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Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Hot by name, lukewarm by nature

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
349
Inc VAT

An affordable washing machine with promising features, but stain-tackling finesse is sadly lacking

Pros 
10kg capacity
Steam function
Easy to use
Cons 
Mediocre wash performance
60˚C washes nowhere near as effective as rivals
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It’s the holy grail for anyone shopping for a washing machine: a top-performing appliance from a big brand for well under £400. Hotpoint has ensured that the Activecare NM11 1045 WC won’t be a model number you’ll be able to commit to memory but look on the bright side – the relatively small dent it’ll leave in your bank balance will be equally forgettable.

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Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: What you need to know

As one of Hotpoint’s ActiveCare range of machines, the NM11 1045 WC claims to tackle 100 types of stain at low wash temperatures. It also boasts an A+++ energy efficiency rating, a 10kg load capacity and a maximum spin speed of 1,400rpm.

The Steam Refresh and Steam Hygiene functions reveal that it’s equipped with a steam generator too. The 20-minute Steam Refresh cycle promises to both ease creasing and make it easier to iron your clothes, in addition to removing odours without the need for a full washing cycle. The Steam Hygiene mode claims to remove 99.9% of bacteria – sadly, though, that’s not something we’re easily able to put to the test.

Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Price and competition

At £349, the Activecare NM11 1045 WC is very reasonably priced but there’s one equally hot competitor at this price point and that’s the superb Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB.

The Bosch is a little pricier and isn’t the quickest around – its 60˚C cottons wash took an hour longer than the Hotpoint in our tests – but it roundly trounces it for washing performance. In fact, it’s up there with machines we’ve tested at nearly three times the price, and the 40˚C cottons wash is quick and highly effective.

If you’re looking for an affordable washing machine with top-notch performance, the Bosch is the best all-rounder we’ve tested, although it doesn’t have the steam generator that the Hotpoint does.

Buy now from Currys


Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Features and design

The build quality on show here is merely okay. Spend any time wrestling the Hotpoint into position, and you’ll discover that it feels tinny and insubstantial. Similarly-priced rivals such as the Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB feel much sturdier.

We’re a big fan of the simple, unfussy design, though. A single large dial spins around to select the various programmes and six sensibly-proportioned buttons around the large display toggle various features on and off or change essentials such as the wash temperature and spin speed. The display itself is pleasingly minimalist and shows the time remaining in large, clear yellow lettering.

Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Washing performance

If you’re hoping for sterling wash performance on the cheap, then you’re in for a disappointment. The only award the Hotpoint wins here is the lanterne rouge for last place. It delivered the least impressive results of any of the machines we’ve tested to date.

We’d never expect much from a 30-minute quick wash but even taking this into account the results from the Hotpoint were disappointing. Most of the stains on our test stain strips looked vivid when removed from the drum, several remaining seemingly untouched. The best performers in this test manage to fade the stains far more effectively.

The 40˚C cottons wash gave better results, taking just over one and a half hours to tackle our test load, but we were still left underwhelmed. Compared with similarly-priced machines from AEG, Zanussi and Bosch, the Hotpoint’s stain-removing abilities were noticeably inferior. Energy consumption was entirely middle of the road, too.

Sadly, there are more pressing issues. The results of the 60˚C cottons wash – which should provide the best performance – were only very marginally better than the 40˚C wash. We suspect this is partly because the water isn’t getting hot enough. In our 60˚C tests the measured temperature of water exiting the machine was only 40˚C, a single degree hotter than that of the waste water from the 40˚C Cottons wash.

The energy consumption figures are a bit baffling, too. Unusually, the Hotpoint’s 60˚C wash actually used fractionally less electricity than its 40˚C wash (0.75kWh vs 0.8kWh), which in turn is less than half the amount of electricity consumed by rival machines during their 60˚C washes. We re-ran the tests twice just to be sure, but the results were identical – Hotpoint has done a pretty poor job of balancing energy efficiency with washing performance.

A further worry here is that the default 60˚C wash performance may not be good enough for medical staff, vets or any occupation that require cleansing to kill mites and bacteria such as MRSA. If you need effective bug-killing, you’ll likely need to resort to using the Steam Hygiene feature on top of a standard wash for peace of mind.

Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Repairability

Build quality is standard stuff for a machine at this price point. The sealed tank means you can’t change the bearings once they break down after a few years and a replacement tank costs over £200 outside of warranty.

The door is flimsier than we’d like, too, and even though it looks as if it’s fairly easy to dismantle, Hotpoint doesn’t supply component parts – only a full door and the cost is prohibitive at more than £100.

Thankfully there is a ten-year parts warranty but bear in mind this is only if you use Hotpoint’s own engineers and call-out service. This is free for the first 12 months, but after that you’ll have to either take out a monthly service agreement with Hotpoint or expect to pay a hefty labour/call-out charge for replacement parts to be fitted.

One final bugbear is that the filter is hidden below the bottom front panel. That would be fine, but it’s a job to get on and off (better go find your screwdriver) and there's no emergency drain hose, so it’s not hugely enjoyable to drain down in the event of the filter getting blocked. You’ll just have to place a tray under the pump cover and try to catch all the water when you unscrew it – we much prefer an extendable drain hose like you find on rival machines.

Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC review: Verdict

The Hotpoint NM11 1045 WC looks pretty good on paper, but the reality is disappointing. Washing performance is mediocre, and rivals provide better results for not much more money. On this showing, the Hotpoint Activecare NM11 1045 WC deserves an entirely lukewarm reception.

Buy now from Currys

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