Tips for buying home appliances

UKMA offers you a number of straightforward tips to help you get a fair deal with domestic appliance purchases.

Plan in metric

If you are thinking of buying either built-in or standalone kitchen appliances, it is important to measure and plan your kitchen space in metric. All kitchen units and most standalone appliances are built to standard metric depths and widths.

Taking measurements in feet and inches will require plenty of calculator work and can easily lead to mistakes such as kitchen units or appliances which do not fit.

You will almost certainly find that your appliance retailer will display appliances by their metric sizes.

Appliances in metric

If you are looking at a washing machine get to know how much your typical washing load weighs in kilograms. This will help you to know if the washing machine capacity is adequate.

If you are looking at heaters or air conditioning units get the power ratings in kilowatts. This will help compare products and estimate your energy supply costs.

Use the energy label to compare products

The energy label is your best friend in terms of getting reliable data on the performance of a home appliance. Since the data is gathered in a standard way you can use it reliably to compare similar products.

More information is provided online at these locations

UKMA recommends that you use the Energy Label to check key parameters such as capacity, performance and energy consumption of appliances. The standard display format means that it is easy to compare one product with another. If the energy label is not displayed, ask your retailer to show it to you.

What is the energy label?

The energy label is compulsory for retailers and manufacturers of home appliances. An example of the energy label for a washing machine is given below.

Energy label

The energy label consists of a number of standard parts:

  • At the top the type of appliance (washing machine, electric oven, etc) is indicated along with the manufacturer and model.
  • A coloured scale of energy efficiency is then marked with the green A representing the best energy efficiency and G the worst.
  • Actual energy consumption is marked in a way that allows comparison with other appliances and calculate the energy costs using your gas or electricity bills.
  • Performance figures will vary from appliance to appliance. Thus a washing machine will focus on washing and spin performance, while an electric oven will show performance in conventional and fan modes.
  • A capacity figure will be in kilograms for a washing machine and in litres for an oven, fridge or freezer.
  • Finally a standard noise rating is given.

Ask for heater or air conditioning ratings in kilowatts

When power ratings are given in BTUs (British Thermal Units), it is hard for you to assess the output and energy costs of an appliance. Working in kW should enable you to make comparisons between similar products and allow you to compare the ratings of electric and gas appliances. Last but not least you can easily calculate the energy running costs based on kilowatt-hour prices from your electricity or gas supplier.