The proliferation of appliance brands and similarities between products on the market can make it hard to know who, or what, to trust. Personal experience is a great guide when it comes to knowing what to expect from a particular brand. But if you’re new to the market or looking to try something new, how do you decide which brand to buy?
Recommendations from other consumers can save you some time and heartache by highlighting brands that consistently rate well. Canstar Blue has taken this to the next level by regularly surveying thousands of Australians to seek their opinions about the household appliances they currently own and use. Their experiences are reflected in our annual customer reviews. So, if you want to know which brands really cut the mustard, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article we’ll look at Australia’s favourite brands for:
- Washing Machines
- Clothes Dryers
- Vacuum Cleaners
Miele cleans up in satisfaction ratings
In 2017, one appliance brand generally shone brightest – Miele. While not known as a particularly cheap brand, Miele evidently leaves a lot of Aussie customers satisfied with their purchases. Miele is a German manufacturer wheeling and dealing in a lot of different appliances, big and small. Many of its products are still made in Germany, known for being durable and reliable, while also water, energy efficient and ease to use. Miele was rated five stars for overall satisfaction in 2017 in the following categories:
- Vacuum cleaners
- Front load washing machines
This goes to show that consumers just like you see the benefit of paying a little extra for quality. Cheap appliances can certainly do a job for you in the short-term, but if you want long-term value, it could pay to spend more upfront.
Let’s go into detail about Miele’s recent success and find out which other brands have been impressing in 2017.
Front Load Washing Machines – Miele
As mentioned earlier, the top-rated brand in this year’s top loader washing machine ratings was Miele. Miele’s front loaders are not known for being particularly cheap, with prices starting at around $1,000 and going up to more than $5,000, but what wins consumers over is that they are known to be reliable, perform well, are pretty quiet, and just do the job well without any fuss.
- Doing all the hard work inside is the ‘TwinDos’ detergent system, which analyses the load and dirt level to dispense just the right amount of detergent. This system won our 2016 Innovation Award, and it’s easy to see why.
- Many washers boast 4 stars or better for water and energy efficiency. Water consumption is as low as 60L per cycle.
While you won’t find any huge-capacity front loaders in Miele’s range, what you will find are sub-10kg models that do the job simply and effectively. You also get a two-year manufacturers’ warranty to back it up. See our full front load washing machine report here.
Top Load Washing Machines – Fisher & Paykel
Fisher & Paykel is a New Zealand company that has gone on to take on the world with its tech-forward appliances. Its top loader washing machines generally fall into one of three categories – WashSmart, FabricSmart and CleanSmart. As the names suggest, each cater towards different strengths. WashSmart models feature super-fast wash cycles as little as around 15 minutes. FabricSmart models are designed to be ‘gentle on clothes’, while CleanSmart models use the latest grime-busting technology to get rid of tough stains.
- Again, Fisher & Paykel is not known as a particular cheap brand, with prices starting at around $700, but many models cost $2,000 or more.
- Many models boast class-leading water and energy efficiency ratings, which is noteworthy given that top loaders tend to use more water than their front loader counterparts.
Fisher & Paykel top loaders were praised for their performance and reliability, ease of use, design and features in our 2017 customer ratings. See the full report here.
Clothes Dryers – Simpson
Clothes dryers get a bad rap for being energy-wasting appliances, with some models costing as much as $3 in electricity per cycle to run! However, with smart use, dryers can be a good option for when the sun isn’t shining or if it’s cold outside. Aussie brand Simpson is a favourite among Aussie customers and is known for being a cheap, yet effective, brand. While you likely won’t get the high-tech features some other brands are known for, you’ll get a product that’s easy to use and effective. Simpson clothes dryers are generally simple in design, and don’t use any heat pump or gas technologies to mitigate energy use, but the end result is a cheaper product.
- Simpson clothes dryers can be had from as little as $300, and most of the time don’t cost more than $500.
- The 5kg unit (39S500M) consumes 231kWh, which gives it a 1.5-star energy rating. So consider that a cheaper upfront price will mean higher ongoing energy costs.
The basic functionality and low energy ratings of Simpson clothes dryers wasn’t enough to sway owners, with customers praising the brand in terms of performance and reliability, and drying time. However, it rated four stars on value for money, with premium brand Fisher & Paykel the only recipient of five stars in this area. That gives you something to think about! Read our full 2017 clothes dryers report here.
Dishwashers – Miele
Miele once again cleaned up in this year’s dishwasher ratings, earning five stars from customers across all research categories. Miele produces a wide range of freestanding, built-under, semi-integrated and fully-integrated dishwashers to suit a variety of different households. And despite their lofty price tags, Aussie consumers are clearly happy that Miele dishwashers represent good value.
- Prices start at around $1,200 and can exceed $4,000
- Miele dishwashers usually boast 5 star water ratings, consuming as little as 11-12L per cycle
Like the rest of its appliances, Miele’s dishwashers generally shy away from gimmicky features, instead focusing on effectiveness and ingenuity. Customers seem to Miele dishwashers for their performance, internal layout, design and quietness. That last category is particularly noteworthy, as its dishwashers can be as quiet as 40dB, which is a little louder than a whisper and quieter than moderate rain falling on a roof. See our full dishwashers report here.
Ovens – Bosch
Another German appliance brand, Bosch produces anything from alternators for your car, to hand drills to pretty much any appliance you can name, including ovens. Bosch ovens are known for reliability and ingenuity and offer many different models, including both single built-ins and double built-ins.
- As you might expect, prices aren’t exactly cheap, with most Bosch ovens retailing for in excess of $2,000. Double ovens generally cost more, starting in the upper $2,000 price range.
- Bosch has a range of pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens and ones with ‘HotAir’ Eco modes, aimed at energy efficiency, especially with baking.
Bosch was a clear winner, rated five stars for overall satisfaction in our 2017 ovens review. Customers loved Bosch ovens for their performance, reliability, functionality, design, ease of cleaning, and not to mention value for money. Even though customers were spending a fair bit, they clearly saw their oven as an investment. Seeing as ovens are often in the home for 10+ years, not scrimping on the purchase price may actually save you in the long run. Our full ovens report can be found here.
Fridges – Hisense & LG
Australians were enamoured with two brands of fridges in our ratings – Hisense and LG – but for slightly different reasons. Hisense is known for producing slightly cheaper products to the big boys, while LG is known for producing tech-forward fridges with fancy features. Hisense makes a variety of top-mount, bottom-mount and French door fridges, like any big brand. Sizes skew towards the larger end of the scale, with many above 600L – enough for the whole family.
- Hisense fridges offer big capacities for low prices. 600L models can be had for as little as around $1,300, and feature ice makers and other features. This usually comes at the expense of energy efficiency, as these big fridges usually consume over 600kWh.
LG is slightly more expensive, but for your money you also get big capacities and technology designed with efficiency in mind. Its 700L+ models consume similar amounts of energy (600kWh-ish) as Hisense’s 600L varieties.
- LG fridges are more expensive, with few costing less than $1,000, while bigger models fetch up to $4,000.
The two brands stood out in different specific areas in our 2017 review, but both achieved the important overall rating of five stars. Read the details for yourself here.
Vacuum Cleaners – Miele
If you’re looking for something that really sucks, have you considered a Miele vacuum cleaner? Aussies love their Miele vacuum cleaners and are obviously willing to spend a little more to get known quality. Miele produces a range of cylinder, upright, and robot vacuums. Many boast high-powered motors of 2000W or more, and some are class-leading for weight, weighing 6.5kg or less. Like the rest of the Miele appliance range, there aren’t any whizz-bang features or laserbeams or anything of the sort. But what you get is straightforward performance with durability.
- Aussies are clearly willing to pay a bit more for a quality vacuum cleaner, as most Miele models cost more than $500, while some are priced over $1,000.
Consumers praised Miele vacuums for their quietness, effectiveness and ease of storage. It also scored top marks in terms of value for money, which may prove that price isn’t everything when it comes to a good vacuum cleaner. See the full 2017 report here.
Televisions – Samsung
Samsung TVs took out top spot in our TV ratings, which is perhaps unsurprising given the South Korean company’s huge presence in the LED/LCD TV space. Samsung stands out for its tech-forward and high-performing TVs, and most notable is the QLED range. QLED basically means the TV uses a quantum dot display on an LED panel. Quantum dots can enable over a billion colours – far more than a human eye can differentiate. Users could find that in high-brightness and fast-moving shows and movies, there is better colour accuracy.
- Samsung produces a huge range of TV sizes and classifications, but basic 24” models start at around $450, while most HD TVs above 50” cost over $1,500. The most expensive in Samsung’s range is an 88” Smart 4K curved TV, which costs nearly $30,000.
- In our survey, we found the average customer spend was about $1,500-$1,600.
Customers loved Samsung’s TVs for their picture and sound quality, ease of use and extra functions. It did, however, rate only three stars on value for money. While Samsung is not a cheap brand of TV, if you want uncompromising home theatre or just a good quality TV, Samsung may be the brand for you.
Other Appliance Brands Australians Love
Aside from the large items above, Australians also loved a wide variety of brands of smaller appliances. In this case, these brands of microwaves, coffee machines, blenders and clothes irons may look right at home on your kitchen counter… or ironing board.
- Blenders – Nutri Ninja
- Clothes Irons – Tefal
- Microwave Ovens – Breville
- Coffee Machines – Nescafe Dulce Gusto
Australians willing to spend more on quality appliances
If there’s one thing to take away from this review, it’s that there’s one common theme among pretty much all customers and all appliance categories. And that is that many people see value in spending a bit more money to get known quality. While it’s tempting to just go out and buy the cheapest brand of whatever you’re after, the numbers say that there is merit in spending more. After all, you probably get what you pay for.
In the case of Miele, the company is not known for being cheap – rather, quite expensive. However, Australians still see great value in its appliances. Spending more usually equates to a more durable or better-performing product, better features, and ease of use. These companies pump time and money into developing products that customers love, so in many cases prices are well justified.