Washing machine buying guide
From size and capacity, to energy rating and spin speed, buying laundry appliances can seem like a bit of a minefield. That’s why we’ve created these straightforward buying guides containing all the info you need to make the right choice for your family, home and lifestyle.
Look out for the ‘Our Experts Love’ range to find washing machines, tumble dryers and washer-dryers that showcase the most exciting and useful features.
And of course, if you want to see what’s on offer for yourself, come down to one of our stores and we’ll be happy to help find the right appliances for you.
Before buying a washing machine these are the key features to consider.
What capacity washing machine do I need?
Capacities range from 5 kg up to 13 kg
As a rule of thumb, 5 t-shirts equate to 1 kg. A 5 kg machine will wash 25 t-shirts, while a 10 kg can wash up to 50 t-shirts.
A larger capacity machine means you can wash more at once, saving time and money on energy.
Larger capacity machines often include extra washing programmes for bulkier items, such as duvets, towels or curtains.
What spin speed should I go for?
Spin speed varies from 1000 to 1600 rpm.
Higher spin speeds reduce the water left in your clothes when they’ve finished washing, so they’ll take less time to dry on the line or in a tumble dryer.
How short is a quick wash?
It is between 14 and 30 minutes for a complete wash cycle.
Usually a reduced load size e.g. 2 kg.
Designed to freshen up the load, so will not remove stains.
How noisy is a washing machine?
The average volume of the machine’s wash and spin cycles, is measured in decibels (dB).
The higher the dB, the noisier the machine will be.
Anything below 50 dB is considered as particularly quiet.
To reduce noise levels as much as possible, look for models with new technology like brushless or inverter motors, and anti-vibration systems.
How energy efficient are washing machines?
Eco wash cycles use up to 60% less energy by running for longer.
Also look for average water consumption per wash cycle, to help keep costs down for water usage.
What is the difference between a free standing and an integrated washing machine?
Money saving features
There are lots of ways to saying money when you wash from half load washing to automatic dosing.
What if I don't always want to fill my washing machine to full capacity?
Some washing machines have an Auto Weight Sensor, which automatically calculates the time needed to clean that amount of laundry. This is also known as fuzzy logic.
Alternatively look for a Half Load setting, ideal for smaller loads and saving energy.
Are there washing machines that choose the right program for me?
How else can I economise on the wash?
How can I be sure to use the correct amount of detergent?
Auto dosage machines ensure only the correct amount of detergent is used in each wash based on material type and weight.
The liquid detergent is stored in a reservoir in the machine.
Most machines have standard programmes such as cotton, synthetics and quick wash but some have special cycles to help with different types of loads
What do you use steam for in a washing machine?
Steam is good for refreshing clothes.
It helps to reduce creasing, so you can spend less time ironing.
Steam provides a more hygienic clean, helping to remove particles such as pollen that may irritate people with allergies or sensitive skin.
What should I look for to help with tough stains?
A machine that pre-mixes the detergent improves the performance of the detergent.
Intensive programmes are designed to boost stain removal.
Pre-wash cycles are ideal for loosening up dried-on or heavily soiled marks before the main cycle.
My family are really sporty, so I wash a lot of dirty kit
An intensive or sportswear cycle will help to remove stains like grass and mud.
Some machines have an option to wash trainers.
If you want to make clothes waterproof or more water resistant, look out for a proofing programme with waterproof wash liquid.
Some of my family have sensitive skin, how can I ensure all the detergent is removed in the wash?
Extra Rinse allows you to increase the number of rinses to the programme, removing more excess detergent. Some machines have allergen removal programmes, which are are great if you have an allergy sufferer in the family. It helps to remove allergens like pollen and dust mites.
Some machines have allergen removal programmes, which are are great if you have an allergy sufferer in the family. It helps to remove allergens like pollen and dust mites.
Baby cycles are perfect if you have a little one at home as this adds extra rinses to wash away detergents which can irritate sensitive skin.
I want to do less hand washing but have lots of delicates, what can I do?
There are different ways to control your washing machine from simple dials to voice activation.
What types of control panels are there?
Choose from a dial or push button, LED or, on top of the range models, a LCD display.
LED or LCD displays provide more detailed information in terms of how long the wash still has to run.
Machines with a memory button let you save your favourite wash settings to use again next time.
What is a smart washing machine and what can it be used for?
Smart washing machines come with an app for your smartphone.
The app lets you start, stop, pause or receive an alert when your load has finished, even when you are out and about.
Some give you advice on how to best wash the clothes.
Some machines allow you to control them through your smart home device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
The washing machine will need to be connected to WiFi.
How can I add an item in after the wash has started?
How can I set my washing to run at a time I want?
A delay timer lets you set the washing machine to delay the start of the cycle, usually by a number of hours.
This can be anything from 3 to 24 hours depending on the machine.
Alternatively, some machines have ‘end time’ functions, which allow you to choose when the programme finishes, as opposed to when it starts.
How can I stop my child opening the washing machine door?
There are two types of child locks.
The most common type disables the controls on the control panel, which will stop children from being able to change the settings or start a programme.
The second type is a device that stops the door from being closed, so your kids won't be able to 'accidentally' trap items such as toys, your valuables, or the cat, in the drum.
From delivery to installation and recycling, once you've chosen your new washing machine, we can help with all the extras.
What space does a washing machine need?
A standard size washing machine is 850 x 600 x 600 mm (H x W x D).
You will need to make sure that your washing machine will fit into the space where you would like it to go, considering the width, height and depth. Remember to allow for space for the hoses connected on the back of the appliance, and for the door to open on the front of the machine.
Why are all washing machines cold fill only?
All modern washing machines are cold fill. It takes less energy for the washing machine to heat the water, helping to cut down on the energy used.
Starting with cold water gives better wash results when you’re using biological detergents, as the enzymes work best at low temperatures.
What do I need to get my machine up and running?
Washing machines require three different connections, each within 1.5 m where you’d like to put your appliance:
- A cold water feed – this is for clean water to enter the machine and is a connection on the plumbing in your home. This is a round, threaded connection and will usually have a small blue valve next to it that rotates 90 degrees to turn the water supply on and off.
- A waste connection – this is for the used, dirty water to drain from your machine at the end of the wash cycle. This can come in two different styles - a standpipe in an upright position that should be almost has high as the washing machine, which the waste hose on the appliance is inserted into, or a spigot which is a threaded connection and approximately 12.5 cm long. This is usually on the u-bend below a sink.
- A plug socket – washing machines come with a standard 3-pin plug to power the machine and heat the water.
All connections must be within 1.5 m of the machine although we will supply and use a longer cold water pipe and extension waste hose if safe to do so.
- Sometimes the cold water valve can get seized or corroded when not used for a long time. It is important that you check the blue valve still rotates to isolate the water supply prior to disconnecting any hoses. If there are any issues with this it is recommended that you contact a plumber to resolve.
What warranty does my washing machine come with?
To get the most out of your machine here are a few helpful tips.
What is the difference between biological and non-biological detergents?
Biological detergents contain enzymes that work to lift the stains out of fabrics.
Non-biological detergents do not contain these enzymes, which can irritate some people’s skin. They are excellent choices for anyone who suffers with sensitive skin, but will not remove stains as effectively.
How can I stop the washing from creasing if it's left in the washing machine for too long?
Rinse hold will keep the washing in the final rinse water until the spin is manually selected to progress to the end of the programmes.
The delay timer can also help here.
Choose a smart machine to manage the start of the wash cycle while you are out.
How do I change the temperature of a program?
Some machines let you vary the temperature of a wash.
It’s great if you prefer low temperature washing, or want to do a hygienic high temperature wash.
How do I keep the drum clean?
A dedicated Drum Clean or service wash programme removes bacteria from the drum.
Or you can just run a cotton wash cycle at 70 degrees or above to kill the bacteria that can cause a machine to smell over time.
How can I keep my detergent drawer clean?
How can I change the spin speed of a program?
Variable spin options let you manually alter the spin speed of wash programmes.
It’s ideal if your clothes and sheets are coming out very creased. Just lower the spin and they shouldn’t get so tangled.
Some washing machines inject steam into the wash cycle which improve stain removal and reduce common allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander as a higher temperature is reached. Steam also relaxes the fibres in clothes which results in them being less creased at the end of the wash.