Some kitchen gadgets will last you for more than 20 years without showing any signs of trouble, while others could have you heading back to the shops for a replacement within just five years.
Pod coffee machines, such as those from Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto, tended to last for the shortest amount of time – just over four years, according to owners – while food mixers held out for an average of 23 years.
We surveyed more than 7,700 Which? members in April 2019 to find out how reliable their kitchen appliances were and which brands last the longest once you get them home.
Our exclusive research reveals which small appliances you can rely on, and the brands to choose if you want the best chance of getting a product that stands the test of time.
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Which kitchen gadgets can you count on?
We asked our members how long they kept their previous products before they broke down and needed replacing. We used this to calculate how long on average different kitchen appliances tend to last.
Our survey shows that some are more likely to see you through the years than others.
If you use a trusty model handed down through the generations, it probably won’t surprise you that stand mixers last the longest of all the appliances we surveyed. We also found that any faults are most likely to be minor, so a stand mixer shouldn’t need a full replacement even if something does go wrong.
Capsule, or pod, coffee machines are relatively simple, so you might think there’s little to go wrong, but our survey shows they have the quickest turnover of any appliance.
Owners reported issues with leaking, problems dispensing the coffee, and limescale affecting the performance of their machines. However, you could well beat these odds with our most reliable brand. 10% more of its appliances were still fault-free after six years compared to the least reliable option.
Kettles, irons, air fryers and traditional coffee machines also languished at the bottom of our table, while bread makers, microwaves and blenders were more likely to last the best part of a decade.
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Choose from a reliable brand
Your best chance of making your appliances last is to choose from a brand that’s rated highly for reliability. We found significant differences between how many products develop a fault within the first six years of use, depending on the brand you buy.
Not one owner of the most reliable blender brand had experienced a problem with their appliance after six years of ownership, whereas a significant minority of owners of the least reliable brand reported issues with their blenders.
Paying more doesn’t guarantee longer-lasting products, either. More than three in ten kettles from the least reliable brand in our survey had broken down by the six-year mark, despite it being quite a pricey brand.
If your microwave develops a fault, then it’s most likely to be the interior light breaking, rust developing in the cavity or problems with the door. Less than one in twenty microwaves from the most reliable brand developed a fault in six years, though, compared with nearly one in five from the worst.
3 ways to make your appliances last
Kitchen appliances can be difficult or even impossible to repair, which can be galling if your kettle breaks down on you every few years.
Choosing a reliable brand is a good start, but there are other ways you can help your products to last and reduce waste, so follow our top tips to minimise your impact on the environment:
1. Keep on top of limescale
If you live in a hard-water area, you’ll know all too well how much limescale can build up. It’s a nightmare for your kettle, coffee machine and steam iron, and is a common reason why they leak, don’t work as well, or even completely break down before their time.
The good news is that scale deposits are preventable. You should descale your appliances as soon as you notice limescale, or at least every couple of months, depending on how frequently you use them.
Check the manual, or the manufacturer’s website, as it will recommend the best way to do this to avoid damaging your machine.
You can usually use special descaling tablets or solution, or diluted vinegar or lemon juice for a more natural approach.
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2. Be prepared with spares
Our survey revealed that some of the most common problems afflicting small appliances could easily be fixed by replacing a part.
Faulty kettle lids account for 15% of all kettle malfunctions, and you can buy a spare from certain brands such as DeLonghi and Dualit. A broken limescale filter (the second-most-common fault) is even easier to fix, with spares widely available.
Similarly for your food processor and stand mixer, a broken attachment is the most likely thing to go wrong. Most brands sell spares through their websites, although it’s worth checking this before you buy, as it may be harder to get hold of spares for cheaper appliances.
3. Dispose of your appliances responsibly
Your appliances don’t have to end up in landfill when you’re finished with them. If they’re still in reasonable working order then consider donating – some charity shops will accept working electrical items.
If your kitchen gadgets have come to the end of their life, then they can usually be recycled. Some local authorities will pick up small electrical appliances in their kerbside collections, otherwise you can take them to your nearest recycling centre. Check recyclenow.com for one closest to you.