What washing machine to buy
Everything you need to know about choosing your perfect product
Although, on the face of it, choosing a washing machine should be fairly straight forward once you've set your budget, but there's actually lot to look into. There are probably things that you haven't even thought about, such as the cost of running a machine: in other words, it may be better to spend more money upfront to get cheaper running costs, saving over the lifetime of the machine.
Here we'll take you through everything that's important about choosing a washing machine and all of the key specifications that you should look out for. Depending on your budget, you may have to compromise on some features.
Energy consumption and water use are the two factors that set how much your washing machine will cost to run per year. Running costs are extremely important, as a machine that's cheaper to run could cost you less in the long-run even if it's more expensive to buy.
Every washing machine has an EU Energy Rating label attached to it. This gives you an energy rating grade from A+++ down to A, with the higher grades being more efficient. Each grade contains a range of efficiencies, so one A+++ washing machine may be more efficient than another. To help you decide, each label also contains a figure for the washing machine's power consumption rated at kWh/year and the water consumption in Litres/year. Look for the machine with the lowest figure. Our reviews will tell you how much each machine costs per year to run, so you can find the cheapest model.
Drum size is one of the most important aspects of a washing machine and is quoted as the total weight of dry washing that can be loaded into the machine to be washed. For a typical household a 6kg drum will suffice. However, a larger drum can make a lot of sense, as not only can you wash more clothes in one go, but you can wash larger items, such as duvets. Typically speaking a larger drum will be more efficient per kg of washing, requiring less water and power to wash the same amount of clothes as a machine with a smaller drum.
The spin speed simply tells you how fast the drum spins in revolutions per minute. Generally speaking, the faster the spin speed the drier your washing will be when the machine has finished. Budget washing machines will typically spin at around 1,100rpm, but look for a 1,400rpm or 1,600rpm machine for the best performance. Our reviews will tell you how dry washing was when the washing cycle had finished.
Each washing machine manufacturer has its own special features, designed to improve wash quality and save money. For example, Samsung's Ecobubble technology dissolves detergent using water and air, to create bubbles that penetrate and clean cloths more efficiently. With a 15-degree wash cycle, too, it can also help save you money. Our reviews will test every machine's unique features to tell you if they work and if they're worth the cash.
Pay careful attention to the special wash cycles on a washing machine. A Woolmark-certified machine can wash woollen garments, while some machines have a special silk modes. If you've got a lot of delicate items, a hand-wash mode can save you a lot of manual labour.
Some machines have anti-creasing and easy-iron settings, which will make it easier to care for those items you need to iron at the end of a wash. Our reviews will tell you what's worth worrying about.
DISPLAY AND EASE OF USE
As washing machines get more and more complicated, it's important to have a model that's clear and easy to understand. Our reviews will tell you how easy each machine is to use. It can also be handy to have a washing machine with a clear display that shows you its current setting and how long is left on the current wash cycle. Again, our reviews will tell you what you need to know.