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.
Sorry - questions and comments on this page are now closed.
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.
Sorry - reviews and comments on this page are now closed.
Comment by Rose
on 29th Nov 2016
I bought this week a washing machine Electrolux, when the delivery person came with this machine before it plug in I notice that there is water in the pipes. I ask if this washing machine is used before and they told me that its been tested in the factory before it.
Comment by Vince
on 7th Sep 2016
We're really disappointed in the AEG L16850A3 washer dryer as ours also had its inverter control board exploded in three parts and it isn't cheap to replace! The machine is still almost brand new , used only some 40 washes in two years and now it has broke down. So very disappointed, as this model had great reviews of 9 out of 10 in most of the reports. Now it's either a very cheaper model between Candy, Hotpoint or Bosch?!?
Comment by Christine
on 18th Apr 2016
Bought a Hoover Model No. DYNG8164d2DX/1-80 7kg automatic washing machine. It is the worst washing machine ever. It kept stopping on error code E03 i.e. unable to pump water out of machine. Hoover said it might be a button to check again. Fault was intermittent but was steadily getting worse despite no blockage found. Hoover wanted £120 to come and check and the machine was still under warranty. Had own engineer check - no blockage in machine - he said it was probably programmer. By now two weeks and umpteen phone calls to Hoover now out of warranty. Hoover now wanted me to buy a warranty for £15 per month. Since then the machine has now got a E16 error message - heater problem (quite common I believe) and blew electrics in the house. The machine is now being dumped. DO NOT BUY A HOOVER Now searching for a new machine I now find many reviews about how bad these machines are - I only wish I had read these first!!! Buy a Hoover at your peril.
Comment by Chris
on 30th Mar 2016
Really disappointed with Indesit. Bought an Indesit IWDC6143 in 2013. Just over 2 years later it has blown its circuit board and is dead and not economically repairable.
Comment by SP
on 20th Mar 2016
Hoover washing mashing went wrong after 6 months. Intermittently gives fault code suggesting blockage but on next cycle works fine. Hoover want £130 to repair it saying it is my fault. I disagree. A poorly built machine, bad customer service, and a customer who will never buy Hoover again.
Comment by Terry
on 29th Jan 2016
Just read the first couple of paragraphs above and can't believe that you state that Indesit has a poor reputation.
My Indesit 1080w washing has just broken down today and is in the front garden waiting for someone to drive past and steal it.
What I must say though is that I purchased this machine in 1995, yes that's right IN 1995 - 21 years ago. 21 years this machine has been going without a single fault but today it has died. I bet there isn't a current machine on the market today that will still be around in 2037.
You can drive yourself mad reading review after review of washing machines but at the end of the day they will either break down after a couple of years or not.
There are too many factors to take into consideration to say that one machine is better than another;
The more complex a machine - the more can go wrong with it.
The more parts it has - the more can go wrong with it.
The more you use it - the more chance something will go wrong with it.
The harder the water in your area - the more can go wrong with it.
There are possibly thousands of parts in a washing machine made by different companies from across the globe... The same principle can also be applied to each and every one of those parts - exponentially exacerbating the whole issue.
So what should you do?
Go for the simplest, cheapest machince with the longest guarantee from a reputable supplier with good customer service... PERIOD!
And spend the hours and hours you would have spent searching for the ultimate machine, either relaxing, or with your family or work.
Reply by Bri
on 23rd Mar 2016
Your 1995 Indesit was far better made than the modern variety.
Reply by Synn
on 26th Apr 2016
Which brand would you recommend in the mid range? I think hotpoint might be a good bet. Which brand did you end up buying?
Comment by Nads
on 15th Jan 2016
Bought Hoover WM in 2005, although it played up big time by flooding my kitchen several times within 3 months of purchase and having engineer out three times it lasted me ten years without further glitches or hitches. I have found this site because i'm searching for a new one and am so confused with the amount of views from others, I prefer the days before reviews. One persons palace is another persons garage.
Comment by Paul Moncaster
from United Kingdom
on 30th Dec 2015
Bought a Beko washing machine from Currys, biggest mistake of my life, cheap and nasty. As soon as out of guarantee it starts filling up with water and floods the kitchen, Lino has been destroyed twice due to flooding from the Beko. Googled how to re programme it, which worked for a while, however still have to watch it to make sure it doesn't flood the kitchen. Went out earlier and left it on, came back home and kitchen flooded again. Avoid buying one of these awful cheap machines at all costs, you will regret it. Quite prepared for anyone from parent company to take me to court if they wish. These washing machines are not fit for purpose!
Comment by Deb
on 17th Dec 2015
Hoover design is really poor. The only way to take advantage of the very fast spin is on a 3 hour wash - yes really! Once you have (mistakenly) started the 3 hour wash, you can't stop it. So I would avoid Hoover. Had it 6 months, and the most frustrating machine EVER!
Comment by Karen
on 21st Feb 2015
I agree completely about the unreliability of Hoover. My Hoover machine is used once a week for my husband and myself yet the bearings have packed up after 5 years and I have been told it is cheaper to scrap it than try to repair it. All my other machines different makes were still running when I up graded to a more modern machine after about 10 years of good service.
Comment by Dionne
on 7th Feb 2015
how I wish I'd read this before. I replaced a 15 year old Hotpoint washing machine in August 2013 simply because I wanted a white one,. It was still running ok but the grey colour did not fit my new kitchen.
one Hoover machine later and it has been repaired once and completely burned out within 18 months of very light usage. Hoover think nothing of telling me to pay the equivalent in cost of a new washing machine (best part of £160) to fix the heating element. They suggest that there are no guarantees if I buy a new machine anyway. Well no, not if I buy one of theirs. needless to say I'm going back to Hotpoint.