
Samsung (122) 93
Casio (193) 91
Ricoh (207) 90

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 6% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All digital cameras (9097) 88
Canon (2748) a 95
Panasonic (530) 92
Nikon (561) 91
Sony (907) 90
Casio (189) 90
Olympus (1122) 87
Pentax (482) 83
Fujifilm (617) 83
Kodak (1046) b 80
Ricoh (201) 78
Konica Minolta (193) c 74
Samsung (123) 74

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Canon again (20%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Breaks down too often' and also (20%) 'Expensive to repair'.
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Kodak again(29%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Poor features'.
c) Konica Minolta cameras are no longer available

Televisions were the second-most reliable appliance of the eight surveyed.

Television technology has progressed in leaps and bounds since our last survey in 2004. Ownership of LCD screens has grown from 1% to 15%, and of plasma screens from 1% to 12% in that time. 80–120 cm TVs were the least reliable, but even with these, only 8–9% had broken down in the 12 months leading up to the survey. There was no significant difference in reliability for plasma and LCD.

Problems experienced for newer machines were:

  • Picture: TEAC (13%)

As reliability for all the brands surveyed is quite good, it seems that loyalty to a television brand comes down to performance — 28% of you who wouldn’t buy the same brand again said it was because it had performed poorly. 95% of SHARP, SONY and PANASONIC television owners said they’d buy the same brand again, while owners of a PALSONIC or TEAC were much less likely to repurchase that brand.

Size of TV by repairs


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
34cm or less (102) 96
35-39cm (1372) 97
60-68cm (2761) 95
69-80cm (1458) 94
81-100cm (998) 91
101-120cm (1039) 92
Over 120cm (386) 93
All TVs (8116) 94

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 5% or more are statistically significant.
Numbers in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

Style of screen by repairs


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Flat (CRT) - regular (4:3) (1546) 96
Standard (CRT) (1416) 95
Flat (CRT) - widescreen (16:9) (1119) 93
Plasma (957) 93
LCD (1191) 92
Rear projection (228) 91
All TVs (6457) 95

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 5% or more are statistically significant.
Numbers in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2002.

Percentage not needing repair

All TVs (8319) 94
Sharp (381) 98
Toshiba (154) 97
Sony (1184) 97
Hitachi (180) 97
Panasonic (1462) 96
Sanyo (171) 96
NEC (358) 95
Palsonic (144) 95
LG (1302) 94
Samsung (520) 93
Philips (497) 91
Teac (321) 90
Loewe (215) 88

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 6% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All TVs (8383) 89
Sharp (383) 95
Sony (1207) 95
Panasonic (1482) a 95
Toshiba (152) 90
LG (1302) 90
Sanyo (171) 89
Hitachi (178) 89
Samsung (525) 89
NEC (364) b 87
Loewe (221) c 86
Philips (499) 86
Palsonic (144) 80
Teac (319) 75

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Panasonic again (22%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Expensive to repair or service'.
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy NEC again (24%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Inconvenient to use'.
c) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Loene again (27%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Expensive to repair or service'.

CHOICE readers think bigger is better. Over half (55%) of the fridges you purchased in or after 2000 were either ‘large’ or ‘extra large’.

All in all, fridges are pretty reliable appliances, as our survey found that only 9% of them had needed repair in the 12 months before our survey. Unfortunately for the owners of extra-large fridges, though, this was the most unreliable size, with 12% of them needing repair in this time.

For the newer machines (bought in or after 2004), the survey found the following significant problems:

  • Excessive noise: FISHER & PAYKEL (6%)
  • Door seal: KELVINATOR/ELECTROLUX (5%)
  • Leaked gas/compressor: KELVINATOR/ELECTROLUX (4%)

In this category, reliability = loyalty except for WHIRLPOOL, where 23% of those who wouldn’t buy that brand again had found it inconvenient to use.

Fridge repairs by capacity


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior ro the survey*
Small (200L-299L) (163) 94
Small to medium (300L-375L) (550) 94
Medium (376L-450L) (2006) 93
Large (451L-525L) (2384) 90
Extra large (>525L) (1017) 88
All fridges (6120) 91

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 3% or more are statistically significant.
Numbers in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

Fridge repairs by type


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey
Freezer on the top (3050) 93
Freezer on the bottom (1574) 91
Pigeon pair (383) 91
Side-by-side (1194) 87
All fridges (6174) 91

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 3% or more are statistically significant.
Numbers in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All fridges (6286) 91
Westinghouse (1806) 93
LG (456) 92
Kelvinator/Electrolux (608) 92
Samsung (294) 92
Fisher & Paykel (2072) 91
Whirlpool (272) 88
GE (132) 84
Maytag (162) 83

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 8% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All fridges (6219) 87
LG (444) 89
Westinghouse (1786) 89
Samsung (293) a 88
Fisher & Paykel (2059) 88
Kelvinator/Electrolux (610) 87
Maytag (158) 83
GE (125) 82
Whirlpool (262) b 80

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Samsung again (20%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Difficult to get service' and also (20%) 'Poor Service'.
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Whirlpool again (13%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Difficult to get parts' and also (23%) 'Inconvenient to use'.

Top-loading washing machines are the most popular among the CHOICE community (57% own one), but it seems our water-saving message is making an impact, as front loaders are steadily gaining in popularity — only 32% of you owned one back in 2004, compared to 42% now. Our survey found no significant difference in reliability between the two types.

BOSCH and MIELE were at the top of the table for reliability, and not far behind were SAMSUNG, SIMPSON, FISHER & PAYKEL and WESTINGHOUSE.

Problems for newer machines included:

  • Out-of-balance problems: MAYTAG (10%)
  • Leakage (other than burst or leaking hoses): MAYTAG and WHIRLPOOL (6%)
  • Gearbox: ARISTON (5%)
  • Inlet valves: KLEENMAID (5%)
  • Rust: WHIRLPOOL (4%)
  • Pump: LG (3%)

Owners of MIELE, BOSCH and FISHER & PAYKEL washing machines are more likely to buy the same brand again, while significantly fewer would repurchase a WHIRLPOOL, LG, MAYTAG or ARISTON machine. The survey found that 29% of owners who wouldn’t buy ARISTON again said, by way of explanation, that it “breaks down too often”.

Washing machine repairs by capacity


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Small (up to 5.5kg) (1477) 93
Medium (6-7kg) (2973) 90
Large (7.5kg or above) (2411) 87
All machines (6861) 90

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 3% or more are statistically significant.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Washing machine repairs by type


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Top loading (3950) 90
Front loading (2924) 89
 

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
No significant differences were found.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All machines (7000) 90
Bosch (328) 97
Miele (432) 95
Simpson (754) 92
Samsung (237) 92
Fisher & Paykel (1805) 90
Westinghouse (260) 89
Whirlpool (697) 88
Asko (296) 88
LG (698) 87
Maytag (207) 85
Kleenmaid (130) 83
Ariston (127) 77

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 9% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All machines (7001) 86
Miele (433) 97
Bosch (331) 94
Fisher & Paykel (1816) a 90
Asko (299) 89
Westinghouse (264) 87
Kleenmaid (129) 87
Simpson (756) 85
Samsung (238) 84
Whirlpool (688) 81
LG (701) 81
Maytag (206) 70
Ariston (126) b 62

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Fischer & Paykel again (21%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Expensive to repair or service.'
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Ariston again (29%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Breaks down too often .'

According to our survey, wall/window units are the most reliable air conditioner, with only 4% needing repair in the year before the survey, and ducted air conditioners the least reliable, with 15% needing repair in this period.

In terms of reliability, there’s not much difference between most brands, with the exception of CARRIER, which may have you calling the repairer more frequently. No big brand names had any standout problems, but when we grouped together all the ‘other’ brands (those for which we had insufficient responses to report on by individual brand), we found they tended to have problems with their compressor (4%), controls (4%) and fan (3%). So it might be worth sticking with the brands in the table.

Owners of DAIKIN, MITSUBISHI, FUJITSU and PANASONIC said they’d be likely to buy the same brand again, while LG and CARRIER owners were the least likely to stick with the same brand. One in eight LG owners said they wouldn’t buy an LG air conditioner again because they’re too noisy.

Is your main air conditioner an inverter model?


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Yes (2367) 91
No (1568) 88
 

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
There is a significant difference in the two repair rates.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Air conditioners by type


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Wall/window unit (465) 96
Split system (3416) 91
Ducted (1073) 85
All air conditioners (4954) 90

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 5% or more are statistically significant.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All air conditioners (5018) 90
Mitsubishi (493) 96
Electrolux/Kelvinator (144) 95
Panasonic (552) 93
Fujitsu (789) 92
Daikin (1283) 92
LG (362) 90
Carrier (199) 86

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 5% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All air conditioners (5058) 87
Daikin (1296) 97
Mitsubishi (492) 94
Fujitsu (802) 93
Panasonic (555) 92
Electrolux/Kelvinator (148) 80
LG (362) a 79
Carrier (202) 76

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy LG again (57%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Noise.'


No significant differences in reliability were found between gas and electric ovens, though gas ovens were likely to have more niggling problems with timers (5%) and ignitions systems (6%). However, this doesn’t affect the 89% of you who own an electric oven.

BOSCH and MIELE are sitting comfortably at the top of the reliability table.

Problems for newer machines were:

  • Door hinges: DELONGHI (6%)

While DELONGHI had a good reliability record, some owners mentioned that their machines were noisy and that, when they did break down, it was difficult to get service for them.

KLEENMAID owners also complained of difficulty in getting service, and one in six SIMPSON owners complained of poor features.

Oven repairs by type


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Electric (3804) 88
Gas (448) 87
 

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
No significant differences were found between the two groups.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All ovens (4330) 88
Bosch (156) 95
Miele (292) 94
DeLonghi (100) 88
Fisher & Paykel (382) 88
Simpson (174) 87
Smeg (288) 87
Ilve (108) 87
Blanco (189) 87
Westinghouse (874) 87
Chef (458) 85
Kleenmaid (178) 85

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 8% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All ovens (4340) 77
Miele (287) 91
Bosch (152) 86
Fisher & Paykel (387) 86
Westinghouse (870) 81
Ilve (107) 79
Smeg (291) 78
Kleenmaid (180) a 75
Chef (470) 73
DeLonghi (101) b 69
Blanco (191) 69
Simpson (171) c 67

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Kleenmaid again (24%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Difficult to get service'.
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy DeLonghi again (29%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Noise' and also (19%) 'Difficult to get service'.
c) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Simpson again (47%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Poor features.'

Lawnmowers came in as the second-least reliable appliance in the survey.

Although VICTA is the most commonly owned brand, it’s also one of the least reliable, along with ROVER and MASPORT. Despite this, 91% of VICTA owners would buy the brand again.

Perhaps not surprisingly, manual push lawnmowers are the most reliable type, followed by electric and battery-operated models, with petrol mowers bringing up the rear.

Problems for newer machines were:

  • Around 9% of all lawnmowers had problems with starting, with two-stroke motors the worst offenders.

HONDA owners are the most likely to buy the brand again and — despite the mowers requiring the fewest repairs — owners of FLYMO were the least likely. This could be due to perceived poor performance and ease of use, which were commented on by owners, though not significantly more often than for the other brands.

Lawnmower repairs by type


Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Manual push (122) 97
Electric corded (226) 94
Electric battery (101) 92
Petrol 4-stroke (2580) 86
Petrol 2-stroke (927) 82
All lawnmowers (4062) 86

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 7% or more are statistically significant.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All lawnmowers (4113) 86
Flymo (154) 97
Honda (454) 89
Masport (377) 87
Rover (587) 86
Victa (1428) 85

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 4% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All lawnmowers (4153) 88
Honda (461) 97
Victa (1445) a 91
Rover (593) 90
Masport (382) 86
Flymo (156) 83

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Victa again (27%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Breaks down too often' and also (9%) 'Poor service'.

Our survey found dishwashers to be the least reliable of the eight appliances it covered.

FISHER & PAYKEL is one of the most popular brands of dishwasher for CHOICE members (16% of dishwasher owners have one), but it’s towards the bottom of the reliability table — 20% had broken down in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Worst was KLEENMAID. Owners of this brand had to have their machines repaired more frequently, with 29% of KLEENMAID models breaking down just in that time.

BOSCH machines were crowned the most reliable of the dishwashers, so even though they generally cost more, they’re likely to save you on repairs in the long run.

Problems for newer machines were:

  • Door springs/hinges/latch/seal: KLEENMAID (17%)
  • Baskets and racks: KLEENMAID (11%), LG (10%)
  • Control switches: LG (9%)
  • Pump: LG (9%)
  • Spray arm: LG (6%)
  • Timer: SMEG (6%)

Unsurprisingly, given their low breakdown rates, BOSCH and MIELE owners are more likely to buy their brand again, which repeats the results of the 2004 survey — this time, 94% of MIELE and 93% of BOSCH owners gave them the thumbs-up. SMEG, LG, KLEENMAID and SIMPSON owners are the least likely to buy the same brand again. The reason given for not rebuying SMEG (only 64% of owners would buy it again) wasn’t reliability but “poor features”, while 12% of SIMPSON owners thought their machine was too noisy.

Percentage not needing repair in the 12 months prior to the survey

All dishwashers (5049) 85
Bosch (318) 95
Miele (697) 92
Whirlpool (152) 90
Westinghouse (414) 89
Simpson (146) 88
Dishlex/Electrolux Dishlex (790) 87
Blanco (127) 87
Asko (350) 83
Fisher & Paykel (830) 80
Smeg (140) 79
LG (288) 75
Kleenmaid (152) 71

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 9% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All dishwashers (5055) 80
Miele (699) 94
Bosch (317) 93
Dishlex/Electrolux Dishlex (787) 84
Asko (359) 83
Westinghouse (410) 80
Whirlpool (153) 78
Fisher & Paykel (836) a 78
Blanco (124) 73
Simpson (143) b 70
Kleenmaid (152) 67
LG (285) 67
Smeg (141) c 64

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.

a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Fischer & Paykel again (30%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Breaks down too often' and also (26%) 'Expensive to repair or service'.
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Simpson again (40%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Noise'.
c) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Smeg again (37%) gave their reason for not buying again as 'Poor features'.

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