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CHOICE reveal the best and worst budget buys from Big W Contempo

Australian consumer organisation CHOICE has revealed the best and worst bargain buys from Big W after testing dozens of popular gadgets.

The experts examined a range of household appliances from the retailer’s brand Contempo to see what delivers the best bang for your buck.

To help shoppers choose the right products, the appliance testers rated budget items including a slow cooker, steam iron, microwave and blender.

‘We reveal which items tick the right boxes and which ones to be wary of to ensure you not only get the best price, but also the best quality,’ the experts said.

Australian consumer organisation CHOICE has revealed the best and worst bargain buys from Big W after testing dozens of popular gadgets - including a slow cooker, iron, blender, microwave, multicooker and hand mixer

Australian consumer organisation CHOICE has revealed the best and worst bargain buys from Big W after testing dozens of popular gadgets – including a slow cooker, iron, blender, microwave, multicooker and hand mixer

BEST BUYS

Slow cooker 

The expert testers recommend the $24 slow cooker that's great for turning cheap cuts of meat into tasty dishes without breaking the bank

The expert testers recommend the $24 slow cooker that’s great for turning cheap cuts of meat into tasty dishes without breaking the bank

If you’re in the market for a new slow cooker, the expert testers recommend the $24 slow cooker that’s great for turning cheap cuts of meat into tasty dishes without breaking the bank.

Of the 32 slow cookers tested, they found Big W’s cheap 5.5L model performed just as well as an expensive brand costing six times the price.

The budget version earned top marks for high temperature slow cooking and 80 per cent for low temperature slow cooking. 

However, the testers pointed out the internal cooking bowl featured small handles and no grip so it was tricky for users to lift when loaded with food.

But if you’re on a budget, the experts said it’s a product worth buying.

Steam iron 

For just $19, the experts said the Contempo steam iron is 'one to seriously consider'

For just $19, the experts said the Contempo steam iron is ‘one to seriously consider’

For just $19, the experts said the Contempo steam iron is ‘one to seriously consider’ after receiving the same score as a model costing three times the price.

The testers found the product worked well at ironing denim, organza, linen, wool, and even silk.

But the product lost points on its ‘propensity to drip water during use’.

Hand mixer

The $15 Contempo hand mixer scored a perfect 100 per cent in performance

The $15 Contempo hand mixer scored a perfect 100 per cent in performance

The $15 Contempo hand mixer scored a perfect 100 per cent in performance, proving home bakers don’t have to spend a fortune to whip up delectable desserts.

The budget buy earned a stellar 100 per cent in the beater and whisking tests – and performed just as well as expensive branded hand mixers.

However, the experts pointed out the appliance landed on an average ‘ease of use’ score due to its ‘slightly uncomfortable handle without a non-slip grip’.

Multicooker

Of the 15 multicookers tested, the $79 Contempo 5-in-1 pressure cooker was one of the cheapest models on the market but it outperformed some of the pricier brands

Of the 15 multicookers tested, the $79 Contempo 5-in-1 pressure cooker was one of the cheapest models on the market but it outperformed some of the pricier brands

Of the 15 multicookers tested, the $79 Contempo 5-in-1 pressure cooker was one of the cheapest models on the market but it outperformed some of the pricier brands.

The cheap appliance earned 90 per cent on pressure cooking chilli beef, 95 per cent on browning meat and 90 pre cent for cooking jasmine rice to near perfection.

The product featured an ‘easy to clean’ non-stick cooking bowl, pre-programmed settings, removable cord and accessories included. 

The testers said they were impressed with the gadget’s manual settings and its keep warm function, which allows home cooks to adjust temperature and time.

However, they pointed out the model didn’t feature a high setting for slow cooking and it landed on an average rating for ‘ease of use’, sautéing and searing.

But despite the downsides, the multicooker does the job.

Microwave

If you're on a budget, the testers recommended the $99 Contempo microwave

If you’re on a budget, the testers recommended the $99 Contempo microwave

If you’re on a budget, the testers recommended the $99 Contempo microwave.

‘After putting it through our rigorous and independent testing, our team of experts found it was very good at cooking broccoli and defrosting mince and chicken,’ they said. 

But the experts pointed out the gadget landed on an average score for ‘ease of use’ and ability to manually reheat solid foods.

PRODUCT TO AVOID

Blender

The experts said the $39 model is one product to avoid buying

The experts said the $39 model is one product to avoid buying

Of the 40 blenders tested, the experts the $39 model from Big W is one product to be wary of after it landed on an average overall score so it’s ‘not a great one’.

They found the product was noisy, a ‘glass jug that’s heavy when full’ and it wasn’t suitable for crushing hard ingredients such as ice.

The experts pointed out users must hold the lid while its blending so it doesn’t make it ‘hands free’. 

However, they found the blender scored excellently when blending soft liquids and chopping but scored just two per cent in the kale test.

Despite its very affordable price tag, the consumer experts said there were similarly priced models worth looking at. 

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