IKEA DEALS AND DUDS
Ikea has a well-deserved reputation for outfitting homes on the cheap, with a dash of Nordic style. But even Scandinavian engineering and modern design can't make every product a winner — sometimes, you just get what you pay for. Keep reading to find out which Ikea products are tried-and-true hits, and which ones consumer product experts and reviewers simply don't consider good buys.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
BUY: POÄNG CHAIR
SKIP: SPRING MATTRESSES
Price: $120 to $949
Topping out at under $1,000 for a king size, there's no denying that Ikea's spring mattresses are budget-friendly. But our guide to the best cheap mattresses advises caution, based on reviews from hundreds of consumers and expert sites such as Sleep Like the Dead. Ikea's spring mattresses rank lower than average in consumer satisfaction, and owners complain about excessive sagging.
BUY: STOCKHOLM RUG
Price: $169 to $299
Wool rugs aren't cheap, but the Stockholm rug comes close. This flat-woven centerpiece of Ikea's rug lineup starts at $169 for a 5-foot-7 by 7-foot-10 size. Fortunately, the quality is better than the price might suggest. The review site Wirecutter says it's softer than other budget picks, and the black and white stripe (starting at $199) is quickly becoming a design classic.
SKIP: PAX WARDROBE SERIES
BUY: RIBBA PICTURE FRAMES
SKIP: MALM DRESSERS
Malm dressers are roomy and inexpensive, but Ikea recalled 29 million of them in June 2016 after they fell and killed at least three children. Ikea has settled with those families for $50 million and now includes wall anchors with Malm dressers, but it still may be wise to steer clear of this top-heavy design.
BUY: MARKUS OFFICE CHAIR
Price: $179 to $199
Several experts, including testers at Wirecutter, say the Ikea Markus office chair is surprisingly sturdy, especially compared with other office furniture in its price range. Other pluses include a 10-year warranty, mesh fabric that allows increased airflow, and a tall back with an integrated headrest.
SKIP: MYSKGRÄS COMFORTER
Price: $8 to $10
The Myskgräs comforter is almost impossibly cheap, starting at $8 for a twin. Ikea does note that it has less filling than a typical comforter and is meant for hot sleepers or warm weather. Still, buyers reviewing the comforter on Amazon say there are just too many downsides: It shifts around too much inside a duvet cover; the polypropylene fabric is scratchy; and the durability is questionable at best.
BUY: GULLIVER CRIB
For Apartment Therapy readers, this crib's simple lines make it a no-brainer in any modern nursery. Parenting blog The Wise Baby raves about how well it's held up over three years and two children. (If you're worried a cheap crib won't be safe, don't be: All models sold in the United States have to meet the same guidelines.)
BUY: KALAS CHILDREN'S DISHES
SKIP: KLIPPAN LOVESEAT
Despite its perennial popularity, the Klippan loveseat is just not all that comfortable, some Aussie reviewers say. Although they appreciate the clean lines and ability to accommodate three adults, the awkward backrest and hard foam make the Klippan better for kids or spaces where it won't see heavy, prolonged use.
BUY: DVALA DUVET COVER
Price: $20 and up
Get the crisp, clean look of white hotel linens for less with the Dvala duvet cover, which costs a modest $25 for a full/queen size and two pillowcases. The Dvala beats out other cheap duvet covers in tests by Wirecutter, where it earns praise for staying cool and relatively wrinkle-free.
SKIP: HEMNES BED FRAME
The Hemnes line is certainly priced right, with classic styling that draws buyers in. While reviewers praise the dressers, the bed frame gets much poorer marks. It just isn't built to last, they say, with flimsy material that can't handle the weight of a mattress and a couple of adults night after night.
BUY: ELDIG COOKTOP
They're often overlooked, but appliances are among Ikea's offerings. Reviewed.com says the four-burner gas Eldig cooktop is identical to a Whirlpool version that currently sells for $419. That makes this 30-inch, stainless-steel model a great budget buy. It's also backed by a five-year warranty compared with a one-year warranty on the Whirlpool.
SKIP: BEKANT SIT-STAND DESK
Price: $349 and up
Bekant sit-stand desks are relatively inexpensive, but reviewers say price is the biggest thing they have going for them. Testers with Reviews.com say the desk starts to wobble and jiggle at medium heights, and they note that it isn't customizable. The weight capacity is only 154 pounds — not terribly impressive compared with other sit-stand desks.
BUY: FRAKTA SHOPPING BAG
Could one of the best buys at Ikea be its iconic blue shopping bag? According to reviewers, the answer is a resounding yes. They say the reusable polypropylene tote is roomy enough for very bulky items like pillows and blankets, strong enough for heavy groceries, and a cinch to wipe down. It also seems to have a designer imitator that costs over $2,000 more.
SKIP: ALÄNG FLOOR LAMP
BUY: VARIERA POT-LID ORGANIZER
SKIP: LACK COFFEE TABLE
Ikea's Lack tables are popular for their simple design and low price, but even happy owners caution that they're not built to last. While a Lack may suffice as a sparsely used side table, it probably isn't the best choice for a heavily used coffee table. BuzzFeed shows why — it's not exactly wood on the inside.
BUY: BEKVÄM SPICE RACK
Sure, you can use it for its intended purpose, but the wooden Bekväm spice rack has ricocheted around the web with dozens of other uses. Good Housekeeping provides a nice roundup, showing the spice rack as a bookshelf, a jewelry hanger, and a toiletry holder in the bathroom, among other things.
SKIP: LEGITIM CHOPPING BOARD
BUY: RÅSKOG UTILITY CART
Owners have high praise for the rolling, three-tiered Råskog cart. They say the powder-coated steel is surprisingly strong for the price, and the cart is versatile enough to be used practically anywhere — a small bathroom, a playroom, a craft room, or anywhere else that needs some additional organization.
BUY: ANTILOP HIGHCHAIR
Babies are expensive, so the price tag alone makes parents swoon over the Antilop highchair. But that's not all there is to like. Assembly is simple, the tray snaps on and off easily, and a lack of padded nooks and crannies makes the chair easy to wipe clean.
SKIP: PRUTA FOOD CONTAINERS
Price: $6 for set of 17
These inexpensive polypropylene containers may seem like a no-brainer substitute for pricey Tupperware. But there may be a reason they're so cheap. Many reviewers say the plastic is flimsy and prone to cracks, while others say the lids fit poorly. Many report that the containers don't hold up well in the microwave, freezer, or dishwasher despite being billed as safe for all three.
SKIP: ALGOT CLOSET STORAGE
Price: Varies by configuration
A tidier closet is an admirable goal, but Ikea's Algot closet organizers may not be the way to achieve it. Testers at Consumer Reports were unimpressed with the Ikea system, saying the directions were lacking, drawers didn't fit well, baskets didn't glide on their tracks, and crucial parts were missing.
BUY: SOLBO TABLE LAMP
This adorable LED table lamp casts a soft, warm light that's not overly bright. In reviews, owners deem it perfect for a kid's room. The polypropylene material doesn't get hot, they say, and the lamp is billed as "safety-tested and tamper-proof." It includes a light bulb estimated to last 25,000 hours.
SKIP: GLASHOLM TABLETOP
This glass surface can be combined with a number of different legs, trestles, and drawer units to create a custom desk or table. But multiple buyers have reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that the glass tabletop "exploded" and caused injury. Ikea's own product page warns, "A damaged edge or scratched surface can cause the glass to suddenly crack or break." The reports of this happening are scarce but alarming enough that consumers may want to opt for a different tabletop.