Planning a kitchen
By Liz Ransome-Croker
Article 4 of 9
We explain how to find the best appliances for your new kitchen, with tips on what makes a great appliance, and what to avoid.
Costs can quickly escalate if you're planning on replacing your kitchen appliances during a kitchen refurbishment.
The good news is that our independent lab tests of kitchen appliances have shown that paying more for ovens, fridge freezers and other white goods doesn't necessarily guarantee better quality.
We've tested and rated hundreds of kitchen and laundry appliances – from toasters to tumble dryers – to find Best Buys that pair reliability with high performance and convenience.
To get started with your search for the right appliances, flick through our photo gallery below to see some options and typical prices for a wide range of appliances, from microwaves to freezers. Click on the links to go through to our reviews and full buying guides.
Use our independent kitchen appliance reviews and find the right Best Buy products at the best online prices.
When we asked 3,443 kitchen owners whether they regret anything about their kitchen in November 2017, 36% said they do. For 5%, their irritation was about the position of their appliances.
For nearly 100 people, it was down to their choice of appliance. This applied to ovens, hobs, dishwashers, extractor fans/cooker hoods, fridges and fridge freezers.
Some wish they had chosen more built-in appliances. One commented: 'I regret not having more integrated appliances, such as a dishwasher and washing machine.' Others said that they had opted for the wrong size of appliance, meaning it doesn't suit their family's needs.
Lastly, it is the low quality of the appliance that really got some of our kitchen owners irate. One said: 'I wish I had paid more for better quality appliances.'
But, as our gallery above shows, you don't have to spend a fortune to get the right appliance. To make sure you don't feel let down by your choice, visit our kitchen appliance reviews, where you can see how popular models did in our rigorous lab test.
Each category also includes how to buy pages, explaining the different types and pros and cons of each, and expert advice from our years of experience in testing appliances.
Before you decide on the type of appliance you want, make sure you know what size will fit in your new kitchen or current space. This table shows you the range of sizes for different appliances.
|Appliance dimensions (HxWxD)|
|Cooker||Fridge/Freezer||Dishwasher (full/slimline)||Washing machine/tumble dryer||Built-in oven|
Visit our kitchen planning page for more advice on measuring out your kitchen and thinking about the layout.
At the Which? test lab we rate more products more thoroughly than any other organisation in the UK. We test products the way you use them at home. For example, a Best Buy dishwasher has to get plates that have been smeared with baked-on egg, spinach and oats sparkling clean.
Fridge freezers only get our expert seal of approval if they can maintain an even temperature across all their shelves, and built-in ovens need to prove they can heat up to the right temperature quickly and accurately.
The worst products we test receive our Don't Buy logo, to help you avoid the products that fail to live up to their claims.
We've found huge difference between the best and worst models - some hobs are very poor at distributing heat around the bottom of a saucepan, and some cookers overheat by 20°C or more.
To build up a full picture of whether an appliance is worth the money, we conduct a wide range of tests so that we can find out if:
There is really enough usable space inside the appliance
The amount of space the manufacturer claims an appliance has inside isn't always accurate, particularly for products such as cookers and fridge freezers. We use props, such as fake turkeys and roast potatoes, to measure oven space so we can reveal how much food you'll really be able to fit in.
It can heat or cool food evenly
For any cooking appliance, its main task is to heat food evenly. But not all do. When we cook food in a microwave, for example, we check to see whether it will really cook the food throughout, without drying it.
It has reasonable running costs
As well as how well an appliance can do the job it's intended for, we also check how much it will cost you to run. An inefficient fridge freezer could cost you £620 more than an efficient one over 10 years of use.
Our reviews help you choose the very best appliances at the best prices. They also include buying guides to help you choose what type of appliance you need, and our comparison tools help you select models that suit your home and lifestyle.
Alongside our reviews we display customer feedback scores and reliability ratings for all the major kitchen appliance brands.
For each type of appliance, thousands of Which? members have told us how happy they are with the brand they've chosen, and the resulting customer scores vary considerably. For example, the top-rated built-in oven brand has a 81% customer score, while the bottom got only 45%; the highest-rated dishwasher brand scores 89%, but the bottom just 55%.
We also ask customers about the reliability of their appliance and the faults that have occurred, so we can give brands a reliability star rating and an overall score. This can impact on whether an appliance can earn our Best Buy recommendation. Only those brands that marry a high reliability rating or long warranty with high test scores can get our Best Buy logo.
Don't miss our full Which? kitchen appliance reviews.