A vacuum cleaner that really sucks, a blender that makes a racket better than it makes smoothies and a smoke alarm and car that raised serious safety concerns have been named among Which?’s worst products of the last year.
Each year the consumer champion tests thousands of products from cars to coffee machines, smartphones to e-scooters, pushchairs to printer ink to find the best products to recommend, and those to avoid at all costs.
Products that fail Which?’s rigorous safety tests or perform poorly in performance tests are then labelled Which? Don’t Buys.
In the last 12 months, 135 products were labelled as a Don’t Buy by Which? experts who then chose 10 of the worst offenders to compile a list of duds that shoppers should steer well clear of.
One of the worst products tested by Which? in the last 12 months is a smoke alarm that was unable to detect fire in a range of scenarios, replicating house fire conditions. The DIGOO DG-SA01 costs less than £10 but Which? experts found it to be completely unresponsive and would therefore pose a danger in the case of a fire.
Those looking to buy a safe and reliable product should rest assured that Which? found great models for less than £20 including the £17 FireAngel ST-622.
Also deemed to be one of the worst products tested by Which? experts over the last 12 months is the Mamas & Papas Luxury Twin Spring Cotbed Mattress which failed several safety tests. Despite costing £229, Which?’s expert testing uncovered risks of potential entrapment, choking and (after durability tests) suffocation risk.
According to Which?’s testing a much safer and cheaper alternative is the Cuggl Hypoallergenic Sprung Mattress at £60.
In terms of cars to steer well clear of, the Dacia Sandero Stepway (£12,995) despite passing safety tests required by law falls foul of Which?’s ‘instant Don’t Buy’ rule for cars rated three stars or less in Euro NCAP crash tests which go further than the legal requirement.
Cheaper small cars are often not as good at accident prevention and lack the ability to detect vulnerable road users such as cyclists or pedestrians, the Suzuki Swift at £15,440 stands out as a small car with an NCAP rating of four stars.
Also standing out for all the wrong reasons is the £270 Bush BFSLSAE9W, a dishwasher so bad at cleaning that Which? experts said ‘you might as well throw your money down the drain’ as in all likelihood dishes would need to be rewashed by hand.
A fraction cheaper and excellent at blasting away dirt and grime according to Which?’s tests is the Amica ADF450WH at £269.
When it comes to TVs, the Hisense 32A4GTUK (£179) has a mediocre screen and is comfortably the ‘worst sounding TV of 2021’ according to Which?’s TV experts.
Unfortunately Which? testing has found that out of the few small TVs left on the market none are really worth spending money on so it’s worth upsizing to a 43-inch screen if you need a new TV. Which? Experts recommend the LG 43UP81006LA at £339.
When it comes to wireless headphones, the Urbanears by Alby (£40) are the worst tested by Which? over the last 12 months. Not only is the sound terrible, anyone using them would struggle to make themselves heard above background noise if used to make a call.
A much better option for an extra £5 is the Huawei FreeBuds 4i for better sound quality and effective noise cancelling.
In terms of washing machines, the Haier HW90-B14959S8U1 at £450 combines poor stain removal with excessive water use and a short wash, and it struggles to lift even everyday dirt.
The Samsung WW90T554DAW is £50 cheaper and does a great job of cleaning clothes.
The Salter Cosmos EK4383 (£39) is not only the worst blender tested by Which? in the last 12 months but the worst blender ever included in the consumer champions tests according to experts. It makes an excruciating racket while struggling to make a decent smoothie and is one of the least user-friendly models seen by Which?.
For £50 the Tefal Blendforce BL420840 gets the basics right and offers good value for money.
When it comes to cordless vacuum cleaners, avoid getting sucked in by the Shark Wand Vac at £149, Which? tests revealed it only managed to lift about a quarter of dust and was deemed absolutely terrible when it came to pet hair.
The Tineco A10 Hero at £179 is an excellent alternative. It’s brilliant at cleaning all floor types and is easy to use, too.
For £1,000, one might think they would be buying a solid product but the sound produced by the Klipsch Cinema 800 sound bar was described by Which? testers as ‘mangled’.’
At a fraction of the cost, the Samsung HW-A550 at £199 produces a far superior sound.
Harry Rose, Which? magazine Editor, said:
“No one wants to feel conned when they buy something new and with the cost of living continuing to soar it’s more important than ever to get a product that lasts and we’ve found more often than not you can get a good product that won’t cost you the earth.
“We don’t just highlight the best products to buy, we also name and shame the worst products. Our Don’t Buys based on our robust, lab-based product testing and our complete independence so you know it’s advice you can trust.”
Notes to editors:
Out of the thousands of products tested, Which? published 135 new Don’t Buy products between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.
Which? Experts were asked to then pick the worst in 28 different categories. The 10 that stood out the most were then chosen to compile this list.
Don’t Buy logos are typically given to products with an overall test score of less than 40% or 45%, but may also be awarded when serious health and safety issues are detected by Which? tests.
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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