Kitchen, heating and laundry appliances.
Research report
Last updated 28 February 2020

How long should an appliance last?

We show how much use you should get from your TV, washing machine, vacuum cleaner and other appliances before they die.

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07 Aug 2021
Appliance woes

Appliances Woes

Almost everything I have bought in the last few years has failed almost immediately.
The latest: a brand new Fisher and Paykel 7kg Quicksmart washer. Failed on the day of installation!
The same week: a six drawer upright freezer arrived with only 4 drawers. Had a real job getting replacements as the sellers tried to fob me off with one excuse after another. Only the threat of Fairgo and Consumer achieved a replacement. The wrong size!!

I am on my third 42 litre benchtop oven, this year. (An ideal size for a retired couple). Week one the light fails; month one the top element fails; month three the door falls off. But worst of all the heating never comes up to temperature. I set everything on 230C and am lucky to get to 100c. Cheap certainly and I would pay more for quality products but they are unobtainable, here or overseas. When will producers realize not everyone wants or has room for huge appliances. I now have three roomy shelves where my former huge wall ovens was.

I am on my fourth microwave in two years. The latest only works on one side despite a rotating turntable. Poach two eggs one is cooked the other raw. One bowl of Instant Porridge takes 10 minutes. Cakes/casseroles overcook on one side while raw on the other. I swap sides half way to compensate but its no better.

Brand is no reliability of operation or failure as I have tried several different bench ovens and several different brands of microwaves. Now in retirement we need reliable appliances which will last the expected distance i.e. ten years at least.

Our last washer a 5.5kg size lasted 13 years and only the electronic control panel failed but we were told no longer available as obsolete. I bought a 7 kg after a three week wait for smaller sizes, thinking larger, meaning heavier, loads would therefore have sturdier more reliable parts but find the manual recommends the same weight load for all sizes i.e. the same cheap plastic parts for a 5 kg and a 9 kg? Does Consumer assess parts types for the different sizes?

I don't blame the Asian producers trying to make a buck with shortcuts and fake parts purely because the manufacturers who contract-out to them under license e.g. Fisher and Paykel do no checking or monitoring whatsoever, so after the brief trial period the contracted product is downsized, cheapened and parts replaced with fakes, knowing full well that they will be replaced so more profit for all concerned.
We must mount a campaign to make the importers accountable.

Kay M.
11 Nov 2021
Appliance woes

I do feel for you having so much trouble with modern appliances. I am still using my Panasonic vaccuum cleaner I bought in 1992 and it still sucks up the lino. Unfortunately, my Fisher & Paykel clothes dryer died this year aged 36. I bought it at Farmers in Panmure in 1985. When I moved to my house in the Wairarapa 12 years ago, I had to get rid of my Prestcold fridge/freezer which I bought in 1976, purely because it was too big for my new kitchen. It was still going strong after 34 years. Since 2000, my daughter has had 4 new fridge/freezers. I find the expected life span of modern appliances quite disturbing - as though they are only going to last 5 years on average. I have to assume they have built-in obsolescence which is a huge problem for our waste. I saw at the Martinborough tip heaps of new-looking vaccuum cleaners. What are the manufacturers doing to our planet in their haste for a fast buck? This level of obsolescence seems to me to have evolved only over the past 10-20 years, as appliances bought in the 1990s and before, lasted a lot longer - as they ought,

james w.
26 Apr 2020
Electric Jug

$80 sunbeam jug has top plastic rim crumbling after 2.5 yrs (several teaspoon size chunks) . I'm waiting for the top to fall off when pouring a full jug. will be interesting to see how briscoes reacts.

Rikke h.
28 Aug 2017
When should a retailer now service representative follow through to customer service. ...

Do you think it is right for a retailer now service representative should follow through on coming to the support of a customer with a 5 year old dishwasher and help with the cost of parts or be rogues on trying to sell parts without thinking about the consumer as thinking it's the service representative in a small town an I'm right an your wrong

Previous member
29 Aug 2017
Re: When should a retailer now service representative follow through to customer service. ...

Hi Rikke,

If there’s a fault with your dishwasher, you may have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). Under the CGA, retailers and other suppliers guarantee their goods will be of acceptable quality and last for a reasonable amount of time. If there’s a problem, the retailer/supplier should also sort it out. Our page on the CGA has more on your rights and what you can do:

As you have a paid Consumer membership, remember you can call our Consumer Advice Line (0800 266 786). Our advisers can provide personalised advice and walk you through this issue.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
21 Jun 2017
Cold water versus hot water in the laundry

I am amazed that many people launder in cold water. I have a front loading washing machine that heats it's own water so no draw on the hot water cylinder. I can choose to use a temperature suitable for the load. Many have forgotten that clothing comes with a "care" label, read these and be amazed!. Many cold water detergents are detrimental to modern fabrics that are easy to wash and quick to dry. Also I value hygiene above a few cents for extra electricity, it is not possible to clean fecal matter with cold water. Check washing machine directions too. I think most manuals will have a stipulation that cold water should not be used all the time. I don't wash my dishes in cold water!

Susan T.
22 Feb 2021
Cold v hot

I use cold water for all washing except towels. I do a hot wash and this keeps pipes etc clear. I have used a cold water wash for years and have had no problems with fabric. I even use a cheap detergent from Uncle Bills and no problems.Would love to do a warm wash but 3 years after buying machine we found warm wash was cool. Harvey Norman said that that particular machine had a permanent fault and couldnt do a warm wash. I had never noticed as had no reason to check previously. Gee thanks for the info Harvey Norman

Patricia M.
23 Jan 2016

I had bought 4 phones from Noel Leeming and the main phone dial didn't light up any more and I couldn't see the number so I took them all back. Noel Leeming were very good and refunded the money as they said it would cost too much to fix and they didn't have the phones I wanted.

Peter L.
22 Apr 2021
Compliments to Noel Leeming

Over the last few years we have had several issues with electronics bought from Noel Leeming (fitness trackers and smart phones).
Noel Leeming has been outstanding in their customer service. In every case, without argument, they have provided a replacement after consultation with their suppliers, whether under warranty or the CGA.