Washing machine buying guide
By S21, 6 Feb 2014, last updated 15 Sep 2015
What most people want from a washing machine is for it to be cheap and reliable. But is a cheap washing machine ever going to be the most reliable? You already know the answer! That’s why choosing the right brand and the right model matters.
Cheap and (sometimes) cheerful
At the bottom end of the washing machine market we find budget makers Beko. Beko makes cheap washing machines from small 5kg models designed for single people or couples, up to family-sized washers with 8kg capacity. Beko machines are some of the cheapest you’ll find, but they also have poor energy efficiency ratings, low specs generally and are often quite noisy in operation. But when it comes to durability, Beko washing machines are surprisingly reliable.
Indesit (part of the Hotpoint Group) and Zanussi (part of the Electrolux Group) make cheap to mid-range washers and are a step up from Beko, although Indesit has a poor reputation for reliability.
Clean down the middle
The mid-range of the washing machine market is dominated by Hotpoint, which makes a bewildering number of different models with different features. They are generally family-sized machines with larger load capacities (from 7kg up to a duvet-sized 11kg). Hotpoint machines usually have higher energy efficiency ratings (up to A+++) and faster spin speeds (up to a dizzying 1600rpm), to get your clothes dry quickly. At the top end you’ll find models with Super Silent technology that are a lot quieter than the base models. Just be aware that Hotpoint don’t necessarily have a strong reputation for reliability.
Hoover is also active in the middle price range, again with mostly family-sized machines at a good price. However, we must point out that Hoover is possibly the brand with the worst reputation for breakdowns.
At the top of the mid-range comes German manufacturer Bosch. As you’d expect from the Germans, the quality of the engineering is a step up (as is the price) and Bosch machines tend to last longer before needing to go into hospital. They are very energy efficient too, so this is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to do their bit for the environment.
Why spend more on a washing machine? At the top end of the market you get more features, better energy efficiency and quieter machines. But perhaps more importantly you get quality and reliability. A high-end machine may cost twice as much as a bargain model, but if it lasts twice as long, it’ll prove to be a good investment.
Samsung is a relatively new name in washing machines, but it has quickly built a reputation for innovative designs that are highly effective, energy efficient and reliable.
AEG is a solid high-end brand with bullet-proof machines that are ultra-quiet in operation and so energy efficient that they often outperform the EU maximum A+++ rating. That’s just showing off! Seriously though, these are well worth the extra cost.
The Rolls-Royce of washing machines is Miele. Miele products are seriously expensive but come with a 10 year parts and labour warranty. That makes them worth the initial outlay.
Washing machine FAQs
How much money can I save with an energy efficient washing machine?
Let's work it out. The EU Energy Efficiency Scale for washing machines introduced in 2010 is based on annual electricity consumption assuming 220 wash cycles and a mix of wash types. For a 6kg load, an A+ rated washing machine uses around 185 kWh per year, while a washing machine with an A+++ rating uses less than 155 kWh per year. If electricity costs 15p per kWh, then the annual cost of running an A+ machine is £27.75, and for an A+++ machine it’s £23.25. So, an energy efficient machine will save you around £4.50 a year. That’s probably less than you thought.
How can I get my laundry clean and save the planet?
Since the cost of replacing your machine is so much more than the cost of running it, it should be obvious that the best way to save money and minimise the impact on the environment is to choose a machine that will last for years. But how? Read our advice above, and most importantly read our best washing machine reviews and best washer dryer reviews to find a reliable brand and model.
Do quick washes get clothes properly clean?
A lot of washing machines now come with fast 30 minute cycles (sometimes even shorter!) These can be handy for freshening up clothes that aren’t too dirty or smelly, but to get clothes thoroughly clean, long cycles are better. You knew that!
Is laundry better than sex?
Leave a comment below if you have any more questions, or want to share your experience with others.
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8-9kg machine with rinse & hold feature good value not too expensive?
by Ann Benton
on 19th Sep 2017
I love the rinse and hold feature on my old whirlpool and want this feature but not too expensive.
Which machine gives good rinsing?
Asked by Batson
on 5th Oct 2016
For Bosch washing machines, where are the technical service manuals giving diagrams and codes?
Asked by Derek Earnshaw
on 5th Sep 2016
I have not found any web reference to Bosch Washing machine technical servine manuals.
I need a manual which gives exploded drawings, parts list + part numbers, fault diagnosis and machine error codes.
Cant find such manuals anywhere. They must exist.
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