Somewhere in the maze between the build-it-yourself bookshelves and the fresh cinnamon rolls, home furnishings retailer IKEA also features a modest selection of home appliances bearing the well-known Swedish brand name.
Although some IKEA furniture seems like it barely lasts longer than a bag of frozen meatballs, it turns out that IKEA’s dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, cooktops, ovens, and microwaves can be great deals. They’re made by a company you’ve heard of, feature an exceptionally good warranty, and take advantage of IKEA’s in-house designers to add a sleek look to any kitchen.
At Reviewed.com, we know our appliances. Our team of experts has spent years lab-testing nearly every dishwasher, oven, and fridge on the market, so we're pretty qualified to tell you whether you should get your appliances at IKEA.
The verdict? If you’re willing to make a few tradeoffs, IKEA can be a great place to outfit a kitchen. But customers should always do their homework, and look out for a better value at a traditional retailer. Here’s what you should know before you buy.
Who makes IKEA kitchen appliances?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Despite the umlauts in their names, no IKEA appliance hails from Sweden. In fact, most are built here in the U.S.
That’s because IKEA’s appliances are manufactured by Whirlpool Corp., the Michigan-based home appliance giant that also makes appliances under the Amana, Maytag, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air brands. IKEA lays out the exterior design and warranty (more about that later), then Whirlpool gets to work designing and building the products.
Whirlpool builds its ranges in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and its dishwashers in Findlay, Ohio. Some bottom-freezer refrigerators come from a factory near Amana, Iowa, and most of the other fridges are made in Mexico. Microwave production takes place in Asia (although the Nutid microwave wall oven was built in Norrköping, Sweden, until that plant closed in 2014).
If you were to visit any of these factories, you’d see IKEA models rolling off the assembly lines alongside similar models from other Whirlpool brands. And if you were to peek at the label, you’d see the Whirlpool name prominently displayed near the serial number.
None of them will say “Made in Sweden.” In fact, no appliance currently sold in the U.S. is made in Sweden—even those from Swedish parent companies. Production of Asko dishwashers moved from Sweden to Slovenia in 2013, and Electrolux large appliances sold in the U.S. are all made in North America.
In short: Though the features may be different and the style might be unique, your IKEA appliance should perform just as well as a Whirlpool.
A good warranty isn't always a good value.
With the exception of the entry-level Lagan models, all IKEA appliances come with a limited five-year warranty. Though there’s plenty of fine print, it’s still the best warranty in a business where most products only come with a year’s worth of coverage. All service also comes from authorized Whirlpool providers.
While some IKEA appliances sell for more than the models they’re based on, others are simply great deals. For instance, the Eldig 4-element ceramic cooktop is almost identical to the Whirlpool W5CE3024XB, except it costs a few dollars less on sale and adds a five-year warranty.
IKEA's Lagan appliances come with a one-year warranty, but still cost about as much as their Whirlpool/Maytag/Amana counterparts, making them less of a value.
In fact, the Lagan electric range that sells for $499 is almost identical to the Amana AER5630BAW, which sells for about $50 less at Home Depot. Then there's the Lagan dishwasher, which is identical to Amana’s ADB1100AWS, but costs less and adds the option of a black or stainless steel finish.
The bottom line: Before you buy, make sure you compare all IKEA appliances with similar models from Whirlpool.
What about delivery?
Many appliances are in stock for easy pickup at IKEA stores, and sometimes they end up in the As-Is section at a significant discount. But if you don’t live near an IKEA store—or if you can’t get a large appliance home without help—you’ll want delivery. That further complicates the value proposition.
Delivery starts at $99, but that price rapidly increases the further you get from a store. For example, it would cost an additional $349 to ship a $1199 Nutid wall oven to Des Moines, Iowa. Yes, the IKEA-specific design looks great, but a similar Whirlpool model ships free from Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other retailers.
IKEA delivery is also less convenient than other retailers' delivery services. We get appliances delivered from many different companies, but IKEA arrivals were especially difficult to plan out.
Most stores let you choose a window for delivery, but the delivery service that IKEA contracted only let us choose the day, informing us the night before when a refrigerator would arrive. When it turned out the estimated delivery time was outside of normal business hours, we had to reschedule repeatedly until the trucking company eventually chose a time that also happened to work for us.
Basically, if you don’t plan on picking them up at a nearby location, shopping at IKEA may end up costing significantly more time and money than sticking with a traditional retailer.
What about their names?
We’ve covered whether IKEA appliances might be a good fit for your kitchen and budget. That leaves us just one important question: What do all those names mean?
Lars Petrus’ IKEA Dictionary helped us decipher a lot of them, while Google Translate came in handy for the rest. As with most IKEA products, the appliances are either given proper Scandinavian first names, named after real Swedish words or slang, or named after Scandinavian geography. Yet, most of the names have something to do with a product’s function.
For instance, “Frostig” means “frosty”—appropriate for a line of refrigerators. “Eldig” means “fiery,” which is good for an oven, while “Renlig” means “cleanly,” which is what your dishes should be after an hour or two in a dishwasher with that name.
Other names are meant to inspire confidence. “Betrodd” means “trusted” and “Praktfull” means “splendid,” while “Framtig” means “future” and “Nutid” means “present.”
Finally, the entry-level "Lagan" is named after a Swedish river and town halfway between Malmö and Jönköping. The town has barely over 1,000 residents—though that’s twice as many as Amana, Iowa, the namesake for most of the appliances the Lagan models are based on.