Help & advice: Buying guide to washing machines
Buying guide to washing machines
Tips on choosing the best washing machine to make your laundry feel luxurious.
See the Homebase range of sparklingly modern washing machines.
You're looking at two kinds of washing machines - front-loading and top-loading. Front-loading machines slot neatly under a worktop. A top-loading machine is perfect if your machine isn't going to be under a counter. If want your washing machine to blend in with your kitchen design, go for what's known as an integrated, built-in front-loading machine. The door is covered by a panel that matches your kitchen cupboards. Before you buy a washing machine, measure up carefully, and make a note of height as well as width and depth.
Think how much washing you need to do to help you choose your drum size. Wash load capacity is measured in kilograms, and 5kg is a standard wash load size. Models with 6kg to 8kg capacity are ideal for larger family washes or cleaning bulky items such as duvets. By the way, for an energy-efficient wash, always wash full loads.
Choosing spin speed depends on how long you want to wait for things to dry, and the kind of fabrics you're washing. Spin speed is measured in RPM, and ranges from 800 RPM to 1600 RPM. It indicates how quickly water is extracted from your wash - the higher the RPM, the faster water is removed, and the quicker the drying time. An RPM of 1000 is fine for clean cotton items and most modern fabrics. If you regularly wash delicates such as wool or silk, go for a machine with a variable spin speed to protect vulnerable fabrics.
Each model is graded from A to G for:
- Wash performance
- Spin drying performance
- Energy efficiency
A is the highest grade, G is the lowest. For the best performing machines, look for the AAA rating.
These days there are wash programmes to suit all lifestyles. So simply match the programme to your family's needs. Do you need to save time? Are you washing heavily soiled items - football kit or work clothes? Do you want care for delicates? Here are some of the most useful wash programmes to look out for:
A pre-programmed wash cycle 30 to 60 minutes long that reduces your washing time.
A gentle programme for delicate items such as wool or silk.
Variable washing temperature
Offers a choice of temperatures for individual fabrics.
Auto half load
Fill level is automatically adjusted for lighter loads for efficient energy use.
Ideal for helping remove stains from heavily soiled items.
Delayed start option
Lets you start the wash cycle at a later time - overnight when electricity is cheaper, for example.
They're the perfect space-saver, and a great budget option. Washer/dryers are also totally functional of course, as they're a washing machine and tumble dryer rolled into one. And they're also easy to install.
Find out all you need to know with our dryers buying guide.
Save on power bills by choosing washing machines with low energy 'consumption per cycle ratings' - measured in kilowatts used per hour (kWh). The lower the kWh, the less electricity you'll use.