New Zealand
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Budget Buys That Beat Premium Brands

Consumer NZ’s expert testers have revealed, yet again, that top price doesn’t always mean top performance.

As the cost-of-living crisis rolls on, the watchdog shares its insights into three reasonably priced products that gave expensive versions a run for their money.


A $69 microwave from Kmart rated higher than most models tested, including appliances that cost more than $500.

“We put all the microwaves we test through their paces – we consider their performance, ease of use, predicted reliability and owner satisfaction,” said James le Page, Consumer test content team leader.

One Kmart model received a higher overall score than pricier models by big brands such as Miele, Panasonic and Breville.


For expectant parents or families looking to replace their stroller, Mother’s Choice Ava stroller from The Warehouse gets the Consumer Recommends seal of approval.

“This stroller, at $220, is the cheapest model we recommend.

“It passed our safety and durability tests, and was easy to fold, unfold and stash in the car boot.”

The Warehouse buy scored higher than models offered by Phil & Teds and Edwards & Co.

“Of the 49 strollers we tested, almost one-third failed a safety test.

“The Mother’s Choice model got top marks for safety,” said le Page.


A Kmart frypan costing $21 came out top of Consumer’s frying pans test.

“Four pans scored 91% in our test.

“The Kmart option is over $100 cheaper than the Tefal models, and over $300 cheaper than the Le Creuset option, which all shared the top spot.”

Consumer members have heaped praise on this Kmart frypan too, with multiple people claiming it’s the best frypan they’ve ever had.

“Please shop with caution though – we tested another Kmart option, costing $17, and labelled it ‘don’t buy’.”

About Consumer’s testing

Consumer regularly tests products and services and provides recommendations for top performers. Consumer members benefit from these independent test results, which over time, have the potential to save them tidy sums.

“It’s not unusual for our testing to throw up some great-performing cheaper products,” le Page said.

“Throughout our testing, we are always mindful of sustainability. We only recommend cheaper products if we are confident they will last a reasonable length of time."

There are a variety of membership terms available, including online only, or online and magazine too.

A seven-day digital pass is a popular option for people looking for expert advice before buying a big-ticket item.

© Scoop Media

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