New kitchens: how do Howdens compare with Magnet for prices? and quality?

(38 Posts)
TuttiFrutti Wed 06-Aug-08 16:59:11

Has anyone got quotes from both? How did they compare?

I've just had a quote from Magnet, which was surprisingly competitive. Want to see Howdens as well, but my builder is on holiday for 2 weeks and Howdens will only give a price to the builder, they won't deal with me direct (although they're happy to come to the house and do a design).

Can anyone enlighten me?

wintera Wed 06-Aug-08 21:51:11

We got our kitchen from Howdens and it all went very well for us. Howdens came round, did the measurements and asked what we wanted etc.. then they sent the quote and design plans to us and to our kitchen fitters.

We then went to MFI with the design plans and quote and asked them to give us a quote for exactly the same things. (We trimmed off everything that said Howdens on it, but the guy at MFI still recognised it as Howdens work! wink ) )He then took great pleasure in giving us a cheaper quote, about £200 cheaper.

Obviously, we were then going to go with MFI but our kitchen guy then went back to Howdens and told them to match it or they were going to lose out. Howdens then came back with a cheaper quote, about £60 cheaper than MFI. So we eventually went with Howdens.

Basically, our kitchen fitter told us to always go with companies that have warehouses attached to the showrooms, because if there is a mistake with the delivery, its easy for someone to pop in and get whatever is missing as it will always be in stock there. If you get it from somewhere that is just a showroom, then they always have to order it from somewhere else and that can lead to long delays if anything gets missed off your order. Our kitchen work was started on a Monday and finished by the Friday and it all went really well. We've had no problems whatsoever with it. The kitchen fitter reckoned that there is nothing worse than starting a job and then having to go back weeks after to finish it off just because something has been delayed.

Not sure about Magnet as I didn't need to contact them in the end, but I hope I've been of some help to you anyway!

mybabysinthegarden Wed 06-Aug-08 22:00:19

I think Howdens are considerably cheaper than MFI/Magnet etc for the individual parts for your kitchen as they only sell to trade-- I needed a new piece of splashback for my kitchen and the price they quoted was about 1/3 that MFI did; however since the kitchen stores regularly have big sales and throw in free appliances etc. it might work out cheaper to go to one of them for the whole kitchen.

I've put in a couple of kitchens now and IMVHO the individual components are identical between Howdens/MFI/B&Q/Magnet etc-- what really makes the difference to the finish of the kitchen is having a good builder install it. So if you've got a good guy, I'd just go with whoever will supply the kitchen most cheaply. And also inspect the stuff like a hawk when you get it-- I've never had an order where I didn't have to send something back, as stuff gets bashed about in those giant warehouses, or warped if it's been sitting around for too long.

hifi Wed 06-Aug-08 22:49:53

howdens carcasses come ready made, apparently they are better if you are having granite. i have seen 3 i like in howdens. if you go with certain kitchen fitters they get a discount, our fitter has got upto 70% off on most things.mfi make £ on the fitting and the granite, its double the price.

hifi Wed 06-Aug-08 22:50:47

we saw the quote from our fitter, i suppose they could buy it a discount and charge you full whack.

TuttiFrutti Thu 07-Aug-08 06:17:28

Ah that is very interesting stuff wintera - I didn't realise Howdens are prepared to send you the quote direct, a friend told me they would only give it to her builder (presumably to let the builder put a mark-up on it if he wanted to). I've got an appointment with them on Monday to come to our house and do a design, so I'll see what happens!

Also the point about warehouses attached to showrooms is a very good one. Magnet have separate showrooms and warehouses, so if we have a bit of the order missing, it could take weeks to track down a replacement. Howdens told me that everything is in stock so the builder can just pick it all up.

And the ready-assembled cabinets from Howdens (thank hifi).. Altogether lots of reasons to go wtih Howdens. Annoyingly though, I really like the particular kitchen we've chosen from Magnet, and they have given us quite a good discount...

Has anyone else experienced either of them? I'd be really interested in a direct comparison.

amidaiwish Thu 07-Aug-08 07:07:39

i have a Howdens kitchen fitted in my utility room. My builder got it - i thought only trade were able to buy from them.
Anyway, it was much much cheaper than MFI and has been fantastic. Doesn't look any different to the very expensive units i had fitted in the kitchen from a Germany kitchen company.

Would agree that it all comes down to the fitting. Be fussy on handles too - and taps -they both can make or break the look of a kitchen.

wintera Thu 07-Aug-08 09:33:39

You guys have jogged my memory now! What happened was Howdens sent a package with the design for the kitchen to us and another package to the kitchen fitter which had the same design details and also a quote. The reason I got confused was because the kitchen fitter gave the quote to us straight away to go and try and get a better price. Sorry for the duff information! I just forgot that the quote didn't get sent directly to us!

Obviously that wouldn't happen in all cases as the kitchen fitters wouldn't want you to see the prices because of their mark ups. Ours must have been a particularly honest guy! He kept the kitchen costs and his costs seperate you see, so we could see exactly what we were being charged for.

wintera Thu 07-Aug-08 09:40:36

I agree about handles and such. You don't think they will make a huge difference but they do! The drawers on my kitchen have drop down handles whereas my cupboards have knob type handles. I quite often get nice comments about them, more so than about anything else in the kitchen!

zippitippitoes Thu 07-Aug-08 09:48:30

these kitchens are really good and they are quick to arrive and very helpful here

our fitter normally fitted hodens and i ordered from these and he said it was the best kitchen he had ever done

babyboo1and2 Thu 07-Aug-08 09:54:05

i just had a howdens kitchen fitted 2 weeks ago and it is excellent quality - the guy compared the ready made units with ready assemblied v flat packed furniture

also agree with being able to go back to warehouse to change items - ive had friends wait weeks from mfi b&q etc

also agree with being picky with finishing touches such as handles and taps

it was all as stressfree as having no washing machine and cooker and a workman in my house as can be

i love my kitchen!

MuffinMclay Thu 07-Aug-08 16:46:27

We have Howdens units in our bathroom (kitchen units adapted by fitter - looks far better than it sounds!). Very good quality and pretty cheap too.

Agree that its important to have someone good fitting them.

MrsMattie Thu 07-Aug-08 17:08:02

We've just had a Howdens kitchen installed. In terms of quality, I'd say it's exactly the same as MFI / Magnet / Moben - you're getting a decent mid-range kitchen, better quality than the flat pack Ikea-type ones but not as good obviously as a bespoke or handmade wooden kitchen. In fact, MFI used to own Howdens and it was their 'trade arm' I believe, so really no difference in them.

Price wise - for almost exactly the same kitchen, Howdens quoted £400 less than MFI, £600 less than Magnet and almost £2,000 cheaper than the supreme rip off merchants that are Moben! They also took £300 off the original price when they delivered the wrong cupboards (even though they redelivered the right ones later that day - that's the other good thing about our local Howdens at least - they stock everything on site, not in a warehouse miles away, so we only had to wait a week from paying for the kitchen to have it delivered).

Pannacotta Thu 07-Aug-08 23:18:05

wintera what is a drop down handle, am quite intrigued?

FluffyDavis Fri 08-Aug-08 09:17:06

The magnet showroom near us has a trade counter and warehouse out the back like howdens. My dh is a carpenter and usually uses howdens as they come out cheaper more often.
We have had two Howdens kitchens fitted over the years and were pleased with them. Its right about MFI having the same kitchens as Howdens with slight variations on the handles etc. Last time I got a quote from MFI they were quite unhelpful. They will not let you take a kitchen design home with you like the others.

overthemill Fri 08-Aug-08 09:24:06

we ended up getting our kithen from unpaintedkitchens and having it fitted by our builder. much cheaper and fantastic quality - also really individual. they will make pieces to fit your kitchen so no watsed space and tehy ar enot expensive copmared to flatpack. have an idea tehy are ex smallbone people? anyway £330 for a base unit
and bought oak worktops online

wintera Fri 08-Aug-08 20:50:23

I will take some photos of the handles and post them, as I can't describe them!

As for unhelpful kitchen places, what about the over friendly ones? I filled in a brochure request on the website of Kitchens Direct. Within a couple of hours I had a phone call telling me they had a sale on and did I want a rep to come out the next day to give me a quote! I said "No thanks, just send the brochure first please" the lady tried to persist and in the end I was quite annoyed.

They never did send me a brochure, and their persistant nature over the phone had the opposite effect on me. I was put off having a kitchen from them right from the start!

Piffle Tue 12-Aug-08 14:32:11

overthrmill would you mail meabout unpainted kitchens?

Mumsnut Thu 14-Aug-08 20:10:28

Our fitter gets 80% off Howdens units.

becaroo Fri 15-Aug-08 14:35:10

Ours is howdens...very pleased with it

TuttiFrutti Fri 15-Aug-08 15:24:09

Thanks for all the extra comments. I haven't met anyone yet who's not been pleased with Howdens.

A lady from there came round on Monday and I was very impressed - no hard sell, she just asked me lots of questions about what I wanted and she had masses of ideas too, eg how to use difficult corner space. She is going to do a design and send it to me (haven't had it yet though).

What I liked (apart from the lack of hard sell) was that I didn't have to wait around with her while she did the design on her computer, which is how Magnet operate - it took nearly 3 hours! Expensive if you are paying for a childminder (which I was) and totally impossible if you had young children with you.

I will let you all know how the design turns out.

MaureenMLove Fri 15-Aug-08 15:29:20

May I just add, that when you hand over your hard earned cash to whoever you choose, make sure you make it clear, in a polite and clear manner, that you are in charge and as such, you expect everything to run smoothly and without problem! grin

I did that to MFI, who have just finished my kitchen (yesterday!) and although we had a couple of hiccups along the way, everything was sorted to my satisfaction (including financially!grin) within 24hrs.

Take a look. Its on my profile!

TuttiFrutti Mon 18-Aug-08 18:07:08

Just to let you all know the prices: surprisingly, Howdens were about the same as Magnet. Howdens quoted £10,800 plus our builder's mark-up (he hasn't yet told me how much he'll put on but our architect says 15% is standard). Magnet quoted £11,300 for almost exactly the same thing.

So now I'm thinking of going with Magnet after all. Quickest they can deliver is 3 weeks time, which is not great, but I suppose it's worth waiting for the kitchen we will have for the next 10 years.

TuttiFrutti Mon 18-Aug-08 18:07:08

Just to let you all know the prices: surprisingly, Howdens were about the same as Magnet. Howdens quoted £10,800 plus our builder's mark-up (he hasn't yet told me how much he'll put on but our architect says 15% is standard). Magnet quoted £11,300 for almost exactly the same thing.

So now I'm thinking of going with Magnet after all. Quickest they can deliver is 3 weeks time, which is not great, but I suppose it's worth waiting for the kitchen we will have for the next 10 years.

Madblondemum Sat 06-Sep-08 15:45:24

All your reviews have helped to put my mind at ease. Went to Howdens and Magnet today to look at kitchens and talk through designs. Howdens couldn't have been more helpful (even though quotes and designs will go through our kitchen fitter). Asked loads of questions about what we wanted and went through options for taps, worktops etc. Magnet were the complete opposite, kitchen designer was rude and unhelpful. We liked the design he came up with and the discounts reduced the price ALOT but his attitude from the moment we walked in was that we couldn't possible afford a Magnet kitchen. His opening remark to my husband (College Lecturer) was "We are expensive you know". So thanks, but no thanks Magnet. Will let you know what Howdens come up with!

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