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Products and services that hit or missed the mark in 2018

As the chief tester of products and services, it would be remiss if Consumer NZ didn’t review a year’s worth of testing to tell you which rated and which ones we gave the boot.

So, here are our best and worst of 2018.
The highlights
When it comes to appliances you can’t go pass Miele. Whether we’re talking clothes dryers, washing machines, dishwashers, built-in ovens or vacuum cleaners, Miele regularly tops our tables for reliability and customer satisfaction.

If trampolines are on Santa’s to-do list, the Springfree Medium round 10ft tramp was the only one we tested that didn’t have a major safety failure. All the other trampolines had some hazard that could cause injury.

For outdoor chores, we rated the Karcher K3 Full Control Home waterblaster. It notched up an impressive performance score of 89 percent in our testing.

Moisture problems indoors? The Dimplex GDDEKD9 dehumidifier is your machine – it extracted so much moisture in our test, it broke the scoring system.

Next time your partner tells you “on yer bike” – you might want to go electric. Mountains become molehills when the Vado 4.0’s 250W Brose motor kicks in. Thanks to the bike’s 500Wh battery, our tester easily managed his 40km commute with plenty of charge to spare.

Staying with electric transport, honourable mention goes to the Nissan Leaf. It cruised past the finish line as one of the most reliable vehicles on our roads: 98 percent of owners in our survey told us they were very satisfied with this car.
The lowlights
You’ll be sadly disappointed if you’ve paid $199 for a KitchenAid 2-Slice Toaster KMT2116. It had such a poor showing, we awarded it zero for performance as well as giving it “don’t buy” status. In fact, it performed so badly we thought we had bought a dud so tried another one. It too didn’t cut it.

“Don’t buy” status also goes to the Kogan Compact Robot Vacuum – it didn’t clean well and ran out of grunt after 21 minutes.

Dishonourable mention went to Vodafone – it came dead last in our customer satisfaction survey for broadband and mobile services.

Westpac’s Hotpoints World Mastercard didn’t look very hot either. Even spending $50,000 on the card over two years returned only $53, after deducting annual card fees. It offered the worst value of any credit card we compared in 2018.

Forget about ionisation smoke alarms. Our testing found a potentially fatal flaw – they were dangerously slow to detect smouldering fires such as those produced by bedding or upholstery. We asked retailers to stop selling them and a month later the big DIY stores pulled them from the shelves.

Electromagnetic and ultrasonic pest control products are still on the shelves. But you’d be wasting your money if you bought one. None of the companies selling them would provide any robust, independent research showing these devices to be effective.

For more on our best and worst products and services of 2018 go to consumer.org.nz or see the December/January issue of Consumer.

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