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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Stacey Dutton & Bethan Shufflebotham & Gemma Sherlock & Jada Jones & Emily Sleight & Narin Flanders & Faith Richardson

Which saves the most on energy bills? We group tested maidens, cosy clothing and more to find out

Millions of householders are filling the pinch already following spiralling costs, hikes in fuel and large rises on our energy bills. The month of April saw many Brits having to fork out more than double for the gas and electricity bills after the energy price cap was hiked by 54%.

The energy price cap, which limits the rates a supplier can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use, jumped by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 this month. Other costs too, are also rising including the price of clothes and food leaving many struggling or even worse, plunged into poverty. But there are some gadgets out there that can actually help save money, especially when it comes to the kilowatt usage per hour in your household.

Th Reviews Club has reviewed a range of products that aim to save on energy consumption by offering alternative ways to heat homes and dry clothes. Clothes airing hacks, cosy loungewear and kettle boiling have all been a huge talking point for money savers during April. Let's take a look at some of the products, as originally referred to in the Manchester Evening News.

Aldi's heated airer

Aldi's best-selling heated clothes airer recently came back in stock so we decided to see if it was worth the hype. I'd heard great things about Lakeland's DrySoon branded airers and decided after pay day I'd order one, but was shocked at how expensive it worked out.

Enter a popular Aldi SpecialBuy - Aldi's Easy Home Heated Clothes Airer. For £89.99 it worked out a full hundred pounds cheaper than the Lakeland bundle when you took into account the cost of accessories and had dozens of positive online reviews of its own. I had to give it a go.

The first thing I was impressed about with the Aldi airer was how you could use it straight out of the box. Our last airer involved some fiddly putting together so being able to literally pull this out, untie the cable and use it was brilliant.

The cable is a bit shorter than I'd like, but with some rejigging of the living room I was able to set it up and plug it in. I also loved how it has two switches so you can use half of it for smaller loads. The airer comes with a full-size cover and two sets each of heat proof pegs and nets to dry delicate clothes on. I've found it most useful just hanging things directly on the bars, but can see the benefit of these for larger items.

For us though, this airer has been a dream for drying children's clothes, PJs, undies, tea towels and all the smaller items you can dry relatively quickly and then put away.

Not only has it become a staple of my laundry routine but I'd happily buy another one if I needed to. We are going to happily remain a tumble dryer free house for a while longer!

Verdict: 4/5

Breville hot cup

I live in a house where the kettle can’t boil fast enough. Everyone has their first morning cuppa well before 9am, and it’s pretty much on repeat until 9pm. Last week, I shared a hack that meant I was boiling the kettle half as much, saving around £25 a month, and so many readers suggested I invest in a Breville HotCup.

I drink approximately eight cups of tea a day, more when we invite family and friends around, with a chocolate digestive - okay, two.

It means I’m constantly adding the amount of water I need to the kettle to boil, so I was intrigued to see if a Breville HotCup would help save me time, energy and money.

I bought the Breville HotCup VKT124 model, which is said to make six to eight cups of tea. I set it up on my kitchen counter and since then, I’ve completely ditched the kettle and resigned it to the pantry.

The HotCup offers a patented design for ‘super quick’ heating, with a 1.7 litre capacity, which is similar to most kettles. The average 3000W kettle takes 4.5 minutes to boil a full kettle of water, so I decided to time the Breville device on its first full boil. Having filled the HotCup to its maximum capacity line, I hit the button on the top of the machine, with my iPhone timer in hand and was stunned as hot water dispensed from the nozzle in just 30 seconds.

The Breville description says it holds six to eight cups of water, which would be ideal for when everyone in the room accepts your polite offer of a brew. However, I’d say it’s more like five or six mugs.

I probably wouldn’t use it to make any more than four, as in that instance. The dispenser is more economical than a kettle, taking less time to boil, but also saves lots of time, which is perfect for our busy kitchen. The large water window also makes accurate filling easy, so you never run out of water halfway through making the teas and coffees.

This is an appliance I can see slotting seamlessly into any kitchen, from busy mums pressing the button between feeding toddlers, to home workers like myself who use caffeine to fuel their working day.

Priced at £39.99 in Currys, it looks sleek, saves money and works well. This week we’ve easily made 40 cuppas, so are already down to £1 per mug. This is a device that’s definitely going to earn its keep in our kitchen.

Rating: 5/5

Dunelm heated airer

This airer comes with three tiers that fold away to save space, and although when the product is folded it’s still fairly big, it tucks away nicely. According to the product description, it’s suitable for up to 15kg of washing with an additional storage rack.

I can manage about a wash and a half on the rack depending on what’s been washed, and it takes seconds to heat up. The warmth of the airer also doubles up as a heater, which makes my spare room nice and warm (hopefully saving money on heating bills!)

It’s a real pain to rely on British weather when you’re wanting to hang your washing out, which is why this heated airer is such a great addition to my household items. All I need to do is put a wash on after work and stick it on the airer overnight and it’s usually dry in the morning.

Although you’re not getting that fresh ‘outside’ smell like you would if you were to hang it out, the airer still leaves your clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh. The only downside is the fact that the towels do feel hard once they’ve been dried overnight, which is something I’m still trying to find a solution to.

It costs from 3p an hour to run, saving around 37p with the latest 50% increase this month. As the phrase goes “every little helps”, and the heated airer could save around £1.85 if I were to use it five days a week adding up to around £9.25 a month.

I honestly haven’t looked back since purchasing this airer, I never saw the fuss with the product until now. It’s so easy to get my washing done, and the fact that it doubles up as a heater is a bonus.

It may seem a bit steep for £100, but I truly believe in the long run it’s going to save me a lot of money, and it’s such a handy product. You can purchase the Dunelm heated airer here.

Rating: 5/5

Amazon heated hoodie

I found this OHS heated hoodie on Amazon, and had to admit I was intrigued. The idea of something constantly keeping me warm, whilst also being comfortable and cosy was definitely very appealing. When it arrived, it was a very simple set up. It does require a USB portable battery pack , which you can also pick up on Amazon for around £10. The portable charging pack I got also works for my phone, which was a bonus, and you simply plug the hoodie into the battery pack.

I was very keen and tried to charge the hoodie up straight away with the battery pack, and although it flashed to tell me it was charged up, it didn’t last very long before it died.

I realised I needed to charge the battery pack itself up first, which took a few hours to reach maximum charge. Once it was charged, I just plugged the battery pack into the hoodie, which has a concealed charging point in the front pocket.

While it’s charging there’s a red flashing light on the on/off button that flashes whilst it’s charging, then turns to blue when it’s ready to go. It took about 15 minutes for the hoodie to heat up and reach full charge which was great, and you can turn it off between uses so you don’t need to always wait this long for it to charge before wearing it.

There’s three heat settings, high, medium and low, and they have a red, blue or green light to show which one you’re on. The hoodie has three heated areas across the shoulders, the stomach and chest areas, and the lining is a thick, soft fleece which makes it warm even when it’s not turned on.

You do need to keep the battery pack plugged into the hoodie and turned on at all times, otherwise as soon as you unplug it the hoodie starts to cool down. The only downside I could find is that between charging the battery pack and the hoodie up, it can take several hours until you can wear your hoodie.

But as long as you turn it off in between uses it should last a while before you have to recharge it, and you can always leave your battery pack charging up between uses so it’s ready to go whenever you need it. The hoodie did exactly what I hoped, and kept me warm and cosy without having to turn the heating on or put on three or four layers.

This is definitely going to be something I wear all the time at home now, it keeps the cold at bay and still lets me get my work done. Get yours on Amazon now for just £29.99 .

Rating: 3.5/5 - "a great product but it took too long to heat up."

Aldi electric under-blanket

With temperatures going down and energy bills going up, exactly how warm our house needs to be overnight is currently a hotly-debated topic of conversation, no pun intended.

As the weather has turned I've tried a range of tactics to keep warm at night - from wearing hooded sweatshirts and socks to bed to spending £7.99 on Aldi's full length hot water bottle, but the bottom line is that I get very cold and my husband doesn't like to overheat.

The latest selection of Aldi Specialbuys includes a gadget that has left us both sleeping happily - an Electric Under-Blanket.

Currently reduced by £10 to just £34.99 for the double version (the king size one comes in at £49.99), shoppers have been snapping it up since it went on sale earlier this week, with dozens of reviewers giving it five stars. Having got a chance to test one I can totally see why.

The blanket has an deep elasticated hem like a fitted sheet which holds it firmly in place so there's no concerns of it pinging off in the night if you're a restless sleeper.

It's well-stitched, thick and as cushioned as a posh quilted mattress topper, which is ideal because it meant there wasn't any problem with the innards of the blanket digging into us as we slept, especially once I'd put my normal sheet over the top of it.

Putting it on the mattress and making the bed was easy.

The cables were easily tucked away behind the bed so it didn't look messy or risk being any kind of trip hazard and the only thing to watch out for was making sure the controls were at the pillow end.

Aldi recommends that the hottest, level 6, is only used to give your bed a blast of warmth before you get into it. Levels 2-5 shouldn't be used for more than a couple of hours continuously, but if you do wish to have warmth throughout the night you can keep the heat at level 1.

It's the best night's sleep either of us have had for ages.

Obviously, getting up in the morning was still a bit chilly but I'm happy to compromise on that if we can both sleep comfortably through the night and save on the heating bills at the same time.

The under-blanket comes with safety features that means it will automatically switch off after ten hours.

It also automatically cuts out in case of overheating which is reassuring.

You can even wash it at 30 degrees in the washing machine if needed - although I don't need to do that yet and don't plan to take the plug-in connectors out of the blanket until I absolutely have to in case they're fiddly to put back in.

Rating: 5/5

Boux Avenue Loungewear

I love Boux Avenue when it comes to things to wear around the house, they might be known for their lingerie but their dressing gowns and slippers are so soft that I get one every single Christmas.

Zara McDermott's borg heavy second edit is so comfortable I don't want to wear anything else now for lounging around in.

To say it's comfortable feels like an understatement, the borg finish is so soft on my skin and it's the perfect loungewear options.

I absolutely love the lounge joggers and bralette, as someone who works from home I find myself wearing joggers more often than anything else (because why subject yourself to buttons and zips if you don't have to?).

Paired with the shacket, this outfit becomes perfect for nipping out and still feeling stylish.

Now my trips to track down gnocchi and grapes feel that little bit more chic than when I don a classic oversized hoodie and jogger combo.

This is a great option for those of us who enjoy athleisure. I am thrilled with how comfortable it is, it runs true to size.

You can get the borg shacket here for £38, the bralette here for £16 and the matching joggers for £30 here.

Rating: 5/5

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