Considerations To Make When Buying A Washing Machine

Published: 27th March 2009
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Washing Machines and Washer Dryers are some of the most likely kitchen appliances to break down, so making the right decision on what to buy from the start is key. Washing machine prices start at around the £200 mark, and top-end washers can cost over £1000. Whilst the old adage "you get what you pay for" can often be true, there are more important decisions that should be taken into consideration.

Does The Washing Machine Come With A Guarantee?

An electrical appliance is most likely to develop a fault within the first year of operation, so it is imperative to keep receipts, and to make sure that the washing machine comes with at least a two year warranty. Many companies allow bolt-on guarantees, which can extend this term to three years or more. Whilst it does incur extra costs, it is nonetheless recommended to seek out a three year extended warranty.

Should I Choose A Washer Dryer Or Washing Machine?

Washer Dryers offer great space saving and convenience characteristics, but are generally less reliable than dedicated washing machines. They are best suited to households with fewer members, and work best with smaller loads. If you have the space, it is often better to have a dedicated washing machine and tumble dryer.

Which Brands Should I Look At?

At the budget end of the scale, Beko washing machines offer excellent value for money, and acceptable build quality. A well-featured Beko washer can be purchased for under £200, and whilst they don't tend to skimp on features, it is undeniable that they lack the build quality of more expensive models. At the mid and top end of the spectrum, Bosch and Miele washing machines are renowned for their build quality. In particular, Miele over-engineers all their electrical appliances, so what may seem like a lot of money initially could quickly become a money saver in the long run as lesser brands' washing machines develop faults.

How Much Capacity Do I Need?

This not only depends on your family size, but how often you do the washing. People who prefer to wash several small loads would find that 5kg load capacity would be more than sufficient. For larger families or those who prefer to do smaller numbers of large washes, then a minimum of 7Kg capacity is recommended.

What About Spin Speed?

This is a factor that doesn't really need to be considered. If anything, lower spin speeds are beneficial as clothes don't get creased as much, and they are kinder to clothes. Think more about the capacity, and try to find out if your potential washing machine is positively reviewed, and is reliable.

Fabric Care

Many items of clothing such as wool, silk and hand wash only items require specific washing machine programmes to avoid damaging such garments. If your wardrobe consists of several such items, then ensure that the washing machine has wool and hand wash settings.

Energy Saving

Energy ratings offer a standardised method of choosing the most efficient electrical appliances, and this scale is from A to G. "A" represents a very high efficiency and "G" represents a less efficient performance. Most modern washing machines offer an "A" or "B" energy rating, so finding a washer with such energy ratings will not limitate your buying options. Not only is lower power consumption good for the environment, but households will enjoy lower electricity bills.

"Intelligent" Washing Machines

Moving towards the £500+ price bracket, many washing machines offer advanced sensor facilities, which can self-diagnose faults, measure the weight of the load and adjust water requirements as necessary, and even allow delay settings, so that a washing cycle doesn't start until a pre-defined time. It is probably more beneficial to spend money on a higher quality brand with less features than to buy a top of the range washing machine from a lower quality brand as these features are generally not essential requirements.

Veronica Jewell is an Internet technlogist who writes on a variety of topics. The Co-operative Electrical offers a range of electrical appliances including washing machines from brands including Bosch, Beko, Miele and Whirlpool.

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