The GHI Approved logo not only bestows on a product a seal of approval of the number one consumer testing body in Britain, but guarantees instant consumer interest and sales to follow. This is the first in to a series of articles examining the work of the Good Housekeeping Institute and reporting test results carried on various electrical appliances.
Lighting barbecues and pitching tents in the middle of winter in a howling gale, standing in the shower holding an umbrella and tasting six different breakfast cereals when it’s time for lunch. This is all in a day’s work at the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been for over 80 years – making the Tried, Tested, Trusted trademark much more than just a catchphrase.
Behind the glossy consumer pages of Good Housekeeping magazine is an expert team of researchers dedicated to rigorously testing all the products, recipes and services. With a custom-designed test kitchen, the GHI pride themselves in being able to provide consumers with valuable buying advice. Initially focused on household appliances, the team now test almost anything, from microwaves to MP3 players, lawnmowers to laptops.
In addition to the magazine pages the new Good Housekeeping website provides readers with an information resource; detailed results tables can be accessed along with household advice and tips from the team on every subject.
The GHI Accreditation Scheme
Launched in 2001, the GHI Accreditation scheme allows manufacturers and retailers to apply for access to the GHI Approved logo for their products. To be awarded the logo, a product has to pass a series of Consumer Quality Assessment tests devised by the Good Housekeeping Institute. If it achieves a minimum score in these tests the logo is awarded for a 12-month period and can be used on television, in newspapers and magazines, on posters, point of sale material, on packaging, and in exhibitions, brochures, PR material and internal communications.
For more information please contact GHI Commercial Manager, Kitty Marlborough on 0207 439 5338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Testing freestanding electric cookers
Still popular, despite the increased demand for streamlined, built-in appliances, free-standing electric cookers can look just as stylish, and the test showed that the best of them bake almost as well as their gas equivalents. Most now have a ceramic hob, a fan oven plus a smaller top oven providing conventional top and bottom heat and a grill. But things aren’t always that simple. Multifunction main ovens with touch controls give the option of using conventional heat and grilling as well as fan cooking, or even a combination of different cooking methods. The GHI tested ten free-standing electric cookers and its recommendations are on page 29.
The tests of the Good Housekeeping Institute are based on BS standards but with some extra tests added to give them a true consumer angle. Before cooking anything the team tests the accuracy of the thermostat in the ovens – both main and top for each model individually and then together to make sure running both ovens at the same time won’t affect the temperatures. Low temperature performance is tested by cooking a fruit cake; high temperatures are tested with vol au vents and evenness of temperatures from top to bottom and across the shelves can be assessed with multiple trays of small cakes. All results are measured for evenness of browning and rise. To check that the main oven can cope with a full loading, a whole chicken, potatoes and apple pie are roasted together. Bread is toasted under the grill to check browning is even and coverage is as large as the grill pan provided. On top of all these tests, the speed of the hob is recorded by boiling a litre of water and boiling a litre of milk and reducing down to a simmer on all the heating zones. Performance, ease of use, design and instructions all make up part of an overall score of 100.
Hotpoint EW84 K
Energy rating B; 90 x 59.5 x 58cm; self-clean linings; four-zone ceramic hob (including one halogen); eight cooking functions including fish, rising, roast meat, bread and cake cycles.
Verdict: The main oven produced good crisp roast potatoes and golden chicken on the roast chicken function. Fruit cakes in both top and main ovens were evenly browned with minimal surface cracking. Toast was browned evenly and quickly under grill. The glass door panels slide out easily for cleaning.
Stockist: 0870 150 6070; www.hotpoint.co.uk
Energy rating A; 89.5 x 59.5 x 63cm; selfclean linings; four zone-ceramic hob; ten cooking functions including pizza, keep warm, fast heat, bottom heat only, grill plus fan.
Verdict: Baking and roasting results were very good in the main oven and the hob is quick to respond, with a wide choice of wattages and zone sizes. The touch controls are easy to programme and there’s a bright display showing function and temperature selected. Both ovens are spacious with bright internal lights making it very easy to see what’s cooking, even with doors closed.
Stockist: 08705 350350; www.aeg-electrolux.co.uk
Energy rating A (top oven B); 90 x 60 x 59cm, enamel linings; four-zone ceramic hob; fan-only main oven.
Verdict: This cooker scored high marks for baking in both ovens and for roasting in the main oven, with even browning under the grill. It has a rather cluttered fascia but the controls are easy enough to set despite this. The instructions could be more detailed with clearer diagrams.
Stockist: 0870 444 9929; www.stoves.co.uk
GOOD VALUE ALL-ROUNDER
Energy rating A (top oven B); 90 x 59.5 x 59cm, enamel linings; four-zone ceramic hob; fan-only main oven.
Verdict: Roasting in the main oven was good, with crisp potatoes and browned crumble, although the chicken was slightly dry. Fruit and small cakes browned and rose evenly in both ovens. Browning under the grill was even, but the metal grill handle has to be removed during grilling or it gets too hot.
Stockist: 0870 458 9663; www.belling.co.uk
De Dietrich DC1499XUI
Energy rating B; 89 x 59.5 x 60cm; pyrolytic cleaning; four-zone induction hob; six cooking functions plus 12 auto programmes and memory.
Verdict: This spacious single oven has a useful lower storage drawer and produced very good roasting results, although browning was slightly uneven in our batch cooking tests. Responsive induction hob with good choice of wattages. There’s a very clear and easy-to-use digital display which leads you through setting the right programme for your dish using manual or automatic options. The pyrolytic cleaning system works like a dream.
Stockist: 08707 503 503; www.dedietrich.co.uk
Others tested: Double: Zanussi ZCE5001X £430-452, 81/100; Beko DVC565 80/100, £350; Cannon C60ETC 80/100, £577-700; New World E60D 69/100, £400. Single: AEG C41029V 77/100, £1,650-1,850
You can find details of all past test results on GHI website at www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk