A soup maker described as “showstopping” has been named Which?’s product of the year for 2021, in a diverse list that includes a plant-based laundry detergent, an £8 smart plug and a super-lightweight folding e-bike.
Each year the consumer champion looks back at the thousands of products it has tested over the previous 12 months, from smartphones to mattresses, washing machines, pushchairs, electric vehicles and everything in between. Which?’s experts then seek to compile a list of the top products of the year across all these categories.
This year’s list – whittled down from around 4,500 to just 50 – includes the items that impressed Which? judges the most on any of a range of criteria, including innovation, sustainability and value for money.’
The surprise winner – emerging ahead of the latest tablets, cars and smartwatches, was the Morphy Richards Clarity soup maker (£70). Which? judges decided this soup maker does its fundamental job so extraordinarily well that it was “near-perfect”.
The Clarity takes only 21 minutes to make silky smooth soup for up to four people. Which? said it was so far ahead of every other soup maker they tested that the others “may as well not exist”.
The Zanussi ZWF843A2DG washing machine (£399) was in second place, Which? testers were impressed that, while costing around £200 less than the average machine, such an affordable washing machine made clothes so spotless.
Completing the top three was the Apple Macbook Pro M1 laptop (£1,199). Despite the M1 chip powering this laptop being more like that of a smartphone, Which? experts found it handled complex tasks effortlessly and its 16 hours battery life “felt like magic”.
The cheapest product in the top four was Method wild lavender laundry detergent (£6.50). Which?’s judges said this was the first time an eco-friendly, plant-based detergent was able to shift so much grass, food and mud in testing, and without ever dulling the colour of the garments that it washed.
At number nine, the Garmin 55 Forerunner Smartwatch (£160) marries the best elements of a fitness tracker and smartwatch to create an effective hybrid wearable – that costs £100 less than the average for its category.
Among the quirkier items included in the list was the Eovolt City One folding bike (£1,399) at number 22. Which? researchers were amazed by the “cat’s cradle of bars, wires and spokes” that could unfold in a mere 18 seconds despite still being one of the lightest folding e-bikes available.
At number 33 was the Shark NV602UKT upright vacuum cleaner (£170). While cylinder vacuums tend to perform better than upright models, Which? testers found that this machine is the exception to that rule and described it as having “staggering suction” with dust and debris buried deep in carpet fibres “sucked away like Dorothy being taken to Oz”.
Another of the cheapest products in the Which? top 50 was the TP-Link Tapo P100 smart plug at £8 which came in at number 36. Which? testers said that even though it is one of the cheapest smart plugs, it still sets timers and routines so devices come on and off automatically – making other products in the home that bit smarter.
Harry Rose, Editor, Which? magazine, said:
“How does a soup maker beat the latest smart gadgets and electric vehicles to be crowned Which?’s product of the year? Simply by doing its job so extraordinarily well that it’s near-perfect – something every product should aspire to.
“Our testing covers thousands of items and whittling them down to just 50 is a huge task – but this year’s list shows Which? can offer you a recommendation for almost anything, whether you are looking for a product to be good value for money, environmentally friendly or the latest in high tech innovation.”
Notes to editors
Which?’s top 10 products of the year (prices correct as of October 2021):
- Morphy Richards Clarity soup maker (£70)
- Zanussi ZWF843A2DG washing machine (£399)
- Apple Macbook Pro M1 laptop (£1,199)
- Method wild lavender laundry detergent (£6.50)
- LG OLED55G16LA TV (£1,599)
- Russell Hobbs Classic Glass Kettle (£30)
- Ikea Tillreda Microwave (£50)
- Bosch SMV6ZCX01G Dishwasher (£799)
- Garmin 55 Forerunner Smartwatch (£160)
- Apple IPad Mini (2021) (£480)
Full list available here: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/12/the-which-top-50-products-of-the-year-2021/
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation, we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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