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Products to avoid in the Cyber Monday sales

The sales are almost over, but don't let the high pressure tactics trick you into buying a dud. 

products to avoid buying in the black friday sales
Last updated: 27 November 2023

If you have an email address or a social media account, chances are you're being bombarded with ads telling you that it's your absolute last chance to grab a bargain today. 

Whether you're in the market for an essential appliance like a fridge, or you're open to a cheeky impulse buy like an ice-cream machine, you'll probably be temped by some of the prices on offer. 

But while there are certainly some products well worth snapping up for a bargain price, there are plenty of others that are worth dodging, even if they're the best deal you've come across in a long time. 

Along with excellent deals there are also lots of duds out there

But along with excellent deals there are also lots of duds out there, and retailers are infamous for using key sales periods to offload old or unwanted stock. 

Before you buy, check CHOICE reviews to ensure you're getting a good-quality product, and avoid these flops below that failed to impress our testers this year.


Sealy took the dunce cap for the lowest scoring mattress in our review.

Sealy Back Support Harmony mattress

After a hard day hitting the shops, you'll probably be in need of a good night's sleep. But you won't find it with the Sealy Back Support Harmony mattress. It was the lowest scoring mattress in our tests, with our experts giving it an insomnia-inducing CHOICE Expert Rating of 61%. 

This spring mattress may have a recommended retail price under $1000, but sadly, even with a discount, this is not a great deal. It came dead last in our testing, and despite the fact it claims in its very name to offer "Back Support", we found in our testing that the advertised firmness did not match our results. 

It also received a very poor stabilisation score of 12%, which means it might have you bouncing around in your sleep much more than other mattresses. 

This spring mattress may have a recommended retail price under $1000, but sadly, even with a discount, this is not a great deal

There are plenty of cheaper mattresses out there that will give you better results, and if you're on a budget, you can check out our best mattresses for under $1100. So check our expert mattress reviews to save yourself some money, even without Black Friday discounts. 

kitchen couture 34l air fryer black model no 301465

Kitchen Couture air fryer: form over function.

Kitchen Couture air fryer

It might have the looks, but the Kitchen Couture's strengths lie in its form rather than its function: it received the lowest CHOICE Expert Rating of all the air fryers we tested.

And just like high-end fashion, it's not cheap at $349. A number of other air fryers with the same price tag scored 75% and higher, so it's quite reasonable to expect more for your money. 

Our experts found it was very good at cooking thick-cut frozen chips, but it failed to impress in the other cooking tests. And when it came to ease of use, our experts had a long list of complaints about its various idiosyncrasies. 

Even if you're thick-cut chip obsessed, there are far better buys to be had. 

Read the full Kitchen Couture 3.4L air fryer review

nescafe dolce gusto piccolo xs 9781

The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS 9781: "Absolutely woeful".

Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS 9781 coffee machine

Looking like a cross between Olive Oyl and a sad penguin, this Nescafé capsule machine certainly has a unique design and, admittedly, it's very cheap, coming in at under $100. But it's memorable for entirely different reasons: its performance is absolutely woeful.

For the two main components of espresso coffee – the espresso and the steamed milk – it scored terribly. Our experts rated the espresso just 30% for taste and the milk frothing just 40%. So you're unlikely to get a good brew from this machine.  

You can spend thousands on a top-of-the-line machine, but we've found some excellent coffee machine models for under $600. And with Black Friday discounts you're likely to be able to pick up a great machine for not a great deal of cash.

Just check our coffee machine review first so you don't condemn yourself to mornings of burnt espresso and scalded milk. 

dirt devil cordless vacuum dsv22g2 ec223602245

The devil is in the detail of this stick vacuum's poor performance.

Dirt Devil cordless vacuum (DSV22G2 EC223602245)

The Dirt Devil might be dirt cheap, but unfortunately it won't do much for the dirt on your floors. It struggled on both hard floors and carpets, and did very little to pick up pet hair from carpet or sand and pebbles from a car's floor.

It does, however, have a fairly lengthy run time of 19 minutes, but considering its poor performance you'll need every second of that time to go over your floor multiple times if you're to have any chance of getting it clean. It also has a very small dirt bin of just 0.2L, so you'll need to empty it frequently.

If you only have $99 to spend, don't spend it on this. You may even be better off buying a corded barrel vacuum that will do a far better job for the same price, even though it won't fulfil your dreams of owning a stick vac.

Here's the full list of stick vacuum cleaners to avoid buying. To find out which ones are worth buying, check our stick vacuum cleaner review

smeg fab32rpb5au

This pricey, cult-brand Smeg FAB32RPB5AU fridge flunked CHOICE testing.

Smeg FAB32RPB5AU fridge

If you're swayed by a cute vintage design or preoccupied with imagining how a trendy fridge will look in your dream kitchen, listen up. Smeg has done it again (and not in a good way) with another pretty but pricey fridge that bombed in CHOICE testing. 

For a lazy $3999, the Smeg FAB32RPB5AU is the latest in a line of exxy but disappointing fridges from the Italian manufacturer. To give credit where it's due, this one is slightly better than its predecessors – but not much.

While you'd think the company would've improved upon the poor temperature stability of its previous fridges, it isn't so: the new FAB32 scored 0% for temperature stability. 

The temperature is also not evenly distributed, with the top shelf section recording significantly warmer temperatures than the bottom.

Between the sketchy temperature stability and warm patches, your food is likely to go off faster

Between the sketchy temperature stability and warm patches, your food is likely to go off faster, adding extra dollars to your grocery bill – which many of us can ill-afford in this cost-of-living crisis. 

And it has a huge price tag for a fridge this size: close to $4000 for a fridge we classify as "small"! 

So you're not getting much bang for your buck in terms of size or performance with this fridge, even if you do manage to grab a discount.

kogan kaqled65xq98jsta

You'll get what you pay for with this Kogan 65-inch TV.

Kogan 65-inch QLED TV (KAQLED65XQ98JSTA)

Kogan says on its website that Black Friday is 'the biggest sale of the year' and the retailer is spruiking discounts on a wide range of products including electronics and home entertainment. 

But before you get wowed by the bargain price of this Kogan QLED TV, keep in mind that our expert testers were disappointed with its standard and HDR picture quality, and found the 4K picture pale. 

On a positive note, it has excellent smart TV functions and a very good user interface, so even if the picture is average, at least it's easy to use.

Our expert testers were disappointed with its standard and HDR picture quality, and found the 4K picture pale

If you do decide to shop at Kogan, make sure you don't get tricked into signing up for the Kogan 'First' program which is a default pre-ticked shipping option at the checkout. 

Miss this pre-checked box and the fine print on the Kogan website and you'll be on the hook for $99. This practice earned the retailer a CHOICE Shonky in our recent awards.

Here's our advice on buying a TV in the Black Friday sales

ecovacs deebot u2

Ecovacs Deebot U2 Robot Vacuum: Not a smart buy.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

Robot vacuums are expensive, and many of them have a number of issues and limitations, so you'll need to read through our robot vacuum cleaner reviews carefully so you don't end up with a dud. 

We'll save you some research time, though: don't buy the Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vac. It scored a crummy 47% CHOICE Expert Rating, and a truly sucky 15% for cleaning carpet. 

Sure, at $379, it's much cheaper than every other robot vac we've tested, but even heavily discounted it's just not worth the money. 

radic8 hextio h 100

The Radic8 Hextio H-100: Bottom of the barrel.

Radic8 Hextio H-100 air purifier

Our expert testers looks at almost 50 different models of air purifiers, scoring each one on its ability to remove dust, smoke and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, and more.

Although it won't burn quite as big a hole in your wallet as some of the other air purifiers we have tested, this $630 Radic8 air purifier won't do much in the way of purifying the air in your house either.

It received the lowest CHOICE Expert Rating of all the air purifiers in our test, including a truly terrible 5% for removing dust and 10% for smoke and VOCs.

It's also very noisy when operating on its lowest setting, so it'll keep you awake at night – and not just because you're wondering whether you've wasted 630 of your hard-earned dollars (or slightly less if you get it on sale) by buying this lemon.

Read more about how much you need to spend to get a good air purifier that works: are air purifiers under $250 any good?

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.