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Have you tried an Aldi or Lidl ‘special buy’ appliance?

Appliances

Pop into Aldi or Lidl for your weekly shop and you might spy a tempting ‘special buy’ piled up in a corner. Both stores have a tradition of selling cheap gadgets for a limited time. Some of these products have impressed us – but what have your experiences been at home?

From hedge trimmers to coffee machines, these products are usually a bargain price compared to bigger brands.

But, Lidl and Aldi products rarely make it into our full lab tests as they’re only available for such a short time, meaning that by the time we’ve tested them they’ve already gone – incidentally, if you’re on the hunt for a high-spec pressure washer then Aldi has one for £80 on sale from Monday!

As part of our home appliance research team, I’ve tried a number of these products out to share with you our first impressions on these products and give a steer on which ones are worth buying.

Special buys

I’ve tried out gadgets including a £15 Lidl cordless iron and an £80 Lidl espresso machine with automatic milk frother – and in some cases I’ve been pleasantly surprised by them.

Knowing the kind of branded equivalents these gadgets are up against, the features you get with some of these products are impressive. And I thought some did a good job too, especially considering the price.

Many of these products also come with a three year warranty, which again is pretty generous for a small appliance, especially when they’re compared to similarly-priced competitors.

It seems like a no-brainer to take a punt on these cheaper gadgets then, and plenty of you are doing just that. Our reviews of Aldi and Lidl products are some of the most viewed on which.co.uk, and these products tend to sell out rapidly in stores too.

Highs and lows

Some products we’ve tried have fallen far short of the mark though, making jobs harder than they need to be – or just not doing their core job very well.

Others aren’t actually that much cheaper than branded products we’ve lab-tested, so that special buy may not be so special after all.

Have you ever bought one of these special buy products? What have your experiences been?

Have you ever bought an Aldi or Lidl appliance?

Yes - I loved it (51%, 528 Votes)

Yes - it's OK (24%, 251 Votes)

No (21%, 214 Votes)

Yes - I hated it (4%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,030

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Comments
Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
Member

I have bought many specials from both Aldi and Lidl. These have ranged from top-line computers to power tolls and other tools. Recently we have bought a small free-standing induction hob and a grill like a George Forman.

Quality has always been good in my view and experience. The reasons why there offerings are good I think derives from the fact that both companies are German and in Germany Test.de*, the German consumer testing body, is very highly respected and what they say about products can be damning.

Also Germans are always very technical and despite some cheating in the auto industry and some duff designs generally quality and longevity are much appreciated. Think Miele, Bosch etc.

*Test. de can be viewed and as the equivalent of Which? I find their testing is much more to my liking. Running washing machines non-stop for 6 months I think its a great way to find out if they will last a decade.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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You would imagine that a Consumers’ Association belonging to international organisations including BEUC would be able to reproduce test results from its sister organisations – like Test.de which is often praised for its approach and work. They would lose no subscribers – how many British are members of other associations? – and it would save Which? considerable money that they could spend on other worthy projects.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Got to agree with that Patrick Taylor , I watch German satellite TV 24/7 and even the ordinary programmes leave Free-view in the dust. Whether its -“the Germans bombed my granny” or the like , I think their standards are much higher than ours in everything including food content while we are subjected to chemical food in all its aspects . They also listen to public opinion more and have a social conscious providing programmes and films free you would pay for here . I think the owners are/were related (brothers ) and either live on or own local islands in Germany , if others own them now I would be interested to hear.

Member
Susan Parker says:
22 April 2017

Aldi and Lidl have always been owned by totally different families, but Aldi is divided into Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud and the two areas are run by brothers.

Profile photo of k420360208
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HOE DO YOU GET THE GERMAN SATELLITE TV

Profile photo of malcolm r
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“But, Lidl and Aldi products rarely make it into our full lab tests as they’re only available for such a short time, ..” Nonetheless, if something is offered at a particularly low price we should query the quality. It would be useful if Which? got an expert to dismantle a product to check its build and components. We might then have a better idea on whether to purchase future offerings, and the ethos behind the brands.

Member
PatrickTaylor says:
16 April 2017

I have bought many tools from them and currently have two types of sander , a powered scraper and some hand tools. The quality is good. The only thing I have chucked was the battery driven drill when the batteries had no power on re-charge and it was unnecessary for me to have a third drill. Currently an AEG Battery, AEG mains, and a very old Wolf.

Battery power is great but the chances of finding the right batteries in 3 or 5 years time may be slim or the cost heavy. Of course this could apply to any battery driven device so the question should be how long do you intend to keep it, and the company to supply. An area that should be of interest to consumers.

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Wolf – Patrick Taylor ? I remember going for a job there at their London factory in Hanger Lane -W1 (I didnt get it ) .Remember the drills though , went on forever -Crown Approved as well , and I like AEG also.

Profile photo of wavechange
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I don’t know any brand of DIY-grade power tools where replacement batteries are available at a sensible price. The old Ni-Cd batteries tended to fail prematurely unless used fairly regularly. Lithium batteries are better, especially at holding their charge, but I don’t know how long they will last.

It would be better for the environment if manufacturers would agree on standard sizes and voltages so we could have a few sizes of rechargeable batteries that would fit different brands of power tools, cameras, etc. At present, functional equipment is scrapped when the rechargeable batteries fail. Thank goodness we have a few sizes (e.g. AA) of rechargeable batteries that can be used in a variety of small electrical goods.

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That is why I still keep my mains-powered tools. Although I also use cordless drills, sanders , etc, there are sometimes long periods in between uses and I suspect the batteries will fail well before the tools have done much work. So long as spares remain available for a sensible period, even at a price, that will be helpful.

Member
Patrick Taylor says:
17 April 2017

The matter of non-standard batteries and eventual need for replacement is one that consumers need to address via some action. Some of us no doubt remember all the bespoke chargers that came with mobile phones. AFAIR it was the Chinese Govt who effectively enforced standard chargers and connectors.

In our Western consumer society we have allowed a wide variety which is basically ensuring a certain obsolencence. Great for manufacturers and a poor result for consumers and, via the consequent trashing, bad for the planet.

p.s. I find I actually have another Wolf drill – a diddy one with a chuck requiring a key. I also have a Lidl SDS breaker which apart from me allowing it to bind to a blade has performed very adequately in the 5hours usage over a decade. One of those tools which for some tasks is really necessary.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It’s great that the same charger can be used for phones and many other small electrical goods but zero out of ten for whoever came up with a connector that is not reversible.

I have a cheap Wickes SDS breaker/drill that has only been used once in the past 15 or 20 years. It saved me the cost of employing someone to repair a wall. We did not have a local Aldi or Lidl when I bought it.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Phone batteries, portable tools, car batteries, all are non standardised in one way or another – size, connection for example. A case where consumers’ associations world wide could get together and lobby for standardisation. Common mechanical and electrical connection would be my starting point, keyed for different voltages and current outputs. Is it workable? It will take years, but if you never start…… The International Standards Organisation would be that starting point. However, unless these consumer groups have direct representation on such bodies their voice will not be heard. I am still trying to find out what involvement Which? has with BSI.

Profile photo of Ian
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I recently had to junk a perfectly good Worx cordless drill, simply because the NiCads were done and replacement Li-ions were prohibitively expensive. It set me to thinking.

Across all power tools voltages are within a fairly similar range: 12 – 18v. There are also around 30 manufacturers of battery cells world wide, with increasing numbers from China. Overall, therefore, that’s not a lot of manufacturers and a comparatively small voltage range. So it might be possible for an enterprising company to manufacture re-stock battery systems – i.e. replacement batteries in their raw state with an adaptor to fit most power tools on the market. I’d imagine the same could be done for cameras. I have around six digital still cameras and three video cameras – each of which takes a different shaped battery. But the cells inside each are not very different: merely the connector. But I’m certain that the reason we have such a plethora of batteries is simply that device manufacturers want us to remain dependent on their own brand battery and have to buy more and more of them.

Profile photo of wavechange
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The only appliance I have bought from Lidl was a small shredder, which failed after little use. Rather than take it back I decided to try and remove the jammed paper, but found out that it was damaged. I had not overloaded it and it was obvious that the build quality was poor.

I use the Lidl car park when visiting my bank. I particularly recommend their velcro-backed sanding discs which are on much cheaper than well known brands and nearly as good. Some of the other hardware items are good value for money and the quality is satisfactory. I have not used their power tools but they look a bit flimsy.

Profile photo of John Ward
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I bought some bypass pruners/loppers in Aldi some years ago. They were quite good to start with but soon the jaws spread at the centre bolt and I couldn’t tighten it so they were useless. Nevertheless, at the price I paid they were quite good value and might have lasted longer if I had stuck to cutting twigs.

Profile photo of wavechange
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I had forgotten about my Lidl loppers. 🙁 I could see that they were not heavily built but judged them good enough for shrubs and roses and I used them successfully for a few years. They were cheap and adequate for the intended purpose.

When I moved home I inherited some trees and the aluminium anvil on the loppers soon failed. I bought a pair of old stock Wilkinson Sword loppers that were heavily discounted and they have done a lot of work in the past year.

Member
Tony Small says:
17 April 2017

I have purchased a Kettle and Radio from Lidl.
The kettle failed within weeks and the radio kept loosing its memory.
Both went back with no problem for a refund.
So no more electrical goods from Lidl or Aldi.

Member
FAYE DUNNAGE says:
17 April 2017

I BROUGHT A ALDI LAWNMOWER LAST YEAR AND THE WHEELS KEEP FALLING OFF. APART FROM THAT ITS A GOOD MOWER. BUT WHO WANTS TO KEEP STOPPING TO PUT THE WHEELS ON ALL THE TIME. IT WAS ALSO HARD TO MAKE THE GRASS BASKET, THAT COLLECTS THE GRASS WHEN MOWING.

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Did they replace it when you took it back? Or did you get a refund?

Member
Ian Richards says:
17 April 2017

The difference between the two is palpable when it comes to non-food items, especially tools etc.
Aldi seems to increasingly be sourcing low-cost/lower quality products from China, which In my experience are often not good value. I tend to avoid these items in Aldi now. Lidl appears to still source most of these products from suppliers in the likes of Germany, Austria and such, Generally their functionality and robustness is better, Consider the use and purpose of the purchase; I’d suggest if you were into DIY to get fewer, better quality tools. If you are only a very occasional user bear in mind garden kit rusts and corrodes so cheaper designs are often only good for a season and the don’t work. My advice, check the label and see where it is made – then decide how much you’ll use it. Let that then guide your choices – anyone for “disposable single use garden equipment?!”. Perhaps that is the way to look at it – if you get all the value from a single use it still makes economic, if not ecological sense.

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Tend to agree Ian. We have bought quite a lot of the cheap garden tools from Lidl to stock a community garden project. The pruning saw blades go blunt fairly quickly, the logging saw blades are very thin and bendy and don’t last long either – but then they are very cheap and if they’re used only occasionally maybe it’s not a problem. Saw blades do seem to be one area where paying a bit more pays dividends in sharpness and longevity. I didn’t like the feel of the loppers, bit heavy and cumbersome, so while we have a couple for the project I haven’t bought them for use at home. I did buy the Lidl lawn scarifier/aerator for home use and that has been OK for the previous 2 seasons. I don’t know how good it is compared to a branded version, but at around £30 it does the job for us. The only real problem with it is the collecting bag is very small and fills up after only a few yards of lawn.

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I don’t shop in Aldi as we don’t have a local store but do get a few things from Lidl.

I bought a battery charger with rechargeable batteries that didn’t work for long.

I needed a small table for my printer and Lidl just happened to have a light coloured wood one for £6.99 I think it was. An excellent purchase, it is sturdy and well built, the edges are all finished well and it is still going strong after several years.

Profile photo of John Ward
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I had a similar need for a small table to put my printer on. I found one I had made earlier – in third form woodwork to be exact [1961], complete with loose mortise joints and a damaged plywood top. It had been in the garden shed for years with stuff stacked on it but I refettled it, painted it, and it is now doing sterling service next to my desk with a new undershelf for storing replacement cartridges. Probably cost me more than £6.99 though. The stuff in the shed is now perched on top of some apple crates.

Member
Linda says:
22 April 2017

I purchased a halogen oven and a multi 7 in one cooker {similar to an Instant Pot] over 3 years ago.
I use both of these gadgets most days and they are both brilliant.
Saving me both time and cost in energy used.

Member
Linda says:
22 April 2017

OOPS forgot to say that both of these items were purchased from ALDI, absolutely brilliant!!

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I bought a very fancy car battery charger from Lidl a few months ago and it is very good for battery charging. However, it also has a jump start facility which didn’t work when my battery went flat so I called out my breakdown service. They jump started my car instantly.

As the jump start instructions were very confusing, I emailed Lidl to ask for clarification of the instructions in case I was using it incorrectly. To my surprise, a few days later, a second battery charger was shipped to me from Germany (complete with moulded on continental mains plug that I had to cut off). But still no clarification of how to use it.

I have since tried to jump start my wife’s car but neither of the two chargers worked. I tried every possible way of using the chargers for jump starting but no luck.

Lidl now say they have lost all my details on this so I have just had to send them all the info all over again and I am waiting to hear from them.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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David I have the standard instructions for use of one of those charger/Jump Starters. Jump Starters are actually portable 12V DC supplies using a compact (small ) internal battery and MUST be charged for up to 36 hours , there should be an indicator letting you know if it needs charged. As they depend on that battery they must be kept in a charged state with regular charging . If the unit is only a Jump Starter then it must not be used as a car battery charger as its current output is nowhere near enough to charge a car battery. As your is dual use then the internal battery hasn’t been charged to full capacity to allow enough instant current to start the car.

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Thank you Duncan. What you say makes sense but there is nothing in my instructions about an internal battery nor is there an indicator on the charger for this. Although, if it does have an internal battery, it could explain why it’s so surprisingly heavy.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Thanks for having the courtesy to reply David , many dont and it gets a bit discouraging. The whole purpose of your jump starter is to start a car with a flat battery, not providing an indicator(costing buttons to fit-(led+resistor ) puts in doubt the state of “German engineering ” its a basic part of a jump starter.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Duncan is referring to a power pack with an internal battery and heavy cables. Traditionally these contained a lead acid battery that must be kept fully charged to prevent deterioration, but smaller and lighter models with rechargeable lithium batteries are becoming more common.

The alternative is a starter/charger (without an internal battery), which has one or more charge settings plus a higher current ‘start’ setting for brief use. The type sold for DIY use does not provide enough power to start the engine, so the battery must be charged for a short period before attempting to start the engine. Mine does not have warning lights, though there is a meter to show the charge rate. I suspect that this is the type that David has and the reason it is heavy is that it contains a large transformer.

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I think you may be right, wavechange. Looking through the ventilation slots there is a large iron armature that could be a transformer although, when it’s on, it sounds like an electric motor running. Either way, it still doesn’t work! And I’ve tried every possible way I could think of to use it (and that’s two chargers on two different cars).

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Encontre Wavechange I was referring to the modern small “jump -starters containing -a VERY small battery , I especially went to a US electronic supply company that supplies them for US car drivers . I know all about the old original -large battery jump-starters used by garages , no this plugs into the power point on a car . As this unit is very portable it can be kept in the boot , the latest Lithium 12V DC STARTER battery based on UltraPhosphate ( trade mark ) technology for micro hybrid vehicle applications delivering “outstanding” cold cranking /60 % lighter than normal car battery . The company advertising it gives data of = 900A cold cranking / about 28 CM long ways.

Profile photo of wavechange
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David – The hum is caused by a mains transformer with a laminated iron core – simple and reliable. If you have waited a few minutes before attempting to start the car, it seems like it is faulty. You can prove the point by seeing if the battery charger will light a spare car bulb. Hopefully Lidl will give you a refund.

Duncan – My power pack has a 12V 40Ah battery which I have used to jump start a 4 litre diesel engine. I think the small lithium ones that you refer to must work by partially recharging the vehicle battery, in the same way that a starter/charger does. Apart from being lighter and smaller than power packs based on lead-acid batteries, the lithium battery will not be damaged if not recharged promptly.

Member
Steve GS says:
22 April 2017

I’ve mainly bought Lidl ‘specials’ because they have a branch near where my partner lives (currently there is no ‘discounter’ within 10 miles of where I live, but an Aldi is due to open in August less than 200m from my house..) The few things I have bought from Aldi (mainly tools and bike wear) have all been excellent. Nearly everything from Lidl has been very good – and to their credit they will fully refund anything you’re not happy with within 28 days of purchase without quibbling. They usually offer guarantees against premature failures and have only had one such ocurrence – but it was cheaper to fix it myself than go through the hassle of sending it to their UK depot.

Member
Val King says:
22 April 2017

I bought electric toothbrushes from them a few years ago – brushes outlasted the heads although I bought spares at the time. Tried to get more heads – even contacted Germany – impossible! Haven’t bought anything since and until they improve their after sales service I won’t!

Member
Lula says:
22 April 2017

Over the years we have bought many such appliances from Aldi and Lidl.
Quality is very variable.
Some have been excellent, some just good enough, some I wish I hadn’t, and some I took back in discust.
For example, I will be taking back for refund a ‘Water Pik’ or ‘Tooth Irrigator’. Due to poor quality of design or manufacture, the door to the water compartment will not stay shut, so you tend to drench yourself when using it. No good! When they work they are a great bit of kit; so I will be spending 3 times as much on a proper make, like Phillips.

My tips:
1. don’t buy the gadget unless you Actually NEED it! There is a big element of compulsive buying here – especially as you Know the product will vanish from sale in a couple of weeks.
2. If you do Really need this gadget – go elsewhere! You will often find the same thing, cheaper, better made, more reliable, available every week, and easier to return – from say Wilko (my favourite shop)!

Overall: buying “Special Purchases” from Aldi and Lidl can save money, can be exciting, but I suggest instead going to a proper shop where the item is a “Normal Purchase”.
Also you may have a lot less clutter in your house!

Member
David Jones says:
22 April 2017

The Lidl deep fat fryer is the same (apart from the colour and minor cosmetic differences) as the Bosch one we previously owned. This was bought as a replacement for that and it works well. It is just what we wanted.

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We Have bought many Special ‘Once it’s gone it’s gone’ items from Aldi and have been very, very pleased with them. On the very odd occaission we’ve had a problem (twice I think) we’ve taken it back and it has been changed without any fuss. One item we bought – a Power Washer – for cleaning patios and griveway, is fantastic; much more powerful than any Karcher we looked at and price wise, we could have bought two and had change against Karcher’s most powerful!! Long live Aldi, great supermarket.

Member
Mike says:
22 April 2017

Aldi “digital” microwave.
Had this about four years and it’s still going strong.
Easy to use, easy to clean and looks good with it’s stainless steel finish.
A real bargain compared to the short-lived branded make that we had before.

Member
Miketheskinflint says:
22 April 2017

Aldi “digital” microwave.
Had this about five years and it is still going strong.
Easy to program, easy to clean and looks good with its stainless steel finish.
A real bargain compared to the short-lived branded one we had before

Member
Jacqui says:
22 April 2017

My husband bought me a weather station/clock from Lidl, that refuses to stay on UK time. It is alway on German time. Apart from that it’s fine! 😂

Member
David Murgatroyd says:
22 April 2017

I had the same problem with a Wall Clock purchased for our church belfry for which Lidl received many complaints and comments but if one is clever, carefully remove the works or glass and physically move the hour hand one hour to English time, problem solved.

Profile photo of wavechange
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I like your simple and practical solution, David.

Member
David Murgatroyd says:
22 April 2017

I have purchased many Appliances, Power Tools from both Lidl and Aldi with great success, have given me great service and I thoroughly recommend them. I am almost convinced that most are manufactured in
Germany and by major well known companies, most come with a 3 year warranty. If one is unlucky to get a faulty item both stores will replace it immediately or give a refund without question. What could be better?
Why are they so cheap?. Aldi and Lidl are most probably the 2 largest chain store groups in the World so therefore have fantastic buying power.

Member
Ron Atkinson says:
22 April 2017

My Aldi/Lidl hardware purchases have all been good with prices unbeatable by other manufacturers. However, I particularly want to praise the Aldi FM/Dab radio. I have 2 bought at different times and sourced from a UK company, Maxtek. At £25 each, compact, with lots of presets, easy button changes and good sound quality where else could one find a Dab radio. The Which? tested cheapest radios are much more expensive so Aldi has my vote. Just remembered, I bought a GPS wristwatch 2 years ago for £65 from Aldi. It works well and one can download walks etc. onto a computer. I had occasion to contact the suppliers in Germany and received excellent service.

Member
Derek Archer says:
22 April 2017

I bought a Lidl power washer and some seperate attachments, like a Karcher product, a year ago. Instruction booklets very clear, except for a plastic bottle of cleaning fluid to use with the washer, that had incomplete directions for use.
Having fairly expensive garden slate slabs, and my landscape designer cautioning me to be very wary of such solutions which may discolour the slates, I have not used the Lidl liquid product in their machine.

However, the Lidi washer does “all it claimed to on the tin”. At £97 all in, it was about £20+ cheaper that the Karcher equivalent. It’s marvellous with excellent results

Member
James Eaton says:
22 April 2017

Having bought various electronic devices and one heavy duty drill from both Aldi and Lidl I cannot say I was impressed with the quality. Two satellite TV receivers (bought at different times) each lasted about a year and I noticed the tip of the drill moved off-centre when used rendering it almost useless to use. Cheap? – yes but better value for money can be found elsewhere imho.

Member
Sandy Henderson says:
22 April 2017

Aldi/Lidl electrical/mechanical goods are covered by European standards. What is going to happen when England/Wales leave the EU? Home made articles are generally poor quality unless one is prepared to pay thru’ the nose, motor vehicles for example.

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The same standards will continue to apply.

Member
Sandy Henderson says:
24 April 2017

Malcolm r.
Will they?

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Yes they will, Sandy. It will be essential to maintain existing standards and not remove or lower them if we are to be able to compete with European manufacturers and trade around the world. Many British Standards are superior to other international standards. I dispute that low price UK-manufactured goods are worse than low price imported goods. Are Nissan and Toyota cars inferior in quality to equivalent French or Italian ones?

In the context of appliances and household articles on spot sale in Aldi and Lidl stores, the picture emerging through this Conversation is mixed; there are some good quality items as well as some bad ones. Both stores have a good reputation for refunding or substituting in the case of recently-purchased defective products but many just wear out prematurely; other major retailers have similar policies but possibly less need to exercise them so evidence is not forthcoming.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Currently most British Standards are simply the implementation of international standards – usually Euro Norms. Hence they are numbered BS EN ######. This arose from the harmonisation of standards so we all work on the same basis. This allows us to trade – sell products and services – with other countries without having to assess products against individual countries standards with their own peculiarities, as used to be the case.

You have to be careful when you introduce “quality” into standards. Many standards lay down the minimum safety that products, for example, must achieve. Quality, in the standards sense, then means ensuring that those minimum standards continue to be maintained. This involves assessing producers systems, from design and development, production, to after sales to ensure that the production continues to produce products consistently that will meet the safety standards (and performance where that is a standards issue).

So, for the UK to sell to other countries will require us to adhere to existing and updated standards.

Member
June says:
22 April 2017

I bought a steam iron and love it. I bought a second one (stored in loft) even though they have a 3 year guarantee. My american daughter-in-law over here recently on a visit thought it was wonderful and said that if she could buy an iron like that in the US she would definitely iron more!

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We’ve bought 27 electronic, electrical, mechanical and cookware items from Aldi since the beginning of 2014, and all but three of them are still under warranty. That’s one reason to buy there. Another is that we get a month to try things out, and to return them if they don’t work as advertised for a full refund. A third is that their guarantee and returns systems work well (method differs depending on the goods, operated by reliable other companies). So far, I’ve returned five items in three and a half years (and others before, but no records) as being unsuitable, and two items that broke under guarantee have been replaced and the replacements work fine.

I have to ask then: what more should we expect a retailer to do? John Lewis have (rightly) a superb record for customer service, but are they any better than this?

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I agree with you David. Aldi and Lidl seem to be able to offer reasonable products at good prices which overall represents very good value for money. In this instance, being largely unbranded can be an advantage because it does not raise unrealistic expectations.

Member
Lynn Watts says:
24 April 2017

I bought an all singing, all dancing pressure cooker-c*m-something else. I took it back because the instructions were not at all clear and I felt it could be dangerous if used incorrectly. I bought something else from Aldi (can’t remember what now – an electrical item), but again I took it back because of poor quality. The two experiences have left me with a distrust of Aldi electrical items, that I would think very long and hard before chancing a third purchase.

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It occurs to me that if Which? takes short-offer items and tests them after the event with similar goods then we would have a general trend as to quality. No help for what will be available in the future but at least being done means readers will be able to add their own reviews which will cover the longevity end of testing which Which? never does.

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I agree that this would help establish the credibility of vendors offering what seem to be bargains. I am a bit of a believer in getting what you pay for – at least at the bottom end. If something is particularly cheap against its competitors then there may be a reason; cheap components, poor manufacture and materials, very basic features. Not all bad, and some may just want this. I’ve an electric chop saw that cost £20 bought for a particular job that did not demand great accuracy; I would not (could not) use it for decent joinery but it worked.

You can learn a lot (Which?) by simply taking a product to bits and looking at the construction and components – quality of motor, bearings, robustness, for example. It is not always necessary to do full testing to get a good idea as to how good or bad a product might be.

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I had a look at the steam generator after having just bought a Philips replacement. The constant steam output was only 40 gm. Very low. I would be interested to know how it stands up to review.

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As an alternative to a steam iron you could iron clothes etc. straight from the washing machine. I started doing this when I had extremely hard water and the steam iron had to be descaled regularly. I would never go back to using a steam iron.

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I tend to buy non mechanical things such as dry shampoo which was very well priced. Having said that, I bought a Philips flossing machine when a new Aldi opened recently and am very pleased with them. I see small electrical items such as grinders; drills etc. They seem reasonable, especially a deal on an impact driver. However, I do not need these at present and if you look around at Tool Station, Screwfix etc you might find it cheaper. I needed a grinder and bought the best priced at Tool Station. Of course there was not one available at ALDI when I needed it, one of the disadvantages of rotating stock.
I also bought a potting table for £24. It works fine but the instructions were not adequate, especially regarding fixing the top. I needed to put four screws down through the corners of the top into the base supports in order to get it stable. It works perfectly well now.
The mini greenhouse looks good if I can find it in store.
I like their large towels which are used every day and have bought a micrometer and laser measurer, neither of which get much use. But then that is not too unexpected.
I’m always cautious about the special buy section as I am susceptible to an impulse buy. The good news is that you can always take them back though.
The other point is that some things may be cheaper elsewhere, especially garden requisites. Wilko is my preferred first stop for these sorts of things. Screwfix is slightly cheaper for 1000 mixed screws.
The time an item is available is quite short and not all stores hold all lines. You may miss out on something you really want; in my case the mini greenhouse. But there will be another offer along in a minute!

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Charles Paterson says:
9 July 2017

One of the problems when buying from Aldi is getting spare parts. I needed a part for a scarifier and it was impossible to get in touch with the manufacturer. The web site was no use and it was terrible trying to get any details on the scarifier from the site.

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Charles as Aldi is a German company a lot of its products originate from there but either way could you name the commercial manufacturer and the model of the scarifier ? It doesn’t matter about the price its the principle that counts .

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Sorry Duncan on appliances that is an incorrect assumption to make, they are not most often German at all. Not even slightly.

Spares and accessory support is something from abysmal to non-existent and I know, I get asked for parts for the stuff they’ve sold all the time. Virtually all of it has zero support.

Cheap, nasty, throwaway gear.

K.

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I will differ from you Kenneth I purchased several pieces of computer equipment which at the time were made in Germany , one was a HDD and had no problems with them . If you want to see cheap+nasty just look a Morrison,s equipment for the kitchen cheap nasty Chinese rubbish, I went through three tin openers in a short time due entirely to the sprocket that engages the tin being made of soft metal and metal I know about worked with it for many years in heavy industry , case hardened it annealed it , sawed it bore it , filed it , made engineering parts by hand for machine tools , the same applies to many other supermarkets importing from the Land of Built to a Price .

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Computer equipment maybe, don’t know a thing about what Lidl or Aldi sell in that regard.

Appliances, I do.

K.

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I remember the name now Kenneth its Medion , and yes its a German manufacturing company , I have just checked it out to see if its been taken over by a foreign company , doesn’t look like it . Its got branches worldwide.

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I think Medion is a genuine manufacturer, not an Aldi “own brand”.

None of the Medion PCs that I’ve bought down the years came from Aldi – they came from a variety of other shops, including Sainsburys, Argos and Woolworths.

Its been a few years since I last bought a new Medion. When I did, I was always impressed to find they they came with a full set of optical disc recovery media, thus sparing me the long slow burning of backup media to DVD-ROM (or USB stick) that I’d have got with the likes of Acer, eMachines and HP.

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That was my original point Derek that both Aldi and LIdl are of German origin and operate along the same lines here I did not mention “own brands ” but the fact they sold ( when I bought from them ) goods of their own countries origin not from China which might be the case now although I have not checked that out. I agree they provided more informational data than you would normally get now or even then thats why I bought them and until I dropped it the HDD had worked for many years recording all my sat box programs+films in a HDD hub .

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Duncan,

My Medion akoya E1210 Notebook PC carries a Medion address in Essen, Germany but is clearly marked “Made in China”. I believe that model is simply a re-badged MSI-Wind.

My Medion akoya E5211 Notebook PC also carries a Medion address in Essen, Germany but, again, is clearly marked “Made in China”. I have a mechanically identical laptop that was sold as a Fujitsu-Siemens.

Those machines date from 7 or more years ago – but even then it was pretty much the case that almost all PC components like motherboards were made in China and a very high percentage of assembled PCs and Laptops were also made there.

Currently, the very best laptop I own is a business-grade Lenovo X201 – it is also marked “Made in China”.

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That might be the case now Derek but I go back about 15 years and it looks now like Medion is outsourcing its products . I have found my old HDD and it says-made in Germany . Medion has a Manufacturing plant in Germany and in -2009 won the – -“Hardware Manufacturer of the Year award ” . I would be interested if you could find any info on China either buying Medion or investing in it , I cant at the moment. I have said several times on Which that when I speak of Land of Built to a Price I mean exactly that , most importers pay little for goods made in China because China has so many manufacturing plants and outsources its own products internally that you can buy at least three different versions of the same cased item as I did when I bought my first Chinese soldering station and found it was rubbish inside and dangerous . After intensive checking on the web I bought a “high class ” version -same external plastic case but much superior internals and yes it was double the price of the cheap one. I spent a lot of time checking out Chinese manufacturing including their laws on export which are pretty draconian in who is liable for faulty goods etc the Chinese government has very strict laws on it and controls all exports although you would not normally read this, I managed a long time ago to get onto a Chinese government website detailing its exporting of goods laws and regulations . Aldi have been in the UK for approx 27 years

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Duncan, in your old HDD was the hard drive itself made by Medion – or by a major drive manufacturer?

In other news, during a visit to B&Q on Sunday , I was pleased to discover that the vast majority of wheelbarrows in their garden centre are made in the UK, by the Walsall Wheelbarrow Company.

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I have a B&Q wheelbarrow and its very good, except the tyre keeps deflating. I can’t find any puncture, abrasion or other damage and have come to the conclusion that the tyrewall is not maintaining good contact all round the wheel rim so it lets the air out. It doesn’t take long to re-inflate the tyre and then it lasts for some time. Obviously, the amount of weight on the wheel will affect the deflation rate but I always stand the barrow upright on the frame when not in use with no pressure on the tyre.

As a wheelbarrow it is well-proportioned has the right balance, the right handle design, angle, length and spread, and a sturdy frame. The wheel runs well on its axle and when fully inflated copes well over rough ground as well as up and down low steps. It also corners well even if the load is a bit lop-sided. When tipping, the barrow goes up easily on its forward frame and enables you to turn it left and right for spreading the load.

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Patrick Taylor says:
11 July 2017

Bets consumer analysis of wheelbarrows I have seen for a long time : )

It is one of those things where you sometimes suspect human height ought to be important in choosing the right one. I bought one with a solid tyre.

Reference special products, and I have no idea if this has bee planned for the UK or has happened but an Aldi special on kitchen sink tap is under special investigation in Oz for too much lead being added to water passing through it. Around 12,000 have beeen sold and presumably installed.

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John – I suspect that your wheelbarrow tyre has a tube rather than being tubeless like a car. It’s easy to check by looking to see if the valve simply passes through a hole in the rim.

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Thanks, Wavechange. That’s probably right. Perhaps the tyre inflation valve is defective and not shutting off fully in the closed position. I always give it a few more PSI than recommended when I re-inflate the tyre to allow for some leakage; maybe I have blown the valve.

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I had similar problems, caused by rose thorns penetrating the casing and causing a leak in the inner tube. If you can get the inner tube out, inflate it in water to see where it leaks and use a cycle repair outfit. If you can’t extract it try a tyre sealant – worked with mine for quite a long time. Otherwise if it is a standard wheel, you can buy a complete one from Screwfix for about £14.

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Bob Sutherland says:
5 August 2017

I buy lots of items at both Lidl and Aldi and have been pleasantly surprised bu most of them. One exception has been the Silvercrest range of small electric ovens. Over the years I have tried 3 of these and they are all hopeless.
The temperature has varied wildly in the all if I am to believe My Prestige oven gauge.
Thankfully Lidl has replaced them under guarentee.

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Over the last few years, we’ve bought numerous electrical goods from Aldi and Lidl, mainly from Lidl. Amongst these items are branded items such as Singer (overlock machine) and Garmin (satnav), the others have been non-branded. The savings are huge compared to similar branded items (such as a bullet blender and window vac) and work just as well. We have had to activate the guarantee on two items (blender and overlock machine), and they have been excellent and absolutely no quibble.