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Are you looking for a brand new kitchen? Do you feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choice on offer from different UK retailers? Well, don’t despair: you’re not the only one!

We have already spoken about the respective advantages and disadvantages of companies like Wren, IKEA and B&Q, and the consensus from customers seems to be that, while the products on offer are usually top quality, the delivery and installation services on offer can often be sub par. 

Now, you usually need to take online reviews with a pinch of salt. The customers most likely to post reviews are typically those who have had the worst experiences. It is also worth noting that the quality of service offered by different local branches can vary considerably, so it is always worth looking for reviews which are specific to the outlet closest to you. 

Most nationwide kitchen retailers will offer:

  • Free kitchen design consultations and planning services
  • Sizeable warranties
  • A wide variety of products to choose from
  • Delivery and fitting services

If you want the best guarantee of a top quality purchase, there are also a few rules which you can follow:

  • When visiting showrooms, interact with the kitchens rather than simply seeing how they look. Try opening the drawers and seeing how much storage is really on offer
  • Treat consultations like the sales pitches that they are and don’t make any decisions without first going home to compare your options
  • Check reviews for local outlets as well as national chains, as experiences may vary widely between them
  • Arm yourself with a firm budget, accurate measurements and a list of what you need for your kitchen. Any retailers or Pros who fail to adapt their pitch to these guidelines are salespeople, not the home improvement professionals you really want to speak to

When looking at nationwide retailers, it is also worth taking the time to compare their prices with those of local kitchen fitters. Independent fitters will be able to compare options available across several different retailers, as well as rates for bespoke kitchens from local joiners. They can also recommend materials and design elements to suit your budget, helping you to get more out of your kitchen design without having to break the bank. Most importantly, kitchen fitters can also take advantage of local trade discounts, allowing you to get the materials you want for less.

Let’s take a look at a few more of Britain’s top nationwide kitchen retailers!

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Magnet

Kitchens from Magnet are highly rated, with a huge range to choose from and a quality that is guaranteed to last a long time as long as the products are properly installed. Unfortunately, this quality is reflected in what many reviewers consider to be overly inflated prices.

Luckily, Magnet has a handy solution! Having your kitchen fitter go through ‘Magnet Trade’ will allow them to get the materials you need at a discount, knocking a few figures off of your quote. Even so, it is important to ask your potential hires about the discounts they can get from various retailers, rather than just one. Even with Magnet having a dedicated trade website, there may still be cheaper options elsewhere.

Another issue that seems to be common with Magnet kitchens is the quality of the company’s installation service. As always, our advice is to compare the service provided by your chosen retailer with quotes from experienced local Pros.

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Wickes

Wickes offers great quality merchandise with a refreshingly highly rated measuring and fitting service. The website boasts ‘great quality’ kitchens ‘within reach of almost every budget’, and with new deals available all the time we have no doubt that this is true.

An advantage of the Wickes website which is particularly close to our own hearts is its catalogue of ‘Ideas and Advice’ to help customers choose the kitchens they want. A little inspiration certainly goes a long way, as any kitchen designer will tell you!

Unfortunately, the reviews regarding Wickes’ delivery and customer service are not particularly promising. Again, this can often be a result of local stores rather than the entire chain, so ask about what customers in your local area have to say. Your kitchen fitter should ideally be able to share a few stories to help you make a decision.

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Howdens

Howdens is a ‘trade only’ retailer, meaning that you will need a Pro to collect your kitchen from a depot rather than picking it up yourself. However, the parts are still fully customisable, and as the UK’s ‘largest manufacturer and supplier of fitted kitchens, appliances and joinery products’ Howdens has a large amount of choice available.

While it is not the only retailer to offer a digital kitchen design tool, we feel we ought to point out Howdens’ ‘kitchen visualiser’, which lets you predict how your own kitchen will look once the installation is finished. It is important not to rely too much on these tools, as they may not completely reflect the unique elements of your kitchen, but Howdens also offers a free home measurement service. The company will even provide you with an accurate and useful 3D model before you make a purchase.

What Howdens customers seem to have a problem with is that different tradesmen seem to offer widely varying installation quotes for the company’s merchandise. Howdens has claimed that this is down to individual Pros rather than local depots. This should enforce in your mind the importance of collecting quotes from multiple Pros so that you can compare them before making a decision. 

Folks have very little negative to say about the quality of Howdens kitchens. In fact, the company often compares positively with its main rivals!