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The best washer dryers to buy in 2021

Derek Adams Sasha Muller
7 Dec 2021

However big or small your budget, or your household, here you'll find our recommended washer dryers with the right features for you

When there's simply no room in your home for a dedicated washing machine and tumble dryer, there's only one solution: buy the best washer dryer you can find. The washing and drying performance might not compete with separate appliances, but the best models can provide very respectable performance - and the convenience of being able to press one button and have your clothes washed and dried automatically can't be overstated. 

On this page, you’ll find our recommended washer dryers, complete with purchase links. Scroll down and you’ll find our buying guide, which takes you through everything you need to know about finding the right washer dryer for you and explains all the features you need to look out for. If you’re not sure where to start, this jargon-free guide is an invaluable primer.

The best washer dryers: At a glance

How to buy the best washer dryer for you

When should I consider a washer dryer?

Most people opt for a washer dryer because they simply don’t have enough space for two separate 60cm appliances side by side. It’s an ideal solution if you live in a small house, flat, mobile home or even a canal narrowboat. You simply require a water feed and outlet - the dryer vents moist air through the water outlet so you don't need a separate vent. 

In some cases, you may be able to stack a standalone tumble dryer above a washing machine – but never the other way around, as washing machines are far too heavy. In any case, you will need a proper stacking kit to mount a dryer on top of a washing machine safely, and this will ensure that the dryer remains safely in place despite all the rumblings and vibration. Do not be tempted to bodge this arrangement, as a falling dryer is capable of causing very serious injury.  

Energy ratings explained

A machine that’s cheaper to run could save you money in the long run, even if it’s more expensive to buy. The EU energy-rating system used to grade appliances from A+++ down to D, with the higher grades being the most energy-efficient, but that system has been changed. On the new energy rating labels, washer dryers are now graded from A to G and have two energy ratings: one for their combined electricity and water use, and one purely for water usage. 

Most of our recommended machines used to be A-rated machines, but on the new system that has dropped to an E rating in many cases. In short, don't be surprised to see washer dryers with seemingly low energy ratings, it's nothing to worry about - it simply reflects the changes in the rating scale. 

Are washer dryers as efficient as a separate washing machine and dryer?

Not always. The big issue is drum capacity: typically, a washer dryer will have a lower capacity for drying than for washing. For example, a machine might have a washing capacity of 9kg, but a drying capacity of only 6kg. This means that you can’t wash and dry a full 9kg of laundry in one go. You’ll have to divide it into two smaller loads – or wash it all, then hang some of the clothes to dry elsewhere while the rest goes through the drying process.

Clearly, choosing a higher-capacity machine makes life easier. And this doesn’t impact the dimensions of the machine, since they’re all a standard 60cm wide. However, a larger-capacity machine will normally be more expensive to buy and run.

Remember that a washer dryer is a more complicated bit of machinery than a dedicated washer or dryer – and, if it does break down, both washing and drying will be out of the question until you get it fixed.

What special features should I look for?

Generally speaking, the more you spend, the more reliable the appliance. However, more expensive models also offer better features, such as specific wash and dry cycles for woollens and delicates.

Another benefit is greater washing and drying capacities. If you’re a family of four living in a small flat with no means of drying clothes outdoors, a high-capacity model will be a godsend. Even if you do have outdoor space, remember that outdoor drying is anything but practical during the long winter months – while hanging a load of damp clothing in the bathroom will take ages to dry, and lead to condensation on the walls and windows.

Is the drying sequence as efficient as a standalone clothes dryer?

The short answer is no. Generally, the dryer component in a washer-dryer combo can only dry around half the capacity of the washer, so it’s important to note that it could take longer than you think to dry your clothes, while also using much more energy than a standalone dryer.

Some dryers can use more water in the drying cycle than they do for washing – up to 58 litres for some machines – because the dryer’s condenser mechanism uses water from the tap for cooling. So, be sure to do your research and look into the machine’s specifications if you’re worried about time and energy consumption.

Are there any top tips for installing a washer dryer?

Make sure the machine is installed perfectly level (every machine has easily adjustable individual rubber feet) on a firm, well-supported surface, or it will rattle about in use – especially when fully loaded. The vibrations caused by poor installation and levelling can be damaging in the long term, not only to the machine but to your walls and flooring.

READ NEXT: The best tumble dryers you can buy

The best washer dryers to buy in 2021

1. Zanussi ZWD76NB4PW: A good all-round affordable washer dryer

Price: £539 | Buy now from Electrical Discount UK

This mid-priced appliance of science features a raft of wash and dry programmes, a commendable spin speed of 1,600rpm for more efficient drying, and an A energy rating that should pay small financial dividends in the long term.

The ZWD76NB4PW is equipped with a 7kg drum, although this capacity is reduced to 4kgs for the drying sequence. You get 21 wash and dry programmes, including al the usual suspects such as cottons, synthetics, woollens and delicates. It also comes with a 60-minute Wash&Dry function (the machine will trundle through the washing process before automatically engaging the drying sequence) and an Eco mode that uses less water and energy to help reduce the utility bills.

While the interface looks complex, it’s actually quite easy to get a handle on: simply turn the dial to your preferred cycle and, if required, adjust its temperature and spin speed using the touch control panel to its right.

If you’re on a tighter budget and don’t have an army of kids in tow, then this medium-sized freestanding washer dryer will do the business and do it well.

Key specs – Style: Freestanding; Capacity: Wash: 7kg, dry: 4kg; Dryer type: Condenser; Max spin speed: 1,600rpm; Rated efficiency: A

Buy now from Electrical Discount UK

2. John Lewis JLWD1614: The best midrange washer dryer

Price: £699 | Buy now from John Lewis

Although John Lewis staff are unlikely to mention it, this freestanding own-brand model has most probably been manufactured by Electrolux, parent company of AEG.

The JLWD1614 comes highly regarded by John Lewis website users who rate its generous 8kg wet load capacity, exceptional 1,600rpm spin speed, brilliant one-hour wash option and extra-large drum portal. That said, it should be noted that its drying capacity is just 4kg and that’s a little lower than most models. Also, some users have said that its touch interface isn’t very intuitive and the manual isn’t much help, either.

What isn’t in doubt is how well this machine performs in both the washing and drying cycles. The majority of users – and even some respected professional reviewers – have praised how superbly well it washes, spins and dries, even though some have said that the drying sequence takes an age to complete (a pretty normal occurrence in this age of energy awareness).

If you’re in the market for a well-rated, mid-priced washer dryer that comes with a three-year guarantee, make this attractive-looking energy-efficient model one of your first ports of call.

Key specs – Style: Freestanding; Capacity: 8kg (wash), 4kg (dry); Dryer type: Condenser; Max spin speed: 1,600rpm; Rated efficiency: A

Buy now from John Lewis

3. AEG 8000 (L8WEC166R): The best high-end washer dryer 

Price: £840 | Buy now from Currys PC World

This handsome Woolmark Blue-rated washer dryer from AEG has garnered a swathe of extremely positive user reviews. Thanks to the current white goods shortages, however, both pricing and stock levels are all over the shop, so don't be surprised to find it retailing for closer to £1,000 - or not in stock at all. 

If you can find one for sale, what’s so special about it in the first place? For starters, it’s got a bank of sensors that weigh the contents of the large drum (10kg wash; 6kg dry) before adjusting water and energy use accordingly. Then there’s a feature called ÖKOMix that thoroughly mixes the detergent and softeners with water prior to the solution entering the drum. Apparently, this ensures that your clothes receive “an unprecedented clean and the most even dry”. DualSense technology, meanwhile, adjusts both the temperature and the motion of the drum during the drying sequence, ensuring that even mixed fabrics are washed and dried evenly.

This machine also sports a steam-infused easy-iron cycle for reduced ironing and a cooling-down phase during the washing cycle so that your delicates don't shrink. And, if you select the ÖKOPower NonStop programme, it will wash and dry a 5kg load in about four hours. The L8WEC166R also uses far less water than the majority of other washer dryers so, given time, it should save a substantial amount of money on water bills.

Granted, the woollens programme takes a long time to complete and the touch control pad can be a bit temperamental. But on the whole, users rate it highly for its elegant looks, ease of use, ultra-fast 1,600rpm spin speed and for its top-level performance and overall quietness – and who are we to disagree?

Key specs – Style: Freestanding; Capacity: 10kg (wash), 6kg (dry); Dryer type: Condenser; Max spin speed: 1,600rpm; Rated efficiency: A

Buy now from Currys PC World

4. Bosch Serie 6 WDU28569GB: Stylish, quiet and great for big families

Price: £949 | Buy now from AO

This sleek SilverEdition freestander is a top family-friendly option. The water distribution is superior to many washer dryers, thanks to the unique drum design, so you can expect a really thorough wash. It’s versatile too, and comes with a full gamut of preset wash and dry programmes, including Easy Iron, HygieneCare, Super Quick 15, Wool/Handwash and Sportswear.

The Bosch Serie 6 works quickly and efficiently and, thanks to the AutoDry function, you can dry your fabrics with precision – for example, by setting your jeans to be slightly damp and ready to iron or getting your sheets ultra-dry to put straight on the bed. If you’ve used a washer dryer before, you’ll probably be familiar with irritating patches that stay wet while everything else is bone dry, but that’s not a problem with this machine.

All this and it’s exceptionally quiet – a boon for those whose washer dryer might otherwise be in danger of ruining a bath, sleep or movie-watching evening. The Serie 6 is easy to use and has plenty of nifty features, including delay-start, time-remaining display and the obligatory child lock. But it doesn’t come cheap and it’s on the large side, with some customers grumbling it doesn’t fit well in the allocated space.

Key specs – Style: Freestanding; Capacity: 10kg (wash), 6kg (dry); Dryer type: Condenser; Max spin speed: 1,400rpm; Rated efficiency: A

Buy now from AO