Whether you're building a new kitchen from scratch or making over an existing one, you're probably walking that fine line, trying to buy the best quality without blowing your budget.
The good news is that some budget products perform better than more expensive ones, so it is possible to kit out your kitchen with good-quality appliances without breaking the bank. But the secret to doing it well is to know where you can scrimp and where you'll need to cough up the dollars.
Our experts have highlighted seven budget products that'll help you set up a kitchen for less than $2000, and shared their thoughts on what to look for when buying new kitchen appliances.
Not all these products are equally good however, so be sure to check our full reviews through the links below for the pros and cons of each appliance, and how they performed in our lab tests.
Ikea FXJM6 MATTRADITION wall oven: $599
- We like: Excellent visibility into the oven and grill; good overall performance
- We don't like: It's not particularly easy to use and only comes with one wire rack
If you're making over your kitchen on a budget, you've probably considered Ikea appliances.
Unfortunately, none of the Ikea wall ovens we've tested made it onto our Recommended list, but they're worth considering if you're on a budget. And of course, some perform better than others, so check our full wall oven reviews to make sure you don't end up with a dud.
Before you buy a wall oven, look for things like:
- shelving (two shelves is standard but three or more is even better)
- a smokeless grill tray; easy-to-use controls
- useable internal space; good visibility from outside
- a door that's easy to open
- an interior and exterior that's easy to clean and maintain.
If you have more cash to splash, a pyrolytic cleaning function will save you hours of scrubbing – but this does come at a cost. Cheaper options are catalytic liners and a steam-clean function.
To see how this oven stacks up against other models, read the full Ikea wall oven review.
Ikea LAGAN gas cooktop: $199
- We like: It's excellent for low-temperature cooking
- We don't like: No spill catchment
Look, it wouldn't be a budget kitchen article without numerous references to Ikea, would it? But this LAGAN cooktop is the cheapest we've tested and, considering that you can blow more than $3000 on a gas cooktop, we think that's a good price.
For $199, you'll get a basic white enamel finish – it's not fashionable, but it is easy to clean. If you'd prefer a stainless steel or even glass finish, you'll need to spend a bit more.
The layout of the burners unfortunately means that things can get a bit cramped when cooking; you'll probably only be able to use three of the four burners at a time. If you have the extra money and space, you could consider a 5-burner cooktop that will allow you to fit more cookware and more flexible cooking options.
While it might be a good fit for your budget, is this cooktop up to the job? Find out by checking the full Ikea LAGAN cooktop review before you start planning how many meatballs you're going to scoff.
And if you don't have access to mains gas or LPG, take a look at our ceramic and induction cooktop reviews for other options.
Inalto IDW604S dishwasher: $459
- We like: Very good energy efficiency
- We don't like: Very long cycle time
"This model is not only cheap to buy but also cheap to run," says Ashley Iredale, CHOICE whitegoods expert.
"At this pricepoint you're getting a very basic appliance so you're foregoing features you'll find in higher-end dishwashers, but these don't necessarily make a difference to performance."
Considering that a top-of-the-line Miele dishwasher can set you back more than $2500, you could literally buy five Inaltos for the same price. But would you get anywhere near the same performance?
Read the full Inalto dishwasher review to find out.
Haier HRF220TW freezer-on-top fridge: $480
- We like: The humidity control on the crisper
- We don't like: The very poor temperature stability in both compartments
Whether you cook daily or as infrequently as possible, the fridge is one kitchen appliance that you'll use every day, so it's important to choose well.
A fridge that performs poorly will hit your hip pocket twice over: once when you have to replace spoiled groceries, and again when your electricity bill arrives.
For smaller households there's no point in buying a 700L monster, even if you could fit it in your kitchenAshley Iredale, CHOICE whitegoods expert
At 221L, this fridge is only really suitable for 1–2 people, so if you're building a kitchen for a family you'll probably need to spend more for a larger fridge.
When you're measuring up the fridge space, make sure you allow for at least 5cm on both sides and the rear and 10cm on top for air circulation. You want to make sure you can fit your new fridge in your new kitchen!
"That said, a bigger fridge costs more to run by dint of having a larger volume to cool, so for smaller households there's no point in buying a 700L monster, even if you could fit it in your kitchen," says Ashley.
Costing less than $500, this Haier fridge is a steal, but will it help you keep your cool in the kitchen? Check the full Haier fridge review to find out.
Kmart Anko 20L microwave: $48
- We like: Excellent for cooking broccoli and defrosting mince
- We don't like: The small digital display
We love it when cheaper products outperform more expensive ones, and Kmart does have a track record of delivering some bargain wonders, like the $89 coffee machine that outperformed a $949 coffee machine on flavour.
Of course, when you're buying a cheaper brand you can't expect all the bells and whistles you'd get in a $2699 model (yes, some of them do cost that much!). But if all you're using your microwave for is to reheat leftovers, a cheap and cheerful no-frills number might be all you need.
CHOICE's resident kitchen expert Fiona Mair recommends you look for these key features when shopping for a new microwave:
- easy-to-use controls and good instructions
- good visibility through the door
- easy-clean surfaces
- automatic defrost
- sensor cooking
- quick start
- time adjust
- multi-stage programming
- child safety lock
- kitchen timer
- minimal noise.
Does this budget buy deliver the goods? Read our full Kmart Anko 20L microwave review to find out.
Kmart Anko stainless steel kettle LD-K3030A: $20
- We like: Very good energy efficiency and ease of use
- We don't like: Noisy; takes 3 min 44 sec to boil
Twenty bucks for a stainless steel kettle is an absolute steal. And unless you're brewing fancy specialty tea or coffee, all you really need your kettle to do is boil water, right? We recommend that you look for a kettle that also has:
- a comfortable handle so you can pour it safely
- easy-to-use controls and indicators
- a wide spout
- a base that lets you place the kettle on it in any position (360°).
Fortunately this Kmart Anko kettle ticks all these boxes, and it won't break the bank.
But is a $20 kettle a good buy? See whether it's genuine value for money in our Kmart Anko kettle review.
Kmart Anko 2 Slice stainless steel toaster LD-T7007: $20
- We like: Quick toasting time (2 min 35 sec)
- We don't like: Small bread compartment; only borderline at toasting multigrain bread
For another $20, you could add the matching toaster to your Kmart Anko stainless steel kettle. As you'd expect for the price, this is a pretty basic two-slice model that doesn't have all the features you might find in a pricier toaster. But if all you need it to do is toast a couple of pieces of standard bread each day, then this could be a good option for your budget kitchen.
A two-slice toaster will be less suitable for a family than a larger four-slice toaster. On the other hand, this Kmart toaster won't take up too much bench space. It also has cord storage and a high lift carriage so you can raise smaller items out of the toaster without burning your fingers.
The potential downside to buying cheap appliances is that they don't always deliver the same longevity as more expensive products
The potential downside to buying cheap appliances is that they don't always deliver the same longevity as more expensive products. In the instance of this Kmart toaster, two CHOICE readers said it only lasted a couple of months before breaking.
"What did I expect for $20? Not a lot, but still it would have been great if it had actually worked and lasted for a year," wrote one reviewer. Another said the toaster "died very early in its life".
However, another reader says it's "good value for twenty bucks", though they warn that "it only caters for the smaller sliced sandwich loaf bread, not the jumbo sized".
Read the full Kmart Anko toaster review to see how it compares to more expensive toasters.