Washing Machines Buying Guide
Buying a washing machine is no simple task, as there are so many to choose from. This small guide should help you filter the available selection by pointing out the different features, and demonstrating how those features might best suit you.
Top loader machines
Top loaders wash clothes in two ways. By agitator, where clothes are moved around by a central pole, or by an impeller which whips up the water to move through clothes. Top loaders are generally cheaper, have faster wash cycles and larger capacities than front loaders, and can be stopped mid-cycle to add clothes. However, they are less water and energy efficient than front loaders.
Front loader machines
Clothes are piled in at the front and wrung by a spinning drum. They use up to a third less water and energy compared to top loaders, are generally better for small spaces, and there's less wear and tear on clothes. Some front loaders now have an add-wash function, so you can add clothes mid-cycle.
Size & capacity
To further help you make a decision, consider the size of the machine in relation to the requirements of your family. In general terms, the capacity to look for is: 1-2 people = less than 6 kilograms. 3-4 people = 6 - 8 kgs. More than 5 people = 8.5kgs and above.
In a spin
If you have a wide range of materials to wash, look for the biggest variance you can between spin speeds. Speeds between 400 - 1800 will give you more customised options. A quicker spin speed means more water is drained faster, leading to shorter drying times.
Give yourself options
If you want your clothes to keep their shape, look for a wide range of functions rather than more basic wash cycles. For example, wool or delicate cycles automatically adjust temperature and spin cycles to perfectly wash and protect your more fragile garments.
If time is of the essence
If you are time poor, look for machines with features like delay functions, or Wi-Fi or app enabled appliances which let you start and stop your washing when it suits you. Something else that will save time is auto-balancing which automatically adjusts the load to consistently wash and spin; there's nothing more time consuming than having to regularly rearrange the clothes in a machine that stops operating because it is unbalanced.
Make an efficient decision
If you have one eye on efficiency and eco-friendliness when shopping around, look for machines with good green credentials. For example, cold-only washing machines are more energy efficient as they heat the cold water as it comes into the washing machine, meaning you don’t have to use your own hot water supply.