Buying a Washing Machine? Here's What to Look For
Looking for a new washer? As washing machines generally look quite similar, it can be easy to assume that they all work the same, too, yet key differences exist between different types which can make certain models more suited to some people than others. With that in mind, here are the key factors you should consider before buying a washing machine.
Type of Washing Machines
There are plenty of different types of washing machines available, but as the years have moved on, some have proven more popular than others, such as the widely popular freestanding models.
Freestanding washing machines
A freestanding washing machine like the Bosch WAN24100GB is one of the most common types of washing machines as they tend to offer the most flexibility. They can be placed anywhere, as long as they’re connected to an electrical outlet and drain, and are available with various different drum sizes. You’ll need to make sure they’re surrounded by plenty of space, though. As these models aren’t fixed, vibrations often transfer through to surrounding units, which could send your crockery smashing across kitchen surfaces.
Integrated washing machines
These are a great option if you’re wanting to put a washing machine in your kitchen. They are designed to sit behind cupboard doors like the Zanussi ZWI71201WA. So they’ll be largely out of sight and not clashing with your existing décor. We wouldn’t recommend using them without the proper support, though, as due to their design they’ll need cupboard door and drill holes specifically made. On the plus side, their integrated feature means that they are usually quieter than other machines.
Washer dryers like the Indesit Washer Dryer 7+5 kg are the classic two-in-one combo washing machine and are great for anyone short on space wanting a dryer. It's worth noting that the machine's washing capacity is usually larger than its drying capacity, so we’d recommend using the drying capacity to determine load size.
Washing Machine Drum Sizes
Drum size is determined by the amount of dry clothes that you can fit into the washing machine's drum. You can buy machines with extremely small (5 kg) or large (12 kg) drums, but most people choose a model with a drum size somewhere between 8 and 10 kg.
When buying a washing machine, the drum size’s maximum capacity refers to the main cotton programme, as other settings can have different capacities – this is important to remember if you own a lot of polyester or satin clothing.
An important rule to remember when looking at washing machine drums is that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Studies have shown that the best results are often achieved when the drum is filled to a programme’s capacity. As such, we’d recommend buying a washing machine with a drum that is slightly too small, that way you should always have enough clothes to fill it to capacity (for a medium-sized household, a 7 kg drum size should suffice).
Standard Machine Size
Most machines are made to fit into a 600 mm wide space, but dimensions can vary so we strongly suggest measuring the space it’ll occupy beforehand to guarantee that it'll fit into your home. Keep in mind that advertised washing machine dimensions do not always include space for the pipe and hose, so it can be wise to add roughly 70 mm on to your measurements.
The spin cycle removes water from your clothes, which in turn decreases the amount of time needed to dry them. Washing machines normally have a maximum spin speed somewhere between 1,000 to 1,800 rpm (revolutions per minute) with 1,200 to 1,400 rpm being the most common. Quicker spin speeds are more expensive, but just because a machine has a faster spin speed doesn't mean it's more effective at drying clothes.
Features & Technology
Almost all washing machines have a range of programmes, spin speeds and temperature settings. Some, however, come with clever little features, like the ability to sync the machine to your mobile phone for remote control use, delay washes so you can be home when they’re done or add straggler socks through specially-made hatches.
Your lifestyle will determine how useful these features are. Families with young children may benefit from a machine with child locks to prevent little ones from changing the machine settings or accidentally opening the drum when it’s on. On the other hand, businesspeople with busy schedules can reduce wrinkles and the need to iron by buying a washing machine with an anti-crease programme.
What Washing Machine Brand Should You Buy?
Ready to buy a washing machine? Wondering where to start? Let's start by considering leading washing machine brands.
One of the most popular brands in the UK, at least according to Statistica, is Hotpoint with over 8000 washing machines in British homes. Bosch and Becko are also popular brands with nearly five thousand British families choosing these brands. Surprisingly, well-known international brands like Miele, Siemens, and AEG are far less popular with have a shockingly low UK customer base (less than 1000 British users).
To help you choose your favourite brand, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular options.
Hotpoint. As one of the most well-known washing machine brands in the UK, Hotpoint washing machines come in a wide range of styles and shapes. Some machines even include unique features like faster spin cycles as well as quiet and pre-treatment settings. Hotpoint machines won’t break the bank as their machines are ‘created to affordably meet the needs of busy lives’. The only downside is that some of the washing machine programmes are quite lengthy with some spin cycles taking up to three hours.
Bosch. Ranked the second most common brand in the UK, you’ll also have plenty of options when it comes to Bosch washing machines. Bosch has a reputation for products that are easy to use. In general, Bosch washing machines are some of the quietest and most efficient washing machines available. However, Bosch washing machines are also on the pricier side of the market.
Becko. Unlike Bosch washing machines, Becko is renowned for producing affordable products that don’t compromise on quality. Becko washing machines are quite efficient, especially at removing stubborn stains, and are very user-friendly. However, these machines are also relatively noisy and they’re certainly not the quietest washing machines on the market. We consider Becko washing machines an excellent choice for anyone looking to save money while still purchasing a quality washing machine.
Miele. At the higher-end of the market, you’ll find Miele washing machines. While most Miele machines have steep price tags, the initial cost is meant to work out as cheaper over time as Miele advertises their washing machines as “tested for the equivalent of 20 years of use”. If you’re considering shelling out on one of these machines, it’s worth considering repair costs. Repairs can be particularly expensive since you can only use Miele registered engineers and technicians.