Washing Machine Buying Guide
This washing machine buying guide is here to help you make an informed decision about your washing machine purchase. It’s a very irregular purchase and most people don’t know what to look for. This guide will tell you the ins and outs of washing machines so that you can find the perfect one for your household.
With a vast amount of models now available, deciding which washing machine is right for you can be very challenging. Our buying guide is here to help you find out what choices are right for your needs. You can either read the full guide or click on one of the links below to read the answers to some of the most common questions.
- What Size Does My Washing Machine Need To Be To Fit Into My Kitchen/Utility Room?
- What Amount Of Washing Do I Do Each Week?
- Will The Washing Machine Get My Clothes Clean And What Do The Wash Features Mean?
- How Long Will It Take To Do My Washing?
- How Much Does A Washing Machine Cost To Run?
- What Price Do I Need To Pay For My Washing Machine?
What Size Does My Washing Machine Need To Be To Fit Into My Kitchen/Utility Room?
Everyone has their own needs and preferences when it comes to space in their kitchen or utility room. Some people prefer their machine out in the open so they can easily get it, which is very useful if they are doing lots of washing, while other people have specifically designed kitchens and want a specific size of machine to fit a specific space.
**The first decision you have to make is, where in your kitchen you want your washing machine to go and what size it needs to be in order to fit.
Freestanding Washing Machines - Are good if you want your machine to be seen and they’re fairly easy to fit in as they just slot into a specific gap in your kitchen. Most freestanding models are front loaders for ease of use.
Top loaders are suitable if you have a narrow space and don't want to use the machine under a counter or you intend putting the machine in a utility room or garage.
Built In/Integrated Washing Machines are designed not to be seen. They have a flat front and space to attach door hinges so they can be completely hidden behind a door.
**A integrated machine is a front loader covered by a door panel that matches the rest of your kitchen units. When closed, the machine will be completely hidden.
**A semi-integrated machine is a front loader covered mostly by a door panel that matches the rest of your kitchen units. When closed, the machine will be completely hidden except the controls.
When fitting your new appliance please remember it must be fitted in reach of a water supply in order to be connected. If you would like mychoice to connect your appliance, please check our Installation services for that particular model or visit our installation page.
The normal width of a washing machine is 50-60cm, with the vast majority being 60cm. Height can range between 80 and 90cm with Depth ranging between 50 and 60cm. It is obviously vital that you check that the model you are buying has the correct dimensions for the space you have.
What Amount Of Washing Do I Do Each Week?
One of the main factors that will influence your purchase will be the amount of washing you do and choosing the best model to support your specific needs. The total amount of laundry a washing machine can take is dictated by the size of the drum. The larger the drum size, the more washing can be done in a standard cycle. It can work out cheaper on electricity and water, to do larger washes. The main advantage of small wash loads is that the wash cycle is a lot quicker and it is more suitable for some delicate clothes or fabrics.
**If you don’t plan on washing much laundry each week, you don’t really need a very large drum size. A machine with a drum size of around 5-6kg will probably be enough for the needs of 2 people living together.
**For most households a machine with a drum capacity of 7kg - 8kg will be plenty. It will probably have enough space to handle large wash loads but may also include programmes more tailored to smaller wash loads. These machines are more than adequate for families or houses of up to 5 people.
**If you have a very large family and need to do lots of washing all at once, the best and most sensible choice, would be a model with a larger sized drum. You can get models with a drum size of up to 9kg/10kg/11kg which would allow you to do a very large wash load at any one time. Washing machines which have larger drum sizes often have special programmes designed to allow you to wash big, bulky items such as duvets and bed linen. These programmes use more water, more rinses and give a long spin cycle which is better suited to washing bulky loads more efficiently as these require more water to soak the load, and more spinning to help dry the load.
Will The Washing Machine Get My Clothes Clean And What Do The Wash Features Mean?
Washing machines are primarily designed to get your clothes clean, but it is important to remember that not all clothes and not all dirt/stains are equal. Think about the clothes which are normally in your washing, are they all the same material, the same colour, and the same level of dirtiness? The answer is probably not, so if your washing machine treated all clothes exactly the same you would not get the best results all the time.
Most washing machines today have adjustable settings or features to allow you to get the best results. Almost all models include programmes or settings that tailor the machine to specific fabrics or types of washing – these take the guesswork out of doing your laundry and let you ultimately achieve the best results.
The number of programmes will vary according to the sophistication of the machine, but, overall, they will break down into:
**Cottons (need the most rigorous washing action)
**Synthetics or easy care (need gentler action)
**Delicate (similar to synthetics programme, but gentler)
**Woollens (need lots of water and very little agitation)
**Many of the latest models have hand wash programmes for fabrics such as fine wools or silk, and these are actually even gentler and more effective at protecting your clothes than washing by hand.
**Some will also have mixed-wash program (low temperature), and most will also have pre-wash program to remove surface dirt from heavily soiled fabrics before the main wash cycle.
**Some models have variable temperature control, so you can opt to select a lower temperature for a load which is perhaps not particularly soiled, e.g. reducing easy care fabrics from 60º to 40ºC, but the length of the wash cycle will be the same.
**An economy setting which will automatically reduce the washing temperature but again maintain the length of the washing cycle.
**Some models have a short wash programme to speed things up, or a quick wash – but both are best suited to lightly soiled items.
**Most models have a rinse hold facility which holds the washing in the final clean rinse water prior to spinning in case you're not there to remove the clothes as soon as they've spun, reducing the risk of creasing.
**All models have the facility to drain out water without spinning in case there are clothes you want to drip dry or you need to retrieve something from the machine. Some machines have an extra rinse facility which is useful in soft water areas or if anyone in the household has particularly sensitive skin.
**Many models are equipped with sensor technology, whereby sensors basically it do all the work for you. Some models weigh the amount of clothes in the drum, other use sensors to determine how dirty the water is and therefore how dirty your clothes are. Models with sensor technology will do all the work for you and make doing your washing as easy as pushing a button.
How Long Will It Take to do My Washing?
The amount of time it takes to finish a complete cycle varies from model to model, and these times can vary even more depending on which programme is used. Most models come with different types of wash programmes and features, that let you control how long your washing will take.
**Most models feature some sort of quick wash programme designed to get smaller wash loads cleaned as fast as possible, these programmes usually last between 15-40 minutes. Some models also include a type of mixed load function; a fast wash that allows different fabrics and colours to be safely washed together – this saves you time as you don’t need to separate your clothes into dark clothes and light clothes.
**If you don’t spend all day at home you might want to be able to pre-set your washing machine to begin whilst you are out and be ready for when you get home. All models now offer a delay start/time option, so you can to pre-set your machine to start at a time which suits you. This can be up to 24 hours, so you could even set your washing to run whilst you’re away or out for several hours.
**Many models now have either an LCD/LED display or some sort of audible alarm when the washing cycle is finished. This can be really useful as you don’t have to stay in your kitchen waiting for the washing to finish, but when it does finish you can get your clothes out straight away.
Your laundry is not completely ready until it’s dry as well as clean. To cut down on drying time you will need to think about spin speeds. Spin speeds determine how fast your clothes are spun around in the machine at the end of the washing cycle, the faster your spin speed the more water is extracted from your washing. Most machines have variable spin speeds and these can help determine how wet your laundry comes out at the end of the wash cycle. To get the most out of your spin cycle you need a drum size big enough to let the clothes move around a lot, so if you plan on leaving your clothes to dry naturally, a washing machine with a big drum size and fast spin speed will help you save time.
**Many washing machines boast a high 1400 revolutions per minute (rpm), 1600rpm or even 1800rpm spin speed rather than the more common 1200rpm, which helps save time on the line or energy use in the tumble dryer by removing more water.
**You might think this means you should always choose the highest spin speed, so your clothes dry faster, but remember that certain spin speeds are not suitable for certain fabrics. Delicate fabrics such as wool could be damaged in the highest spin speeds, so always be careful when choosing your spin speed.
**If you're intending to use a tumble dryer, it's worth choosing a machine with a good high spin speed as it's more economical to extract water from spinning than from tumble drying.
**Top-of-the-range machines will have a long spin cycle for cottons for more efficient water extraction, and an interval spin for synthetics to reduce creasing.
**All models will try to balance a laundry load before the main spin cycle begins, and if it can't achieve even distribution, it will automatically select a slower spin speed for safety.
How Much Does A Washing Machine Cost To Run?
Energy - All models are now rated by the EU, to let people know how much energy is needed to run them. The energy ratings go from A+ to G with A+ being the best. For their benchmark tests they look at how much energy is used using a 60 degree cotton wash. A machine with a high energy rating will save you water, electricity and will save money on your energy bills. For the most energy efficient washing machines, look out for the Energy Saving Recommended logo. Only washing machines that comply with the Energy Saving Trust’s most stringent criteria are endorsed.
Wash Performance - This is based on washing performance and spin efficiency. You will generally find that the more expensive the machine, the higher its grading, as it will include a number of energy saving features, e.g. a timer delay will allow you to use cheaper overnight electricity and variable temperature controls allow you to use lower temperature for lightly soiled load. Most machines incorporate a pressure switch mechanism and automatically use the correct amount of water for the load. Others will have a half-load facility for small quantities of laundry. Top-of-the-range machine use advanced electronic technology to monitor conditions during the wash and make any adjustments required to get optimum cleaning performance using minimum water and energy; it can influence the main wash, water intake, temperature settings, wash time, rinse performance and spin speed.
If you are upgrading your old appliance remember mychoice offer a recycling service, whereby we collect and recycle your old appliance when we deliver your new one; for full details of this service please see the Appliance Collection and Disposal section.
What Price Do I Need To Pay For My Washing Machine?
Washing machine prices range from less than £200 to over £1000, so it is Important you pay for a model which suits you exact needs. Many manufacturers who have a wide range of models, often brand similar models into groups. These groups make it easier to understand the different choices available and often cover every option from basic entry level ranges to premier ranges.
**If you’re a first time buyer, perhaps furnishing a house or a landlord furnishing a rented property, you might be on a budget. Lower priced washing machines (£200-£400) are generally available in white, with the majority being freestanding and with a drum size of 5-8kg. The lower price tends not to affect energy efficiency as most models are A-rated and above. These models offer a basic range of wash programmes to cater for the average household.
**Between £400 - £600 you can buy a very well-specified, family washing machine. A few extra colours and finishes are available if you’re looking for something more stylish to fit in with a modern kitchen. The majority of models are still freestanding but the average drum size is around 7-9kg. Most machines are rated A+ and come with a wide selection of program and special features tailored to different fabric care.
**£600+ for a top of the ranged model. For your money you will find a large variety of colours and styles to complement any designer kitchen including LCD screens, stainless steel fascia’s and fingerprint proof stainless steel finishes. Average drum size and the number of programmes vary to cater for all sizes of household.
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