Choosing a small home appliance brand that's less likely to fail is one way to avoid contributing to the tangled pile of useless appliances at your local recycling centre.
In our unique owners' survey*, we asked Which? Connect panel members tell us about the kettles, toasters, coffee machines, microwaves, blenders, bread makers, stand mixers, steam irons, coffee machines and dehumidifier brands they own, and the problems they've experienced with them.
And we often discover that spending more on a brand doesn't always guarantee a fault-free gadget. Visit the links below to see in-depth information on each of the small home appliance brands we investigated, including how many appliances were reported faulty, what went wrong and whether the owners would buy the brand again.
Three ways to make appliances last longer
Kettles, steam irons and coffee machines are all susceptible to limescale, especially if you live in a hard-water area. Our survey revealed problems due to limescale caused issues for many owners, although it's a problem that is easily preventable.
Regular descaling, ideally before you notice your iron not steaming properly, for example, is one way to keep these appliances working better and for longer. Some machines will tell you when descaling needs to happen, but if they don't have an indicator, then check the instructions.
An impressive 94% of our survey respondents** who we asked about instructions, said that they read some or all of the instructions that come with their appliances. Your appliance instructions, while not the most exciting read, contain important information that will help keep your gadget running for longer.
Some food preparation appliances, for example, shouldn't be used for long periods or time or the motor could burn out. Use them in 60 second bursts, instead. If you're putting up with inconsistent performance, check the troubleshooting guide that comes with the instruction manual.
It may sound obvious, but keeping your toaster, bread maker or microwave clean can help it perform better.
Kitchen gadgets such as microwaves work best when they're kept clean from food splatters and dried-on mess, so tackle any spills straight away, mop up those splatters and makes sure food is covered when you reheat it. If you clean up straight way, it makes it much easier to do, too.
Dealing with a faulty home appliance is frustrating and some of the most common faults may not be covered by your manufacturer's warranty. So what are your rights when things go wrong?
Here's what to do:
* Survey: 12,412 Which? Connect panel members; small kitchen appliances, April 2021
** Survey: 1,195 Which? Connect panel members, instructions, June 2021