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Is older better when it comes to kitchen appliances?

Old vacuum cleaner on retro carpet

New Which? research shows that some brands are significantly more reliable than others. We looked at cooking, cleaning, laundry and refrigeration appliances, but have you got an oldy that’s better?

Our new survey shows that if you own a cylinder vacuum cleaner made by Bosch, Miele or Numatic (makers of Henry machines), you’ll be faced with far fewer reliability problems than if you have a Hoover.

And LG and Miele fridge freezers have a much better overall reliability record than those made by Samsung.

Reliability and Best Buys

We know that reliability matters and that’s why, before awarding products with our coveted Best Buy status, we make sure that brands don’t have a poor reliability track record.

We also ask Which? members to tell us how satisfied they are with their products and whether they would recommend them to a friend. From this, we produce a customer score to show which owners are happiest.

Owners of Miele cylinder vacs give them the thumbs up with an impressive customer score of 87%. Which? members with Hoover cylinder vacs are less happy and give them a customer score of just 48%.

Oldest appliances in the country

Over 10,000 survey results tell us about the reliability record of products up to six years old, and the brands to go for now. But what about older machines?

We regularly hear about trusty old appliances that keep on going. They may need a bit of TLC and the odd repair, but it appears that up and down the country, plenty of old appliances are still delivering the goods for consumers.

When I started a Conversation about how hard it is to repair home appliances, your comments soon turned the trusty appliances that haven’t given up the ghost over the years:

‘My Toshiba microwave I bought in 1983 for £299 is still going strong apart from a bulb replacement done free within the five-year guarantee period,’ said Argonaut of the Seas.

Christopher Ninnis sang the praises of a Hotpoint washer dryer bought in 1978:

‘It has only just started to give up the ghost… sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I think the control unit is worn out – if I knew how to find the model number which has worn off I would try to get it repaired. I asked my local Hotpoint dealer if he could help, but he said buy a new one. Seems a shame to lose a trusty old friend.’

Tell us about your ancient appliances

Our research shows that these examples aren’t alone. Some Which? members are making tea with kettles from the 50s, drying their hair with hairdryers from the 60s and getting their dishes clean with dishwashers from the 70s.

So if your coffee maker pre-dates the Beatles’ first number one or your vacuum cleaner was bought before Hillary and Tenzing conquered Everest, let us know.

And with Christmas just around the corner, I’d also love to hear from the owner of the oldest oven or cooker cooking this year’s Christmas dinner? Can you beat the Gas Light Co. cooker from 1930?


Can add another Kenwood Chef – 1972 to the list. Back in the 80’s I stripped the cogs (forget how now, ice I think.) but repair remains good and have just produced a Christmas cake with it. My Sharp Microwave was bought in 1980 and I have an Electrolux Vacuum Cleaner Circa 1955 and a 1920’s wind up gramophone. I regularly use my grandmother’s bread tins and they date back to the beginning of the last century.

Jeanette r says:
20 September 2013

I too have a 1983 toshiba microwave. Used every day.

I have a few old appliances that I would never get rid of until they finally give up. An old Swan slow cooker that has just 90 watts for example – so cost effective and still works to produce beautifully cooked stews AND soups (tip, don’t bother buying a soup maker, a slow cooker is easier and cheaper to run). Someone bought me a Kenwood KMix hand mixer years ago, but it only gets used sometimes – I have a 17 year old Philips hand mixer that just keeps going and it is used a lot of the time, instead. Other great appliances are old traditional kettles, again low power but keeps hot boiled water hotter for longer and old stove kettles for those with gas hobs – so handy in a power cut.

Also old Kenwood Chef attachments are very robust and provided you have a classic model, most fit *though best to check with your model, not with Kenwood UK though as they tend to be misleading about info!

Mike Wood says:
27 August 2017

My wife and family went to South Africa in 1967, we bought a Frigidaire fridge freezer we move three times and then gave it to our son. It is now in our daughter’s garage in South Africa still working well. I don’t think any of the modern appliances will reach the same longevity.