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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
Guest
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.

Guest
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

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

Guest

The same standards will continue to apply.

Guest
Sandy Henderson says:
24 April 2017

Malcolm r.
Will they?

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest
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!

Guest

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?

Guest

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.

Guest
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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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!

Guest
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.

Guest

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 .

Guest

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.

Guest

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 .

Guest

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

Appliances, I do.

K.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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 .

Guest

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”.

Guest

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

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest
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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest
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.

Guest

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.