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The best and worst small home appliance brands of 2022: Which? survey results

Our survey of 10,000 owners of more than 20,000 small home appliances reveals the brands worth buying and those that might let you down

Buying from a trusted brand is one way to avoid wasting money on disappointing appliances. That's where our survey comes in.

In our annual survey*, we asked Which? Connect panel members and the general public to tell us about the air fryer, air purifier, coffee machine, dehumidifier, electric heater, steam iron and steam cleaner brands they own, as well as any problems they've experienced with them.

As is the case with most other product areas we review, we discovered that spending more on a big-name brand doesn't necessarily guarantee a fault-free gadget. See the links below for more information on each of the small home appliance brands featured in our survey, including how many products were reported faulty, what exactly went wrong and whether owners would buy the brand again.

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Which? brand survey verdicts by appliance type

Read all of our kitchen appliance reviews to discover which products performed best in our independent lab tests.

How to make your small appliances last longer

Woman browsing an instruction manual

Sometimes appliances can go wrong completely out of the blue, but there are things you can do to reduce the chances of your favourite kitchen gadget biting the dust when you need it most.

1. Keep them clean

This may seem obvious, but a well-kept appliance will last longer than one that's seen better days. 

Products like coffee machines, steam cleaners and steam irons are all highly susceptible to limescale build-up, particularly if you live in a hard water area. Our survey revealed that limescale caused problems for owners of many appliances, although it's something that's easy to prevent.

Regular descaling is key - ideally before you start to notice any dips in performance - to keep your appliances in tip-top shape. Some small home appliances, such as coffee machines, have an indicator to remind you when this task needs doing, but others will probably let you know how often is optimal in the instruction manual. 

2. Read the instructions

Another seemingly simple one, but thoroughly reading the instructions that come with your appliance can help you to work out exactly what you should and shouldn't do to keep it running for as long as possible.

For example, air fryers should be placed a certain distance from walls and the undersides of cupboards during use, and you should operate the rinse cycle on your coffee machine before using it for the first time if you've not used it for a while.

Often, the instruction manual will also contain a list of things you shouldn't do or risk invalidating your warranty, so at a bare minimum it's always worth skimming this section before you get started.

3. Respect their limits

Some appliances, such as blenders, aren't designed to run continuously without breaks, so it's important that you don't push them to their limits.

Not only will this help you to extend the life of your appliance, it will mean that the manufacturer is more likely to honour your rights if something goes wrong - as you've used the appliance correctly rather than exhausting it to within an inch of its life.

Repair or replace? What to do when common appliance faults happen

What are my rights when things go wrong?

Man ironing a shirt

Dealing with a faulty appliance is frustrating whenever it happens, and even some of the most common faults might not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. But what can you do if things do go wrong?

  • Approach the retailer where you purchased the item A faulty product is highly likely to be in breach of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, which states that every product we buy must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. If that turns out not to be the case, the retailer must uphold your statutory consumer rights and attempt to rectify the problem before it's passed onto the manufacturer.
  • Explain the problem and ask for a refund You can use our faulty goods complaint tool to help you generate a ready-to-go letter of complaint. From when you take ownership of the appliance, you have 30 days' 'right to reject' to claim a refund, repair or replacement if it turns out to be faulty.
  • Know your rights Even after 30 days have passed, you may still be able to ask for a repair or replacement. If you've owned the item for less than six months, the retailer must give you a full refund if an attempt at a repair or a replacement is unsuccessful.

How to get a refund, repair or replacement if your product develops a fault.

* Survey: 6,997 Which? Connect panel members and 3,003 members of the general public; small domestic appliances, May 2021.