What’s in This Washing Machine Buyer’s Guide?
In this buyers guide we'll cover a few features and figures you may want to keep in mind when browsing out selection of washing machiens on sale.
Click here for our Tumble Dryer Buyers Guide
Washing machine capacities are usually given in kilos, as a guide you can think of a complete adult sized outfit as weighing one kilo so a washing machine rated at 9kg will hold about nine complete outfits including underwear. Overfilling your washing machine can mean not all the washing gets totally clean as clothes don’t have the room to move around. If you have an average sized family you’ll probably find that an average 7kg capacity washing machine will be sufficient, if you have a bigger family or young children that get through several changes of clothes a day you may want to go for something bigger.
As with most domestic appliances, washing machines come with an energy efficiency rating from E (bad) to A+++ (really good). A more efficient washing machine will use less energy and save you money in the long run. For more detail some manufacturers give the average energy used per load and an estimated annual running cost. These figures should be taken as gospel but they work well to judge the relative efficiencies of different washing machines.
To work out the running costs yourself, take the energy consumption per load that the manufacturer give, multiply by your electricity tariff to get a cost per load, then multiply by how many loads you wash in a normal week and then multiply by 52. This is worth doing, up to a point it’s worth spending more to get a more efficient washing machine but where that point is depends on your usage. If you have a big family and the washing machine is almost always running it may be worth the extra to get an A+++ rated machine. If you live on your own and do one load a week it probably won’t be.
Washing machines all need a powerpoint, a water supply and a wastewater drain pipe. Most modern washing machines only need a single cold water feed rather than the older ones that also needed hot water. With newer speedfit pipework and fittings adding a water supply pipe with the necessary appliance valve fitted is usually pretty straightforward but check with a plumber or competent DIYer before you take delivery.
Suitable drainage can be tougher as the pipes are larger in diameter and have to run down hill to an outside drain. You can usually join the outlet of a washing machine into the waste pipe on your sink, there are special kits available to do this so if you can position your new washing machine next to your kitchen sink you’ll save yourself a lot of work.
Some washing machines have a quickwash option, this isn’t much good for heavily soiled washing but if you’ve got a small load of lightly soiled washing a quickwash cycle can have it done in as little as 15 minutes. This is ideal for getting your gym kit ready to throw in your bag for the next day.
At the end of the washing cycle washing machines spin the laundry to remove the worst of the water and make drying faster. If you dry on the washing line less water when the load comes out of the machine will mean it dries faster and if you use a tumble dryer you’ll save money too.
Most washing machines spin from 1000 to 1600 rpm, the faster it spins the dryer your laundry will be when it comes out of the machine.
Washing machine noise may not be an issue for you, if your washing machine is in a utility room you probably don’t hear it but if you have an open plan space or you’re putting the washing machine the other side of a wall from your TV you may want to pay attention the noise rating. Noise levels are quoted in decibels - dB, higher is louder. Around about 50 dB is quiet for a washing machine.
What’s in This Tumble Dryer Buyer's Guide?
In this tumble dryer buyer’s guide we’ll tell you about the main types of dryer; vented, condenser and heat pump, we’ll explain some common features and money saving options and help you get the best dryer from our range of tumble dryers on sale.
What are the Different Types of Tumble Dryer?
Vented Tumble Dryers
Vented dryers suck in air, heat it up and blow it through the rotating drum full of wet clothes. The warm air and moisture are blown through a duct and out of a vent. Vented dryers are the cheapest choice to buy but they’re not usually very efficient and you need to have a vent installed. Installing a vent can be difficult as it means cutting a large hole in the wall of your home, a builder can usually do this but check before you buy and be aware that you’ll need the dryer to be next to an exterior wall.
Condenser Tumble Dryers
Condenser dryers work like vented dryers except that they pass the warm, wet waste air through a condenser. The condenser does two things; it recovers some of the heat from the air making the dryer more efficient and it condenses the moisture removing the need for a vent.
Condenser dryers can be positioned anywhere in your home, all they need is a power socket. Condenser dryers need to be emptied regularly, the water from the wet laundry is collected in a tank that you’ll need to empty every couple of cycles. If you put the dryer next to your washing machine, you may be able to connect the wastewater to the drain pipe that your washing machine discharges into. This means you’ll never need to empty it, this isn’t possible with all condenser dryers so if you like the idea do check before you buy.
The condenser itself needs to be kept clean, you’ll need to remove and clean it about once a month. It’s not a difficult job but it’s easy to forget and if the condenser gets clogged with fluff and bits of old tissues that you left in your jeans it will significantly reduce efficiency and increase drying times.
Heat Pump Tumble Dryers
Heat pump dryers work in a similar way to condenser dryers but they use heat pump technology to recover more of the waste heat and improve efficiency. A heat pump works like your fridge, it sucks heat out of one place (the waste air) and pushes it to another (the cool air being drawn in to the dryer.
Heat pump dryers can dry effectively at a lower temperature than other dryers, this makes them the most efficient of the three types of dryer with most achieving A++ ratings and some getting A+++
The down side is that heat pump dryers are more expensive, whether it’s worth it for you depends on how much drying you do. If you only use your tumble dryer occasionally when the weather is bad and you’re behind with the laundry you probably won’t notice the change in your electricity bill. If on the other hand you have a large family and your dryer is running most days with school uniforms and baby grows then a good quality heatpump dryer could pay for itself pretty quickly.
Tumble Dryer Features
Some more modern dryers have sensor drying capabilities that take better care of your fabrics and use less energy. Rather than just running until the pre set time runs out, sensor equipped dryers will detect the moisture content of your laundry and stop when it’s dry. No more coming downstairs in the morning to damp washing, and no more wasting energy heating up clothes that are already dry.
Sensor dryers can also be set to run the last few minutes of the drying cycle with cool air, this helps reduce creasing and damage to your fabrics. Some models also have the option to leave a predetermined amount of moisture making ironing easier and using even less energy.
Tumble dryer capacities are quoted in kilograms, most dryers have a capacity of around 7kg, larger models go up to 9kg and smaller compact dryers go down to 3kg. It’s not an exact rule, but one full outfit of a skirt or trousers, tshirt, sweatshirt and underwear is about kilo, so a 7kg dryer will take about 7 adult sized outfits.
Overfilling a dryer makes it significantly less efficient as there’s less room for air to circulate, so try and match the capacity of your dryer to the capacity of your washing machine. If you know you overfill the washing machine every time then err on the side of caution and get a higher capacity dryer.
If you have dual rate electricity or one of the new tariffs that gives you free electricity at certain times of the week then you can take advantage by setting your dryer to come on during the night when electricity is cheap or free. You can also program it to come on after you leave the house if the noise bothers you.
Energy Use Per Load
Normally quoted in Kwh (killowatt-hours), the energy use per load is a measure of how much energy a dryer uses to completely dry one full load of wet washing. Be careful to compare like with like when looking at this rating, a super efficient 9kg dryer will use more per load than a 5kg dryer as it’s doing more work, energy use per load figures are only really comparable between dryers with the same capacity.