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Home & garden.

Updated: 22 Apr 2022

Best kitchen appliances: how to buy the right items for your home

We explain how to find the best appliances for your new kitchen, with tips on what makes a great kitchen appliance and what to avoid
Paula Flores
Painted wooden kitchen cabinets painted grey and black with wooden worktops

If you're planning to replace your kitchen appliances during a refurbishment, costs can rapidly start to rise. But our independent lab tests 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 Which? Best Buys that pair reliability with high performance and convenience. Our rigorous tests and expert buying tips can help you find the right ones for you. 

Keep scrolling as we run through essential and non-essential kitchen appliances and how much you should expect to pay. Plus, we've spoken to thousands of kitchen owners to see what they regret about their choices.

If you're in the market for a new appliance, find out the best and worst large appliance brands, as rated by the people who own them.

Best kitchen appliances: essentials

Kettles

You might not have thought much about your last kettle, given how cheaply you can pick one up for. But it's worth doing your research because a good one – that's well-taken care of – can last a decade or more. 

Kettles can cost up to £200, but Best Buy and Eco Buy models start from a much more reasonable £18. 

They come in metal, glass or plastic and with a variety of extra features these days, from quiet boil to multi-temperature settings for a range of delicate teas.

Toasters

Toaster prices can vary significantly and some go up to £150. 

If you're not quite passionate enough about toast to want to spend that much, Best Buy toasters start from £10. 

You can get more than 12 years out of a toaster, and avoid problems such as uneven browning, broken levers and jammed crumb trays if you pick a decent one and clean it out regularly. 

Built-in ovens

Built-in ovens come as single or double, and gas or electric. A single model will probably fit anywhere in your kitchen, whether that's under a counter or slotted into an eye-level cabinet. Investing in a double obviously means you can have two ovens running at once, which could be handy for larger households, but will probably mean less flexibility over where it will fit.

A good built-in oven should last you for a decade or more. Prices can vary massively, thoug. Dome built-in ovens cost as little as £160, while others can soar beyond the £1,000 mark.

Pricier built-in ovens have a range of extra features, such as self-cleaning functions. Several of our Best Buys cost less than £300.

Essential kitchen appliances: a built-in oven

Hobs

If you buy a built-in oven, you'll need a separate hob. You can get a gas or electric hob, with one to five burners (rings). There are glass, ceramic, solid plate or induction versions, and they range in price from £80 to a staggering £2,000. A number of Best Buy hobs cost less than £300, though.

Freestanding cookers

Freestanding cookers come as gas, electric or dual-fuel models (with an electric oven and a gas hob). Some electric-only models have an induction hob.

Both gas and dual-fuel cookers need to be installed by a Gas Safe-registered engineer

The cheapest freestanding cookers cost as little as £150, whereas some can set you back more than £1,000. But it's worth noting that the more you spend, the more features you'll get.

Essential kitchen appliances: a freestanding cooker

Range cookers

Range cookers can cost as much as £2,500, but they do offer a lot of cooking space. There are three different widths of range cooker – 90cm, 100cm and 110cm. As with standard freestanding cookers, you can get gas, electric or dual-fuel models.

Gas range cookers are the cheapest to run, but dual-fuel cookers are the most popular type – they have a gas hob and an electric oven. Electric range cookers have an electric hob and electric oven.

Fridge freezers

You can buy a standard fridge freezer for as little as £200. Or you could pay thousands for an American-style fridge freezer. If you're completely redesigning your kitchen, it's a good idea to decide what type you want in the early stages when you're planning the layout. 

Essential kitchen appliances: an open fridge freezer

Cooker hoods

A capable cooker hood will make light work of eliminating odours and steam when cooking. The best we've seen will also prevent grease from settling on your worktop.

Cooker hoods come in a few styles: built-in, integrated (hidden away), chimney (on a wall) or freestanding (away from a wall) and cost up to £1,000. Our tests have found you don't have to spend more than £300 to get a great one, though.

Best kitchen appliances: non-essentials

Dishwashers

Full-sized dishwashers can wash up to 150 items, while slimline and compact models are more limited – up to 100 or 40-60 items, respectively. You can pick between freestanding and integrated dishwashers, or a small countertop dishwasher that sits on your kitchen work surface.

Dishwashers can cost as little as £150, but most models are around £300 to £600. But we've found plenty of Best Buy models for less than £400.

Microwaves

You can get built-in or freestanding microwaves. Some only offer microwave cooking, but others also offer oven-cooking or grill functions. 

They can cost as little as £35, although our tests show that some cheap models struggle to defrost and heat food evenly. Built-in microwaves cost nearer £200.

Best laundry appliances

Washing machines

Washing machines range in capacity from 5kg (big enough for 16 shirts) to 12kg (38 shirts). They come with a variety of programs, but most people only need the cottons and synthetics washes.

If you choose carefully, you can spend less than £300 on a top-notch new model.

Washing machine and laundry baskets

Tumble dryers

A tumble dryer can be useful to help dry your clothes quickly and keep them soft, if you have the space for one. However, tumble dryers can cost a lot to run: the worst we've tested cost more than £120 a year, and the best around £25. 

You can pick between a vented, condenser or heat-pump tumble dryer. Vented models are typically the cheapest, although you'll need to feed a hose through a wall or window to pump out damp air. Condenser tumble dryers don't need a hose, but you'll need to empty the container frequently. Heat-pump tumble dryers are the most sustainable option, but again you'll need to empty the water tank.

Fitted kitchens: Which? readers share their experiences

As part of our latest kitchens survey in 2021, we quizzed more than 4,000 respondents who had bought a fitted kitchen since 2011. The comments we collected covered fitted kitchens from big-name brands, including B&Q, Howdens, Ikea, John Lewis and Magnet.

When asked how long it took for theirs to be delivered, the largest group of respondents (29%) told us it took one month. Some other buyers weren't as fortunate, however – 11% waited three months for theirs to arrive. In cases where delivery took longer than expected, reasons for the wait included low stock, damage in transit or Coronavirus delays.

White fitted kitchen with dark featuresen

Of the 236 respondents who told us they installed their own fitted kitchen, 68% told us the job was 'fairly easy', while 14% described the task as 'very easy'. 

We also asked buyers if they had any issues after the installation was completed. The majority of respondents, 70%, reported no problems. Of those who did have an issue, reasons included failing door mechanisms (19%), loose hinges (17%) and scratched worktops (14%).

Our survey also found that haggling when buying can save you a tidy sum. In fact, when asked what they did to reduce spending, 21% of people told us they negotiated on the cost. Another 13% said they negotiated a package with the other units or elements (worktops and appliances, for example). 


 Thinking of buying a new kitchen? Use our reviews of the best kitchen brands to help guarantee good quality and value for money


Regrets when buying a fitted kitchen

At the start of 2021, we surveyed more than 1,000 members of the Which? Connect panel to gather information on fitted kitchen regrets. Here, we've rounded up some of the most common responses:

  • Not enough space on kitchen worktops Nearly one in 10 respondents said they regretted not having more kitchen worktop space
  • Not enough kitchen storage Around 6% of fitted kitchen owners told us they needed more space. To make the best of the space you have, carefully consider the layout of your kitchen
  • Not enough kitchen power sockets Make sure you have sufficient sockets for your large appliances, including the cooker, fridge, freezer, washing machine and dishwasher. You should use a qualified electrician for any electrical work and avoid overloading sockets
  • Position of the kitchen cabinets Getting your cabinets in the right position is key to making your kitchen practical and functional. Around 4% of respondents told us they hadn't got this right

Visit our kitchen planning page for more advice on measuring and thinking about the layout.

Kitchen appliance measurements

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.

Below, we've calculated the average height, width and depth of kitchen appliances we've tested in our lab during 2021.


Built-in oven
Fridge freezer
Dishwasher
Washing machine
Height (cm)
60cm 182cm84cm84cm 
Width (cm)
56cm68cm56cm 60cm
Depth (cm)
55cm67cm58cm 61cm

Why you can trust our kitchen appliance reviews

We assess more products more thoroughly than any other organisation in the UK. We test products in the way you would use them at home. For example, a Best Buy dishwasher has to get sparkling clean results on plates that have been smeared with baked-on egg, spinach and oats. Meanwhile, the worst products we test are made Don't Buys, to help you avoid the products that fail to live up to their claims.

Best buy and don't buy logos

With a rising focus on sustainability, the cost and the environmental impact of running appliances, you should also look out for our Eco Buy logo. This highlights products that successfully marry performance with superb energy efficiency in our tests and strong brand reliability. It's based on what Which? members told us mattered most when making a sustainable product buying decision: how long it lasts, energy and water use, and repairability.

Eco Buy logo

Differences between the best and worst kitchen appliances

We've found huge differences between the best and worst models in each category. For example, 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.
  • Cooking appliances 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. 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.

Buyers on a budget will be pleased to hear that you don't have to spend a fortune to get the right appliance. To make sure you don't end up feeling let down by your choice, visit our kitchen appliance reviews to see how popular models did in our rigorous lab tests.