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Boxing Day duds: The products to avoid in the sales

Think twice before adding these low scorers to your cart. 

illustration of products not to buy in the boxing day sales
Last updated: 21 December 2023

The Boxing Day sales can be a great time to bag a bargain, but how do you pick the diamonds from the duds? After all, for every hot deal on offer, there's a retailer trying to fob off the items they couldn't sell throughout the year.

CHOICE Editorial Director Mark Serrels warns shoppers to be wary of getting caught up in the hype and do their homework first.

Much like Santa Claus, you should make a list and check it twice

CHOICE editorial director Mark Serrels

"It's definitely worth doing your homework before hitting up the sales," he explains. 

"Much like Santa Claus, you should make a list and check it twice. You're far more likely to get stuck with a dud if you're not specific about the products you actually need before heading into the fray."

While you might see some big-name brands or repeat offenders in this sorry list, don't write them off straight away: one poor performer does not a terrible brand make. The best way to tell what's hot and what's not is to compare products in our detailed reviews.

To help you navigate the deals and avoid buyer's remorse later, here's a rundown of the worst rated products in the most popular sales categories. CHOICE members can also access our Boxing Day best buys sales guide too. Happy shopping!

Air fryers

The kitchen appliance of the moment, the popularity of the air fryer shows no sign of waning. If you've decided to join the cult, or if you're planning to upgrade your current model, you'll want to make sure you get it right. 

The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune to get your fry on – you can pick up a fly fryer for less than $250 – but there are some that just aren't worth your money, even if you find them heavily discounted. 

These are the ones that are best left on the shelf. To find the best fry buy, check our expert air fryer reviews before you hit the shops.

kitchen couture 34l air fryer

Couture? More like all style, no substance. This air fryer has the lowest score of all the models we tested.

Lowest rated air fryers from our tests:

Read our detailed reviews to find the best air fryer for your kitchen

Stick vacuum cleaners

If you want fab floors after the Christmas carnage, don't pick these sticks. While they do decently on hard floors, their poor performance on carpet will have you pulling your hair out (which means even more vacuuming). 

While the Dyson is designed to be used solely on hard floors, it didn't exactly blow us away with its hard floor performance, scoring just 63% on this test. For the price, there are better performers for hard floors. 

The Kmart models below are super cheap, but the other brands aren't (one is nearly $600), proving it's not just the 'bargain' buys that can botch the job. Likewise, our tests found some impressive lower-priced models, so it pays to shop wisely. See our stick vacuum reviews

Lowest rated stick vacs in our test


If your New Year's resolution includes watching more sport or finally working your way through your 'to-watch' movie list, you might have your heart set on buying a new telly in the Boxing Day sales. 

It's tempting to go for the biggest screen at the lowest price, but try to resist and shop with your head rather than your heart. 

Buy the best quality for your budget and choose a TV that's the right size for your lounge room

Think quality over quantity: there's no point having a huge TV if the picture is terrible and it's so big you can't actually see it properly. You're better off going for the best quality for your budget and choosing a TV that's the right size for your lounge room. (Check our TV screen size guide to find the perfect size TV for your space.)

And don't be afraid to buy last year's model – it'll likely have similar features to this year's TVs but you'll probably get it at a better price.

You can filter our expert TV reviews by size, price, brand, features and more to find the screen of your dreams.

Here are the ones to avoid, no matter how good a deal they might seem. 

The lowest rated TVs from our tests

Coffee machines

Coffee machine, or life support machine? They're pretty much one and the same for many of us. 

That's why it's so important to get it right when buying a new machine – choose poorly and you could be stuck relying on janky java to get you through the day. 

Coffee machines range from straightforward pod machines to press-and-play automatic machines to slightly more hands-on manual machines. Regardless of your preferred medium for delivering jitter juice, you should avoid these machines like an insomniac avoids an afternoon cuppa. 

gaggia anima prestige

$1600 for this Gaggia automatic machine that only scored 51%? Hard pass.

Lowest rating pod machines

Lowest rating manual and semi-automatic machines

Lowest rating fully automatic machines


We spend eight hours a day in bed (hopefully), but will often pick a new mattress within minutes in a store. Thankfully, our mattress experts prefer to take their time and a deeper, more scientific approach. 

mattress lab image

Lying down on the job is all part of mattress testing.

Conducted with our lab partners in Europe, our reviews assess key factors such as comfort, stabilisation, sagging, sweat resistance and more. In one test for longevity, a cask-shaped roller runs over each mattress 30,000 times to simulate eight years' use.

When it comes to buying a mattress if you snooze you lose, especially given some of these poor performers cost nearly $3000. See our full mattress test reviews.

Lowest rated mattresses in our test

Robot vacuum cleaners

Our robot vac tests are pretty fun. Our lab experts set up an obstacle course with chairs and sprinkle the same amount of sand and then pet hair to assess every model's cleaning skills over a set time.

ecovacs deebot u2

Does not compute: This Ecovacs scored 47%.

For some, the obstacles are no obstacle, but other bots do so badly that we wonder if they have a screw loose. These rotten robots performed so poorly you'll probably have to clean up after them, rather than them cleaning up after you. 

See our full robot vacs test reviews for more.

Lowest rated robot vacs in our test


A dishwasher should make your life easier but if you're picking food scraps off plates after a wash, you're going to be feeling a bit dirty. 

Our lab reviews involve testing every machine with crusty crockery identically stained with foods such as oats, egg, baby cereal and more – left out overnight, then washed and assessed. It's kind of gross, but also great at sorting the leaders from the losers.

These are the models that washed worst in our test. See our dishwasher test reviews for more models.

If you already have one of these dishwashers in house, you might want to look at our dishwasher detergent reviews and buy the highest performer to somewhat offset the poor performance of the dishwasher.

Lowest rated dishwashers in our test

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.