Buyers Guide to: Washing Machines

If you're a first time buyer of a washing machine or it's the first time you've bought one for a few years, the first thing you'll notice is the huge amount of features, styles and designs that can be found on today's range of washing machines.

Here we try to answer the many question that you may have to make it easier for you to decide which is the best model for your needs.  


Q. What types of Washing Machines are available?

Washing Machines are in three basic types. The most popular are free-standing front loaders that can go anywhere, under a work surface or in a garage or out-house. For those with a limited space in a kitchen and no work tops then a top loader either European style, which are usually slim width, or American Style which are usually much wider and therefore have a large wash load capacity, could be more suited. Thirdly, you may want to consider built-in or integrated, which can be fully or semi-integrated into your kitchen.

Q. What spin speed should I go for?

Most Washing Machines have at least two spin speeds, a minimum and a maximum (e.g. 400/800rpm) and you can get machines with anything up to 1600rpm.

High spin speeds are for cottons, lower speeds for synthetics and delicates. Spin speeds are usually automatically selected by the type of programme you select, although there are machines that have a variable spin and these maybe worth considering if you have a wide variety of laundry to wash.

If you are intending using a tumble dryer then it is more economical to extract water by spinning than by drying, so a faster maximum spin speed machine would be your choice.

Q. Why should I spend more money on a Washing Machine?

In general the more money you spend the more features will be on the washing machine. These include electronic controls, which also monitors and adjusts a wash during a cycle.

More variations of programmes, such as a dedicated wool wash.

Higher Energy efficiency rating (see below).

ECO Settings that saves you time, money and water.

Time Delay to allow you to take advantage of  cheaper off-peak electricity.

Variable Temperature setting so that you can use lower temperatures on lightly soiled items.

Steam Wash options are available on many premium machines as well as more robust drums and drive systems, such as DIRECT DRIVE which is a belt-less system.

Q. How do I choose a Washing Machine with the programmes on I want?

The number of wash programmes on washing varies depending on how sophisticated and generally how much you spend on a washing machine, these will, as a rule, break down into:

Cottons (these need a rigorous washing action)

Synthetics (gentle action)

Delicates (gentle action)

Woollens (plenty of water and little agitation

So the more cottons, for instance, you have for washing, then a higher maximum spin speed and more variation of programmes will allow you to wash more economically.

Q. What does the Energy rating mean?

All washing machines, as with all domestic appliances, have an Energy Efficiency and Performance Rating, which varies from A-G (‘A’ being the MOST efficient). Many washing machines are A+++ (each + giving an extra 10% more effieciency).

Generally the more money you spend the more efficient the washing machine will be, this is because these types of washing machines will be packed with energy saving features such as variable spin, variable temperature, time delay as well as electronic control.

In addition to the energy ratings, where possible, we have also listed a washing machine's annual water consumption, annual energy consumption, which should help you choose the right model. Also, if noise is an issue, then we have also listed each washing machine's dB (decibel) rating for both washing and spinning.

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