What not to buy for Christmas

Tempted to buy someone a foot spa or an aromatherapy diffuser for Christmas?
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:9 Dec 2006
 

01.What not to buy for christmas

What-not-to-buy-xmas
We recently asked CHOICE subscribers to rate how useful - or not - the small electrical appliances they own are.

Topping this year’s list of the most useless gadgets is the electric wine chiller. The device, which claims to chill a bottle in under 10 minutes, is quite likely to sit and gather dust in the back of a cupboard. It was rated useless by 32% of owners.

Coming in second is the aromatherapy diffuser. New age devotees will argue this one, but 23% of owners found them of no use at all.

In third place, down from the top position last year, is the electric ice shaver.

Please note: this information was current as of December 2006 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Over 900 CHOICE subscribers responded to our survey sent out in November 2006 asking them to review any of the gadgets they owned out of a total list of 43 small appliances.

These are the gadgets our respondents rated as the most useless - think twice before you surprise someone special with one of these!


  • Electric wine chiller
  • Aromatherapy diffuser
  • Electric ice shaver
  • Foot spa
  • Ice cream maker
  • Vertical grill
  • Milk frother

But it's not all bad news. If you're looking for gifts that will get a work out, consider a car GPS system, an electric toothbrush or a USB key - over 70% of owners considered these devices "very useful".

The table below shows the full list of appliances sorted from least to most useful.

Product
Total
(number of
respondents*)
  % rated useless
Electric wine chiller
31
32
 
Aromatherapy diffuser
114
23
 
Electric ice shaver
47
21
 
Foot spa
217
20
 
Ice cream maker
73
16
 
Vertical grill
63
16
 
Milk frother
136
15
 
Electric can opener
121
13
 
Pedometer
267
13
 
Deep fat fryer
171
12
 
Electric pepper mill
42
12
 
PDA
121
12
 
Electric back massage cushion
101
11
 
Electric massager
149
11
 
Drip filter coffee
229
10
 
Epilator
91
10
 
Pie maker
113
10
 
Popcorn maker
129
9
 
Milkshake maker
177
8
 
Vacuum packaging machine
49
8
 
Body fat monitor
54
7
 
Bread maker
355
7
 
Coffee grinder
245
7
 
Handheld vacuum cleaner
517
7
 
Electric knife
445
6
 
Espresso machine
232
6
 
GPS
90
6
 
Hair styler
197
6
 
Juicer
436
5
 
Universal remote control
167
5
 
Electric frypan
542
4
 
Electric wok
200
4
 
Health grill
313
4
 
Rice cooker
316
4
 
Slow cooker
338
4
 
Hair straightener
158
3
 
Electric toothbrush
443
2
 
Toaster oven
171
2
 
Benchtop mixer
553
1
 
Sandwich maker
625
1
 
USB flash drive
352
1
 
 

Table notes

Products with less than 30 respondents were excluded from the results.

* This is the number of people who owned the appliance and responded in the survey.

 
 

 

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