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5 times cheap products outperformed expensive brands

That awkward moment when a $700 no-name fridge outperforms a $2700 Miele.

icons of five different appliances
Last updated: 11 July 2019

Big brands like Dyson and Miele have big reputations – and big price tags to match. But what if we told you that you could pick up a quality appliance for a fraction of the price just by buying based on performance, not price? Here are five times a cheaper product outperformed a more expensive model.

1. Washing machines

speed queen awna62

The exxy: 

Speed Queen AWNA62

  • Price: $2495
  • Dirt removal score: 54%
  • Water efficiency score: 16%
lg wtg1032wf

The bargain: 

LG WTG1032WF

  • Price: $1199
  • Spin efficiency score: 78%
  • Dirt removal score: 75%

Costing twice as much as the LG, the Speed Queen washing machine underwhelmed our testers. It scored a grubby 54% in the dirt removal test, just 16% for water efficiency and 57% for spin efficiency. 

In comparison, the LG scrubbed up well: it scored 78% for spin efficiency and 75% for dirt removal. It's certainly not the best-performing washing machine we've ever tested, but it is a better option than the exxy Speed Queen.

See the full results of our washing machine tests here

2. Mattresses

sleepmaker miracoil advanced comfort

The exxy: 

SleepMaker Miracoil Advanced Comfort

  • Price: $2499
  • Comfort score (male user): 39%
  • Stabilisation score: 20%
wonderest mattress

The bargain: 

Wonderest Mattress

  • Price: $499
  • Comfort score after eight years' use – male: 95%
  • Comfort score after eight years' use – female: 98%

The exxy Sleepmaker mattress isn't too bad a buy – if you're female, and you don't mind being bounced out of bed every time your partner turns over. It scored a nightmarish 39% comfort score for male users (when new) and a motion-sickness-inducing 20% on the stabilisation score (this is a measure of how much the mattress bounces when someone moves in the bed).

For a fifth of the price, the Wonderest Mattress comes with a free trial period and has excellent comfort scores for both male and female users after eight years of use (95% and 98% respectively). At 68%, its stabilisation score isn't amazing, but will give you a far more restful sleep than the Sleepmaker – and at $499 a pop, you could probably buy one for you and one for your partner so you can both get a good night's sleep!

If you're looking for a new mattress, here are three to avoid

3. Vacuum cleaners

dyson cinetic big-ball animalpro

The exxy

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animalpro

  • Price: $999
  • Quick carpet clean score: 47%
  • Cleaning performance score: 50%
vax ultra pro powerhead vx59

The bargain

Vax Ultra Pro Powerhead VX59

  • Price: $269
  • Complete carpet clean score: 83%
  • Cleaning performance score: 76%

Costing nearly four times as much as the Vax, the Dyson disappointed on a number of tests, scoring a sucky 47% on the quick carpet clean score and failing to impress with its ability to clean corners and edges. However, it did score 100% for pet hair removal and outdid the Vax on ease of use. 

The Vax was a solid performer across most of the tests, scoring a tidy 83% on the complete carpet clean test. It also scored 100% on the pet hair removal test. 

For barrel and upright vacuum cleaners, Dyson models are generally good, but you can find better (and cheaper) options

Chris Barnes, CHOICE vacuum expert

4. Ovens

miele h 6290 b

The exxy

Miele H 6290 B

  • Price: $7399
  • Grilling score: 55%
  • Ease of use score: 61%
fisher paykel ob60sc7cex2

The bargain

Fisher & Paykel OB60SC7CEX2

  • Price: $1049
  • Performance score: 96%
  • Baking score: 100%

Despite costing as much as an overseas holiday, the Miele oven disappointed on a few tests, including grilling (55%) and ease of use (61%). 

The cheap and cheerful Fisher & Paykel number scored a scorching 96% on performance, 90% for grilling and 100% for baking. 

Look, the Miele is actually not a bad buy, really, but for the price it's not going to set your world on fire.

For full reviews and scores, check our oven reviews.

5. Fridges

miele kfn 12823 sd-1

The exxy

Miele KFN 12823 SD-1

  • Price: $2699
  • Temperature stability score: 40%
  • Keeping food fresh for longer score: 52%
changhong ftm419a01w

The bargain

Changhong FTM419A01W

  • Price: $699
  • Temperature stability score: 90%
  • Keeping food fresh for longer score: 75%

This Changhong fridge is the ultimate bargain: not only will it save you dollars at the checkout, it'll also keep your food fresher for longer so you won't have to shop as often. Okay, we can't promise you won't need to make several mid-week dashes to the supermarket for those essential ingredients, but whatever fresh produce you put in this fridge will stay fresher for longer than anything you can shove in the Miele. 

While it has that big-brand cred, the Miele scored a lukewarm 40% in our temperature stability test. Our experts found that its default setting was also too warm for fresh food and its temperature uniformity wasn't great. It does come with a schmick metal wine rack, digital controls and a door alarm, but these nice-to-have features don't make up for the fridge's average performance in important fridge-y tasks like actually keeping your food cold. 

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