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11 November 2021

Consumer NZ weighs up budget buys vs pricey presents

In the lead-up to holiday gift shopping, Consumer NZ looked at the performance and pricing of popular household items to see how budget buys compared to their more expensive counterparts.

Consumer NZ has pulled together test results for a range of items including the latest tech products, home appliances and tools. For a number of categories, there were budget options that performed impressively.

Smartwatches can be a useful gadget and make a great present, but they often come with hefty price tags. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm) costs $799 and enables you to receive text messaging and phone calls. But, if you’re on a budget, consider the Huawei Watch Fit. It scored well in Consumer NZ’s performance testing, is water-resistant, has accurate fitness sensors, GPS, and costs just $229.

"When you're out shopping for the holidays, remember that you don't always have to shell out big bucks to get a quality present. Just because a brand is expensive, it doesn’t always mean it’s much better than some others on offer. There are plenty of affordable products we’ve found that are high quality and durable. We recommend doing your research before you hit the shops," Consumer NZ head of content Caitlin Cherry said.

With the performance of stick vacuums now comparable to cannister and upright vacs, they’re more convenient and a practical gift. However, you don’t need to fork out $1000+ for the latest Dyson. The Ryobi ONE+ 18V Brushless Stick Vacuum R18SV8-KIT is a great performer. Costing $439, it’s also $735 cheaper than the top tested Dyson model and scored only one point lower than the Dyson V11 in Consumer NZ's test.

An espresso machine is a great gift idea for caffeine addicts but, beware of capsule coffee makers. These machines require a constant feed of costly capsules, and the environment also ends up paying a steep price as most aren’t easily recyclable. In comparison, a semi-auto machine like the Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine EM4300 retails at $314, performs better than any capsule machines, is easy to use and produces very good coffee in less than 30 seconds.

Your gift-giving rights this holiday season

  • Gifts are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). While retailers don’t have to take back an unwanted present, if the product itself isn’t fit for purpose or is faulty, they are obliged to make things right under the CGA. You just need proof of purchase, such as a receipt or bank statement.
  • Steer clear of extended warranties, as often the CGA will provide you with better coverage anyway.

Note: Prices are the average retail price and are correct at the time of release.