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Black Friday deals to avoid: from horrible headphones to vacs that suck

Save money and time this Black Friday by steering clear of these Don't Buy products. Our rogues' gallery ranges from headphones to stair gates

Black Friday deals to avoid: from horrible headphones to vacs that suck

Worried about getting caught out with a dud deal this Black Friday? You’re right to, as there are some real stinkers out there. But we’ve got you covered. Check out our round-up of the Black Friday deals on products you definitely need to avoid.

Our recommendations aren’t written after just playing around with freebies from a PR company for a day or two, either. Each year we put thousands of products through tough, independent laboratory tests to separate the best from the rest.

So as we’ve been scouring through all the Black Friday deal sites to find the genuine bargains to recommend, we’ve been able to spot the wrong ‘uns a mile off.

For Black Friday 2020, these include a stair gate that failed one of our key safety tests, headphones you’d regret buying, and a fridge freezer that will give you chills.

Read on to find out the products you need to beware of – all of these are Which? Don’t Buys, based on our independent tests.

Find out which deals we do recommend – see best Black Friday deals.

Marshall Major III wireless Bluetooth headphones – now £49

Marshall Major III Bluetooth headphones

We don’t like: Poor sound quality and comfort

It’s an unusual mis-step from the well-known Marshall brand, but this Major should be stripped of its rank. Despite looking the part, the sound quality doesn’t match up. The treble sounds artificial, thin and bright – one of our expert testers described it as ‘squeaky’. The thunderous bass lacks depth, too.

On top of that, our testers didn’t tate them as comfortable, and we found there’s often a delay when using the controls. It’s a shame, as the battery life (almost 45 hours in our tests) is among the best we’ve seen.

We’ve seen them on sale for this price at Currys PC World.

See our round-up of the best headphones we’ve tested.

Baby Dan Premier True Pressure stair gate – now £40.71

We don’t like: Failed a key safety test, so potentially unsafe to use

Although it’s an absolute cinch to set up, this stair gate unfortunately failed the fatigue test we put all stair gates through. This is where we clamp the stair gate to a motorised arm that pulls it back and forth 10,000 times while applying a horizontal force of 140 Newtons. The test is designed to replicate the actions of a toddler or child shaking the gate repeatedly.

The Baby Dan Premier True Pressure failed about two thirds of the way through the test, when the fixing points moved and came loose from the frame, causing it to dislodge.

This failure means the gate could come loose, allowing the child to get through and potentially put themselves in danger. Stair gates definitely aren’t the type of product you want to take any chances with, so this is one to avoid.

In response to our review of the Baby Dan Premier True Pressure, Baby Dan told us: ‘We take feedback about our safety products seriously, as safety of children is paramount to us. We manufacture to the highest possible standards. All our safety gates comply to the relevant safety standards (in this case EN1930:2011).

‘The safety gates mentioned in your publication have been tested recently by accredited labs numerous times without any remarks.’

We saw the charcoal-grey version of this stair gate on sale at Amazon. You might also see the white colour variant at an even lower price, but our advice would be to look for one of our recommended stair gates instead.

Find out which stair gates you should buy – see our expert, independent stair gate reviews.

Beko VCS5125AB vacuum cleaner – now £69

Beko VCS5125AB vacuum cleaner

We don’t like: Poor allergen filter, difficult to manoeuvre, inconvenient on stairs and for vacuuming high places, bad at negotiating uneven surfaces

Anyone sensitive to airborne allergens will do well to keep this bagless upright vacuum at a distance. By ‘distance’ we mean still in the warehouse.

The filter isn’t the best and does a poor job of trapping small particles as effectively as a lot of other vacs we’ve tested.

This means that some of the tiny pollen particles and dust mites it picks up will escape back into the room instead of being locked away inside the filter.

It’s also cumbersome to use, which is likely to make this mundane chore even more depressing.

We saw it for this price at AO.com.

In our independent lab tests, the best vacuum cleaners suck up more than 80% of the dust from carpets.

Maxi Cosi Beryl car seat – now £254.99

Maxi Cosi Beryl car seat

We don’t like: Only average safety ratings, risk of unsafe or incorrect installation

Car journeys with kids can be stressful at the best of times, so you want the reassurance they’re safe in their seats while they’re kicking the back of yours.

This model didn’t do well in our side-impact crash tests, particularly for older children, as the car seat shell is too small to protect them properly. It’s also awkward to fit, which means there’s an increased risk of installing it incorrectly.

We saw this seat on sale at John Lewis.

If you already own this seat, don’t stop using it until you’ve replaced it with one of our best child car seats.

Russell Hobbs Luna 23221 2-slice toaster – now £29


We don’t like: Pale and unevenly toasted slices, browning control slider is hard to adjust, large or tall slices don’t fit in the slots

If you’re already not a morning person, this Russell Hobbs toaster, which we spotted on sale at AO.com, might just tip you over the edge.

It produces pale and uneven toast, with a mixture of brown and underdone areas. What’s more, the slider is stiff and hard to move, so it’s not easy to change the setting if you’re unhappy with the depth of colour achieved.

Don’t buy it. Check out our expert toaster reviews instead and you’ll be able to choose a good one

Hisense 65A7100FTUK LED TV- now £499

Hisense 65A7100FTUK TV

We don’t like: Terrible picture quality and dismal sound

This Hisense has the worst picture quality we’ve seen on a 65-inch TV for years. The picture judders during motion and otherwise it appears gloomy and drab.

Another nail in the coffin is the dismal and weak sound. Our testers thought the bass was barely noticeable, and the shrill, tinny treble was unpleasant and dominant.

It’s on sale at Currys PC World, but don’t be tempted.

Our independent TV reviews will help you buy a better TV.

Bush 60185FFWTD fridge freezer – now £289.99

Bush 60185FFWTD fridge freezer

We don’t like: Unstable temperatures, slow-chilling fridge

Let’s not beat around the Bush: steer clear of this fridge freezer deal from Argos on Black Friday.

Yes, the price is enticing, it’s energy efficient and the freezer cools fresh items quickly. But that’s your lot.

Our tests showed that the fridge is terribly slow to cool freshly added items down to a safe temperature, giving heat-loving bacteria more time to thrive. That’s bad news for the lifespan of your food.

On top of that, the temperature stability is worrying too. It fluctuates by several degrees when your kitchen gets warmer on a hot day or cooler on a cold one. In both cases, for example, the temperature in the fridge will drop well below freezing, meaning you’re likely to find ice in your milk and salad with frostbite.

Check out our tips on how to buy the best fridge freezer.

Samsung HW-T400 sound bar – now £99

Samsung HW-T400 sound bar

We don’t like: Dull and lifeless sound quality

Judged to have underwhelming sound quality in our tests, this budget option from Samsung fails at its primary job: to make your TV sound better.

We’ve seen the Samsung HW-T400 on offer at Currys PC World and Richer Sounds, but don’t be tempted by the price.

See all of our sound bar reviews to find much better options in the same price range.

The best Black Friday deals

Avoid buying a dud by checking our round-ups of the best Black Friday deals. Our experts reveal their top picks in order to save you time and money.

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