Choosing a Washing Machine or Washer/Dryer

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There’s a lot more to choosing a washing machine (or a washer/drier) than wash capacity, spin speed and price, so when we needed to replace our 30-year-old washing machine in 2010, we began with the tried and trusted Consumers’ Association’s Which?’ best buy reports. These make a very good starting point with a temporary subscription of a pound for a month’s online access to the trials , and …read more (below the comparison chart).


Choosing a washing machine (cont’d):
…the tests are repeated quite often, meaning that there are current models to read about.

However, we were surprised that some information we wanted was not given in the Which trials. We wanted a machine with a ‘cold’ or ‘no heating’ setting, plus a range of temperatures including 30 degrees C (for washing and reproofing our outdoor jackets) and higher temperatures as needed occasionally . We also wanted to know if we could step down the spin speeds independently of the particular wash cycle chosen. Apart from protecting delicate clothes, we didn’t really want to run the machine any faster than 1000rpm even if it was sold as a 1400rpm model. Why? Because those in the know say the extra amount of water spun out at the higher speed was tiny, and not worth wearing out the machine’s bearings any faster. They also said that the rpm doesn’t mean very much unless you also take into account the drum’s pattern, size and number of drainage holes.

So after creating our shortlist of reliable quieter machines with short, effective wash cycles (using the latest ‘Which?’ and Good Housekeeping reports), we visited each manufacturer’s website to find the owner manuals, where we were able to read the spec and instructions.

What did we buy in the end? We rejected our original idea of an integrated washer/drier since the consensus was that these are short-lived due to a lot of equipment being squeezed into a small space. We decided to buy a Beko 1400rpm washing machine with a range of wash cycles, all further adjustable for water temperature and spin speeds (in 200rpm jumps). Verdict? So far, so good, and it’s 2015 now.