Need to know
- Certain mattresses, ovens, cooktops and cots performed well in our lab tests, but quality does vary from model to model
- Our tests have uncovered certain Ikea products that fail to impress
- We test Ikea products alongside other brands in a wide range of product categories – check out our full reviews to find out how the products compare
Does the sight of Ikea's bold blue and gold send a frisson of retail-related pleasure down your spine? Or perhaps you're literally offended by the thought of paying money for furniture you have to assemble yourself? Maybe you just go there for the meatballs.
Whatever your thoughts on the Swedish Temple of Homewares, there's no denying that Ikea often hits the mark with a huge range of great-value, functional products, and there are probably few homes that don't have at least one item with an unpronounceable Scandinavian name.
However, our product experts have found Ikea does have a few dodgy buys that are best avoided on your journey through the warren of Hemnes, Hovags and Bjurstas.
Whether you're furnishing your home, preparing for a baby or just love dropping cash on things you didn't know you needed, here's our round-up of the best buys and the scandi-lous (sorry) rip-offs.
Ikea mattresses (mostly)
CHOICE experts have put a range of mattresses through their paces and say that Ikea mattresses are definitely worth considering – but some are better than others. So just make sure you're buying the best that the Swedish retailer has to offer.
"Ikea typically makes middle-of-the-road mattresses – most aren't the best on the market, but some do rank among our top performers. The rest aren't bad for the price so, depending on what you're looking for, an Ikea mattress can be a solid choice," says CHOICE mattress expert Peter Zalzuny.
"Ikea's free trial period of a year is three times longer than Koala's or Sleeping Duck's, plus their warranty lasts a whopping 25 years and it's easy to try each mattress in store before entering the free trial period," says Peter. "Plus, they have quite a few models to choose from."
We take testing very seriously at CHOICE.
The six Ikea mattresses we've tested range in price from $499 to $1399 and two of them scored higher than 70% in our tests.
But be wary – three of their mattresses rated just OK overall. CHOICE members can access our full reviews for all Ikea mattresses.
If you do need to exchange, it's important to know Ikea doesn't have free delivery or pick up, and you're only eligible for one exchange under the trial period.
Sweet dreams are made of these: affordable, comfortable pillows from Ikea.
With some pillows costing $150 or more (we tested two that cost $300+), it seems people are willing to pay big dollars in the pursuit of a good night's sleep. But what if you don't have that kind of money to spend?
If you're on a budget, you can rest easy: in our tests, Ikea's memory foam pillows held their own against premium-branded pillows that cost many times more.
Ikea does stock a range of pillows at various price points (we tested ones ranging from $25 to $79) and in various materials. As comfort is particularly subjective, it's a good idea to check out pillows in-store if you can. Our pillow review can also help you to ensure you get the right pillow for your needs and budget.
Ikea cot mattresses
We test cot mattresses for safety, which includes firmness and accuracy of dimensions. Of the 50 cot mattresses we've reviewed, we recommend more than two-thirds. We tested four Ikea cot mattresses in our CHOICE labs and they rated from very good to excellent – to find out which mattresses scored the highest, see our full cot mattress reviews.
Ikea high chairs
Our latest detailed high chair testing included four Ikea models in a range of styles and materials. The iconic Ikea Antilop high chair you see in so many households and cafes across the country didn't score as highly as other high chairs in our tests, but at $29, it's hard to deny that this is a bargain buy that does the job. It's cheap, lightweight and easy to clean, although our testers did note some downsides:
The Ikea Antilop high chair. BYO cute baby.
- the harness has no shoulder straps (and it's not permanently attached, so could be a safety issue if you lose it)
- it's not foldable
- it has no footrest
- the tray is very hard to remove.
A CHOICE member said: "The Ikea high chair is simplicity and function rolled into one affordable piece of baby equipment. Everyone I know who has purchased a cheap Ikea high chair as a 'back-up' at granny's, or for a holiday house, has soon discarded their fussy, expensive chair in favour of this one."
The Ikea Graval high chair is much pricier at $299, but can be transformed into a 'junior chair' as your child grows. Our testers noted it's easy to clean with adjustable seat height, but it's very fiddly to assemble, the harness has no shoulder straps and the waist and crotch straps are not permanently attached (resulting in a very minor safety failure).
Ikea ovens impressed in our tests.
Wall ovens and cooktops
Although none of the Ikea wall ovens we tested earned a recommended rating in our wall oven reviews, they all scored quite well, especially given their relatively low price point.
Likewise, CHOICE testing shows that Ikea offers quality options when it comes to cooktops across its gas, induction and portable induction ranges and our experts have been impressed by their performance for a relatively low price. We have tested three gas cooktops from Ikea, with one earning a recommendation, and two induction cooktops that just missed out on being recommended.
Some models definitely perform better than others, so check out our full review to find out which ones scored best.
Ikea showerheads won't drain your bank balance or your water tank.
When we compared the water efficiency of more than 130 showerheads, Ikea compared quite favourably to other brands, especially when you consider how affordable they are.
They weren't among the highest-scoring products in our comparison, but they all scored between 71% and 75% and ranged in price from $12 to $49.
If you're looking to upgrade your showerhead to a more water-efficient one, Ikea isn't a bad option.
Check out our showerhead reviews for full details.
If you're thinking of adding smart lighting to your home, Ikea could be a good place to start: the Ikea smart lights we've tested performed quite well, with three models being recommended by our experts.
Just make sure that Ikea's products tick all your boxes before you buy them.
"If you really like the features, functions or price of a particular smart light, it would be a bright idea to stick with the same brand throughout your home," says CHOICE Digital Home expert Denis Gallagher.
"This will keep any confusion with network setup and working with different smart apps to a minimum."
Check our smart light reviews to see which models performed best.
If you're considering an Ikea cot, it's important you take a look at our cot reviews as their range varies in terms of quality and ease of use.
We've tested four cots with mixed results – we recommend one model, while others have minor safety failures or ease-of-assembly issues.
None of the Ikea change tables we've tested have performed very well – the highest score any of them achieved was 65%. They did pass all our key safety tests, but all of them had one or two minor safety failures.
Of note is the Myllra change table which comes with nearly 300 individual pieces. It took our experts (who are no slouches when it comes to assembling flat-pack furniture) nearly two hours to put it together!
Ikea microwaves: you can buy better products elsewhere for similar prices.
Both Ikea microwaves in our review performed quite well, with our experts rating them as 'good' overall. They were deemed 'excellent' for cooking vegetables and 'very good' for defrosting mince by our experts, but unfortunately didn't make the cut to be recommended.
"The Ikea Tillreda is a very basic microwave with manual controls that are not very accurate," says CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair.
"And the Ikea Värmd is reasonably priced for what it is: suitable for building in to your kitchen, but not for bench cooking."
While they're definitely cheap, we've tested similarly priced microwaves that performed better, so make sure you check our expert microwave reviews to help you pick up the best model for your money.
The Nedkyld scored a CHOICE Shonky Award in 2019 and has since been discontinued.
Ikea Uppkalla fridge
CHOICE experts haven't been great fans of Ikea fridges in the past (we awarded one a Shonky in the 2019 CHOICE Shonky Awards) and one of the Ikea fridges tested in our most recent reviews hasn't done much to sway their opinion. The Ikea Uppkalla fridge received a raft of poor scores in our testing, with an overall rating of 54%.
Our testers also noted that it has no chiller and no humidity control on the crisper and only has a single control for both the fresh food and freezer. It costs just under $1000 but if you're after a fridge around this size with this approximate budget, our testing shows there are better buys out there. Read the full review of the Ikea Uppkalla fridge.
Don't be tempted by Ikea's cheap air purifiers.
If you're overwhelmed by the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on an air purifier, you might be tempted by Ikea's $99 Fornuftig model.
Our advice? Don't be. It scored just 41% for smoke removal, 45% for dust removal and just 17% for VOC removal – in short, it was pretty ordinary at doing all the things an air purifier is supposed to do. Another Ikea air purifier we tested, the Ikea Starkvind, performed better than the Fornuftig (at twice the price, you'd hope so) but was still just an OK performer compared to other models on the market.
Unfortunately, it looks like you do need to spend a bit to get a really good air purifier: the cheapest of our recommended models is $499. However, relatively cheap models from Kmart and Kogan scored OK in our tests (marginally better than the more expensive Ikea model), and are worth a look if you don't have the funds for one of the recommended models.
See how they compare in our air purifier review.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.