Modern washers and dryers have lots of different features, so choosing the right one for you and your family can be a bit of a challenge. But don't worry... our buying guide is here to help you find your perfect make & model.
When you come to fit your new washing machine, it's important to remember that it must be placed within reach of a water supply and a waste water pipe, which can usually be found under your sink. Most washing machines are cold fill, so only need connecting to a cold water supply.
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Free Standing - Built in
Freestanding washing machines are ideal if you are happy to have it on display in your kitchen. They're easy to install and can just be slotted into place. The average kitchen top is 85-90cm high and perfect for placing a washing machine underneath, but make sure you measure the height of your kitchen surfaces before buying your washing machine.
Built-in/integrated washing machines are designed to be disguised behind furniture doors to maintain a streamlined look and feel in your kitchen. They have a flat front, as well as space to attach door hinges, so they can be completely hidden from view and won’t draw attention away from your kitchen design.
Spin speeds determine how fast the final spin is at the end of the washing cycle and range from 1000rpm all the way up to 1600rpm. The faster your spin speed, the more water will be extracted from your washing, which can save drying time. Most machines have variable spin speeds which can be selected to suit various fabrics.
Spin speed is one of the most important choices to make when buying a washing machine. As a general rule the faster the spin speed the more water is extracted from your wash. It is important to ensure you choose the correct spin speed when washing to prevent damage to your clothing. In most cases, it is safer to select the spin speed recommended by the manufacturer.
Determining which drum size is right for you depends on a number of factors including the size of your family, the types of items you need to wash and the frequency you like to wash. Drum sizes range from 5kg up to 10kg (measured in kilos of dry clothes) and our table below will help you to work out what those sizes mean in real terms. Obviously, you won’t always be washing just t-shirts or duvets, but if you think about how big a pile of 30 t-shirts would be, or how big a single duvet is, you will get a rough idea about how much washing can be done at a time.
Washing machines with larger drum sizes often have special programmes designed to allow you to wash big, bulky items such as duvets. If you would like to use your washing machine to wash your duvet, it's best to buy one with a special duvet cycle, as a standard machine may not clean it effectively.
|Load Capacity||No of Cotton Shirts/Wash||Wash Duvet||Suitable For|
|5.0kg||22||-||The Standard Wash Capacity|
|6.0kg||30||Single (up to 13.5 tog)||Great for Small families|
|7.0kg||35||Double (up to 10.5 tog)||up to 40% less* washes per week|
|7.5kg||37||Kingsize (up to 10.5 tog)||up to 50% less* washes per week|
|8.0kg||40||Kingsize (up to 13.5 tog)||for big households or big duvets|
|9.0kg||45||Kingsize (up to 15.0 tog)||for big households or big duvets|
|10.0kg||50||Kingsize (up to 15.0 tog)||for big households with a utility room|
|*compared to standard 5kg wash|
Energy ratings range from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. For their benchmark tests, the EU look at how much energy is consumed using a 60 degree cotton wash. Certain manufacturers have designed some of their top of the range washing machines to be even more energy efficient than the standard A rated machines. This helps you make your contribution to a safer and more stable environment as well as keeping your energy costs down. Manufacturers label these models as:A+ energy rated models will save you money by achieving up to 10% reduction in energy consumption, compared with ‘A’ energy rated models.
A++ energy rated models are designed to help you save up to 20% more on your energy bills than 'A' rated models.
A+++ energy rated models are 30% more energy efficient than ‘A’ rated models.
A+++++ energy rated models are a huge 50% more energy efficient than an ‘A’ rated model.
The majority of tumble dryers are 'B' or 'C' rated. If you are willing to spend a little more onyour tumble dryer then there are a few ‘A’ rated models available. As with washing machines, the more energy efficient your dryer, the less electricity you'll use and money on your energy bills.
More information on energy ratings;
All our washing machines are issued with a performance class rating for Energy, Wash & Spin. Each of these are graded from 'A - G', with 'A' being the best.
Energy TablePerformance is measured on a scale from A (more efficent) to G (less efficient). An energy efficient washing machine uses a third less energy than an old, inefficient model and cuts water consumption considerably.
Energy Saving Tips
Save Energy & Money by following these simple steps:
If you need to wash smaller loads use 'half load' or 'economy' setting.
Use lower temperature washes - many detergents work best at lower temperatures, typically 40-55 degrees, with some designed to work at 30 degrees.
Use short wash cycles when clothes are only lightly soiled.
Use higher spin speeds or a spin dryer to extract more water before using a tumble dryer.
Dry washing outdoors whenever possible.
Use a "set & forget" tumble dryer which automatically senses when clothes are dry and switches to cool tumble to save energy.
Look out for the energy saving recommended logo on laundry & dishwashers.
Washing Machine Features
Washing Machine Features
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 feature a Quick Wash programme, which is designed to get smaller wash loads cleaned as fast as possible. These programmes usually take between 15 and 40 minutes. Some washers also have a mixed load function which is a fast wash that allows different fabrics and colours to be washed together safely. This saves time as clothes do not need separating into different colours before being washed.
Several washing machine models also offer a delayed start option, allowing you 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 machine to run overnight to make the most of cheaper electricity rates.
Many models now have either an LCD display, LED display, or an audible chime to let you know when the wash cycle is finished. Some will even indicate how long the wash has left to run.
All washing machines include a number of programme options and special features to help you get the best results from your wash.
Here are a few of the most useful programmes to look for:
|Quick Wash||Most tumble dryers now come with reverse action which reduces tangling, reduces creasing and helps clothes to dry faster, saving time and energy.|
|Economy Wash||Uses less water, electricity and detergent to reduce your running costs.|
|Silk Wash||Washes with a gentler action and at lower temperature to protect delicate garments.|
|Hand Wash||Enables you to wash clothes marked "hand wash only" in your machine.|
|Wool Wash||A gentle programme to wash woolens in your machine. Look for Woolmark Gold or Woolmark Platinum accredited machines for best results.|
|Duvet Programme||Some larger washing machines now come with a duvet cycle to wash machine washable duvets at home.|
Other features you may want to look for include;
|Other Washing Machine Features|
|LCD Display||Provides feedback on the current wash or drying programme, what stage it is at, time remaining until completion, selected programme adjustments and time delay countdown.|
|LED Display||This may feature; wash programme status indicators, time remaining & time delay countdown.|
|Time Delay||Allows you to delay the wash start time, so you could take advantage of cheap overnight electricity, or set to wash just before you get home from work.|
|Extra Rinse||Removes more detergent from your washing, useful in soft water areas and a better option for people with eczema, sensitive skin or allergies.|
|Time Saver||Available on some machines to reduce programme running times by up to 20%, great for people with a busy lifestyle.|
|Cold Fill||Most washing machines are now cold fill only which means that water is heated in the washer, rather than drawn from your hot water supply. It's more energy efficient, better for stain removal and is gentler on your fabrics too!|
Tumble dryer - Vented or condenser?
Tumble dryer - Vented or condenser?
Tumble dryers are available as either vented or condenser models and the type you choose will depend on what will be best suited to your kitchen layout and which offers you the greatest convenience.
Vented tumble dryers use a hose placed out of a window or through an outside wall to expel damp air while drying. These are more difficult to install as they need to be positioned adjacent to an exterior wall, but are easier to run, as water does not need to be emptied.
Unlike vented dryers, condenser tumble dryers will fit anywhere in the home as the moisture is collected inside the appliance and emptied after the cycle. These models are easier to install and can be moved even after they have been installed, but you do need to regularly empty the water container. Moisture from your clothes collects in a water reservoir that you can take out and empty, so there is no need for venting, or holes in the wall, or open windows in the middle of winter!
Tumble Dryer Features
Tumble Dryer Features
Tumble dryers can help you save time when doing the ironing by leaving clothes less creased. The following programmes and options are something to look out for if you want to save time when doing the laundry.
This moves the drum in both directions, helping to prevent your laundry from creasing. It stops garments from tangling and also loosens the clothing as it dries.
This programme keeps the laundry moving to stop garments from tangling as they dry.
This is a controlled method of drying which monitors the moisture and temperature levels inside the drum and detects when the load is dry. This is not only convenient, but ensures maximum energy efficiency, by stopping the dryer when the clothes reach the drying level selected.
This allows you to pre-set a drying cycle to start later, at a time that's convenient to you, so you're not waiting around for the laundry to be finished. It's perfect if you want to set the dryer to start when you’re out of the house.
End of cycle alarm
This alerts you when your cycle has finished.
Whichever style of tumble dryer you choose, you need to make sure that you regularly clean the fluff filter. Lint inevitably gathers in your tumble dryer over time and gets trapped in the filter if not cleaned. This can slow down drying cycles and decrease your dryer's energy efficiency.
Washer dryers are designed to take the strain out of doing the laundry by combining cleaning and drying in one machine. They come with drum capacities ranging from 5kg-8kg and spin speeds between 1000rpm-1600rpm. They are particularly useful for smaller households that don’t have enough space, or do enough laundry, to justify a separate washing machine and tumble dryer.
Buying a large appliance such as a washer dryer can be a big investment, so you want your appliance to be as efficient as possible when it comes to running costs. A washer dryer with a high energy rating will save you water, electricity and will save money on your energy bills. To allow you to see which the best models are at a glance, most white goods sold across Europe now have an EU Energy label. This includes a rating of how energy efficient a machine is and also gives a rating from A-G (with A being the best - see above). The majority of washer dryers are ‘B’ rated. ‘A’ rated models are also available and will cost slightly more to purchase but less to run. Some manufacturers offer ‘A+’ rated models which are 10% more energy efficient than ‘A’ rated models.
Washer dryers can be used three ways; washing only, drying only and washing and drying as a whole cycle without a break in-between. With a washer dryer you can wash and dry a small load in one go, so the drying cycle starts as soon as the wash cycle has finished. This means you only need to load and unload once.
Another fantastic benefit of washer dryers is that there is no need to vent them, or empty any water containers. All of the water that’s expelled during the drying process is simply disposed of through the waste water pipe.