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How to Choose a Washing Machine

Choosing a washing machine is not an easy task, especially with the variety we have on the market today. We’ve made a list of what is important when buying a washing machine or combined washer-dryer, to help you make the best choice.

First of all you need to consider whether where the washing machine is to be placed and what space is available so you can choose the right size. This will depend on whether the places of the kitchen appliances are already established or you are in the process of refurbishing. In any case, check the plumbing outlets to make sure it will be easy to connect the washing machine to the water supply.

Freestanding or Built-in

This is not a question you’d ask yourself if you already have a built-in kitchen or are planning to have one, but then you may have a separate space, such as utility/laundry room for the washing machine in your home.
Freestanding washing machines are easier to install, come in a range of sizes and colours and have more varieties of drum capacity.
Built-in washing machines might cost more to install but are quieter due to the cupboard door that covers them, and are not on display for the same reason.
There is a third type, semi-integrated washing machine. They are like the built-in washing machines, only the door does not cover the control panel and you don’t need to open it to operate the programs.

Capacity – Drum size

Drum sizes vary from 5kg to 12kg. When buying a washing machine you need to consider how many times per week you have to do laundry (it will depends on the amount of clothes you wear and whether you wash colours and withes separately), and how many kilograms per load you would normally have.  Bear in mind that you should fill up the drum at least at 80%, if this won’t be the case every time, you should opt for an appliance that has a ‘half load’ program, or for a smaller drum.
The capacity in kilograms is based on dry clothes. Four to five men’s shirts weight a kilo, or a pair of trousers and a shirt.

What programs? Washing machine or combined washer-dryer?
(Fabrics care, Cycles times, Spin speed etc.)

When it comes to the above criteria, it’s always tricky to choose, even with the latest smart technologies on the market.

Fabrics care

If possible, find a washing machine that has special cycle for all types of fabrics – cottons, wool and delicates. The best choice would be one that adjusts its washing times so the clothes are not over washed, or over dried, if you go for the washer-dryer combo.
For woollen items, it would be best if there is a cycle for laundering even hand-wash woollens. You should also look out for the Woolmark Blue or WoolmarkGreen logos; the first guarantees that the washing machine wool cycle is safe for hand-washing woollens, the latter is awarded for the same mark of gentle care, with added water and energy saving efficiency.

Cycle times

Most washing machines have numerous programmes that allow for more flexible washing.
You could opt for a washing machine or a washer-dryer with responsive technology that would adjust its washing or drying cycles to the load’s weight for optimum washing time.
Most of the garments won’t need a long wash or you might be in a hurry, the Quick wash programme is a must have for such situations.
For those who would rather choose the length of time for their wash or dry, consider manually operated programs display.
The length of drying time is essential to keep your clothes’ vibrant colours and fabrics for longer. You could go for a manual adjustment or buy a washer/dryer or a separate dryer with multiple choices for dryness.  

Easy Iron and Steam programmes

Easy Iron technology reduces the creases by adjusting the water and spin speed of the wash, making it easier and faster for the garments to be ironed.
Steam programmes are designed for delicate fabrics and work even for dry-clean only clothes.

Spin Speed

Maximum spin speeds are between 1,000rpm and 1,800rpm, with speeds of 1,200 and 1,400 being the most common. When buying a washing machine, bear in mind that the fastest spin is not always the best as the results vary from one appliance to another.
Also have in mind that you could pay more for a faster spin, and the noise is very likely to increase in a direct ratio to spin levels.

Energy saving

Energy labels on washing machines vary from D to A+++, with the latter supposed to be the most efficient energy saver. Although energy saving is something to consider, you should also note that sometimes the higher savers don’t do well in washing the clothes. The other thing is that the cost depends on the size of the drum and the temperature and the length of the washing program mostly used.

What to check for in the shop
Important safety and convenience features

The door should open flat against the washing machine so you don’t hurt yourself accidentally while loading or unloading the drum.

Pay attention to whether the door opens to the left or right. It might interfere with the layout of your kitchen/laundry room if it opens in the wrong direction.

Have a look at the detergent drawer. Make sure it slides effortlessly in and out, also that it is removable as you’ll need to clean it from time to time.

Inspect the control panel, it shouldn’t be puzzling or illogical to operate. Make sure the buttons are easy to press and not too close to one another, so you don’t accidentally push two at the same time.

Child lock is another important safety feature in washing machines. Make sure to check if your chosen appliance has it to protect your children from harm.

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