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How long should you expect your large kitchen appliances to last?

A survey of more than 13,000 Which? members reveals the oven, vacuum cleaner, fridge freezer and washing machine brands staying fault-free for longer

How long should you expect your large kitchen appliances to last?

A TV breaking is an inconvenience. You might have some dull nights while you wait for the replacement, but you can always read a book. But a broken washing machine or fridge on the other hand can be a disaster.

Imagine your fridge freezer breaking in the run up to Christmas. Potentially hundreds of pounds worth of spoiled food, not to mention a spoiled day.

Replacements can be expensive, but buying an appliance from the right brand can mean the difference between one breaking down after 10 years and one breaking down after 20.

Find out the differences between the best and worst large kitchen appliances so you can ensure you find one that’s built to last.

Our large appliance survey

We asked 13,274 Which? members to tell us about their appliances. Based on how they owned the products before replacing them due to a fault or deteriorating performance, and the age of their current product, we’ve estimated the average lifespan of appliances from different brands.

We also found out how satisfied they were with their appliance and how likely they would be to stick with that same brand when they bought a new one.

In each section we’ve compared the brand with longest lasting appliances to the ones which have the shortest average lifespan and the differences are startling.

Lifespan results from Which? survey

Washing machines

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 21 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 13 years

Washing machines are an essential appliance in any household and choosing the right brand could see yours lasting up to eight years longer than our worst performing brand for longevity.

Problems with the drum and electrical issues are the most common issues accounting for more than third of all faults combined.

Read our washing machine brand page to see which brand has the longest lasting appliances and which has the shortest.

Tumble dryers

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 24 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 17 years

The washing machine’s laundry partner in crime tend to last a few years more, but the difference between the top and bottom performing brands is still sizeable. Seven years separated the two brands.

Electrical faults are the biggest problem faced by tumble dryers, but issues with the drying sensor is something to be aware of, too.

Read our tumble dryer brand page to see all the details of the survey including customer score for each brand and longevity.

Dishwashers

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 22 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 13 years

Not everyone has a dishwasher, but it’s a hard thing to lose, especially with the daunting prospect of the Christmas washing up. Almost a decade separates the brand with the longest average lifespan from the shortest, so choosing the right one could make a huge difference to how often it needs replacing.

It’s drainage that causes the biggest headaches for dishwashers, and 11% of all faults in our survey were due to the machine not getting rid of water correctly.

Head to our dishwasher machine brand page to see how each brand fared for appliance longevity.

Built-in ovens

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 29 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 23 years

Regardless of which oven you choose it’s likely to last an age. 23 years for the shortest lasting brand is impressive, but still six years of the top brand for longevity.

Broken oven lights account for more than a third of all faults, which is an irritation, especially if you’re a baker and don’t want to let the heat out of the oven by opening the door to check your cakes are rising, but it’s not the most serious of problems.

Read our built-in oven brand page to see which brand has the longest lasting appliances and which has the shortest.

Fridge freezers

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 24 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 14 years

A decade is a long time and a fridge freezer isn’t a particularly exciting purchase, unless you’ve been living with a tiny one for too long and upgrade to a spacious double-door beast. Choosing the right brand here could give you up to 24 years of problem free chilling.

Unwanted ice build ups account for 18% of all the faults we recorded, closely followed by trouble maintaining a steady temperature at 13%.

Read our fridge freezer brand page to see all the details of the survey including customer score for each brand and longevity.

Fridges

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 29 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 18 years

Appliances from our top brand for longevity last just shy of 30 years. If you bought your fridge 29 years ago that means it’s older than GPS, email and YouTube.

It was temperature issues that caused the most headaches for fridge owners in our survey.

Head to our fridge brand page to see how each brand fared for appliance longevity.

Corded vacuum cleaners

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 25 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 13 years

The biggest disparity between the longest and shortest lasting brand is with corded vacuum cleaners, a staggering 12 years separates the two.

Interestingly the brand with the vacs that last the longest wasn’t the favourite though, two other brands had higher customer scores.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a loss of suction that’s the most common faults, it accounted for 15% of all the ones we recorded.

Our corded vacuum cleaner brand page reveals the top and bottom brands for appliance longevity, customer score and loyalty.

Cordless vacuum cleaners

  • Longest average estimated lifespan: 10 years
  • Shortest average estimated lifespan: 9 years

Cordless vacs are one of the newer products in the survey and that it shows in their average lifespan, which is a decade at best and just a year shorter at worst.

The thing that makes cordless vacs so handy also proves to be their biggest weakness. Battery issues are far and away the biggest problem, accounting for a third of faults.

Check our cordless vacuum cleaner brand page to find out how all the brands fared in our survey.

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