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Washing Machine Guide

Which washing machine?

According to most surveys washing machines are the most likely domestic appliance to break down. Therefore it makes good sense to research well before you buy. How much you spend on a washing machine should be based on how often and how you use it, where it is to be located and what you can afford.

Energy and water efficient washing machines

There are many energy and water efficient washing machines now available on the market. The energy and water use per kilogram of washing are often lower for large capacity washing machines. If you don’t make the most of a drums capacity you could be wasting a lot of water. If you wash with a full load, a washing machine will use less energy and water per item washed than a smaller wash load. Its worthwhile reading tips on using your washing machine to get the most from your appliance.

Front loading washing machines

It is estimated that over 90% of UK homes have a freestanding front loading washing machine. These fully automatic washing machines are better and faster at washing clothes than their predecessor – the twin tub. The majority of modern front loaders will fit under a worktop with a 60cm x 60cm opening beneath.

Built-in washing machines

Built-in, integrated and semi-integrated washing machines are fully or partially hidden from view. These types of washing machine are popular as they can dramatically alter the look and feel of a kitchen. Considered to be a ‘specialist appliance’ you can expect to pay substantially more (up to 60% in some cases) with little choice in comparison to free standing models.

Top-loading washing machines

Very few people in the UK buy a top loading washing machine. They’re great where placing and installing a machine is not a problem i.e. in a garage or utility room or if bending over to load and un-load laundry is a problem for you.

Cold-fill washing machines

Today, most washing machines are cold fill only. Basically, this enables a washing machine to control water temperature and reduce shrinkage and damage to clothes better than using a hot fill option. As long as you do most of your washing at 40ºC, there’s little advantage to using a combination of hot and cold fill.

Energy labels on washing machines

The E.U. energy label rates domestic appliances from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). It also shows the energy consumption when washing clothes on a 60°C programme. This allows you to easily compare its performance against other washing machines.

What to look for in a washing machine


At one time spin speed was the marketing headline for manufacturers but now it is ‘capacity’ – the weight of clothes the machine can wash. The bigger the capacity the fewer the washes you have to do. A typical washing machine has a capacity of 6kg. There are appliances on the market that can take up to 8 or 9 kilos. For these larger capacity machines check the energy label closely as the wash results and energy ratings have been published by manufacturers using results from a half load wash.

Spin speed

Higher spin speeds such as 1400rpm or 1600rpm help to reduce the residual amount of water left in the clothes after the fastest spin cycle. It is true that the quicker the spin the more water is removed from the clothes yet the faster the spin the more your clothes will crease. A high speed is ideal for items such as sheets and towels but for every day clothes a 1000rpm spin will protect the clothes from creasing – and put less stress on the washing machines moving parts.

Variable spin speed

This lets you vary the spin speed of the washing machine to protect woollens, hand wash clothes and delicate items from damage.

Wide door

Having a large door opening will allow for easier loading and unloading of your washing.

Child locks

If you have young children it is a good idea to buy a washing machine with a child lock. This will stop children from being locked inside the machine should they crawl in and the door inadvertently closes behind them. It also stops washing programmes from being altered once the machine has started.Installing your washing machine
Installing your washing machine correctly is crucial to the appliance operating at its optimum. Quiet spins, minimal vibration and movement can all be attributed to a sound install. A good independent retailer will connect the appliance for free.