There's many a gem to be found at Australia's favourite bargain retailer, Aldi, but hold your horses before throwing everything you can into your trolley, Supermarket Sweep-style.
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.)
CHOICT testers give the thumbs up to Aldi Di-San Oxy Action with Enzymes Pre Wash, as well as Logix dishwasher tablets and Tandil Power Soak 'N Clean dishwashing liquid.
- Stain remover and dishwasher tablets. Aldi has some strong performers in the cleaning category. In our recent stain remover reviews, the Aldi Di-San Oxy Action with Enzymes Pre Wash tied first as the most effective spray (a bargain at only $1.25). We also recommend Aldi's Logix dishwasher tablets – the Logix Platinum 18 in 1 Dishwashing Tablets got the same score in our testing as a leading brand that's almost twice the price. Aldi's Tandil Ultra Power Soak 'N Clean is another product we recommend. It performed almost as well as a premium brand but costs less than a third of the price: Aldi vs Morning Fresh: which will get your dishes the cleanest?
At less than 20 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 a also high performer in our recent CHOICE nappy reviews. We test a range of nappies for absorbency, leakage and strength, and the Aldi nappies were a clear frontrunner.
- Clothes dryers. Every now and again, Aldi sells dryers in limited quantities as part of their Special Buys promotion, usually at a bargain-basement price. We've tested one of the models as part of our clothes dryer reviews, and CHOICE household and whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale says it's not a bad buy for the price: "It was a little lacking in capacity, but held its own against other vented dryers, so for $249 with a three-year warranty, it's a decent offer."
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 – less than half the price of Connoisseur's Classic Vanilla, which received the same score and is $11! 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!
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%.
- Ski gear. The online verdict about Aldi's yearly ski gear sale seems to be: run, don't walk. Hailed as a particularly good option for parents who need affordable ski gear for growing kids, the range includes pretty much everything you need for the slopes at low prices. One CHOICE parent says: "Our whole family is kitted out with the Aldi ski gear and we've found it really competitively priced. It's warm and well made – we've had some of this gear for over 10 years and it's still going strong." The crowds on the day can be overwhelming though, so another CHOICE parent suggests trying your luck in regional stores, as opposed to metropolitan outlets that attract massive queues. Read more about what CHOICE staff say about the Aldi ski gear sale.
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.
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. Aldi is selling a manual espresso machine as part of its Special Buys promotion on Wednesday 18 March for $299. We haven't tested this specific machine, but if you're in the market for a coffee machine, make sure you check our coffee machine reviews first to make sure you don't end up with a dud.
Aldi has the highest amount of ultra-processed own-brand products on its shelves, compared with the other major supermarkets
- Heavily processed own-brand products. Be sure to look at nutrition labelling when you shop. A recent report found that Aldi has the highest amount of ultra-processed own-brand products on its shelves, compared with the other major supermarkets. So keep an eye on things such as added sugars, fats and preservatives.
- Liquid laundry detergent for top loaders. If you buy your laundry liquid from Aldi and you have a top loader, be sure to take a look at our laundry detergent reviews. Trimat Advanced Laundry Liquid Sensitive scored only 49% in a top loader and the Almat Laundry Liquid Concentrate came in at 42%. You're better off with the Trimat Advanced Laundry Liquid Regular, but it performed only slightly better with a score of 51%. All of these liquids performed much better in front loaders than in top loaders.
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. Make sure you check our robot vacuum reviews first.