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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 ÂŁ299 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?


My cylinder vacuum cleaner made by AEG, slightly cheaper than
Bosch or Miele, of ’86 vintage is still good for use and its
suction power hasn’t diminished at all. Hoover cylinder vac that I
used before was not so good.

Likewise Husqvarna dishwasher bought in 1984 as is my
automatic rice cooker National bought in 1979, despite very
regular and even ‘rough’ use in the case of latter.

I think the Toshiba microwave- most expensive model-
I bought in 1983 was on the basis of a recommendation from
Which? that I used to read quite religiously as to every single

Even the best appliances are not necessarily without problems.

The extending tube on my Miele vacuum cleaner failed after a few months. The small plastic catch used to adjust the tube is obviously very flimsy, so I have avoided adjusting the replacement extending tube. Apart from that the cleaner seems to be very well built.

I’ve posted bfore about my appliances, but I’ll list again briefly for new readers:

Washer: Hoover Electron 1100 De Luxe, made in August 1983. Bought it second hand and reconditioned in 2007 after a disaster with LG rubbish. Never gone wrong yet
Previous Washer: LG WM1444TDS bought on Which? and EST recommendation in 2007 when previous Electron 1100, bought new in October 1983, went wrong for first time in it’s life in a way that was irreparable (the outer tub rusted through at the welded joint). LG used over 4 times as much electricity as the Hoovers, took almost 2 hours to do a non-fast-coloureds wash and going on for 3 hours for a Whites (60 degree) wash, did not rinse at all – might as well have saved the water and teh time by not pretending to rinse – and did not use any hot water intake even though advertised and tested as a hot and cold fill machine using my (solar) hot water to save energy. Blew up 3 times in less than 18 months, each time in a very spectacular fireworks display. LG service diabolical – including refusing to log the fault because the machine was not displaying an error code – which it could not as all the circuit boards were fried to a cinder. Sent he LG to the skip in early 2008 and got the second hand Hoover that’s still going strong.

Dishwasher: Miele. Had it for almost 5 years now. Superb. (Uses hot water from solar too!!!) Have to say tat this dishwasher is better than any I’ve had before: first was a Bosch / Hotpoint (when the two companies were related) bought in 1988. Brother -in-law still has and uses that but I found it poor at cleaning and being slim-line model could not take big items. Next Dishwasher was a Hoover bought in 2001. Had frequent electrical faults during it’s 5 year parts and labour warranty but did work very well indeed. Got rid of it when the same fault occurred again just out of warranty and Gias (Hoover Service) told me cost of non-warrantly repair was more than I’d paid for machine 5 years earlier. Got the Miele next.

Kettle: Swan Automatic bought by my great aunt in 1976 from Boots. Never even needed a new element yet and works so much better than modern ones.

Food Processor and Mixers: All Kenwood. Hand mixer bought 1986. Never any issues. Processor bought 2001. Switch has very recently become a bit iffy and doesn’t always operate the higher speed properly now. Mixer: Kenwood Chef. Bought in 2002 to replace an 1960’s Chef that had been given to me but which needed a new speed control and there are no Kenwood service dealers within 40 miles of me, and as I don’t drive that left me rather stuck, so I bought new. Old one had never gone wrong in it’s history with a relative and never went wrong for me until speed controller burnt out.

Vacuum Cleaners: I have several – I’m a bit of a collector! The main one that I use every day is a Hoover Junior model 119 bought new by my grandparents in somewhere between 1953 and 1957. I’m not sure exactly when. It was the only vac they ever had and I inherited it and, like them, have never ever had a fault yet. I also a have a 1960’s Hoover dustette which is as good as new and a 1950’s Hoover Commercial that I rescued form a shop that was putting it in a skip. I’ve had it 20 years and it’s never had a fault. I don’t know about it’s life before that.

My Fridge is LEC and bought in 1990. It’s been 100% reliable and never had any faults of any kind, but I must admit that the bottom of the door is rather rusty now and I think a new fridge is in order in the next 2 or 3 years.

Freezer: also LEC also bought in early 1990’s (1993 I think – can’t quite remember now). It replaced a Thorn freezer (bought in 1985) that had been very good but the compressor motor packed up and I was told it was obsolete – though I do have my doubts to be honest – less than 10 years for a freezer to last and then to find parts obsolete sounds a bit dodgy to me, but who knows.

Coffee Percolator: Russell Hobbs bought new in 1985 and never had any faults.

Irons are the most unreliable thing I’ve ever owned in the kitchen appliance field: I still have a superb 1974 Morphy Richards Senior dry iron which has never ever failed and works fine, but when I decided that I wanted a steam iron I first bought Rowenta in about 1998/9 ish and that only lasted 2 years before the element failed. I had it replaced (though the service shop were very unhappy and wanted me to buy new but I insisted on repair). Then about 3 or 4 years later the internal connector where the mains lead was terminated melted and there was a big flash and a band when the wires shorted. I repaired that myself. About 18 months ago it started to leak continuously so I went out and bought a new Morphy Richards steam iron. So far so good in terms of reliability but it’s nothing like as good as the Rowenta for actually doing teh job and it’s terribly flimsy compared to the Rowenta and the old Senior iron.

I don’t own many other appliances – I’m not gadget mad! I do have a hair dryer which is a Clairol and came from Argos in 1986. I used it daily until I had my very long hair cut off in 2003 and I’ve probably only taken it out of the drawer about 3 times since. Last time I wanted it it worked fine.

There you go! Sure someone can beat at least some of the ages above!

My Sanyo Microwave oven bought in 1987 is still going strong although its well back in the field given the functionality that current models offer.

Henry from Shottton says:
13 August 2013

Yes I have a Creda Micro-sensor microwave, thee handbook says it is 1984 but cannot find any power rating or anything else about it, but it works just fine..

I can contribute my a Philips washing machine from 1982. I’ve replaced the motor and pump, and did a temporary repair to the door catch at least five years ago, but it’s still working fine. My Belling electric cooker still works perfectly apart from the timer, and I have had to replace springs on the oven door. My Philips microwave, dating from around 1989, has only needed a replacement bulb.

If we are going to include infrequently used items, then I have a 1967 Bush TR146A transistor radio which I was given for passing my O-levels. Now if we are allowed to move into the lounge I could contribute my Cossor Melody Maker 500 valve wireless which dates from around 1950….

Lindsay says:
22 December 2011

Jackson tumble dryer 1973, serviced once about 25 years ago
Kenwood Chef 1972, serviced once years ago
Philips iron 1972
Braun coffe grinder 1971

My Bosch dishwasher bought in the late 1990s.Works well and, so far, has never had to be repaired.

My Bosch dishwasher was already old when I bought my place in the mid 90s. I’ve had to replace the top rack, but that’s all. It is still working brilliantly.

Pat Manley says:
22 December 2011

As a big treat, when we got married in 1969, we bought a Kenwood Chef and it’s still going strong. We had to buy a new plastic (acryllic?) lid for the bowl as it was crazed and then fractured. Absolutly no further problems.

B.Judd says:
22 December 2011

My Kenwood mixer bought in l969 is still going strong and for five years was used in our hotel daily. Also my Spong roasting tins are as good as new and they were bought in l963

Annie Rowe says:
22 December 2011

Microwave – Sharp from about 1989, very simple dial controls – easy to use and still works a treat!
Plus two from 1996:
1. Dyson DC02 vacuum cleaner, I’ve changed changed and washed the filters as directed and apart from needing a new brush it still works fine.
2. Panasonic 21″ TV, given to me by friends when they bought themsleves an ugly new Sony flatscreen TV. I’ve hooked it up to a digibox and it’s still going strong!

Julia says:
22 December 2011

My Fisholow tumble dryer was bought in 1965 and had one new heating element put in many years ago. I gather it’s rather basic in principal but it still works fine and dries clothes and towels well, so I keep it! My sister in law bought one about the same time and hers still works too.
Bosch washing machine is 19 years old and has been repaired only once. I made the mistake of paying a warranty on it for years – and its still going, long after the warranty ran out!

My Kenwood chef has been my trusty companion since the 1960’s. I have made hundreds of wedding cakes and icing with it and never had a problem. It doesnt owe me a thing. My daughter wants to buy one now…. I hope that it lasts as well.

Dermot0 says:
22 December 2011

I can offer a Creda double high level oven which was fitted when my house was built in 1985 and is still going strong, as opposed to the Hotpoint washer and (separate) tumble drier, both of which have had to be replaced twice ( the last time 6 years ago with Bosch machines which have not given any trouble.

I have a Matsui microwave oven that’s 21 years old & (touch wood) still going strong. It wasn’t expensive as I’d just bought my first house so could only afford a cheapy.

Matsui is to Currys what Cookworks is to Argos…. budget end stuff.

Was given a Matsui VCR long ago that seems to carry on and on
and on…. working.

Wendy L says:
22 December 2011

Won in a Woman’s Realm competition, a Kenwood Chef in 1971, used regularly but switch/speed control packed up August this year. Goodbye dear friend, the repair is too expensive.

Forty years regular use is long enough IMO…. I’ll see if my own Kenwood
FP contraption will last as long, but I’ll have to wait quite a while yet.

Our Philips Tumble Dryer from circa 1984 is still going, though it has needed a new thermostat and the timer no longer works properly. We should be ashamed, I suppose, for not taking enthusiastic part in the buy, throw, buy, throw cycle upon which our modern economic “system” relies.

Wendy B says:
22 December 2011

I have a Moulinex electric carving knife which was bought for me a sa wedding present in 1980 – it’s still going strong having carved our weekly joint, and more, for nearly 32 years..

I still have a Morphy Richards coffee mill bought in 1973, although it is more often used these days to grind up mealy flours for breadmaking that coffee beans. I had a Moulinex food processor for 20 years, which was ageing but still working when I replaced it last January with a new Which? Best Buy Magimix. I evidently had less luck than others with a Bosch washing machine, which replaced a 20-year-old Hoover in 2000 but itself lasted only 8 years – the engineer said the computer chip and circuit board had failed and it wasn’t worth the cost of repair, so I replaced it with a Miele which has been trouble-free so far, as well as being quieter and more energy-efficient than the Bosch.

I was given a Robot-chef in the late seventies and although I have now also got a Kenwood similar model, that also allows cake making (I also have a Kenwood Chef), for soups, crumble, breadcrumbs, grating and slicing etc it is to the old trooper I turn 99% of the time!
I had a secondhand Phillips washing machine for over 20 years, before it was finally beyond repair.
Electrical items just aren’t made to last any longer!

My Prestige Hi Dome pressure cooker was given to my Mother around 1950 and is still in use today.
Replacement seal rings and steam vent are the only items changed.
Also a Kenwood hand mixer bought in 1957 and still in use . Only the blades have been replaced on two occasions.

Mrs Janet M Peckham says:
22 December 2011

My Hoover steam iron which I bought in 1959 is still going strong and works far better than lots of “plastic” ones that my friends have.