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Howdens vs Ikea kitchens - which is best overall? Any advice?
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# 1
sillywilly
Old 07-07-2010, 11:05 AM
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Default Howdens vs Ikea kitchens - which is best overall? Any advice?

Hi,

My partner is getting a new kitchen soon and I was wondering what was best for value and quality.

They have had a couple of quotes off a Howdens salesman, obtained because the fitter is a "contact". Apparently the only way to get a Howdens quote.

I have to say I am not that impressed with the price. They wanted a mid range kitchen - but even that seems excessively priced after the "discount".

We went up to their "showroom" which was a 10 X 10' reception area showing off f all!! Surely if you are spending a good few grand with a company you are entitled to see a few fully fitted kitchens to get an idea about quality? A stray door here, random off cut of worktop doesn't really cut it.

The supposed CAD drawing was nothing like the kitchen quoted for, the "discounts" seem to be completely arbitrary - RRP whatever - price we will charge - 75 % off - WTF?

One other thing about them. When we went and viewed their showroom saw a load of appliances - all branded BEKO. That is NOT a good make and made us wonder - are all their own branded appliances just BEKO shi7e that they make out cost 800 before discount?

I said look at Ikea because they are they same thickness cabinets 18mm and their prices seem a lot keener especially if u supply yr own appliances.

Knocked up an Ikea kitchen plan in an hour that was 3D, to scale and using branded Which best buy appliances and saved more than 30% on Howdens allegedly "discounted" prices. Even more if they wanted solid wood worktops which Howdens were "discounting" at 700!!

My question is which is better value? Apparently Howdens units come assembled. Didn't see any of that in the showroom we visited. But if it will save a couple of money to complete some Ikea carcasses its money well spent? The fitter would prefer that cos it is less effort to him!!

All of them seem a massive rip off in reality. You are paying for a manufactured piece of MDF with a covering. 4500 seems excessive, especially when you are getting BEKO appliances!!

Any help or advice will be greatly appreicated. Thanks.
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# 2
gabyjane
Old 07-07-2010, 12:06 PM
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Hi all i can say is we have a Howdens kitchen and it is really nice. We bought a new build almost 3 years ago and it has been fab so far, no idea how much it cost though. The only thing that is now needing to be fixed is the fact the cupboard doors are slightly wonky and need tightening up which i don't seem to be able to do with some of them but other than that as good as new. the kick boards need replacing but that is due to our useless plumber who ruined part of it doing some work but would be fine if it wasn't for him!

We have a pearwood kitchen (id'e say inbetween oak and beech colour) and it has a black worktop which again is damage proof as yet with dd cutting apples on it etc!

I would look at Ikea kitchens when we replace this one as just think they are really nice but then there are lots of places that sell nice kitchens! I have fallen in love with a cream one i saw in one of my home mags which i think is wickes!

good luck x
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# 3
Hopejack
Old 07-07-2010, 2:20 PM
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I too am looking at a Howdens kitchen but not impressed at all with their customer service. We are having our kitchen knocked to pieces and extended both along and out to include a dining area and a sun room/family room. My concern was that the actual kitchen area of the kitchen won't have many units in it. I'm using a builder so he suggested I go along and have a look at my local Howdens. We did this and it was heaving, like you say a very small room, not much scope for looking at anything really and the chap we spoke to was clueless - I tried to explain we wanted a rough layout plan of the kitchen (took our building plans along) and he said we'd have to wait until it was built and then they'd come along and measure up??? We then tried again to explain that we are having the kitchen 'built' and so could, at this stage, change the layout slightly if we can't fit what we'd like in the space, so ideally we'd like to know before the building work starts! He was either useless or not very clever!

Needless to say it's almost 3 weeks on and we still haven't been contacted about a plan that they were meant to be drawing up! I had to ask him to write a list of the things I definately wanted in there as he was going to go off and get them to do a plan without even knowing what I want in there - how useful is that?

Needless to say, my builder has now sourced a local, small company who seem quite good and proactive. We are going in Saturday to see the plan they've designed and they are quite willing to discuss discount/undercutting Howdens.

As long at the latter can produce what we need at a price we like, I probably won't even bother to chase Howdens up. I was very, very disappointed by them given the good things I'd read about them. Shame as their units do look OK, just the service is next to rubbish.

So, I'd say don't discoun your local companies - maybe not a bespoke service as they tend to be expensive but one of your local kitchen shops might do a good deal? I had never thought about going to one as I thought they'd be way above our budget. In addition, they shop around for appliances too - quote for Bosch for all ours and at good prices!
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# 4
sillywilly
Old 07-07-2010, 2:57 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. Apparently Howdens sell 400,000 kitchens a year!!

I am convinced there has to be some massive collaboration with "trade" cos even without appliances the kitchen my partner was after would have been a few grand after "discount".

I said that seemed rather expensive for a few pieces of laminated MDF!!

Anyone any experience of quality between Howdens and Ikea as they both seem to have 18mm carcasses but Ikea actually give you a long guarantee. Howdens don't?
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# 5
CKdesigner
Old 07-07-2010, 3:06 PM
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Hi

As I have said before, the kitchen is the most important room in a house so having a well designed kitchen for your needs is SO important. It is always sensible to at least go and have a chat with your local independent kitchen specialist, they should be more knowledgeable than salespeople from most of the nationals and be able to do a better job at reasonable prices.

Good luck.
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# 6
amerste
Old 07-07-2010, 3:16 PM
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Also had a quote through a builder friend from Howdens and with the usual 75-80% discount, I still saved over 1600 going to wren kitchens and thats with an extra dishwasher thrown in and all Bosch. The quality of the units are superb.

Last edited by amerste; 07-07-2010 at 4:43 PM.
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# 7
sillywilly
Old 07-07-2010, 4:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CKdesigner View Post
Hi

As I have said before, the kitchen is the most important room in a house so having a well designed kitchen for your needs is SO important. It is always sensible to at least go and have a chat with your local independent kitchen specialist, they should be more knowledgeable than salespeople from most of the nationals and be able to do a better job at reasonable prices.

Good luck.
Thanks for your reply. Did you get the kitchen fitted by the independents too?
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# 8
CKdesigner
Old 07-07-2010, 5:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywilly View Post
Thanks for your reply. Did you get the kitchen fitted by the independents too?
Hi

Sorry - I am an independent kitchen specialist and I like to think we do a much better job than any of the national companies by having a professional design service through to a reasonably priced full fitting service.
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# 9
Krav
Old 07-07-2010, 6:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amerste View Post
Also had a quote through a builder friend from Howdens and with the usual 75-80% discount, I still saved over 1600 going to wren kitchens and thats with an extra dishwasher thrown in and all Bosch. The quality of the units are superb.
I am currently finalising a kitchen with Howdens so very interested in this thread. May I ask how much you paid for yours, the number of units and the range?
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# 10
Doozergirl
Old 07-07-2010, 6:35 PM
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Howdens are trade. They don't have 'showrooms' and the service you get is a trade service a lot of the time. They will send people out to you to design but don't expect that in the branch - they will have trade conversations with you.

If the question is the orignal one, which is best Howdens or Ikea then I would say Howdens. Ikea do get good reviews on here but having gone and done the 'wiggle' test on every kitchen drawer out there, I just don't think that Ikea stand up to Howdens. A lot of the slab doors aren't wrapped at all, not even on to the sides, to me look like they will peel with time - lovely that you get a guarantee with them but I won't buy an Ikea kitchen. Howdens do come pre-assembled so you save money on the assembly.

What isn't great about Howdens is that different people get different discounts dependent upon their relationships and some tradespeople will add their own margins on top of what they pay to Howdens whereas others will pass their price straight to you. It's possible to get a Howdens kitchen at a really good price that may not be quite as cheap as Ikea but then I'm not sure I'd expect it to be.

You also have your kitchen delivered within days of order, so if your kitchen isn't built yet then it's easy to see why they aren't too keen to do a deal at this point in time - whilst you might want to get an idea of what it looks like, they can't come out and measure and the people in the branches don't generally do CAD drawings.

I use Howdens, they are a good standard kitchen - not top drawer but of a decent quality and not expensive. I pay less for Howdens than any retailer can offer. I know that people often get quoted more but I wouldn't ever expect to spend more than 3000 on units in a decent sized kitchen. I don't think I could get away with an Ikea kitchen in one of our houses. I never buy appliances from Howdens though. I always shop around for appliances, sinks and taps. Howdens are a joinery, they do not specialise in appliances and don't offer great prices on them either.
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Last edited by Doozergirl; 07-07-2010 at 6:41 PM.
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# 11
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Old 07-07-2010, 7:52 PM
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I was very interested to read this thread, as I have in fact paid a deposit on an IKEA kitchen today! I was very impressed with the quality and range of styles. The cost was very good, the only drawback being the cost of installation. I know that I could have had it installed by independent tradesmen cheaper, but decided that it was worth it not to have the hassle of trying to coordinate a joiner, electrician and plumber.
The total cost was 3600 which was for both my kitchen and my utility, and included an oven, hob, extractor and dishwasher. Each appliance was between 100 and 200 cheaper that the equivalent in the B and Q kitchen brochure. Installation will be 2300.
Added benefit is that 2 years interest free credit!
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# 12
sillywilly
Old 07-07-2010, 9:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doozergirl View Post

What isn't great about Howdens is that different people get different discounts dependent upon their relationships and some tradespeople will add their own margins on top of what they pay to Howdens whereas others will pass their price straight to you. It's possible to get a Howdens kitchen at a really good price that may not be quite as cheap as Ikea but then I'm not sure I'd expect it to be.



I use Howdens, they are a good standard kitchen - not top drawer but of a decent quality and not expensive. I pay less for Howdens than any retailer can offer. I know that people often get quoted more but I wouldn't ever expect to spend more than 3000 on units in a decent sized kitchen. I don't think I could get away with an Ikea kitchen in one of our houses. I never buy appliances from Howdens though. I always shop around for appliances, sinks and taps. Howdens are a joinery, they do not specialise in appliances and don't offer great prices on them either.
Very interesting points Doozergirl - especially on price!! Our kitchen size is 3.5 X 3.6 M but that has 2 doors so is not full units.

I am sure I have seen some pics of some of your kitchens - any chance you can point me in the right direction to see them again?

Thanks
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# 13
Doozergirl
Old 07-07-2010, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywilly View Post
Very interesting points Doozergirl - especially on price!! Our kitchen size is 3.5 X 3.6 M but that has 2 doors so is not full units.

I am sure I have seen some pics of some of your kitchens - any chance you can point me in the right direction to see them again?

Thanks
The space that this kitchen occupied was 3.6 x 3m
http://www.photobox.co.uk/my/photo?a..._id=1973719391

This one was more than 3000 in units but this was just massive (the units go on behind where the pic was taken) there were so many units.
http://www.photobox.co.uk/my/photo?a..._id=1600634809

I'll have another new big one to show in about 3 months. Can't wait to do that one!
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Old 08-07-2010, 4:22 AM
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Do Howdens just do door fronts? My units are absolutley fine but the white high gloss cathedral door fronts are a little early noughties .... I'm trying to find someone who will do reasonably priced door fronts - OH is very pratical so slight alterations to fittings aren't a problem
Target of wind & watertight by Sept 2011
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sillywilly
Old 08-07-2010, 8:40 AM
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Kitchens look great Doozergirl. What ranges are they? 2nd kitchen looks like Glendevon in Oak?..

The 1st one - Person I am enquiring for was going to go for a walnut kitchen which I felt would be too dark. Not great light in the room.

Also I assume you are a developer. Personally I wouldn't want a really dark kitchen - white is a better bet for more people.

Can you recommend any websites for appliances and where did you get the gorgeous granite worktop?

Sorry for all the questions!!
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Old 08-07-2010, 8:52 AM
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Do Howdens just do door fronts? My units are absolutley fine but the white high gloss cathedral door fronts are a little early noughties .... I'm trying to find someone who will do reasonably priced door fronts - OH is very pratical so slight alterations to fittings aren't a problem
No - they do full kitchens - but you need to be in the trade to buy from them.

Ikea just do doors at very reasonable prices - trouble is they aren't standard sizes but if OH is handy... still wouldn't help that much as carcasses are different sizes!

B&Q do off the shelf doors. I am sure Howdens would just sell the doors - just need to find someone in the trade to buy em! You will then get the seemingly arbitrary "discount" where they will let you know the "RRP" then give you a 50% + discount.

I really don't get why they do this. Doozergirl - do you have a price list off them seeing that you are in the trade? You know exactly how much they will charge without any of the discounted BS?

Please let us in on a trade secret...
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Doozergirl
Old 08-07-2010, 9:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gizmosmum View Post
Do Howdens just do door fronts? My units are absolutley fine but the white high gloss cathedral door fronts are a little early noughties .... I'm trying to find someone who will do reasonably priced door fronts - OH is very pratical so slight alterations to fittings aren't a problem
If you find someone with the right relationship with them then yes, they do sell just doors.
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Old 08-07-2010, 9:56 AM
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Kitchens look great Doozergirl. What ranges are they? 2nd kitchen looks like Glendevon in Oak?..

The 1st one - Person I am enquiring for was going to go for a walnut kitchen which I felt would be too dark. Not great light in the room.

Also I assume you are a developer. Personally I wouldn't want a really dark kitchen - white is a better bet for more people.

Can you recommend any websites for appliances and where did you get the gorgeous granite worktop?

Sorry for all the questions!!
They are the Glendevon Cream and the Hexham Oak I think.

H just put the Greenwich Walnut in for his sister's business, I haven't seen it but I'm a fan of doing what you want in your own house - can't be bothered with light and dark. If walnut is what you love, then light the room well and use light colours on worktops and walls.

Worktops in the first pic are from www.thegraniteandmarblecompany.co.uk and the second from www.diapol.com Whatever happens, use people that template either traditionally or computerise it and then go back to cut. We did a kitchen where H found someone that cuts the granite on site and the quality was nowhere near as good. Both of the companies above were excellent.

Appliances I always use www.pricerunner.co.uk and will spend forever looking for appliances that fit my bill and see which is cheapest for what I want. I'll go and view it in one of the big appliance shops to make sure I like it then I will go back and buy it online. I've used lots of companies through there (boots kitchen appliances - points and quidco; jual domestic; trading post appliances) and always think about whether I can collect to save delivery costs. I'm often guilty of buying ex-display as well to save money. I have a lovely Bosch integrated fridge freezer in my kitchen which I picked up really cheap in B&Q because the sides were slightly dented. You don't see the sides!

I don't know exactly how much Howdens charge for everything, there is no 'real' pricelist. They seem to have a minimum margin which they work to on each item which the computer will tell them if they go over, but the margin on the RRPs isn't the same so the % they reduce by isn't the same for all items. And discounts are different on different ranges. (can get a 95% discount on some discontinued stuff if they can make me a kitchen from it!). On the whole you'll find all units should be reduced by the same amount, and doors will be the same amount. Worktops again are a different discount, usually less and I often use B&Q as they do a nice worktop that is cheaper. As a rule I'd be looking for no less than a 75% discount on anything but not expect as much on a worktop.
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Last edited by Doozergirl; 08-07-2010 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:13 PM
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The total cost was 3600 which was for both my kitchen and my utility, and included an oven, hob, extractor and dishwasher. Each appliance was between 100 and 200 cheaper that the equivalent in the B and Q kitchen brochure. Installation will be 2300.
Added benefit is that 2 years interest free credit!
Is that 2300 of the 3600? I.e. you're paying 2300 to fit a 1300 kitchen?

Any good kitchen fitter is probably very capable of the plumbing needed in the kitchen, plus if they're not a qualified electrician, they should have the contacts and be able to arrange that work for you. I doubt there is any extra work in arranging your own fitters, other than contacting them. At 2300 I'm sure its worth you making the effort - I'm sure you could get the work done a lot cheaper than that.

Last edited by ic; 08-07-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 1:10 PM
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I read it as 3.6+ the fitting. That's a HELL of a lot on fitting! Can't you cancel Kayle?! Where are you based?
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