9 December 2021

With “lifetime scoring”, we will only recommend appliances that last

It’s no longer good enough for products to just perform well when they’re new.

In the biggest change in our product testing since the 1960’s, we are incorporating a lifetime performance score to help shoppers buy appliances they know will last.

It’s no longer good enough for products to just perform well when they’re new. We’re the first international consumer organisation to only recommend durable appliances that work well for a long time.

We’ve tested products for more than 50 years. That testing shows many modern appliances work well when they’re new, but some of them aren’t built to last. This change doesn’t mean we’ve thrown out our heritage – we still assess ‘as-new’ performance. However, we’re now including measures of reliability, owner satisfaction and repairability.

Our new lifetime scoring system has been applied to washing machines and standard (canister and upright) vacuum cleaners on consumer.org.nz. The new scoring will then be rolled out to other products, starting with large appliances.

Only models that perform well and meet all three measures will be recommended.

Considering only “as-new” performance, we recommended 17 of 49 washing machine models we’d tested, from six brands. Using lifetime scoring, with emphasis on durability as well as “as-new” performance, 14 models from just four brands are recommended. Some of those models were not previously recommended.

Our scoring change comes in response to manufacturers building products that don’t last and can’t be repaired. This “take, make, waste” approach is unsustainable. Waste needs to be seen as a design flaw. End-of-life recycling is important, but it’s a last resort to divert materials from landfill. Products need to be designed to be repaired, reused and refurbished – preventing them reaching end-of-life so soon.

This change came from data we collect in our annual reliability survey that has been conducted for more than a decade. Consumers told us that appliances don’t last as long as they used to, and they are getting increasingly harder to repair. This means shoppers are paying for needless replacements and the planet pays by another appliance ending up at the tip

This is only the start for lifetime reporting. We’ll develop the scoring further and, in the future, we’ll also include an assessment of how easy it is to repair a faulty product.

Find our new lifetime scoring for washing machines and standard (canister and upright) vacuum cleaners

Washing machines   lifetime scoring promo

Washing machines tested

We've rolled out our new lifetime performance scores for all washing machines we've tested.

Test results

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