Penny wise and pound foolish? Apparently, cheap appliances lead to higher bills

  • Living
  • Monday, 27 Nov 2023

Consumer advice specialists are advising anyone buying home appliances to remember that an initial cheaper price may be insignificant when you look at your electricity bills. — CHRISTIN KLOSE/dpa

“YOU get what you pay for” is an adage that appears to hold true for domestic appliances such as dryers, freezers, ovens and washing machines, according to new research.

Since cheaper devices often cost more to run than pricier equivalents, apparent bargains can be short-lived when consumers who buy cheaper models are left paying more in the end.

That’s according to Which?, a British consumer research organisation, which said products marketed as “cheap” – often those coming in at under £500 (RM2,918)or around $600 (RM3,502) – can leave the buyer out of pocket later by adding “hundreds of pounds” to energy bills.

Some of the appliances scrutinised by Which? came out “particularly badly” when measured for energy efficiency, with running costs amounting to a “lot higher than the average,” including a vented tumble dryer that was five times as expensive to run over a year than as a more efficient heat-pump dryer with a higher price tag.

The findings confirm conclusions from Germany’s Stiftung Warentest consumer advice magazine earlier this year, whose research showed cheaper dryers could become the most expensive in the long term.

Prices for consumers in most countries started to rise in 2021, due to the impact of pandemic restrictions on normal business and trade, before soaring in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine.

While inflation has since declined from those post-invasion highs, it remains above pre-Covid levels. And with energy prices still “incredibly high” in Britain, Which? advised shoppers to be choosy, implying they should spend now to save later.

A cheap kettle might look like a bargain, but it means almost double the running cost than a more expensive model, the testers found.

“When buying a new household appliance, don’t be fooled by a low price point as this can mask bigger costs in the long run,” said Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services. – dpa

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