Read our insider tips to help you navigate kitchen sales and find your dream kitchen at the right price.
Sales can be a great way to save hundreds on your new kitchen, but you want to make sure you’re not taken in by a promotion that’s too good to be true. Check out our tips to get a great deal. You might assume that the traditional peak sales periods – post-Christmas, around Easter and during the summer months – are good times to buy a kitchen. But don’t feel pressured into agreeing to a kitchen refit that you’re not in love with just because you see a sale. Read on for tips that will put the buying power back in your hands. We also explain why materials and unit thickness can really make a difference to whether a kitchen is good value for money.
Five tactics to get the best kitchen quote
1. Don’t be swayed by attention-grabbing offers
An attractive deal might sound too good to be missed, but your dream kitchen might actually be cheaper elsewhere. Ask for how long a deal has been available, as it may be a long-standing offer rather than a time-limited kitchen sale. Always shop around and compare prices. Get quotes from a few different stores to really gauge what is a good price for what you want.
2. Buy your kitchen only when you’re ready
Unless you’re only interested in a very specific kitchen or product, there will usually be some sort of deal or saving to be had. So don’t feel rushed to buy before a sale ends if you’re not totally sure. Ask whether there are similar alternatives available, which might turn out cheaper overall anyway. If you’re confident that an offer will save you money, check exactly when it will end – particularly if there are multiple deals running consecutively, as they may have different deadlines. You can sometimes find these details in T&Cs at the bottom of webpages, but you might have to do a bit of digging. If in doubt, ask a salesperson.
3. Double-check what is included in any kitchen deals
Sometimes an offer can appear to include a wide choice of kitchens but in practice may only apply to selected ranges. Make sure you know exactly what is – and what isn’t – part of the sale, to avoid disappointment. If there are a few promotions running at once, clarify how they interact and what this means for savings and the final price. The end result of these mix-and-match discounts can be tricky to calculate, especially if there are exclusions, so you’ll need to ask for clear guidance to be sure it equates to a good deal.
4. Avoid added extras you’re not sure you need
Your choice of fitting could impact your quote, for example: Soft-close hinges End panels Fillers Cornices Upstands (a small splashback that adjoins the worktop and kitchen wall). Ultimately, add-ons and upgrades are down to personal choice: end panels, for example, will finish the look of your kitchen. Just make sure you’re clear on what is included (and could be hiking the cost of your kitchen) and query anything you’re not sure you need.
5. Make sure there are no essential components missing
Check that everything you need is included in your quote, so that you’re not met with any unexpected surprises when the kitchen is fully priced or delivered. Many of the brands will want to come and visit the customer’s home to properly measure up and give a final quote. But it’s worth checking the big items when you get an initial price, so there aren’t any unwelcome surprises.
Save money in the long term by buying a good-quality kitchen
It may be tempting to try and cut costs by opting for lower-quality materials, or choosing flat-pack over pre-assembled units. But this might prove a false economy if it means the kitchen doesn’t stand the test of time, or takes longer for an installer to fit. Ultimately it will come down to your budget, but make sure you know exactly what the kitchen is made of and how it will be delivered. A few points to bear in mind: Kitchens that arrive pre-assembled are likely to be sturdier, as the joins will have already been fixed together – the top seven units from our lab tests are pre-assembled. Flat-packed kitchens, on the other hand, are sometimes installed incorrectly, leading to joins being less solid. They may be cheaper, but you may also pay more for the time your installer takes to put it together Quality and sturdiness can also depend on the types of joints used. The weakest option tends to be units that rely entirely on wooden dowels glued into holes. Screws or metal studs and cams will make for more robust units.
Bear in mind, though, that not all chipboard units are created equal – and the thickness of frames can make a difference. When we put kitchen units through our lab tests in spring 2021, thicker units were generally better – all of the kitchen units our lab assessed were between 15mm and 19mm thick. Two of the lowest-scoring units are just 15mm thick. However, thicker doesn’t always guarantee better. One unit was 18mm thick but not among the best, according to our lab. While another was 16mm thick but got a higher score.
How to buy a second-hand kitchen
There are a lot of second-hand and ex-display kitchens available at discounted prices. It’s worth asking the big-name brands to see if they have any showroom kitchens they’re discarding, particularly ideal if it’s one you had your eye on anyway. There are also a whole host of sites dedicated to used and end-of-line kitchens, such as Preowned Kitchens, Used Kitchen Exchange and Kitchen Hub, where you might even find a designer kitchen, as well as seller sites eBay, Gumtree and even Facebook Marketplace.
But you need to be careful you know what you’re buying. Here’s what to watch out for: Check your measurements – you don’t want to pay for a kitchen that’s not going to fit. You’ll also have to utilise a layout that’s already set, so won’t be as flexible as one you design. Make sure it will work in your space, both technically and for your lifestyle.
See as many images of it as you can – inside and out. You’ll want to be sure you know what condition it is in. If you are aware that there are small issues that can be fixed, it could be cost effective. But if there are hidden disaster areas, you’ll end up paying more to rectify them or start again.
Find out as much information you can about how it’s made, what materials were used, how long ago it was bought and the situation it’s been used in. A kitchen made of less sturdy joins or materials that was bought many years ago and has been subject to use by a large family is likely to be on its last legs.
Certain elements of a kitchen can cost more, such as the cabinets themselves or the worktops, depending on the materials and finish you choose. It might, therefore, be cheaper to buy some parts second hand, but the rest new.