It’s a household task that there’s no escaping, so choosing the right washing machine is an investment worth making. An efficient machine can make doing the washing a lot less of a chore, saving both time and money – and keep your clothes both fresh and clean and looking good as new. The new wave of smart washing machines which connect to Wi-Fi could even help you to organise your washing remotely, and make sure you never run out of detergent.
But first, you’ll need to consider what size drum to get. Consider the quantities of clothes, bedding and towels you’ll be turning around – a large household might require an 8kg capacity machine (which could hold a double duvet, or up to 35 men’s shirts). However, if you’re single or only have a small family, a 5 or 6kg washing machine is more than sufficient, and will easily hold a single duvet and the equivalent of 25 or so T-shirts. “Invest in a washing machine that can look after your washing needs, taking into consideration the drum size and the type of garments that you have to wash. Bigger isn’t always better or necessary,” advises Richard Trefler, laundry category manager at Miele.
Vic Sinclair, large electricals buyer at John Lewis, agrees. “The main things to consider when buying a washing machine are the types of clothes and fabrics you’re washing, how many loads are you washing on a daily or weekly basis and whether you need to opt for a larger capacity machine, and timing. How quickly do you need your clothes washed?”
Trefler also highly recommends a machine with automatic dispensing. “Automatic detergent dispensing is becoming much more prevalent and is the best way to help save both time and money,” he says. “Using this feature means you no longer have to worry about getting the dosage right, as the machine will calculate the precise amount required for each individual wash load and dose it at the optimum point in the cycle, for the smartest, most caring clean.”
The display is important too – be sure to choose a machine you find easy to use. Trefler is full of tips for those who are stretched for time for domestic chores, and points to the efficiency of pre-ironing programmes. “If you have a busy lifestyle consider a model with quick or PowerWash cycles, offering a thorough wash in less than an hour. More customers are also liking the benefits that pre-ironing programmes can offer, helping to take the hassle out of this chore by injecting bursts of steam at the end of the cycle to smooth clothes, for easier ironing.”
As with fridges and televisions, the washing machine can increasingly be integrated into a modern smart home. “The market for smart appliances is growing and the capabilities offered by these appliances are increasing. We have introduced AppControl on selected models. It allowing customers to control their machines remotely, enabling them to take care of their laundry when they are elsewhere. It offers a helpful WashAssistant, determining the best programme for every wash. Meanwhile, our TwinDos technology reminds users when the detergent containers are running low, with the option to easily order more when required.”
According to Trefler, it also pays to do your research. “Online can be a good place to start, browsing in the comfort of your own home, but still being fully informed,” he suggests. “There is a wide variety of information available from technical specifications, as well as individual features, dimensions, installation recommendations and previous customer reviews.”
Here, we recommend the best washing machines to buy from top brands including Bosch, Miele, AEG and John Lewis.
Generally, we’d suggest that for home use, you’ll be after a front-loading washing machine rather than a top-load washing machine, which uses more water and detergent, and are gentler on fabrics. We’ve large featured freestanding washing machines here, but if you would like to go for an integrated in-built washing machine, there’s a number of options available at Currys, John Lewis and Amazon. Other brands to look out for include Hotpoint, Beki, Indesit and Zanussi.
1. Bosch 9kg WAT28371GB freestanding washing machine
This machine is gigantic, with a 1400 rpm spin. It would be well suited to large families with huge amounts of washing to get done. However, it also boasts VarioPerfect technology, which allows you to choose between saving time or saving energy. If you’re in a hurry, select SpeedPerfect and wash a full load of laundry in just one hour – or opt for EcoPerfect to conserve energy. A 2 year guarantee is included and it measures 84.8cm high, 59.8cm wide and 59cm deep.
2. AEG L7FEE865R 8kg freestanding washing machine
This machine has an impressive 1600rpm spin paired with a “gentle” drum. “For anyone who hates ironing, these AEG washing machines use steam as a quick and easy way to refresh creased clothes,” says electricals buyer Vic Sinclair. “The short and gentle steam programme safely removes odours and reduces creases in dry fabrics. You can also finish your wash cycle with a gentle steam, so clothes need little to no ironing.”
It has SoftPlus technology to care for garments, and a 5 year guarantee is included. It’s not too loud, and it also has been accredited with the Woolmark certification thanks to it’s wool programme, designed for minimal agitation of delicate woollen fibres. It measures 85cm high,60cm wide and 60.1cm deep. It’s not too noisy either, which means you can use it late at night without disturbing the rest of the house.
3. John Lewis JLWM1407 7kg freestanding washing machine
“The ideal solution for time short customers, this freestanding washing machine boasts a rapid 14 programme which can wash 15 shirts in just 15 minutes, making it the perfect for last-minute loads,” recommends Sinclair.
This smart machine also has an AutoSensing feature which adapts the programme to suit the size of the load and deliver a tailored wash.” With a 3 year guarantee included, it’s good value for the price, and has a decent green energy rating too. It has a spin of 1400rpm and is 85cm high, 60cm wide and 57cm deep.
4. Miele 7kg eco freestanding washing machine
Durability and long life make for a sound investment, and the Miele WDB030 has been tested for up to 20 years of use, assuring long term performance. “This machine is not only energy efficient but also boasts very high-performance standards,” says Sinclair.
It has 12 different wash programmes (the Express 20 wash programme is perfect if you need a quick wash that produces extraordinary results for small loads in just 20 minutes) and a two-year guarantee. It’s renowned for gentle care of clothes, and won’t pile or ladder them.
The time delay function means you can set the wash programme to start at a time that fits in with your daily schedule. After every wash programme, the AutoClean detergent dispenser drawer is thoroughly rinsed to remove excess detergents and residue. It’s 85cm high, 60cm wide and 63cm deep.
5. John Lewis JLWM1437 8kg freestanding washing machine
This washing machine is quiet, yet powerful, and the 1600rpm spin speed reduces drying times and keeps fabric creasing to a minimum. As well as being a quiet option, it has has an anti allergy feature. The Sanitise allergen removal programme provides peace of mind for allergy sufferers, while the Auto Sensing program that adapts to suit the size of the load.
It has a three year guarantee and is 85cm high, 60cm wide and 57cm wide. You can also add on five years added care for your home appliance for £80.
6. Miele 9kg WMV 960WPS washing machine
This latest large capacity washing machine from Miele means business. with 26 specialist wash programmes and a PowerWash 2.0 cleaning system, which uses a powerful spin and spray system. The Quick PowerWash takes just an hour to run a full A-rated wash, ideal when you are short on time but still want great washing results.
A 1600rpm machine, it can be used in conjunction with Miele’s “CapDos” detergent capsules for gentle cleaning of specialist clothing types including sportswear, down, outdoor, woolcare, silkcare and reproofing. The TwinDos two-phase detergent system releases Miele’s basic detergent and detergent enhancer, or the customers own choice of liquid detergent and fabric conditioner at the most appropriate point, saving up to 30% on detergent consumption.
You can choose settings such as Extra Quiet for reduced noise and AllergoWash for better hygiene. The steam smoothing option evenly injects steam at the end of a programme to gently smooth your clothes and reduces the need for ironing by up to 50%. Other features include delay start, AppControl, an Express 20 minute fast wash, stain removal action, LED drum lighting, EcoFeedback and Miele’s unique Waterproof Protection System, giving you a lifetime guarantee against flooding.
7. Samsung “Ecobubble” WW90J5456FX 9kg washing machine
Samsung’s renowned Ecobubble range of washing machines is renowned for getting rid of stubborn stains at low temperatures, which is good for both the environment and your bills. The Ecobubble technology involves mixing your detergent with water and air to create a bubbly mixture that removes dirt easily.
The design of the drum prevents the snagging of clothes and the quick wash function allows you to wash 2kg in just 15 minutes. It has 14 different wash programmes. We rather like the stylish slate-black hue of this particular model, which makes a welcome change from stark white machines.
8. Samsung AddWash WW70K5410WW/EU 7 kg 1400
For an even snazzier Samsung machine, we also highly recommend the 1400rpm Samsung AddWash WW70K5410WW/EU freestanding washing machine. It boasts an innovative door which lets you drop extras into the wash at any time, whether that’s extra softener or a stray sock. It’s got everything going for it – it’s quiet, has the best possible energy rating, a super eco wash setting (among many others) and it even plays rather jaunty tune at the end of each cycle. With Smart Check, it can also detect and diagnose problems at an early stage, providing quick and easy solutions using via smartphone app (read: no unnecessary engineer callouts).
“In terms of best sellers, John Lewis own brand washing machines have seen great demand as they boast energy efficiency, clothes care, large capacity drums as well as a three year guarantee,” emphasises John Lewis large electricals buyer Vic Sinclair. “Customers looking for a quick wash facility are opting for Samsung models which also boast AddWash, enabling customers to add to the wash, during the wash for anyone who occasionally finds the odd dirty sock after they’ve put the washing on. “