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Your guide to buying washing machines

Choosing a washing machine

They say cleanliness is next to godliness – but choosing the right washing machine can be a superhuman challenge in itself, with a host of different models, technologies, features and styles to choose from.

At Homebase, we’ve got a huge range of the latest washing machines available to suit every budget and household – find out how to navigate through the jargon, and choose the perfect washing machine for you and your family in this handy buyer’s guide.

What is the best type of washing machine for me?

Front loading washing machines

Front loading washing machines are the most popular option in the UK. As their name suggests, you load clothes in the front, so they can be installed neatly underneath your kitchen or utility room worktop.

Top loading washing machines

Top loading machines are typically larger than front loading models, and are much less common in the UK. With top loaders, the lid lifts up which means they can’t be installed under a worktop. Unless you’ve got a huge amount of washing to do, and plenty of space, a front loading washing machine will probably be a more suitable solution. 

Integrated washing machines

If you prefer your appliances to blend in with the rest of the room, an integrated model is the perfect neat and tidy solution. Only front loading machines can be integrated and they are typically covered by a panel that matches the rest of the kitchen worktops. When this panel is closed, the machine will be completely hidden from view.

Semi-integrated washing machines

Semi integrated washing machines are also covered by a matching panel, though the controls remain visible when the panel is closed.

What size washing machine should I choose?

It sounds simple, but getting the right capacity washing machine is really important, and the bigger the drum, the more washing you’ll be able to do at once. Washing machine capacity is worked out in KG, and as a general rule, 1kg is equal to one outfit, complete with underwear, socks, trousers and a top. Models generally range from 5KG to 12KG, so with a little planning and some quick mental arithmetic, you can work out how large capacity you’ll need to cater for your household.

As a general rule, a family will need at least a 6-8KG model, which will also be capable of washing duvets, towels and other bulky items.

What should I know about energy efficiency?

These days, all washing machines come with an energy efficiency rating. They are rated from A to G, with A being the most efficient models. Washing machines are rated based on their washing performance as well as spin efficiency. The more efficient a machine is the less electricity it will use, helping you to keep your bills down, and reducing your impact on the environment.

What are cold fill machines?

Traditionally, washing machines needed to be fitted to both the cold and hot water supply, but today’s models are almost all cold fill – so they only need to be connected to the cold water supply. Cold fill machines tend to be more energy-efficient, and are gentler on clothes, without affecting cleaning performance.

What should I consider when buying a washing machine?

Size

Whilst you may want to invest in a larger model, you need to check that you have adequate space available. It’s a smart plan to measure where the machine will go before you buy.

Spin speed

Models typically come with a spin speed from 1000 to 1600 rpm. The faster the speed, the dryer your washing will be when it has finished washing. For everyday laundry, a spin speed of 1400 to 1500 rpm should be sufficient.

Features

There are many different features that come with modern washing machines. Time delay is a useful feature that enables you to schedule a wash to finish when you get home. Anti mould door seal technology is another useful addition, which can really improve the life and hygienic performance of the machine.

Noise levels

Washing machines can be noisy, but there are some that are quieter than others. If noise is something you are concerned with, opt for a machine that is rated at 50dB.

Combined washer/dryer

Combination washer and dryers are ideal for small kitchens, allowing you to wash and dry your clothes in a single convenient appliance.

Settings

Even the most basic machines will come with different settings. These adjust the temperature based upon the type of wash you are doing. More advanced machines will have more washing options. “Fuzzy Logic” is a great feature to look out for as it automatically detects the best setting to fit your load.

At Homebase, you’ll find a fantastic selection of washing machines with a wide range of features.

What safety tips should I follow?

If not maintained properly, washing machines have the potential to become a fire risk, so it’s vital that you always keep yours clean, never overload your machine, and make sure it is properly grounded. Be sure to have the machine properly fitted and read through the safety instructions provided in the owner’s manual before using it.

Are there any purchasing tips I should be aware of?

Simply put - choose a model that best fits your lifestyle and household.

If you have a large family, investing in the largest machine you can afford will cut down the amount of washing you need to do, saving you time and effort in the long run. If budget is an issue, be sure to purchase an energy efficient model, and be aware that washer/dryer combos can use a lot more electricity than standalone models.

It is always worth doing a little research into the different models and brands available, and it’s a smart idea to take a look at some online reviews to see which brands and models typically perform better.

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