Washing machines are one of those household appliances you don’t give a single thought until they break down and you need a new one. The latter happened to me last week and if you belong to that exclusive cycle of people who leave their washing to the very last minute a broken washing machine can …
Washing machines are one of those household appliances you don’t give a single thought until they break down and you need a new one. The latter happened to me last week and if you belong to that exclusive cycle of people who leave their washing to the very last minute a broken washing machine can turn into a real nightmare. You may think getting a new one was easy but thanks to all these technological advances the question whether your new washing goddess should have an integrated drying function or not is just one of the many features that can give your head a real spin.
To make your search for a new kitchen workhorse a bit easier, we’ve put together a guide explaining the main types and features currently on the market.
What types of washers are available?
While you are hunting for a new washer, you may consider venturing off the beaten track and opt for an unconventional top loader instead. As the name suggests, top-loading washing machines are operated from the top – ideal for those who find bending down to load clothes into the lower opening difficult. Only about two-thirds of the width of their front-loading counterparts, top loaders are ideal for those who are short of space. Another benefit is that items can be added at any point of the washing cycle.
Since they only make up a small part of the market, top loaders are usually less expensive but offer a smaller load capacity (5 kg or 6 kg) than front loaders. Whirlpool’s American Style Washing Machine is one of the few models with a load capacity of 10 kg.
Small and compact front-loading washing machines are still the number one choice for many UK households. They fit neatly under the worktop and are designed to be freestanding or integrated. Front loaders offer more load capacity and tend to be more energy and water efficient than top- loading models.
Most machines boast a vast number of settings to deliver maximum convenience and efficiency. Some manufacturers are also rolling out ‘smart’ washers with Wi-Fi settings and automatic monitoring systems. Samsung’s WiFi ecobubble™ Washing Machine, for instance, enables you to control the entire washing cycle with your smartphone. Laundry day may never be the same again.
Are you struggling for space in your kitchen or studio apartment? Consider buying a small-sized compact washer that blends a sleek design with practicality. Zanussi’s ZWC1301 compact washer, for example, has a 3 kg capacity and 15 different washing programmes. If you need more loading capacity then the Beko WM5100W might be right for you.
Some compact washers are exceptionally lightweight and portable. When it comes to price, portability and compact design, the Twin Tub Washer from Good Ideas outsmarts its competitors. This type of washer is easy to move around and even comes with a spin dryer to remove excess water.
These all-in-one machines take care of the entire washing and drying cycle without compromising on quality. Washer-dryers come equipped with the same range of functions as full-sized front loaders and are ideal for those who can’t afford to buy a separate washing machine and tumble dryer. Add the time and space saved and it’s hard to resist the temptation of a combined appliance.
However a significant drawback, besides the sometimes hefty price tag, is the fact that drying is the most energy intensive part of the laundry process. Therefore, choosing an energy-efficient model can make a big difference to your bills. Miele’s WT2780 Washer Dryer or Siemens WD14H520GB are among the most sustainable performers on the market.
What should I consider when buying a washing machine?
Capacity: Consider the volume of washing you need to do. Washing machines stretch from 5 kg to impressive 12 kg models, depending on the type of washer you go for. Larger drums usually mean a greater capacity and are ideal for larger families or households. If you live by yourself or run a small household a 5 kg or 6 kg-capacity machine might just be enough.
Spin speed: Ranging from 1000 to 1600 RPM (revolutions per minute), spin speed determines the degree of water extraction during the water cycle. Higher spin speeds will remove more water, resulting in shorter drying times. However, unlike cars you don’t necessarily want to go for the fastest model out there. Don’t forget that faster spin speeds may damage delicate fabrics. Choose a washing machine with variable spin control to ensure that your favourite jumper won’t lose its soft and fluffy touch.
Efficiency: Using a washing machine makes up a great deal of your monthly energy bill. If you’re buying a new one, make sure your dream model is not only good looking but also economical. Like most kitchen appliances washing machines carry the EU energy label that tells you how much energy and water it is likely to consume. Washing machines are rated from A to A+++, with the latter being the most energy efficient. Bosch’s Maxx and Exxcel series come with an A+++ rating and ActiveWater technology to reduce wastage.
Features: Washing day is much more than just loading your laundry pile into the drum. From adjusting temperature and spin speed for individual programmes to quick wash settings and automatic pressure switches – special features can make a big difference in how efficient your washing machine will run. Some washing machines like the Hoover DYN11146P8CH or the AEG Lavamat L87680FL include a countdown display and delay function to manage your time more effectively.
Smart wash: ‘Smart’ has been a popular tech buzzword in recent years and washing machines are no exception. High-end models come equipped with the latest innovations to improve wash performance and save on energy consumption. LG’s 6 Motion DD White Washing Machine might be the perfect choice if you don’t want to miss out on the latest technology. It boasts full touch control, a Smart Diagnosis feature and TrueSteam technology. You can even download and install new washing programmes.