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Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Low price, middling performance

Kenneth Watt
3 Dec 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
329
inc VAT

A cheap 10kg machine but wash performance lags behind our favourite budget models

Pros 
10kg drum capacity
High 1,600rpm spin speed
User-accessible filter
Cons 
Wash performance inferior to rivals
One year parts and labour warranty
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If you’ve ever wondered why budget-priced washing machines often look very similar, here’s why: multiple brands are often owned by the same parent company. In the case of the Indesit Innex model we have here, it’s the Whirlpool group that’s responsible for making it, and since Whirlpool also builds Hotpoint and Whirlpool machines, it’s no surprise to find there are some aesthetic (and internal) similarities across its machines.

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Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: What you need to know

The Indesit ticks all the usual budget boxes: it has a 10kg maximum capacity, which bodes well for big households, there’s a super speedy 1,600rpm maximum spin speed, and the A+++ energy rating suggests that it should be pretty frugal with electricity, too.

In addition to all the usual Cottons and Synthetics programmes you get a dedicated Sports programme for handling stinky gym wear and a Shoe Sport setting for tackling trainers without damaging their shape. One novelty is the Push&Wash button: press it, and you’ll get a quick 50-minute wash which Indesit claims provides “brilliant cleaning and stain removal”.

Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Price and competition

We’d love to type something different in this section, but when it comes to budget washing machine recommendations there’s still only one logical choice: the Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB. Unless you find the Indesit on sale for an absolutely huge discount (and we mean huge), the Bosch is the machine we’d buy.

The Bosch tends to retail for a smidgen over £400 but the wash performance is a cut above that of all the other budget rivals we’ve tested. It’s not the fastest or the most energy-efficient model out there, but it gets clothes as clean as far pricier machines and that’s the most important thing in our book.

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Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Features and design

If you’ve been reading other washing machine reviews then you may have noticed that this budget machine from Indesit looks remarkably similar to some Hotpoint and Whirlpool models. This is because they often share the same cabinet, casing and internal parts. The drum, in particular, is visually near-identical to some Whirlpool machines we’ve seen.

There’s little to moan about, though. The door is large and opens nice and wide and we love the "pull" handle, which makes it a breeze to load or unload washing. The detergent drawer has the prewash, main wash and softener compartments you’d expect and is easy to remove and clean.

The controls are simple to use, too, and the numbered dial corresponds to the various wash programmes listed on the detergent drawer. The display is a little dim but it clearly shows the time remaining and the icons on the buttons around its edge are easy to understand.

Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Washing performance

Every machine we review is tested with industry-standard cotton test swatches that are impregnated with nine key stains: grass/mud, mustard, carrot baby food, tea, cooked beef fat, red wine, tomato puree, sheep’s blood and coffee. We run 40˚C and 60˚C cotton washes and also test any machine’s quick-wash programme, too. Many manufacturers claim to give good results from their 15- and 30-minute wash cycles, so we put those claims to the test.

Sadly, the Indesit’s 40˚C Cottons programme is nowhere near as effective as our budget favourite: the Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB. Where the Bosch bleached our test stains of colour and almost completely removed all but the worst two, the Indesit leaves the stains looking noticeably brighter and fails to remove the colour of the stain as effectively. In its favour, the Indesit is 36% more power-efficient than the Bosch but it also takes 36% longer – at 2hrs 22mins, it’s one of the slower machines we’ve tested.

Up the temperature to 60˚C and there’s a marked improvement in cleaning performance but even here the Indesit isn’t quite on a par with the Bosch. It does a decent job of removing most the stains but it still leaves a little more colour in the mustard and tomato puree stains than its budget rival.

Again, it’s 9% more power efficient and this tine over an hour quicker but we suspect it’s really not getting the water hot enough to tackle the stains properly. Water exits the machine at 28˚C, which is 21˚C cooler than that of the Bosch.

The quick wash performance is awful. In fairness, these programmes are rarely worth using but the Indesit’s is especially poor. Bosch’s Serie 4 WAN28201GB is by no means the best performer we’ve seen in this test but even it manages to dull the intensity of the worst stains and, in some cases, almost completely removes the easiest ones. By comparison, the Indesit leaves every stain clearly visible. Our advice is not to use the quick wash programme at all; it doesn’t clean effectively.

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Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Repairability and service life

Aside from wash performance, the Indesit Innex shares the same issues as many other budget machines, namely that it isn’t hugely easy or cost-efficient to repair. Many of the machine’s parts come as sealed units – the tank, doors and more – so one part failing will require you to replace the entire unit.

Given the ten-year parts warranty, that might not seem a big issue but the repairs still won’t come cheap. You only get a single year of parts and labour warranty and, once that comes to an end, Indesit charges a flat fee of £120 for every call-out. That’s more than a third of the total cost of a new machine, so it may be more tempting to take the old one to the recycling tip.

Still, it is good to see that there’s a user-accessible filter. The lower kickplate comes off without any great effort and you can then access and remove the filter to dig out any fluff or items which may be clogging the exit pipe. Similarly-priced rivals such as Zanussi’s Lindo 300 ZWF01483W lack this facility, so kudos to Indesit for including it here.

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Indesit Innex BWE101684XWUK review: Verdict

Given the price and specifications, I was genuinely hopeful that this Indesit Innex might have been a budget contender but it finds itself knocked out cold in the washing round.

With mediocre washing performance and a stingy one-year parts and labour warranty, the Innex BWE101684XWUK isn’t the budget washing machine bargain we were hoping for.

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