(design: JQ Ong/The Association)

There are some pretty impressive appliances out there, from microwave ovens to refrigerators to television sets. But, are these the right products for you? Before you swipe the credit card, ask yourselves these questions:

“Will this meet my daily needs and lifestyle?” 

"When it comes to consumer’s choices in buying the right appliances for themselves, we will recommend buyers to first identify their needs. Perhaps a family that wants to lead a healthy lifestyle can consider the Hitachi's Made-in-Japan Superheated Steam Microwave Oven, which reduces calories by removing excess fats in food," says Mr. Takeshi Haruki, General Manager, Business Planning Department of Hitachi Home Electronics

Or, if you lead a busy lifestyle and have little time to make frequent trips to the supermarket, consider a refrigerator with technologies designed to alter the atmosphere in the fridge to sustain your food’s freshness and nutrient level for a longer period. Other considerations include noise level, whether you need to buy more appliances to fully utilise this product (more often than not, the answer should be "no"), and what you need to do for maintenance.

"Do I know how to use it?"

Sure, we can all learn to use the fancy buttons – but will you or do you have the time? Don't buy a product simply because it is on sale or the latest model in the market. Take a look at its buttons, the fine prints, and if possible, the instruction manual. If you are struggling with even the basic functions, the product is not right for you.

(design: Su Misura)

“What is the best product, which fits the space I have?”

Check with the salesperson the dimensions and capacity of the product. Ensure that a microwave oven or refrigerator can fit its designated space in your kitchen (or even your HDB corridor!), or if the size of your washing machine’s load is more appropriate for a couple or a family. 

“What is the energy efficiency of this product?”

Choose energy-efficient models. Appliances with four to five ticks on their Energy Star label ensures you will spend less on your monthly bills, and that you are kind to the environment.

“Before you buy a washing machine, pack the usual wash load of your household into a bag and weigh it. Opt for a model with similar weight capacity or slightly more,” says Jay Yang, Head of Home Appliances, at LG Electronics Singapore. “Bigger does not always mean better, it may even lead to wastage of water and energy if the usual load is smaller."