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Washing machines - a buyer's guide for UK shoppers

washing machinesWashing Machine Buyer's Guide

All washing machines are graded A - E, with A being the best, for three criteria, which are:

  • How well they wash - eg those washing machines which achieve a grade A are the best at cleaning your laundry.
  • How energy efficient they are - washing machines with an A grade will use less electricity and water.
  • How well they spin - machines with an A grade will have a faster spin speed to leave your clothes dryer and reduce the subsequent drying time.

Programme Selection

Washing machines have a choice of programmes that you can select according to the materials you are washing. Some useful programmes to look out for include:

  • Hand wash - this will wash clothes at 30° with a gentle action and is useful for washing traditionally hand wash only items such as silk and wool (I do this successfully, but bear in mind, you do this at your own risk as you will not be following the washing instructions printed on the garment).
  • Some models offer a cold wash which is even safer, especially for heavily coloured or dyed items where you don't want to lose the colour.
  • Look for the option to have no spin at all - again, this is useful if you don't want to risk spinning delicate fabrics.
  • Some machines have a "half load" option which uses less water and electricity if you are only washing a small amount of laundry. Even cleverer machines automatically sense the amount of laundry and adjust the amount of water accordingly without you having to select anything.

Washer Dryers

Washer dryers are useful if space is limited and you want a model that combines both functions. However, I personally find that you get a better overall performance from having two separate dedicated appliances, and this is what I would recommend if you have sufficient space - for example, dedicated tumble dryers often have a much bigger drum than washing machines to reduce creasing and make the drying more even.