A washing machine is an essential appliance , but buying one means taking into consideration a wide range of factors such as energy efficiency, size, features, price and the ongoing debate between front loaders and top loaders. As a result, we’ve compiled a comprehensive washing machine buying guide to help you make the best purchase decision for your home and family. But before tackling the machines themselves, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to know before you buy…
Standard programmes include cotton, wool, some other delicate setting, synthetics, mixed fabrics, and a quick wash option.
There will almost always be a pre-wash button or setting; extra rinsing and separate spin cycles are common features.
Then there are "sports" cycles, baby clothes settings, and special colour programmes, among others.
Most modern machines also allow their users to choose the temperature they wash their clothes at, ranging from 90 °C with the cotton settings to "cold", which is broadly understood to mean around 15 °C.
People who struggle to fill their washing machines every time should look for machines that offer a half load option.
This might be labelled logically and simply as "half load" - or, sometimes the manufacturer will refer to an "auto" or "eco" feature, in which the machine senses how much washing is in the drum and adjusts the amount of water used automatically.
Also, because it's a trendy but vague word, watch out for what "eco" actually means, in terms of temperature, spin speed and other washing features.
For example, the "eco" setting on some machines offers no flexibility regarding temperature or spin speed. There's far more scope for being economical and ecological by using a different programme and selecting temperature and spin manually.
On a related note, opinions on spin speeds vary considerably.
Some like them as fast as possible because they cut down on drying time; others would rather a slower speed and damper laundry rather than the wrinkles that super speeds tend to produce.
The faster the spin speed, the noisier the machine will tend to be - and who hasn't had that moment of fear when their full washing machine lurches into top speed, making a sound like it's about to stagger across the floor?
Standard spin speeds range from 800 to 1200 rpm - although 1800 rpm machines do exist and 1400 rpm is becoming more common. The faster the spin speed, the more water should be removed from the clothes.
Other factors, like the machine's design, or the way it's been installed, can affect how much water is driven off. For example: if the drum design or a kinked pipe means water can't drain away quickly, it doesn't matter how well the spin cycle works - as soon as the machine starts to slow some water will seep back in.
Also bear in mind that once above 1200 rpm, the prices start to increase considerably, and the machine is likely to be noticeably louder.
Some machines also come with a much slower spin option, which is useful for removing more water from more delicate fabrics than is possible using the drain setting.
The letter corresponds to a number called the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI). This is a measure of the amount of electricity used by the machine annually, including any energy used during power-off and standby modes.
The in-use figure is calculated based on 220 wash cycles, 42% of which are full 60 °C cotton cycles, 29% of which are partial load 60 °C cotton cycles, and the remaining 29% are partial load 40 °C cotton cycles.
All new machines should have an EEI of 68 or lower. A+++ machines have an EEI below 46.
The A+++ option should be the most energy efficient and use the least water, and therefore the cheapest to run - but that doesn't mean they're the best at washing clothes.
Consider the extra cost of the detergent, repeated washings and the wear on the clothes, and a "more efficient" machine could end up costing far more.
A washing machine will generally cost between £12 and £53 in terms of energy consumption, with the average being around £26 per year.
It's thought that replacing an old machine - pre 2010 - with one of the most efficient machines could shave up to £10 a year off the average energy bill - as long as they do a good job of washing the clothes in the first place.
Drum size has more impact on the machine's per-use running cost - and allows for more washing to be done per cycle - so consider that first.
The machine's energy label will also include information on:
Water consumption per cycle in litres
Spin drying performance
The volume of the machine in both washing and spin cycles, in decibels
Owning a washing machine is no longer considered a luxury. More and more people are choosing to buy washing machines. We hope this guide helped you choose the correct washing machine for your requirements. Stay tuned to NanYang Motor for buying guide or parts of washing machine, such as Washer Motors