Best kitchen brands
By Liz Ransome-Croker
Article 3 of 13
Discover the top brands for quality kitchen installation, including customer ratings for Ikea, John Lewis and Wickes.
How your fitted kitchen is installed is just as important as the kitchen itself - if it takes ages to be fitted or the work is shoddy, you certainly won't feel as though you've got what you paid for.
That's why we've surveyed thousands of customers about their kitchen installation. We asked customers to rate everything from the speed and quality of installation, to the amount of mess left behind, to the communication with their installer.
In the table below, you'll find ratings for installation services from five big brands – Ikea, John Lewis, Magnet, Wickes and Wren Kitchens – as well as local independent kitchen/DIY companies. You can also find out which kitchen firms people experienced the most installation problems with.
The top-scoring brand got a customer score for installation of 83%, while the lowest-scoring was 25 percentage points lower with just 58%.
Independent kitchen companies are defined as small companies not widely known outside a local area. Companies not listed here didn't have enough responses from customers for us to be able to rate them.
We also asked customers to rate their fitted kitchen overall, and put the kitchen units to the test in our lab. Find out the best and worst kitchen brands
Many kitchen companies offer a kitchen installation service, but with others you'll need to book an installer - either one recommended by the company or one you find yourself. The fitting service is sometimes included in the cost, but not always.
A third (34%) of the people we surveyed had their kitchen installed by the same company they bought it from. Another 13% used a company recommended by the brand they purchased from.
However, 19% found an installer themselves.
The DIY route is less popular - just 8% of people installed their kitchen themselves, and 5% got a friend or family member to do it. If you’re considering going down this route, keep reading to find out how easy people found it to install their own kitchen.
Choosing your kitchen installer
More than half of people who used the kitchen company to install their kitchen said it was because they wanted to use the same company for both and/or because the brand offered an at-home measuring and fitting service.
Some 44% said they trusted the retailer while 36% said it was the most convenient option. Just 3% said they had no choice but to use the same company to fit their kitchen.
For those who didn’t use the kitchen company to install their kitchen, the most common reason was that they preferred to choose their own installer. 29% said this. Another 14% said they always use the same tradesman. 9% said it was cheaper not to use the same company.
Kitchen installation problems
The majority of people (65%) didn't experience any problems with the installation of their kitchen. But of the people who did, the most common were:
We've also broken down likelihood of having the problems by brand, so that you can see which one people were most likely to have an issue with. Which? members can Log in to reveal the brands. Of, if you're not a member, you can join Which to instantly unlock this whole guide.
Kitchen installation checklist
Take the hassle out of having your new kitchen fitted and ensure the process goes smoothly with these tips on finding and using a good kitchen fitter:
- If the company you bought from is installing your kitchen, find out who exactly will be fitting it, as many companies sub-contract to third parties. You'll need to know who to contact if any problems or delays arise.
- If you're choosing a kitchen fitter yourself, use recommendations from previous customers and Which? ratings. Which? Trusted Traders lists tradespeople that have been through our rigorous assessment and also includes customer reviews.
- Check which technical services your kitchen fitter can provide (for example plumbing, gas and electrical work) and whether they charge extra for this.
- Ask your kitchen fitter to provide you with a work schedule, so you know what is happening on a day-to-day basis, and which traders or deliveries to expect and when.
- Find out where the installer plans to cut their materials – will they need to use space in your home, garden or garage?
- Find out if you will lose the use of your kitchen sink during the installation – how long will this be for, and will you have access to a temporary sink?
Installing your own kitchen
If you’re planning to install your own kitchen, knowing how easy – or difficult – others found it can help you plan.
We asked those who had installed their own kitchen to tell us how they found it, plus rated elements of installation in the lab including:
- Clarity of instructions
- Ease of building the units
- Ease of fitting handles
- Ease of fixing the unit to the wall and other units
- Security of fixing the unit to the wall and other units
Which? members can log in to find out which kitchen brands owners most commonly fit themselves, and how easy the lab rated installation.
Kitchen installation on test
As well as looking at the units themselves, we also built (where they were flat-pack) and installed the kitchens in our lab. We assessed the clarity of the instructions, how simple it was to build the units and drawers and attach the handles, how easy they were to fix to the wall and each other (if instructions and the right equipment was provided), and how secure the fixings were.
We didn't include the installation in our overall Best Buy assessment though, as installing a flat-pack unit is quite different to installing a pre-built one, and because there are a number of different ways in which a kitchen can be installed - by the company you bought it from, by an independent installer or by you.
Overall, five kitchen units were awarded Best Buys this year. Visit our page on kitchen Best Buys to find out which.
Which? kitchen installation ratings
To find out the best and worst kitchen brands for installation, we surveyed 2,228 Which? members online in May and June 2019 about the kitchen they bought in the last 10 years.
As part of this we asked then to tell us about their experiences with installing the kitchen. The overall installation customer score is based on how satisfied customers were with the installation, and how likely they would be to recommend it to a friend.
In June 2018, we also assessed three units (a base unit, wall cupboard and a drawer unit) from each kitchen brand possible, including how easy they are to install.
Find out more about exactly how we assessed the units by visiting our page on Which? Best Buy kitchens.