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Your view: the difficult-to-use products that grind your gears

Angry man cartoon

Back in July we asked for your comments on the products that make your blood boil. Clearly there are a lot of awkward and difficult-to-use products out there, as we were flooded with feedback.

From radios to phones and kettles to microwaves, some products frustrate the hell out of you.

We’ve rounded up the easiest to use home and technology products in the October issue of Which? Magazine, including star buys and cheaper alternatives. Which? members can also go online to see even more products that are a doddle to use, including washing machines and laptops. But before you head off to find a stress-free product, take a look at these comments – I bet a lot will resonate with you…

Difficult-to-use products

Which? Convo regular Wavechange told us:

‘I had a Panasonic cordless phone with multiple handsets and the numbers have to be programmed into each handset, which is time consuming and really annoying since I’m the only user.’

Bechet shared his opinion on gadgets as a whole:

‘Incompatibility between gadgets drives me up the wall. Most modern gadgets have built-in obsolescence.’

And it’s not just tech products, home appliances can be a pain too. Irwin said:

‘The Dyson DC24 vacuum cleaner hose is too short to reach anywhere easily and is springy so you always seem to be fighting against it.’

Karen gets irritated by a couple of products:

‘Tassimo coffee maker that you have to move all the way across the worktop to access the water tank. It’s the same with the Bosch instant cup machine that you have to twist to get the water tank off.’

Ben isn’t happy with his microwave:

‘I have a Sharp combination microwave that I purchased mainly because of the large cavity. Frankly, I am considering selling it off, at quite a loss. What drives me up the wall? It is the stupid feature that switches off the display after only a minute or so of lack of input.’

Easy-to-use product shout outs

It’s not all bad news – we’ve also had some positive feedback about products you love. Susan recommends the John Lewis Spectrum radio:

‘It has the minimum number of buttons/dials and is really robust. Since I last bought one in 2011, John Lewis has extended the number of colours it comes in, so you can choose to suit your room! At £34.99 it is a bargain.’

And we’ve had numerous emails about cordless vacuum cleaners. Sheila said:

‘I bought a G-Tech cordless vacuum cleaner a few months ago and I am delighted with it. It is very light to lift and use, its performance is very good, it is easy to empty.’

So that’s some of the good and the bad – I now want to hear from you about both the easy- and the difficult-to-use products you live with.

Have you stopped using a product altogether because it was difficult to use?

Yes (68%, 740 Votes)

No (32%, 356 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,097

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I look forward to the October issue. Here is a further odd example of an annoying product that I only discovered after the survey – Carte D’Or ice creams whose container you can’t open. Walls recently changed the container to allow them to hold fancy toppings and bulky ice creams with even more air and less ice cream. Unfortunately although when the plastic container is empty and warm it is nice and flexible, when its full of ice cream and at -18C the new container is exceptionally hard to open. Even (after removing the tab) on levering with a screwdriver it can be a real struggle to get in. I bent a spoon handle trying to break in on my first attempt and now won’t buy it any more.

semprini says:
18 October 2014

I am considering returning my ipad for a refund, or asking for a discount, as on the product description it is advertised as having bluetooth, but it turns out the bluetooth will not connect to non apple devices. surely this is against competion laws, as bluetooth is an industry standard and not an apple invention!

I bought a Hoover Idol bagged stick vacuum cleaner and believed in the EU claimed ratings for hard floor pick up. “A” rated according to Hoover. “Z” rating in my book – I have never pushed a hard floor tool across a floor with so much difficulty until I had that Hoover. The floor heads supplied are frankly disgraceful for a machine that costs £300. The dust bags are minuscule and are hard to find other than buy direct from Hoover UK. Even after complaining to the brand about the standard floor heads, Hoover have sent out 2 other floor tools that are slightly better – but its about time Which had a look at the claimed EU data that vacuum cleaner brands are supplying. Bosch has already put in an injunction against Dyson for claimed test performance – the ratings on these new energy labels are not honest – they are supplied by the brands where the actual reality of the claimed data seems to be misleading and not entirely accurate.