CHOICE research has found that more than 80% of Australian households are feeling the pinch and are concerned about the cost of food and groceries, so it's no wonder that people are looking for cheaper prices for their weekly shop.
And around one in 10 of us has switched supermarkets in the pursuit of cheaper groceries.
You might be tempted by some of the cheap options at bargain retailer Aldi, but are the products any good?
We look at some of their best-performing and popular products, versus the things you probably want to think twice about. (Hot tip: leave the TVs on the pallet and stock up on icecream.)
CHOICE testers give the thumbs up to Aldi Logix Platinum 18 in 1 Dishwashing Tablets.
- Dishwasher tablets: Aldi has some strong performers in the cleaning category. We recommend Aldi's Logix dishwasher tablets – the Logix Platinum 18 in 1 Dishwashing Tablets received the overall top score, beating leading brands that are almost twice the price. Aldi's Unamat Dishwashing Liquid is another product we recommend. It performed as well as some better-known brands but at a fraction of the price.
- Laundry detergent: Whether you own a front loader or top loader, Aldi's Almat Laundry Powder Concentrate will give you great results. In our laundry detergent review, Aldi's powder was recommended for both front and top loaders, tying for first place in the top loader category and coming in second in the front loader tests. (Aldi's liquid detergents didn't perform quite so well, so stick with powder in this instance.)
At less than 25 cents per nappy and recommended by CHOICE testers, the Aldi Mamia range is a winner.
- Nappies: Parents swear by Aldi's Mamia range, and it's hard to argue when they're not only one of the cheapest nappies on the market, but also a high performer in our recent CHOICE nappy reviews. We test a range of nappies for absorbency, leakage and strength, and the Aldi nappies were one of the clear frontrunners. We recommend both the Size 1 Newborn and Size 4 Toddler nappies, but all the others performed quite well too.
Aldi's Monarc Indulge Vanilla Opulence is a premium ice cream at a bargain price.
- Gourmet ice cream: Need an excuse to add a treat to the trolley? Here's a good reason. In our taste-test of premium vanilla ice creams, we rated Aldi's Monarc Indulge Vanilla Opulence as the one of the best, and it's also the cheapest at $4.49 – almost half the price of Connoisseur's Classic Vanilla, which received the same score and is $10! Our experts say the Aldi ice cream has "a pleasant, creamy mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste".
- Peanut butter: Aldi's Bramwell Peanut Butter Smooth topped our peanut butter taste test, even beating well-known brands such as Kraft, Bega and Pic's. It was also the cheapest peanut butter in our whole test, so not only does it taste great, it's also a bargain!
Aldi's Bramwell Peanut Butter Smooth topped our peanut butter taste test. Not only does it taste great, it's also a bargain!
- Chocolate: Aldi's Moser Roth milk chocolate well and truly beat well-known and luxury brands like Cadbury, Lindt, Darrell Lea and Whittakers in our milk chocolate taste test, with a top score of 81%. (Lindt, the next-highest scorer, came in at 77%). And if you want to turn to the dark side, Aldi has you covered there too: its Just Organic 70% dark chocolate and Moser Roth Finest Dark 70% Cocoa were both recommended in our dark chocolate taste test.
Aldi's Beautifully Butterfully Unsalted Butter held its own against premium brand Lurpak.
- Butter: Proving that you don't always have to pay premium price for premium taste, Aldi's Beautifully Butterfully Butter Unsalted came equal first for taste in the unsalted category in our butter taste test. It received the same score as Lurpak, despite costing about half the price. That's a good reason to spread it on thick! It also came third overall, with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 93%.
- Hummus: The highest-scoring overall in our hummus taste test, Aldi's Deli Originals Fresh Traditional Style Hommus was also the cheapest. Our expert taste testers scored it higher than brands like Black Swan and Obela.
The good oil: The Olive Tree Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil performed well against European olive oils and big-name Australian brands.
- Olive oil: Our olive oil taste test showed that you don't need to spend a fortune to buy the best Australian olive oil. Aldi's The Olive Tree Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil held its own against bigger brands like Cobram Estate and Bertolli, proving that home-grown olive oil can compete with Italian and Spanish oils – and for a far lower price.
- Sauces: Taking out third place overall, Aldi's Colway Creamy Squeezy Mayonnaise was up there with Hellman's and Heinz in our mayonnaise taste test – and was far superior to well-known and gourmet brands like Praise, Kewpie and S&W. And Aldi scored again in the tomato sauce test, being the cheapest product in the test but still receiving the CHOICE Recommended seal of approval.
- Pasta: Aldi's Just Organic Spaghetti scored well in our pasta review. With a score of 90%, it's recommended by our experts. Aldi's Remano brand didn't perform as well but at 82% it's still not bad.
- Everyday items: Aldi's everyday items are well priced and some perform as well as or better than brand-name products. We recommend Aldi's Confidence Samson paper towels, (but not the Absorbit or Confidence Mighty Roll) and Confidence Hypoallergenic pocket tissue packs (but give the 2-ply facial tissues a miss – they scored just 51%). Aldi's Confidence Extra Soft toilet paper didn't quite make the cut for recommendation but at 71% is still a pretty safe bet (but you can skip the fancy shea butter version and the 2-ply type as they didn't score well).
Aldi's everyday items are well priced and some perform as well as or better than brand-name products
- Toilet cleaner: You'd think it's best not to skimp on products for scrubbing the toilet bowl, but our toilet cleaner review saw Aldi tie for the top spot with well-known brand White King – but the Aldi product costs less than half the price of its competitor. So you can spend a penny knowing that you've saved a penny too!
Some of Aldi's Special Buys are so tempting that you'll find yourself in the middle aisles seriously contemplating buying a reciprocating saw or a telescope.
While we can't test every single Special Buy, we have put a few of them through their paces to see how they perform in our labs, with mixed results.
Do your research to decide whether Aldi's offering is actually the best on the market for your budget
But before you line up to buy these products, take a realistic look at how frequently you might use them, and then do your research to decide whether Aldi's offering is actually the best on the market for your budget.
And think about whether you'd feel comfortable buying one of these products from Aldi, or if you'd rather buy it from a traditional retailer where you can try it in-store (especially in the case of mattresses).
Here's our take on:
- Using an Aldi air fryer in place of an oven for a week
- Aldi's Stirling Thermo Cooker vs the Thermomix
- Is Aldi's mattress in a box worth buying?
When it comes to TVs, CHOICE experts say you're better off with a brand name TV such as LG, Samsung, Sony or Panasonic.
Best to avoid
- TVs: Our TV expert Denis Gallagher advises against buying a TV at Aldi: "Aldi has offered pretty good value on TVs over the years, but these days there's more competition and prices are coming down across the board," he says. "You're better off going with a branded product – the Aldi TVs we've tested in the past have had variable results." If you're looking for a TV, our TV buying guide will help you find the best one.
- Soundbars: You're best off giving Aldi's Bauhn-branded soundbar a miss, too. It scored a sub-par 67% in our soundbars test. For the same price, you could pick up a much better performer.
Need a caffeine hit? Alas, Aldi's Expressi Multi-Beverage Capsule Machine 595 probably won't deliver the results you crave.
- Capsule coffee machine: It's a tempting buy at just $120, but Aldi's Expressi Multi-Beverage Capsule Machine 595 didn't fare very well in our coffee machine reviews, scoring just 45% in the taste test. Here's how to buy the best coffee machine for your needs.
- Surface cleaners: While the price is right, the performance isn't. Neither Aldi's Power Force Pro nor Green Action multipurpose cleaners managed to crack the 50% mark when we tested multipurpose cleaning sprays, scoring just 49% and 45% respectively.
Even at $399, the Ecovacs Deebot isn't the best buy on the market, CHOICE experts say.
- Robot vacuums: Eyes lit up around Australia when Aldi announced it would be selling the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 robot vacuum cleaner for just $399 (it normally retails for $999). So should you buy a robot vacuum from Aldi? We hate to be party poopers (really we do), but this isn't the one that will make your housekeeping dreams come true. It scored just 39% in our robot vacuum cleaners review, and while this price is hard to resist, our experts say there are far better options on the market if you're willing to spend a bit more. Aldi often sells Ecovacs branded robot vacuums, but make sure you check the details of the model before you buy, and check our robot vacuum reviews first.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.