Don’t get hung out to dry before you even get your new machine home. Once you get to the showroom here’s what to look out for.
Before you begin your search you need to decide what size washing machine best suits your needs, taking into account both the demands of space in your home and the demands of family members for clean clobber. Consider also whether you would prefer to have a machine that you feed from the front or from the top.
Smaller wash load machines (3-4 kg) may have a more modest range of programmes than the larger models but they are the way to go if you have limited space. It’s also worth bearing in mind that smaller machines require less water, which means less environmental pollution.
A full size machine (5-6 kg), on the other hand, will often have more options and be better able to cope if you have large loads of laundry to contend with. Also bear in mind that, whilst large capacity washing machines are useful for washing bulky items like duvets and bath towels, washing smaller loads in a large drum will reduce creasing and make ironing easier.
The electricity consumption of a washing machine depends on the temperature of your washes as well as the amount of water used. Aim for a model with low water use as both the water and the heating of the water are expensive. A model that is low in water consumption also uses less detergent, causing less pollution. Some machines offer programs that adjust water use according to load. You may also be able to connect your water inlet to the hot water supply, allowing you to save on electricity and prolong the life of your washing machine.
The faster the spin speed, the dryer your washing will be at the end of the washing cycle – hence, the shorter the drying time on the washing line or in the tumble dryer. Try to find a washing machine that spins at more than 1000 revolutions per minute (rpm) as a higher spin speed usually indicates better spin efficiency in terms of amount of water extraction. There are also some machines with variable spin speed where you can adjust it manually to suit the type of fabric you are washing.
All machines are graded from ‘A’ to ‘E’ for wash performance, energy efficiency and spin efficiency. An ‘A- Grade’ in wash performance is awarded to machines which give the best wash results and are the most efficient at removing stubborn stains. Energy efficiency should be at least level C, where A is the highest rating. Machines given an “A-Grade” in spin efficiency will reduce drying time by extracting more water from your wash.