What not to buy at Kmart: Consumer NZ reveals the four Anko products you shouldn't buy

Composite of Anko products against Kmart storefront
Photo credit: Getty Images; Kmart / Anko

We all know it's impossible to walk into Kmart for one thing without leaving with two fake plants, a marble soap dispenser, a throw blanket, and a rattan bookshelf: but among the stylish homeware, bargain appliances and cheap-as-chips furniture, there are more than a few duds, according to Consumer New Zealand.  

Kmart's beloved own-brand Anko offers everything from coffee machines to lightning cables at accessible price-points, but recent testing by the independent consumer watchdog has found four products in particular might not be worth the affordable tag.   

The first Anko appliance on its hit-list was the 9L Twin Air Fryer, priced at a fairly reasonable $149: many big-brand air fryers start at around $250, but can easily head north of the $400 mark.   

However, the Kmart own-brand appliance scored the lowest of 31 air fryers tested by Consumer NZ. Despite noting its ease-of-use and acceptable job at tackling both roast pork and chicken wings, the watchdog said it struggled with frozen thick-cut chips. The verdict?

"It's not terrible but there are models from other brands that cost about the same and are much better."  

Next up was the Anko 1.2L Food Processor at $69. Again, there were some positives: the testing team noted it did an "excellent job" of chopping and emulsifying. However, that didn't quite make up for the "long list of things they didn't like" about the product.   

"We think you'd be better to spend just $10 more on one that's available at The Warehouse."  

At $189, the Anko Cordless Stick Vacuum was the third product that failed to meet Consumer NZ's standards. Out of 40 stick vacuums, this one performed the worst, the testing team said - adding there are, in fact, several cheaper options on Kmart's shelves that achieved higher scores.  

Last but not last, the Anko 24cm Aluminium 3 Layer Non-Stick Frypan in Stone Grey at a cheap and cheerful $21 was on the chopping block. While the other products had some redeeming features, this pan clearly did not - with the testing team branding its surface durability as "terrible".  

"Not many products get our 'Don't Buy' label - but this frying pan did so badly in the test kitchen we thought it deserved it. Its surface durability was terrible, and it didn't cook evenly," was the verdict.  

A customer walks toward a Kmart store in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.
Consumer NZ's testing team has ranked the four Kmart own-brand products costumers should consider walking past. Photo credit: Brent Lewin / Bloomberg via Getty Images

However, it's worth noting that another Kmart frying pan - the Anko Stainless Steel 2.9L Saucepan - outranked 12 competitors in a test conducted by Consumer NZ earlier this year.

While this Anko pan costs less than $25, the testing team found it outperformed several big-name, expensive brands, including the second-place Essteele Per Sempre Covered Saucepan, a piece of premium kitchenware with a hefty price of $270.   

In a statement to Newshub on Friday, a spokesperson for Kmart said the items listed by Consumer NZ are among the retailer's "most popular and well-reviewed products" and are "much-loved staples in households across New Zealand".

"At Kmart, we can retain our famously low prices while still delivering stand-out products that customers love due to our unique business model. We design in-house and leverage our scale and sourcing capabilities to deliver great products at the best price, without needing to compromise on quality or style," the spokesperson added.