What To Look For In A Washing Machine
The good news is that there are plenty of washing machines from which to choose, but the bad news is that choosing the right one for you can be bewildering and involve much research and reading of specifications. They tend to last for a considerable amount of time, though, so it’s not like you need to be regularly researching and replacing them. Here are a number of considerations you might like to consider as you do some thinking into which one is right for you.
Front-loading washing machines are usually more expensive than their top-loading cousins; however, they tend to be better performers over time, using less energy and water. They can be really effective at tackling unbalanced loads which can occur with varying clothes of different sizes and textures. Due to using less water, their cycles can take a little longer, although ‘fast-wash’ cycles might be an option. They usually incorporate higher temperature options and more programs and are not quite as bulky, so can be ideal for smaller spaces. They might not be so useful for houses that use solar hot water, because your washing machine will need a dual cold and hot water connection which most front loaders won’t have. They can be a bit louder than top-loaders and sometimes need brackets to keep in place.
Top-loading washing machines tend to be slightly cheaper to purchase and wash your clothes more quickly than their front-loading cousins. They’re more lightweight and you can easily add more clothes even after the cycle has commenced. You can even take out keys, phones, or coins in the middle of a cycle, unlike with front-loaders. They rinse better and have a reputation for being slightly more reliable. However, they can be slightly harsher on the fabric of your clothes, using more water and more detergent than front loaders. Overall, they cost more to run so you need to consider if their benefits outweigh their drawbacks.
3. Washer-Dryer Combos
It is possible to get the benefits of washers and dryers in one handy appliance. This will obviate the need to purchase a separate dryer, and having to hang your clothes out on a washing line to dry. The technology is getting better all the time; however, they can be on the expensive side, are known to break down more often and, strangely, can use more water to dry clothes than your washer uses to wash them!
4. Essential Features
‘Capacity’ is, of course, an essential feature; this can range from 5kg to over 18kg, but it may be a good idea to weigh what you usually use so you don’t end up over-estimating how large a capacity you actually require. ‘Cycle time’ can vary, as discussed above, although a ‘fast wash’ cycle might be included on some front-loaders. It might even take a shorter amount of time to dry your clothes with a front-loader, due to its higher spin speed. Your house will probably have a specially designed utility area, where the washing-machine is best placed. Ensure that you have the relevant access to water and electricity with hot water if necessary. Appliance companies will often offer to set up your new washing machine for you; definitely take advantage of this service. You’ll also need to ensure you don’t place it near an area of your house which is sensitive, like a study, due to the noise levels. ‘Child locks’ may also be a necessary feature depending on your household, so check the spec to see if this is included.
5. Other Features
An auto-sensing water level is not essential but can help in terms of saving you time, energy, and water as the machine automatically senses and adapts to the exact level which is suitable for your particular load (fabric type and size of the load). Having a ‘delicates’ or ‘hand wash’ program is great, especially if you have a number of clothes made from silk, cashmere or wool. An ‘out-of-balance correction’ can be a handy function, especially if you have a variety of fabrics with similar colors. An ‘Anti-crease’ cycle is great if you want your ironing experience to be quicker and easier. ‘Selectable spin speed’ can allow you to reduce drying time, particularly advantageous in winter months when you cannot simply hang clothes outside.
There are other features, such as an ‘extra rinse’ function, an ‘internal water heater’, a ‘favorite program’, ‘wi-fi connectivity’, a ‘lint filter’, and of course, an ‘energy star rating’. If you’re in a store or online, have a list of what you regard as essential requirements, and see how many extras non-essentials you can include, given your budget. A washing-machine will be working for you for months and years to come, so it is well worth the initial outlay.