Kitchen sales: expert shopping tips
Sales can be a great way to save hundreds on your new kitchen. But are attractive deals too good to be true? And is there a best time of year to buy a new kitchen? We've done the research to arm you with the knowledge you need to get a cheap kitchen.
You might assume that the traditional peak sales periods – post-Christmas, around Easter and during the summer months – are good times to buy a kitchen. However, we've found that some stores eke out sales for months at a time and tinker with their prices almost constantly, meaning there isn't a single best time to buy.
We've collected kitchen quotes and scrutinised price variations and promotional messages from well-known kitchen brands, such as , , and , and have identified key tactics to side-step kitchen shops' ploys and put the buying power back in your hands.
What's more, following our assessments of kitchen units in the lab, we explain why materials and unit thickness can really make a difference to whether a kitchen is good value for money.
Which? members can to see all of our expert advice on this page. If you're not a member, you can now to gain access to this, as well as our to find out which kitchen brands are really valued by their customers.
Kitchens for sale: what we discovered
We examined prices and promotional messages from the big kitchen companies for a whole year, and found that there is really no 'best' time to buy a kitchen. Here are the key things to watch out for:
- Standard kitchen prices often fluctuated throughout the year, although significant changes tended to happen just before a sale - which meant that the 'sale' price was often the same as the standard price had been before the price change.
- Many kitchen companies ran almost constant offers, with a number having some sort of deal running on as many as 365 days of the year.
- Companies often ran multiple interlinked offers simultaneously, which made it nigh on impossible to work out whether a saving could be made, or whether it was worth it.
- Attention-grabbing headlines were used to pull buyers in, particularly for multi-buys that offered 50% or 60% off a kitchen if customers purchased five or more units.
- Countdown clocks weren't always clear about when their promotions were going to end, especially if there were two offers running at once and the countdown only applied to one of the offers.
Inconsistent kitchen quotes
To add a further layer of confusion for anyone trying to get a good kitchen deal, when we sent mystery shoppers to get a quote for a mid-range kitchen and fixed layout, we found that the way staff priced up the same kitchen and applied discounts varied widely. We found differences of up to 21% between the cheapest and most expensive kitchen quote based on the same customer request.
What to watch out for in the kitchen sales
- What to watch out for in the kitchen sales
- Getting the cheapest kitchen quote
- How getting the right kitchen quality can cut costs.
If you're not a member, you can now to gain access to all of this, as well as all our kitchen brand ratings and appliance reviews. Plus, discover which three well-known kitchen brands scored highly enough to get a Best Buy.
How to buy a second-hand kitchen
There are a lot of second-hand and ex-display kitchens available at cut prices. It's worth asking the big-name brands to see if they have any showroom kitchens they're discarding, particularly ideal if it's one you had your eye on anyway.
There are also a whole host of sites dedicated to used and end-of-line kitchens, such as , and , where you might even find a designer kitchen, as well as seller sites Ebay, Gumtree and even Facbeook Marketplace.
But you need to be careful you know what you're buying. Here's what to watch out for:
- Check your measurements - you don't want to pay for a kitchen that's not going to fit. You'll also have to utilise a layout that is already set, so won't be as flexible as one you design. Make sure it will work in your space, both technically and for your lifestyle.
- See as many images of it as you can - inside and out. You'll want to be sure you know what condition it is in. If you are aware that there are small issues that can be fixed, it could be cost effective. But if there are hidden disaster areas, you'll end up paying more to rectify them or start again.
- Find out as much information you can about how it is made, what materials were used, how long ago it was bought and the situation it's been used in. A kitchen made of less sturdy joins or materials that was bought many years ago and has been subject to use by a large family is likely to be on it's last legs. You can or to read more information on the sturdiest materials and joins.
- Certain elements of a kitchen can cost more, such as the cabinets themselves or the worktops, depending on the materials and finish you choose. It might, therefore, be cheaper to buy some parts second hand, but the rest new.
- Lastly, check who you are buying from as this will affect your rights. For example, is the purchase direct with a family? Or with the online retailer selling the kitchen? Take a look at our guide to to find out more.