With over 200 washing machine models for sale in the UK, it can take a lot of time to wade through all the specs to make your final decision.
There's nothing worse than seeing one on sale and then going back to find out it's either sold-out, or back to full-price!
Still, that is better than buying a machine on impulse that you later regret and have lots of problems with. We hope OUR buyers guide will help you find the best washer at the best price.
UK Washing Machine
Buyers Guide 2018
How Much Does A Washing Machine Cost?
Whenever you buy a new appliance you need to set a realistic budget.
The temptation is to always spend more, but you may well end up with loads of features you'll never use and spend ages paying for (or at least regretting!).
(And you should definitely check out our page for Cheap Washers!)
On the other hand, you don't want something that sounds like an airplane taking off in the kitchen and costs about the same to run! The good news is, there's never been a better time to buy a new washing machine.
Out of the more than 200 washing machines we surveyed, the prices ranged from just under £200 to £1500.
The average price was around £400 and 25% of the washers on the market cost less than £320.
Hopefully, this should give you some idea of the prices involved.
For less than £320 you'll still be able to find A+++ Bosch, Whirlpool, Zanussi and Hotpoint models.
Of course, the bigger the size and the more features and programs you need, the higher the price.
What Size Do I Need?
Washing machine drum sizes usually range from 6kg to 12kg.
This measurement refers to the maximum dry weight of washing it can hold. And of course, overloading can result in drainage issues and potential long-term damage.
So what size do you actually need? This will come down to the amount and type of loads you're going to wash.
You can't stick a massive duvet in a 6kg machine and buying a 12kg machine for your elderly mother will be a waste of money and energy.
Hopefully, this graphic can help you with your decision.
Is Spin Speed RPM An Important Factor?
Many consumers look at spin speed as an important factor when choosing a new washing machine.
Just like with pixels on TVs and digital cameras, it's easy to assume more is better – but that's not always the case.
A faster spin speed can help get your clothes cleaner and reduce both cycle time and the amount of residual water left afterwards.
Here are 3 things you need to know:
Many people buy a 1400 r.p.m machine and think it'll always spin at that speed. When they get it home they're disappointed to learn that the average spin speed is closer to 1000 r.p.m. Programs for wool and other delicates will never use the higher speeds.
This makes the point that providing it's of a good build quality, a decent 1200 r.p.m washer can match the performance of a 1400 r.p.m or even a 1600 rpm – and might even cost less to run, too.
Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER) are another way that washing machines are graded and the goal of saving energy is a good one.
As you're probably aware, washers use a lot of energy to heat water. The good news is that the latest machines are around one-third more energy-efficient than those made in 1990.
An A+++ machine can use around two-thirds of the energy that a standard “A” machine does.
The EER ratings are based on EU directives and calculate how much energy is used for an assumed 220 wash cycles per year.
The tests mainly use cotton at a heat of 60 degrees. 63 tests out of the 220 check half-washes at 40-degrees though.
As with the spin-speed discussion there are other variables which affect how efficient your machine actually is.
Let's look at two comparable machines, the Zanussi Lindo 300 ZWF81460W and Hotpoint's WMXTF842P
This will provide an insight into how energy-efficienct can vary between machines.
Zanussi ZWF81460W V Hotpoint WMXTF842P
Yearly Power Consumption
So as you can see, the A+++ rated machine uses 15% less energy, which will save you 4.26 per year.
Now, the energy-savings are great as we all should lower our carbon footprint wherever possible.
In terms of cost savings though , if you were to find the Hotpoint model for 50 pounds cheaper, it would take 12 years for the Zanussi to start saving you money.
You can find our reviews of the best energy-efficient washers here.
Which Brand Is Best?
There is a lot of discussion on-line as to which brand is the best.
A lot of it comes down to personal preference, and usually people staying loyal to the brand they or their parents had before. As with any purchase, we always feel better with an established, reliable company.
When it comes to high-end washing machines, some brands people swear by (and not just about!) are Miele, Bosch, LG and Samsung.
For the more budget to mid-end market there's Hotpoint, Zanussi and Whirlpool who seem to have been in the UK market for ages.
As well as the more established brands in the UK there are quite a few “up and comers” such as Neff (owned by Bosch), Beko and Hisense.
When deciding which brand to go for, cost will certainly be an issue as is reliability. For the latter, be sure to read customer reviews online and try to find out about the availability of spares.
Check The Availability Of Parts
A washing machine is a piece of machinery like a car, and if the worse does happen you'll want to know it can be fixed quickly and relatively cheaply.
You can find official parts websites for companies like Hotpoint,Zanussi and Beko online.
Which Features & Programs To Compare
Some of the main ways that washing machines differ are the kind of programs and features available.
The higher-end machines will have a lot of “Smart” features such as being able to control your unit via your phone or ipad, but most people just want clean clothes quickly, with as little fuss as possible.
Aside from the energy considerations discussed above, here are 8 bog-standard features you can check and compare your shortlist against:
If you have kids, chances are they will always need certain clothes ASAP all the time. Of course, many times this problem can be solved by actually putting said items in the wash, but I digress!
Many of the latest washing machines have a 15-minute Fast-Wash feature. Some however only have a 30-minute fast wash and a small number don't have this feature at all!
When comparing different models, you should also look at the weight restrictions as you can usually “Fast Wash” less than 50% of the stated maximum capacity.
Another great feature that the majority of new washers have is a 24-hour time delay.
This is great for setting your washing to finish for when you get up or return home. Some models only have a 20 hour delay timer or less.
Extra bonus points are awarded for washers that count down the time (accurately I might add!) on big LCD screens. This makes it even easier to plan your time around getting the laundry done.
A washing machine is one of the few products you don't actually get to see – or hear – work before you buy it.
Many older washing machines sounded like a cement mixer full of screws when they reached the high-spin part of the cycle.
Fortunately, great advances have been made in this area and the majority of the 2017 models are pretty quiet. Still there is a lot of variation between them so you do need to check.
As a guide, the quietest washing machines create less than 60 dbs during the high-speed cycle, compared to others that are more than 80 db.
A lot of people would be surprised about the different bacteria that can live inside a washing machine.
The latest models have self clean programs which help keep things hygienic and convenient for you.
If you or your family members play sports regularly, than you should find a washing machine with a “Sports Setting”.
This programs are excellent for getting mud, grass stains and perspiration stains out of clothes.
There are also a few models which allow you to wash trainers, too.
Antibacterial Hot Wash Settings
There's a growing belief that you don't actually need hot water to get clothes clean. Whilst this might be true, the fact is washing clothes at 60% and above will eliminate harmful bacteria and allergens from clothes.
If you are buying a washing machine for allergy sufferers, young children or the elderly to use (or perhaps you work with food) look for models with anti-bacterial programs that wash at 80 degrees.
Water Left After Washing
A lot of focus is placed on washing machines with A+++ ratings, or 1600 r.p.m spins, but another feature that is equally important is the amount of water left after washing
The top-rated washing machines leave between 45% - 50% behind, compared to less efficient models which leave up to 60 %.
If there is a lot of water left, you will need to spend extra time, effort and energy to get your clothes dry.
Dryers are also much more expensive to operate than washers, and we can never rely on the weather in the UK to help out!
A child lock is a great feature every good washing machine should have.
Young kids love to push all the buttons and twist any dial that they come across.
There are now quite a few models with child locks that prevent programs from being changed and help parents keep their sanity.
Should I Pay Extra & Buy A Washer Dryer?
A lot of people are attracted to the added convenience that washer dryer combos bring.
Washer Dryers are especially helpful for people with limited mobility. Taking wet, dripping washing out of one machine and then moving it over to the dryer can be quite a workout!
If you're moving house, it certainly makes sense to combine 2 things into 1 and save some space.
Quite often, the price of a washer and dryer is cheaper than the cost of buying them separately, so they can make sense in monetary terms.
You do need to be aware that the drying capacity is usually much less than drum size. This is fine if you're doing half-loads and need something in a hurry, but means you need to separate full loads.
Also, washer dryer combos use a lot more energy than just a washer alone, and there are more safety risks involved.
Finally, here is a quick video from Zanussi which discusses all of the above points and more.