washing machine buying guide
Buying Guides
5 min. read

Washing Machine Buying Guide

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a new Washing Machine

Click to jump to Type
Click to jump to Cold Fill
Click to jump to Wash Programmes
Click to jump to Spin Speeds
Click to jump to Washer Dryers
Click to jump to Energy Efficiency
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Type

While you might not give much thought to the type of washing machine you’d like for your home, there are several to choose from and each comes with it’s own benefits – it’s all about which suits your needs best.

Freestanding

Most homes have a freestanding washing machine and more often than not it’s simply out in the open. This is useful for gaining access to, and setting up the pipework at the back of your unit and it gives you flexibility when it comes to rearranging your setup. Bear in mind also that if your front loader machine vibrates and wobbles a lot, a freestanding unit is easier to adjust and won’t damage anything.

Integrated

A lot of people prefer to have all their appliances in their kitchen or utility room integrated in some way. You can also have a concealed front loading washing machine in the same way, with a standard panel door you close to hide the unit. Remember, however, this might make it more difficult for maintenance further down the line.

Semi-integrated

This is, again, a front loading machine but instead of being fully hidden away in your units it has a panel to match your other units with a gap for you to get to the console and the buttons. The same considerations you have for a fully integrated unit apply here also.

Top Loaders

You might most associate top loading washing machines with American television shows, but they are also available here in the UK. Often narrower than their American counterparts they are ideal if you don’t have enough width for a front loading machine and if you don’t want to stoop to load your washing into the drum.

Cold Fill

The debate rages on when it comes to cold fill washing machines. Once upon a time every washing machine had the option to be a hot fill appliance, taking hot water direct
from your boiler system to aid with your washing, but manufacturers now claim that they have removed this option for the benefit of consumers and the environment.

Cold fill washing machines are now the standard, with manufacturers claiming that hot water kills the enzymes in your washing detergent which are supposed to tackle dirt and germs. The counter-argument is that this is simply a way for manufacturers to the remove cost of having the additional fittings for a hot water unit.

Regardless of what the real reason is, a cold fill washing machine will suffice for many people, the only thing to really consider is whether this will impact anyone in your family who has a skin condition – these can be aggravated if clothes are not washed at a high enough temperature.

Wash Programmes

Working out what the programmes on your washing machine can actually do is a great way to get the most out of your appliance and avoid damage to clothes. For this reason, it’s good to know which materials need which kind of wash and what those symbols on your labels actually mean.

  • Wool – Requires only the gentlest wash but plenty of water
  • Synthetics – Requires a simple, gentle action
  • Delicates – Requires a slightly gentler programme than synthetics
  • Cottons – Requires the most energy with warmer water and a longer spin

Spin Speeds

The spin cycle on your washing machine refers to the spins per minute (or revolutions per minute: RPM). Most washing machines now come with a variety of speeds for you to select, helping to protect your more delicate clothes or wring out other clothes more efficiently.

  • Speeds between 1000 – 1800 rpm are suited to cottons
  • Speeds between 400 – 800 rpm are better for delicate and synthetic clothes

Don’t be fooled by thinking that higher speeds will dry your washing faster. It can cost more to get a washing machine which has a 1800 rpm spin cycle, but some won’t give you any greater efficiency than if you set it to 1200 rpm.

By spinning the inner drum and creating a centrifugal effect, the clothes are wrung out by sheer force, with the moisture seeping through the small holes in your drum. To ensure the clothes are all wrung evenly, the drum will try to distribute the weight as best as possible before beginning a spin cycle.

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