10 products you don't needSave £400 on products we think aren't worth buying

29 July 2010

Which? reveals today 10 products that our tests have shown aren't worth your money - you could save up to £400 by leaving them on the shelf. 

We’ve tested thousands of products in the Which? lab, and have hundreds of Best Buy recommendations. But not all products live up to their claims. From unnecessary household cleaners to dud kitchen gadgets, scroll through our photo gallery to find out why these culprits made the list.


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Ten products you don't need

Peanut butter maker
Don't waste £30
This gadget is designed to make peanut butter - but it's not as quick or effective as other kitchen appliances.

Household cleaners
Don't waste £3.60
Separate kitchen and bathroom sprays claim to be great at cleaning specific areas - a decent multi-surface cleaner does the job of both.

Gas energy savers
Don't waste £8
Gas energy savers are designed to burn hob gas more efficiently - but their energy saving claims didn't add up during our tests.

Tumble dryer balls
Don't waste £8
Some tumble dryer Balls claim to cut laundry drying time by 25% - but in our tests they didn't work.

Anti-wrinkle eye creams
Don't waste £50
These are designed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles - but our tests found only limited effects.

Small photo printers
Don't waste up to £200
These are designed to print photos alone - but our tests show a good general printer can meet all your printing and scanning needs.

Colour catcher
Don't waste typically £19 a year
Colour catcher fabric sheets claim to prevent colour runs - but they didn't stop whites going pink when fabrics bled during our tests.

Smoothie maker
Don't waste up to £80
These blend liquids, solids and ice - but their tap dispensers can make them slow to pour and tricky to clean.

Fuel additives
Don't waste up to £18.50
Can petrol and diesel additives increase your car's power and improve economy? Our tests found no noticeable improvements.

Wash balls
Don't waste £12
The pellet-filled plastic shells are designed as an alternative to washing detergent - but they can't match detergent's cleaning power.

Claims that don't add up

It’s easy to be swayed by impressive products claims, but our tests show you’ll need a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to many.

A gas energy saver (£8) designed to burn gas more efficiently failed in our tests. It took longer to boil a pan of water using this gadget than without it.

We tested the Amazing tumble dryer balls (£8) but they were amazing for all the wrong reasons. Far from reducing creasing and saving drying time as they claim, they made no difference in our tests.

For tips on how to make real savings check out our advice guides on energy-saving tumble drying and tips for a greener home. 

Gadgets that disappoint

We’ve come across products so useless they almost defy belief.

The Giles and Posner peanut butter maker (£30) was one of the worst offenders. It may sound like a great gift idea, but this gadget took a staggering 20 minutes to make 40g of peanut butter – longer than it might take many people walk to their corner shop and pick up a whole 300g jar.

Nut lovers would be better off with a decent mini-chopper or food processor - we’ve got Best Buys in our food processors review. 

Savvy shopping

Saving cash is also about choosing the right multi-tasking products for your home. You don’t need a dedicated photo printer for great snaps, as a decent all-round printer will just as good a job on photos and meet all your printing needs.

It’s also worth reading the small print before you buy. Colour Catcher sheets are claimed to prevent colour runs and allow mixed washing. But the small print recommends taking 'reasonable care' with mixing laundry and following manufacturer’s instructions – if you do you’re unlikely to have a problem anyway, potentially saving you £19 a year. In our tests, Colour Catcher failed to stop whites going pink.

Saving on all these products can add up to £400:

  • Giles & Posner Peanut Butter Maker (£30)
  • smoothie makers (up to £80)
  • gas energy saver (£8)
  • small photo printers (up to £200)
  • anti-wrinkle eye cream (up to £50)
  • fuel additives (up to £18.50)
  • Amazing tumble dryer balls (£8)
  • Colour Catcher (typically £19 a year)
  • separate kitchen and bathroom cleaners (about £3.60)
  • wash balls (£12).

Products you don't need

If you've encountered a useless product, tell us about it on Which? Conversation, where we'll be discussing this subject.

Which? home editor Liz Edwards said: 'There are plenty of products people buy that they know they don't really need, but the 10 we've picked out after testing them are products which looked like they'd do something quite useful - like stop your colours running, save energy, or boost efficiency. 

'However, our testing showed them to be a waste of time and money. It's extraordinary that companies have the nerve to charge £8 for a gas energy saver which turned out to do exactly the opposite of its claims in our tests.'

Which? members can log on and read our full article in our magazine archive online.

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