The range of washing machine capacities are typically 5kg to 12kg and the average UK household wash is considered to be between 5-6kg. To help you decide on what capacity is best for you, here are some example loads (these are average weights):
- One outfit; a pair of jeans, a shirt and underwear weigh 1kg.
- Four bath towels and four handtowels weigh 4.2kg.
Spin speeds range from 1000-2000 and the higher the spin speed the more moisture will be removed from the clothes at the end of a wash cycle. This means the less time drying which can save costs if you tumble dry your clothes. Some people prefer lower spin speeds to save potential creasing and more effort ironing for certain clothes. 1200 and 1400 are the most common spin speeds.
Some washing machines come with variable spin speed settings.
Useful programmes and their benefits
Synthetics or cottons – because synthetics are more delicate the machine will allow for this and adjust the amount of water being used and number of times that the drum spins.
Silk / Wool / Delicates / Handwash – programme times will be extended, more water used and the drum won’t spin as much or at high spin speeds.
Stain removal / Sports – the machine use more water and increase the time that the garment is in the water to help remove the stain. Some washers use bubbles that will soak into the garment helping to work into the stain.
Quick wash – some machines offer quick wash times as low as 12 minutes however this will be on a reduced load to as little as 1kg (which equates to one outfit). This programme will use a higher temperature setting (usually 40°).
Variable temperature – this is mainly useful for those garments with maximum wash temperatures and to save on energy bills. Some washing detergents now come with a recommended temperature that they work best at. Also useful for when you might want to wash at higher temperatures for items such as bedding and baby items.
Baby cycle – an intensive wash at higher temperatures. Can include additional rinses to ensure that as much detergent is removed from the garments as possible.
Pre-wash – designed to help wash heavily soiled clothes this programme will add an extra soak before the main wash.
Auto programme – once you’ve loaded the clothes and selected this feature the machine will detect the weight in the drum and put some water through the load to test the level of soiling. Based on this information it will automatically select the right time and wash.
Detergent drawer cleaning/anti-bacterial coating – over time the detergent drawer can become dirty or even mouldy so some manufacturers line the drawer with an anti-bacterial coating. Some machines clean the drawer after every wash.
Auto detergent dispensing – you fill the detergent drawer and the machine will determine how much is required for each wash and dispense the correct amount (based on amount of soiling, weight of garments etc). This always ensures that the correct amount is being used and saves money.
Delay start/end & countdown timer – the delay start feature allows you start the wash when you choose, this function will normally have preset hour intervals although some machines will give you the option of setting an exact time. The end function allows you to set a time when you want the wash to end. Both of these functions are ideal to ensure that the wash finishes at a time that suits you, may be for when you’re coming home from work rather than starting the wash when you leave for work and to safe leaving damp clothes in the machine all day. The countdown timer shows the time remaining until the wash has ended.
Easy iron – sometimes this can be a separate program in itself but is more than likely an option to a program. The way that this feature works is to reduce the amount of times the drum spins.
Smart / Connected functionality – features vary significantly by brand. Some allow you to connect to your washing machine through an app on your phone giving the ability to change wash programmes and start a wash. Other uses include for service intervention.
Running costs of a washing machine can’t be compared just by the energy rating as there are other factors such as drum capacity. Therefore its best to compare the annual energy consumption that most retailers will detail on their web-sites or in-store on the energy label.
The energy label (as pictured) provides useful information such as energy rating, annual water usage, drum capacity, annual electricity usage and noise level.
On similarly specification machines the energy rating will make a difference on running costs. For example we took two similarly priced 7kg 1200 spin washing machines, one rated A+++ that cost £24.18/year to run and the other rated A+ cost £30.94 (based on 15.40p/unit Kwh).
Another key point to consider when purchasing any electrical appliance is the warranty. Every manufacturer must legally offer a minimum of one years parts and labour warranty as standard. The longest parts and labour warranty available that we’ve seen is 5 years.
Be aware that some brands will offer a different length of parts warranty to the labour warranty. In some cases (if the labour warranty has expired but there is still parts warranty remaining) then you may be charged for labour costs of fitting a part provided free under warranty.
Getting the best deal
If you know the exact model that you’re looking for then Google Shopping is the best way to find the cheapest price plus it includes seller ratings. But if you haven’t decided on a product yet then its best to have a specification in mind (hopefully the above has helped) and then start browsing to narrow down your search.
Many brands will supply the same (or a very similar) product to different retailers with different product codes so that the retailer doesn’t have to price match against their competitors. If you know the product that you’re looking for or see a product you like then check other retailers who offer the same brand and you may find a very similar product (if not the same!) at a cheaper price. If might seem logical that the larger retailers will offer the best prices but this isn’t necessarily the case so its worth checking prices with your local smaller retailer as well.
Every week we find the best deals in the market and post them in our weekly best buys section. Follow our blog by entering your e-mail address into the right section of this page so you don’t miss any deals.
Its worth checking discount voucher and cashback sites such as Quidco, TopCashback, Groupon, MyVoucherCodes, Vouchercodes and Hotukdeals. You can typically benefit from 1-6% discount or cash back.
If you’re purchasing a number of appliances then its best to ask a number of retailers for a package price (national retailers may not offer any discount but independents, online retailers and kitchen retailers normally will). You’ll often receive a discount for buying multiple items plus the retailer will normally pass on the savings they make on delivery costs. Delivery costs on appliances are high because of the size and weight of the products.
If your washing machine has broken down and you’re in search of a replacement product as soon as possible then this next paragraph may not be as relevant. However if you’re not in a rush to purchase a product asap (maybe planning a new kitchen and appliances) then this will be useful.
Retailers plan washing machine promotions around key periods of the year, these are the best times to buy when the prices are often reduced:
- Bank Holidays
- January – sale period
- April – Spring season when interest increases on kitchens
- November – Black Friday/Super Saturday/Cyber Monday
Check access to your property when having a washing machine delivered, some retailers may charge extra for needing to lift the appliance up a few steps. If the retailer is delivering the product then always make them aware of any potential access constraints.
Its worth also checking the type of delivery offered by the retailer in the small print. Some retailers include delivery, installation and removing of packaging in their delivery price whereas other will offer a ‘kerbside’ or ‘trade’ delivery where they’ll deliver the product to your front door only. In some cases a retailer might offer pallet delivery especially for larger items.