Our exclusive reliability survey shows that there is a big gap between how long certain products last and how long you expect them to last – and the worst offenders are kettles. You told us you expect your kettle to last seven years, but our survey found that more than 20% developed a fault after just two years.
In March 2017 we surveyed more than 6,800 people about their small appliances. We asked how long they had owned their products for and what problems, if any, they had experienced. We also asked how long they expected different types of product to last, to see how this compared to reality.
Most and least reliable appliances
The full list of most and least reliable products, according to our 2017 survey, is below. The higher the score, the more likely products are to last.
- Most reliable: Stand mixers – 96%
- Blenders* – 94%
- Food processors – 93%
- Dehumidifiers – 92%
- Air fryers – 90%
- Microwaves – 87%
- Toasters – 85%
- Coffee machines – 84%
- Bread makers – 84%
- Irons – 82%
- Steam Generators – 78%
- Least reliable: Kettles – 75%
*Reliability data runs to three years for blenders, five years for dehumidifiers, coffee machines and air fryers, and six years for everything else.
Stand mixers and food processors largely lived up to expectations. You told us you expected them to work without problems for up to 10 years, and our research shows they are some of the most reliable categories overall, with very low fault rates at six years compared to other appliances.
Irons, steam generators and kettles are most likely to leave you in the lurch, as these products showed higher fault rates than other categories.
Appliance reliability compared
Our research shows how the different types of product compare over time, and how quickly they tend to go wrong. Kettles and steam generator irons have the steepest and most prolonged fault rate, meaning you’re more likely to be troubled by breakages than with other products – annoying if you’ve shelled out several hundred pounds on a steam generator.
If your product is going to play up, our data suggests it’s more likely to happen in the first few years of ownership, as most categories experience a steeper fault rate in this time.
This means it’s well worth hanging on to your receipt, and plumping for an appliance with a two year guarantee. If you are unlucky enough to experience problems, you should be able to get a refund or replacement in this period.
How to pick a reliable appliance
We found significant differences in reliability between brands in our survey. For the less reliable categories, the brand you choose will have a big influence on how likely you are to experience problems.
For example, choosing the right brand of kettle can dramatically improve your chances of getting a long lasting product. Only 11% of kettles from the best brand developed a fault over six years compared to 55% of kettles from the worst brand.
Budget vs premium brands
If you spend more than £50 on a kettle, you’d rightly expect to get a good return on that investment, but we found that one premium kettle brand was trumped by a cheap supermarket rival for reliability and performance. Best Buy kettles from this brand start from less than £15, and should last longer than rivals too.
This budget brand also punches above its weight when it comes to toasters, so you could pick up a brilliant and long-lasting set for less than the price of a premium kettle. You’ll need to pick carefully though, as other budget brands were some of our worst performers, with rock-bottom reliability scores, poor average performance in our lab tests, and a low approval rating from owners.