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Updated: 16 Mar 2022

Best and worst shops

The best and worst shops in the UK, as voted for by thousands of shoppers – find out where to buy clothes, tech, furniture and more.
Hannah Walsh
Ellie Simmonds

Find out the best places to buy beauty, clothes, furniture, DIY products and more, based on surveys of thousands of shoppers and expert Which? analysis.

We've surveyed thousands of Which? members and members of the public about their experiences of shopping with some of the country's best-known stores and websites, as well as with lesser-known brands. 

In this guide, we reveal the best shops to go to for clothes, beauty products, DIY supplies, furniture, tech, home appliances and more.

Note: branded links take you to the retailers' websites.

Best baby and child shops

Online4Baby.com impressed shoppers in our latest survey, scooping four or five stars on every measure we asked about.

Online4Baby was among four retailers that won Which? Recommended Provider awards too, alongside Next (Next.co.uk), Smyths Toys (SmythsToys.com) and Very (Very.co.uk). All of the WRPs wowed family shoppers with their product quality and value for money.

Down at the bottom of the table was Babymonitors Direct, which gained just two stars for the majority of measures and scored 59% overall.

Amazon (387)71%
Argos (384)72%
Baby and Child Store (165)68%
Baby Monitors Direct (68)59%
Baby Planet (83)63%
Baby Security (71)61%
Bella Baby (79)63%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 4,625 people (4,518 members of the UK public and 107 Which? Connect members) in May 2021. 

Best beauty, health and wellbeing shops

Product quality and range are really important when choosing your beauty and wellbeing products and all the stores at the top of the table achieved four or five stars for this. 

Vitamins and supplements retailer Healthspan.co.uk topped the table and is currently the highest-scoring Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) in the health and beauty category. QVC (QVCUK.com), John Lewis (JohnLewis.com) and Allbeauty.com have also been named as WRPs thanks to a combination of great service and shopper-friendly policies. 

Eco-friendly brand Lush (Lush.com) was the only retailer to achieve five stars for staff knowledge and helpfulness, but isn't a WRP as its T&Cs don't meet our strict criteria.

At the bottom of the table, the main supermarkets and smaller pharmacy chains failed to impress for product range and quality, though shoppers did appreciate the convenience of being able to buy toiletries while doing the grocery shopping or out on their local high street.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best clothes and accessory shops

Two clothes shops impressed us enough to be named Which? Recommended Providers this year, in score order:

Unfortunately Jigsaw and Beales left shoppers less than impressed, with both of them achieving unremarkable three-star scores for most measures.

48=Accessorize/Monsoon (311)70%
20=Amazon (1,241)75%
44=Asda (839)71%
32=Asos (431)73%
55Beales (71)59%
-
11=Bonmarché (158)77%
51Boohoo (430)69%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Sample size in brackets. Survey of 16,297 Which? members in May 2021.

Best DIY and decorating shops

We asked shoppers to rate DIY stores on product quality, value for money and item range and availability. The two shops that landed joint first place - Screwfix (Screwfix.com) and Toolstation (Toolstation.com) - achieved five stars across the board. Both shops were named Which? Recommended Providers, too.

Amazon.co.uk also did well, with shoppers particularly impressed by how straightforward its app and website were to use.

At the other end of the scale was ManoMano, the worst-performing store by far. It scored just two stars for most of the factors we asked shoppers to tell us about, including Covid-19 measures and aftersales service and returns.

3Amazon (846)77%
13=Argos (443)69%
10=B&M Home Store (513)70%
4=B&Q (1,272)73%
6Brewers (120)73%
7Home Bargains (439)72%
10=Homebase (567)70%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 6,212 UK adults (4,602 members of the UK public and 1,610 members of the Which? panel) in May 2021.

Best entertainment shops

In our entertainment category - which includes shops selling books, games and music - Waterstones shoppers were particularly impressed and it was came top of the table.

Littlewoods.co.uk, Zavvi.co.uk trail at the bottom closely followed by supermarkets - Waitrose, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, along with discounter Poundstretcher,  troubled department store, Debenhams (which went into administration since we carried out our survey) and WHSmith.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best furniture and homeware shops

When shopping for furniture and homeware, you want to know that you're getting decent quality, great aftersales service and top-notch customer service.

Shoppers told us John Lewis shone on all three fronts, as well as several others, while Lakeland customers were particularly impressed by its range and availability of products and The White Company/Little White Company scored five stars for its product quality. 

We've named John Lewis (JohnLewis.com), Lakeland (Lakeland.co.uk) and The White Company/Little White Company (TheWhiteCompany.com) Which? Recommended Providers due to their excellent all-round performance.

Stores in the bottom five, including Sofology and Heals, only managed an uninspiring three stars on important measures including quality and value for money.

John Lewis (655)85%
Lakeland (149)84%
QVCUK.com (54)83%
-
-
White Company / Little White Company (75)82%
Marks & Spencer (365)81%
TK Maxx / HomeSense (306)80%
Ikea (650)80%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 11,632 adults - members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public - in September 2021.

Best household appliance shops

When you're buying white goods or a vacuum cleaner, you need to know you'll get excellent customer service both during the purchase and if something goes wrong.

In our latest survey, John Lewis (JohnLewis.com) was the only retailer to be named a Which? Recommended Provider in this category thanks to its excellent customer score, five-star product quality ratings and customer-friendly terms and conditions.

6=Amazon (1,053)78%
3AO (639)82%
33ApplianceCity.co.uk (72)60%
30=AppliancesDirect.co.uk (124)67%
8Argos (876)77%
19=Asda (352)72%
16=B&M (296)73%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the retailer and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 8,491 adults - members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public - in September 2021.

Best outdoor and sports equipment shops

Sports Direct got the lowest customer score and didn't achieve more than three stars for any rating. It only managed two stars for its guarantee and after sales service, and was the only retailer in this category to get two stars for its COVID-19 response which asked about survey respondents about factors such as in-store signage and online messaging. 

Rohan (Rohan.co.uk), however, received five stars for staff helpfulness and product quality as well as its guarantee, meaning you are likely to be well looked after while buying, as well as if something goes wrong. 

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best shoe and boot shops

This year, two shoe shops impressed customers enough to achieve Which? Recommended Provider status:

The store with the lowest customer score, Beales, was rated just two stars for quality, while the stores at the top of the table, including Skechers and Schuh, got a full five stars on this measure.

20=Adidas (416)74%
12=Amazon (634)77%
24=Asda/George (405)73%
15=Asos (268)75%
37Beales (59)58%
-
-
36Boundary Mills (70)62%
-
-
24=Charles Clinkard (68)73%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 7,654 Which? members in May 2021.

Best stationery, cards, crafts and gift shops

John Lewis (JohnLewis.com) was shoppers' favourite place to buy products in this category, with five-star product quality, customer service and in-store experience. 

WHSmith once again disappointed customers with its in-store experience, with one shopper describing stores as 'a bit of a shambles'.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 3,594 Which? members in January 2020.

Best tech shops

Richer Sounds (RicherSounds.com) is shoppers' favourite tech retailer, with an impressive customer score of 92%. It scored five stars on every measure: simply put, it's the place to go when you need to buy tech.

Unsurprisingly, we've named Richer Sounds a Which? Recommended Provider, along with fellow high-scorer John Lewis (JohnLewis.com).

1Richer Sounds (WRP, 116)92%
2John Lewis (WRP, 571)87%
3=Apple (600)81%
3=Samsung.com (150)81%
5Amazon.co.uk (1,231)80%
6Very.co.uk (151)78%
7AO (249)77%

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 7,133 UK adults (Which? Connect panelists and members of the public) in September 2021.

When things go wrong: best online shops for aftersales and complaints

Online shopping doesn’t always go to plan, but a problem with an online order shouldn't have to turn into a customer service nightmare.

We surveyed shoppers to find out how the biggest tech, lifestyle, DIY and fashion retailers fared when dealing with issues and complaints about online orders.

Screwfix and M&S scored five stars across the board, while Amazon and John Lewis scored five stars for helpfulness of customer service staff and access to customer support.

Almost all of the top overall performers scored four stars for accessible customer care and speedy resolutions - proving that fast, no-fuss customer service is enough to keep you on board even if an online order goes wrong.

Sports Direct, The Range and Carphone Warehouse found themselves at the bottom of the table, each scoring just one star for overall customer service. 

Adidas (152)
Amazon (1179)
AO (116)
Appliances Direct (71)
Argos (453)
Asda (160)
ASOS (178)

Table notes: sample sizes in brackets. Based on a survey of 5,053 members of the public in May 2021.

What makes the best shops stand out?

The top shops in our survey generally offer something above and beyond – whether that's help with choosing products, great after sales service or returns, or simply a first-class customer experience. 

Value for money is also key, particularly for everyday essentials. Our star ratings reveal how customers rated each retailer on these measures, and others.

These results can come in particularly handy if you need to buy a type of product you don't usually shop for, and also if you're looking to try out new retailers you might not have considered before now. 

We also name Which? Recommended Providers for each category. Only those with top customer scores, plus at least four stars for customer service and three for value for money, make the grade. 

What's more, we only allow stores to become Which? Recommended Providers if they give customers at least 28 days to return non-faulty goods. We exclude any retailers that give misleading or unclear information about faulty goods returns.