How to choose the right washing machine

 

 Buy the right washing machine and you will have it for years. But how do you know if it’s right? Here we take you through some of the main considerations when looking for a new washer: the pros and cons of different types of models and the best settings and features to look out for. 

Top Load Washing Machines

Top-loading washing machines have an upright drum with an agitator in the middle which rotates and moves the clothes around with it.

Top loaders are generally cheaper than front loaders; however this gap is reducing as front load machines become more popular.

With a greater load capacity thanks to the upright drum, top loaders can usually handle larger loads of washing, and wash them in a smaller amount of time.

The wash cycle can be interrupted midway through, for when items need to be added or removed. If you have a sore back or knees then a top loader is definitely for you as you don’t have the hassle of bending down to access the machine that you do encounter with front loaders.  

Some models have an impeller instead of an agitator. An impeller sits at the base of the drum and rotates to create turbulence in the water. Impellers take up less space than agitators but they can tangle clothes more.

Top loaders are available in a range of sizes, from 3kg –to 10kg. Remember that, for washing machines, size refers to the maximum amount of dry washing the machine’s drum can fit.

 

Front Load Washing Machines

Instead of an agitator taking up space in the middle, front-loading washing machines have a horizontal drum which itself rotates in order to wash, rinse and spin clothes.

Agitators, like those found in top loaders, can be rough on laundry and causes it to tangle, so in this respect front loaders are better for prolonging the life of your clothes.

If space is a concern, consider that a front-loading washing machine can be placed under a bench, or have a dryer stacked on top of it.

Generally the wash cycle can’t be interrupted on a front loader; however some newer machines now allow you to interrupt a cycle.  

Front loaders are manufactured in sizes ranging from 5kg to 10kg. 

 

Top Load or Front Load?

Traditional washing machines, top loaders, tend to be cheaper than front loaders. But one downside of top load washing machines is that they use an agitator to create the wash action that can actually damage clothes. However, many newer top loader models have a different cleaning mechanism – an impeller – which is gentler on laundry. 

Front loading washing machines tend to use less water (up to 70%) and energy than top loaders. 

Front loaders also tend to be more comfortable to use because they don’t require awkward bending over the top to put laundry in and take it out. 

 

Twin Tub

A washing machine with two tubs? Yes, such a thing exists! In a twin tub washing machine, one tub washes and rinses the clothes. Once that’s done, you take the laundry out and put it into the second tub, which does the spinning. This means you can wash separate loads of dirty clothes – darks and whites, delicates and cotton, etc. – in around half the time! Because of the twin tub’s manual set-up, you can easily tweak the length of both the washing and spinning cycles, and this can help you save energy. Twin tub washing machines range from 6kg to 14kg.

 

Washer Dryer Combos

If saving space is a top priority, a washer dryer combo is a great 2-in-1 option that can wash and/or dry laundry. This type of machine allows you to do your washing and drying in one go, with minimal effort. Typically, the dryers in these units work similar to condenser dryers. However, instead of using cold air, they use cold water to condense moisture as it evaporates from the wet clothes. This means condenser dryers use more water and energy than conventional dryers.

Washer dryer combos can range in size from 6kg to 15kg.  However, it’s important to note that a combo unit will have different capacities for the washing and the dryer, because the latter requires a smaller drum to make room for air circulation. For example, the unit shown below has a capacity of 7.5kg for washing and only 4kg for drying.

 

Settings and Features

Sometimes it’s a washing machine’s features that really set it apart from other models. Depending on your lifestyle and needs, different features will appeal to you more.

If you’re very busy and find it hard to make time for doing loads of washing, a delayed end feature is convenient because it allows you to run the washing machine overnight or while you’re at work, finishing just in time for when you’re ready to attend to it.

Busy people may also like a quick wash function that runs a cycle in as little as 15 to 40 minutes.  

A family with young children might look out for a pre-wash cycle that soaks heavily soiled items before washing them.

Depending on your wardrobe, delicate, wool and hand wash settings can be extremely useful and could save you trips to the dry cleaner. 


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