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6 things to consider when buying a washing machine

Your washing machine is one of the most important everyday appliances in your home so it needs to be reliable, big enough and include features that suit your needs. But with so many brands, programmes and functions available, choosing the right washer can be confusing.

Our simple 6-step guide will help you decide on the best model for you.


1: Drum size

When choosing a new washing machine, the drum size is likely to be your first decision. Simply put, the bigger the drum size, the more laundry you can wash in one load. So, while a smaller capacity drum may be ideal for a week’s laundry for a single person or couple, a medium or large capacity washer will be more suited to a family.

When making your choice, consider your household’s size, how often you run your washing machine as well as the type and amount of laundry you wash at once.

Small - up to 6kg

Ideal for a single person or a couple. You could fit between 15 and 30 t-shirts in one load or wash a single duvet. A typical 5kg drum will hold 2 pairs of adult jeans, 2 shirts, 1 bed sheet, 2 pillowcases, 2 dish towels and 2 small towels.

Medium - 7kg-8kg

You’ll be able to wash around 35 to 45 t-shirts in this family-sized washer. A typical 7kg drum will hold 2 pairs of adult jeans, 1 pair of children’s jeans, 3 shirts, 2 bed sheets, 2 pillowcases, 3 dish towels and 3 small towels.

Big - 9kg-10kg

Perfect for bigger families, you’ll be able to wash around 50 to 60 t-shirts or even a king-size quilt in a drum of this size. You could fit 4 pairs of adult jeans, 4 shirts, 2 bed sheets, 3 pillowcases, 4 dish towels and 4 small towels into your weekly 10kg wash.

Really big - 11kg +

Suitable for a very large family, a 13kg capacity washer will comfortably wash around 65 t-shirts in one load or a double and a single quilt. You’ll even be able to wash your curtains in a drum of this size.

(Estimate: 1kg of laundry = 5 shirts or 1 shirt + 1 pair of denim jeans or 2 bath towels).

2: Programmes and features

Now that you’ve decided on the drum size, you’ll want to find the washing machine with the best programmes and features for you. While there are plenty to choose from, you should think about the type of laundry you wash regularly and the functions that will best suit your needs.

Most washers have standard programmes for cottons, synthetics and delicates, but advanced models can be loaded with more than 20 wash options including settings for jeans, sportswear and even duvets.

A quick wash setting can be handy to. Some quick wash cycles are completed in as little as 15 minutes; ideal if you need to freshen up your clothes in a hurry.

You can take care of sensitive skin with a baby care programme that washes laundry at a higher temperature or select an extra rinse cycle that minimises detergent residue and is ideal for allergy sufferers.

If you wear a lot of delicate fabrics, you may want to opt for a washer that has a hand wash setting. This function will gently wash wool, lace and silk at a cooler temperature.

Or perhaps you’re looking to save money on your energy bills. If so, you should look out for an economy setting that lets you wash at a lower temperature. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching to washing your laundry at 30 degrees uses about 40 per cent less electricity per year than washing at higher temperatures.

3: Technology

Many washing machines are now loaded with smart technology that can help you manage your laundry washes quickly and easily, even when you are not at home.

Some Hoover  models allow you to select, monitor and control your wash cycles using an app on your smartphone. This feature is ideal for busy households because you’ll no longer need to waste time waiting for your wash cycle to end.

Do you often find a mislaid sock just after you’ve switched on your washing machine? Take away the frustration by choosing a Samsung washer with AddWash, which lets you interrupt the wash programme mid-cycle so you can add in extra laundry.

With Bosch’s Vario-Perfect programme you can be flexible with your wash times. Increase the energy for a faster wash, or decrease for a slower, more prolonged wash, while many Samsung models use Ecobubble technology to clean your laundry faster and at cooler temperatures.

 If saving energy and reducing running costs is your priority, you’ll want to look out for a washer with sensors that work out the exact amount of water to use in each cycle depending on the weight of your load, while Bosch models with i-DOS function automatically selects the correct amount of detergent to use too so you won’t need to worry about using too much or too little.

From drums that cushion your laundry as it turns to help prevent pilling or laddering to anti-allergy approved washers that look after sensitive skin, you’ll be able to choose a washer that not only cares for your clothes but your family too.

4: Spin speed

Spin speed is measured by the number of full drum turns your washing machine makes each minute.

Simply put, the faster the spin speed, the more water will be removed from your laundry and the drier your clothes, towels and sheets will be when you take them out of the washer.

With top spin speeds ranging from 1000 to 1600 revolutions per minute (rpm), your washing machine will automatically select the spin speed based on the wash programme you have selected.

However, depending on the type of laundry, you may occasionally want to manually change the default spin speed.

For instance, delicate fabrics like wool should be spun at a slower spin speed (600-800 rpm) than synthetics (800-1000 rpm) and cotton (900-1400 rpm).

5: Freestanding or integrated

Deciding on a freestanding or integrated washer will depend on the design and layout of your home and where you want to position your new appliance.

A freestanding washing machine can be placed almost anywhere, even under counters if space allows.

Integrated machines are fixed in place and hidden behind a door so they blend in with the rest of your cupboard space.

6: Energy rating

You can save running costs, water and energy consumption while also protecting the environment by choosing an energy efficient washing machine.

A+ rated machines will cost about £30 per year to run, while a top A+++ model can cost as little as £15 annually.

Many models have now exceeded A+++ energy efficiency rating, so you might see A+++-20% or A+++-30%. This means they are 20% or 30% more energy efficient than an A+++ rated appliance.

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