If you're searching for a cheap washing machine, it's definitely a buyers market in 2020.
Not only are prices getting lower, but the latest washers are super-efficient so you can save on running costs, too.
Here are 5 wallet-friendly washers you can rely on.
5 Cheap & Reliable
Last update on 2020-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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How Much Is A Cheap Washing Machine?
Washing machines vary greatly in price, from just under £200 to over £1,500.
For our purposes, we have defined “Cheap” as being around £300, and in a couple of cases - quite a bit lower!
It's important to realise the more expensive ones have quite a few features that you might never use or just don't need. For example, none of the models on our list will connect to your iPhone.
However, doing the basics right is always the most important thing. When you compare our list, you'll find they don't vary too much from those 2-times and 3-times the price.
You'll still get a quiet washer, with low-energy consumption and features like a quick wash, delay timer and child lock.
5 Features To Look Out For
Just because you're paying less there's no need to sacrifice the important features.
Here are some to look out for:
1. Programs & Settings
The difference between a washer that costs £200 washer and £1,800 one is the latter will have more bells and whistles (or songs in the case of some machines!).
Before purchasing your new washing machine, you need to think about what your typical load looks like.
“Sports Settings" are great at getting mud and sweat out of clothes. There's also other programmes for delicates, woollen clothes and even to prevent allergies.
Personally, I couldn't do without a child lock. When my little one accompanies me into the utility room she loves to play with the buttons and knobs. With a child lock, I don't have to worry about re-programming the settings.
A self-cleaning program also helps keep your washer hygienic and prevents detergent residue from getting on your clothes.
Have a look at the list of programs and if you can do without them, it's sure to lower the price.
2. A Quick Wash
Nobody wants to wait ages for a cycle to finish. Finding a washer with a 15-minute quick wash cycle is a real bonus.
You do need to check out the maximum load for the quick wash setting. Some models set a reduced weight limit which is great for a few items (or if you have a baby!) but not if you want to do a weekly wash.
3. 24-Hour Delayed Timer
A delayed timer is a great feature to have. It allows you to start a cycle for when you're sleeping or out of the house.
I always prefer a 24-hour timer as it keeps things nice and simple. Plus if you're away overnight you can set it to finish for when you get back.
4. Energy Ratings
Even if you're not forking out more than £500 for a new machine, you can still expect A+++ energy-efficiency.
An important feature to look out for is how much water is left after the wash cycle. If a lot of water is left it'll take you longer to dry. You'll also consume a lot more energy if you're using a tumble dryer.
Check how much water the washer consumes over a year. A lot of focus is placed on the cost of electricity, but water is also not free and a valuable resource!
(Be sure to also check out our page on Energy-Saving Washers here)
Nobody wants something that drowns out their TV and sounds like an airplane is taking off in the kitchen!
Fortunately, the latest appliances have become a lot quieter. Even with a budget washer, you should be expecting one to make about 75 db during the high-speed cycle and 55 db during the regular cycle.
To give you an idea of how loud this really is, 80 db is twice as loud as 70 db, and sounds like a large orchestra. The UK Health & Safety Executive classifies it as an “Action Level” and has to make ear protection available for employees.
70 db by contrast sounds about the same as a vacuum cleaner or conversation in a restaurant.
Will A Cheaper Model Be Big Enough?
The sizes of washing machines vary from 5kg to 13kg. As you would expect, the selling price and the running costs will vary with the size.
If you're like me, you'd rather get all your dirty laundry done in one go rather than loads of little washes. So the right capacity is very important.
As a rule of thumb, 1kg refers to the dry weight of your laundry load.
1kg = (1 Shirt + 1 Jeans) or 5 Shirts or 2 Towels.
The following graphic should help:
It's also important to note that the stated capacity is usually for the standard cotton settings.
If you're washing wools or other delicates, then this will be greatly reduced.
Also, many of the "Quick Wash" programs will only allow a fraction (usually around 25%) of the maximum load.
How About Spin Speed?
When comparing washing machine prices, you will notice that 1600 and 1400 r.p.m spin speeds cost more than the 1200 r.p.m models. But how much does it really affect performance?
Depending on the model, you might find that the faster the drum spins, the more noise created and energy used. In my view, this is counter-productive.
The important thing to check is how much water is left on the clothes after the cycle is finished.
Technically, a faster spin speed should remove more water. However, a lot of cotton clothes can't be washed at 1600 r.pm. A 1200 r.p.m machine can get the same end result albeit with a slightly longer cycle.
The Best Cheap
Washing Machines - Reviewed!
If you were to ask me what's the best washing machine for the money, I'd have to say this Electra 5KG model (with a few caveats).
But if size isn't a deal breaker there is a lot to like here.
For starters, it comes with 15 washing programs which includes a 15-minute fast wash and a "Daily 60" eco wash. There's the standard programmes along with a pre-wash, mixed load, and even an anti-allergy rinse.
It's rated "A++" for energy-usage, which is one below the best. However, this is largely due to the small size (5kg) and the spin-speed only being 1000 rpm.
The downside to this is that a lot of water (62%) is left after the cycle finishes. This means your clothes will take longer to dry and the water consumption is high for it's size.
However, having a low spin-speed makes it very quiet at just 58db during regular wash.
Another plus (especially for the low price) is that it comes with a 12-hour delay timer. So you can put it on at night if you have something like Economy 7.
Some things that are missing include a child lock and variable spin / temperature.
But if you're looking for a budget washing machine that's easy-to-use and doesn't have a fancy digital screen - this Electra model is hard to beat.
Just like the Hotpoint model, this one has 2 fast cycles. But the difference is you can get more clothes in.
The 14-minute fast wash can wash up to 2 kg of clothes. There's also a 28-minute quick wash which can take a FULL load.
And that's not all....
Beko's Fast+ function means you can shorten any programme by up to 55%. It does this by automatically adjusting the drum speed and the washing temperature. Great for when you're in a hurry.
Cycle speeds aside, there's a lot more to like about this Beko model.
If you're washing half or smaller loads, the machine will automatically reduce the water levels. This is one of the reasons why it's rated A+++.
There are 15 washing programmes including one for baby and toddlers, sports and a dark wash for jeans.
At just 76 db during the high-spin cycle, quite a few people have wondered if they've even switched it on.
You might be wondering how difficult it is to buy spares given that this brand is not as well known as say Whirlpool, Hotpoint or Candy.
Fear not, there is an official UK based website for spares with next day delivery, too!
And finally, this machine super-slimline with a 50 cm depth. This is 15% less than average and is great if you ahve a small space to work with.
If you're looking for a bargain family washing machine, be prepared for the Indesit My Time EWE91482W to exceed your expectations.
With a low-budget price, this washer has the looks and features you'd expect in a model costing twice as much.
When you have a larger family, getting the laundry done quickly is a priority.
You also need to deal with different clothes like school uniforms, work wear and sports kits with grass stains.
This cheap 9KG washer from Indesit has got you covered.
It has 16 different washing program such as sports (including being able to wash trainers!), baby clothes, and even duvets.
As the door is extra-wide and the drum takes 9kg of dry clothes, you won't have a problem squeezing everything in , either.
There is also a quick-wash feature which is great for school clothes, though at 20 minutes it is slightly slower than many washers that take 15-minutes.
Still, you can get all your whites done in just 59 minutes which is great if you're in a hurry to go out.
The EWE91482W regularly gets plaudits for being very easy to use and program. The main reason for this is the large LCD display which counts down the time remaining.
At just 50 dbs during the main-cycle, this Indesit model is also the quietest on our list of cheap washers.
You do need to be aware that although the stated speed is 1400 r.p.m, only a couple of programs actually use this speed with the majority spinning at around 1000. This means there is a lot of water left after the wash and will lengthen your drying time.
This washer is also rated “A++” for energy-efficiency. It uses an estimated annual consumption of 246 Kw/h, which is 50 kw/h more than the Hotpoint we reviewed above.
Still, something people really love about Indesit is their reliability. The manufacturer offers a 10-tear guarantee on parts which just shows you how much they believe in their product.
IIt might have a strange name, but the Candy Grand O'Vita could be the stand-out on our list.
To start with there are THREE quick wash programs - 15, 30 and 60 minutes in duration.
Smart sensors also weigh your laundry and calculate how much time, energy and water is needed. Pretty nifty.
And surprisingly (for the price) Candy have put in their "3D Dynamic Wash System". This uses high water pressure and a special drum design to get your clothes extra clean.
You can learn more about that in this video:
The only downsides to the Grand O"Vita is it doesn't have a child lock. And at 80db during high spin, it's probably the nosiest on our list. (However, 60db during regular wash is still pretty respectable).
All in all, considering the features you get a lot of value-for-money with this Candy model.
This Russell Hobbs washing machine is perfect if you're a couple or you live on your own.
You get a 30-minute fast wash, a sports cycle, a baby and toddler cycle, and one for wools and delicates.
It also has a delay timer and a child lock to keep your settings safe from small hands.
Another cool thing about this particular model is it's available in black as well as white. And if you register on the Russell Hobbs website, you'll get an extra years warranty - making 2 in total.
If you're in the market for a smaller washing machine and don't need a lot of fancy bells and whistles - this 6 kg Russell Hobbs washer could be for you.