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Kmart Anko: Best buys and what to avoid 

We reveal the products that impressed in our tests and the duds that disappointed.

kmart best and worst buys update
Last updated: 04 August 2020

Kmart has a legion of fans that swear by the large offering of products at bargain prices. And it certainly does keep surprising us in our expert testing, with some Anko own-brand products often rivaling – or even outperforming – the big brands. 

But while they may offer some great buys that deliver premium performance at low prices, there's been quite a few products that have performed just as poorly in our tests.

Our CHOICE experts have put dozens of Kmart products through their paces in our labs over the past year. Here are some of the best and worst performers to help you with your shopping. 

kmart anko 20l microwave

Microwave

One to buy? – Yes

At $48, this Kmart Anko microwave certainly delivers bang for your buck. Our experts recommend it, rating it as excellent for cooking performance and giving it perfect scores for cooking vegetables and defrosting mince. 

"If you are looking for a basic compact microwave that reheats well and is great for cooking and defrosting, then the Anko 20-litre model is all you need," says Fiona. 

"It is, however, only a 700W microwave so reheating times will be a little slower than a 900W or 1000W microwave."

anko dl03l

Heater

One to buy? – Definitely not

Kmart's heater offering is definitely not going to set the world on fire. Not only did its $55 oil heater score a lukewarm 48% overall when we tested it in 2019, this year its new $59 DL03L convection heater performed even worse, receiving a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 45% – the worst heater we've tested since 2014. 

Our experts refer to the HD904-11 oil heater as a "warm doorstop" but were lost for words when the new convection heater reached new lows. 

"Kmart could have improved their products or at least added a fan to help distribute the heat. Instead, they've delivered one that's more expensive and inferior," says Matthew Steen, our director of reviews and testing. 

If you want to actually feel the burn this winter, make sure you check our expert heater reviews before you buy. 

Anko heaters compared

We compare this year's dud against last year's dud.

kmart-anko-af606-32l-air-fryer-blk-sku-p42588924_1

Air fryer

One to buy? – No

Air fryers are one of those appliances you either love or find confusing. 

They're touted as a great investment if you want to cook foods that you'd typically deep fry – but in a healthier way, as with homemade chips or frozen crumbed chicken, or if you live in a hot climate and you want to cook dinner without heating up the whole house by using your oven. 

But many people also see air fryers as a needless appliance that performs many functions your oven already does, while taking up valuable bench space.

Kmart's $69 air fryer has won many fans, most notably because it's significantly cheaper than air fryers from many of the leading brands. But our experts weren't impressed when we tested it in our labs. In fact, although the Kmart Anko air fryer was the cheapest model we tested, it received the lowest CHOICE Expert Rating of 64%. 

"Not only did it receive a low score in our testing, but the Kmart Anko air fryer is also fairly large and heavy, and not very easy to use," says CHOICE kitchen expert, Fiona Mair.

See our full air fryer reviews.

Coffee machine

One to consider? – Yes

At $89, this cheap-as-chips Anko coffee machine is one that might well be worth considering if you're on a budget. In our tests, it outperformed a $949 coffee machine on flavour and pumped out consistently hot coffees. And it'll pretty up your kitchen bench, too: it looks the business.

KMART_Coffee_Machine

We did test many coffee machines that outperformed this one, and our testers did notice some bad points. It's a bit fiddly to use and doesn't have all the features of a high-end espresso machine – but if you're on a budget and you have your heart set on a manual machine, it's an option worth considering. See our full espresso machine reviews.

Pie maker

One to buy? – Yes

It's been around for quite a while now, but the popularity of Kmart's $29 pie maker shows no sign of waning. 

Our kitchen experts put the appliance to the test in our labs and they agree: it's a good-value, handy little appliance that's easy to use, versatile and delivers on its promise – taking just 15 minutes to pop out four nicely golden pies with your choice of filling, no oven required. We think it's perfect for no-fuss cooks, busy parents or (self-sufficient) hungry teenagers. 

finished pies in an open kmart anko pie maker

"This is a fun little appliance," says CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair. "It's easy to use and gives good results, cooking four pies fairly evenly to lightly golden in eight minutes. It takes five minutes to preheat, which is quicker than an oven, and, once the pies are cooked, you can simply pop them out with a spatula."

The pie maker is not the only kitchen appliance in the Kmart Anko range that has fared well in our expert testing. We recently put two of Kmart's slow cookers to the test with great results – CHOICE members can exclusively access our slow cooker reviews

kmart anko 3 in 1 playpen

Playpen

One to buy? – Yes

Kmart's $129 playpen is one of a few playpens we tested that actually passed key safety requirements. (There's no Australian standard for playpens, but we test to international standards and in-house methods based on existing Australian standards for other baby products.)

It's also easy to set up and pack down, and comes with a latched gate so you won't do your back in reaching over the fence to pick up a heavy toddler. See our full playpen reviews.

kmart active co 455cm suitcase

Carry-on suitcase

One to buy? – Yes

So, it turns out that some of Kmart's luggage products aren't actually terrible – but you need to shop wisely, as there are a few poor performers among them.

The Kmart 45.5cm soft carry-on case scored 100% in our 'lift and drop' test and earned a CHOICE Expert Rating of 86%. The 45.4cm hard carry-on case scored 100% in our 'lift and drop' test, 94% in our puncture test and earned a CHOICE Expert Rating of 86%. 

These cheap wonders were up there with far more expensive products, even outperforming luxury brands priced at more than $500! See our full luggage reviews.

Video: how we test suitcases

Our experts put luggage through rigorous tests

kmart anko fleecy electric blanket

Fleecy electric blanket 

One to buy? – Yes

Costing just $55 (nothing fleecy about that price), this fleecy Anko electric blanket received a red-hot performance score of 80% from our testers and outperformed electric blankets costing more than twice as much.

Our expert testers didn't report any bad points about this winter warmer. But it does lack some of the features that expensive brands have, such as an extra warm foot zone, programmable settings and a timer. See our full electric blanket reviews.

kmart home and co 15l digital blender

Digital blender

One to buy? – Yes

Look, it's no Vitamix in the status department, but this $59 blender held its own in the kitchen, receiving a more-than-respectable 90% performance score. It certainly blitzed some of the (more expensive) competition, outclassing even a $2200 model. See our full blender reviews.

kmart anko food processor fp403

Food processor

One to buy? – Yes

If you're after a cheap and cheerful food processor that'll do the job, you can't go wrong with the $69 Kmart Anko food processor FP403

"The Kmart food processor is a very good performer that's great for chopping, slicing, mixing and emulsifying," says Fiona. 

"It is a compact unit so it's easier to store, and all blades are stored in the unit. It is however relatively noisy in operation."


Vacuum cleaners

Ones to buy? – No

Kmart sells a range of different vacuum cleaners, including stick vacuums, upright, bagged and bagless models in the Anko range that are priced from about $50 to $100.

Should you buy a Kmart vacuum cleaner Kmart 2000W Bagless vacuum

Although we do love it when we find a bargain appliance that really shines, in the case of Kmart vacuum cleaners, it's sadly not so.

The upright, bagged and bagless models we most recently tested were among the lowest scoring when it comes to giving your carpet a thorough clean. And the stick vacuums didn't fare much better. Read the grim details here: should I buy a Kmart vacuum cleaner

See our full vacuum reviews.

kmart-anko-bassinet-42712893_1

Bassinet

One to buy? – No

A cheap bassinet can be a tempting buy, but our expert testing reveals that many bassinets fail on basic safety features and can pose serious risk to little ones. Unlike with certain other baby products, such as playpens, there's no Australian safety standards for bassinets that must be adhered to by manufacturers, which is why some potentially dangerous products still make it onto our shelves.

The $99 Kmart Anko bassinet is no exception – it got a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 44% due to the lack of continuous breathable zones around the edge of the bassinet, which could be a suffocation risk. See our full bassinet reviews.