Washing machine is an integral part of every household and it is very important to have good and reliable washing machine, especially if you have kids. Nowadays it is getting harder and harder to choose a washing machine because new models come out daily and the number of manufacturers are growing every year. If you went to the store recently you are certainly still puzzled with numerous technical data and the number of examined models.
We can all agree that buying a washing machine which is suitable to your needs is harder than ever and that is why we decided to make this washing machine guide.
In this guide we will explain you all about the types of washing machines and all about the technical details which you can see on washing machines in the stores. We will point out what is important and what is only marketing without any impact on quality or performance.
Top loading or front loading washing machine
The main difference in washing machine which everybody will notice is in the position of the door or the lid. The top loading washing machines have the lid on top and the drum (this is the part of the washing machine where we put the laundry in) is positioned vertically. Top loading washing machines are generally smaller in size (average size is 27x27x43 inches) than the front loading washing machines and therefore they can wash less laundry in one wash than the front loading washing machines. Front loading washing machines have the door positioned on the front of the machine and the drum is positioned horizontally. They are generally larger in size than the top loading washing machines (average size is 27x34x42 inches) and they generally have the larger drum. Take note that those are average sizes for household washing machines and there are always bigger commercial models, but this guide is based on washing machines for households.
If you are looking to find out which type is better, the answer is that the quality is the same, the mechanism is the same, it really depends on what you like better. Top loading washing machines are most common in United States and front loading washing machines are most common in Europe.
Washing and dryer combo
There are many manufacturers which produce washing and dryer combination machines nowadays and they can be find in almost every specialized store. The washing and dryer combos are, as the name suggests, a combination of washing machine and dryer in one appliance. In the early days those machines had serious issues with the water heating system and electronics, but newer models don’t have those issues anymore. The advantage of this machines is that you get your laundry washed and dried in the same process and they take less space in your home because you don’t need two machines for washing and drying separately. The downside is that the heaters on that kind of machines tend to last significantly less than in regular washing machines but that is normal because they are used both for washing and drying the laundry. If you are wondering what is cheaper, the washing and dryer combo is always cheaper than buying washing machine and dryer separately.
Capacity and speed
The capacity is one the most important things to consider when buying a washing machine. While bigger overall size in most cases means bigger capacity that is not always the case. The capacity reflects the capacity of the drum and you must look for that detail in the specifications, don’t judge by the look. If you buy a small capacity washing machine you will doing more washes and spend more electricity or you will overstuf the drum and brake the washing machine. The capacity of front loading washing machines varies from 12-20 pounds or 3-5,1 cubic feet of laundry while the top loading washing machines have the capacity from 12-16 pounds or 3-5 cubic feet of laundry.
Most washing machines on the market have spin speeds between 1000rpm – 1600rpm. This means the machine’s drum will rotate that many times per minute. The faster it spins the more water is collected from your clothes, meaning they will be drier when taken out of the washing machine. Most washing machines let you adjust the spin speed, dependant on the type of wash you’re doing. The main advantages of having a higher spin speed is your clothes will need less time to dry and you won’t need to use the tumble dryer as much. However, lower spin speeds are needed for delicate clothing and will help to reduce creasing.
I one of our previous articles, How to repair washing machine, we discussed the types of drives on washing machines and the procedure for repairing the most common problem with direct drive washing machines. The belt system on washing machines is, by our opinion, obsolete and our advice is to always buy the direct drive washing machines. The difference for a technician is in the type of transfer from the motor to the drun, but the difference for those who use the washing machine is that the direct drive washing machine is quiet, doesn’t vibrate as much and even spends less electricity than the belt drive washing machine.
Today efficient usage of energy is becoming more and more important and every appliance, including washing machines, has to have energy efficiency rating. If you are US resident look for Energy star certificate when buying a washing machine. Energy star washing machines use less energy. One the average, a new energy certified washing machine uses 270 KWh of electricity and costs $85 to run, each year, while older machine without Energy star certificate costs from 120-200$ to run, each year. Also, energy star washing machines use less water. A full-sized energy star certified washing machine uses 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons used by a standard machine. Over the machine’s lifetime, that’s a savings of 27,000 gallons of water!
If you are European union resident then the Energy star will not apply, instead look for EU Energy label. The European union has energy classes from D (which is the lowest) to A+++ (which is the highest). When buying washing machine always look to be at least A class, pluses are optional.
For those who want to learn how to further improve energy efficiency in their homes, we advise you to check our articles about home insulation and solar panels.
Washing machine dealers constantly bombard you with fantastic new cycles built in new washing machines, but do you really need all of them? You will probably use most of those extra cycles once to try it out and never again. From those new cycles we want to point out the steam treatment and sanitary cycle as the things your washing machine should have. A steam treatment cycle uses steam (obviously) at pre-programmed times during the wash cycle to combat stains. This cycle is very helpful in getting rid of tomato-based stains and ink stains, as they are some of the toughest to remove. A sanitary cycle uses the washer’s internal heater to boost the water temperature to a possible 150 degrees. And they typically also use steam to sanitize clothes in addition to the higher water temperature. This combination is helpful in getting rid of built-up grime, washing cloth diapers or washing heavily soiled work clothes.
There are numerous features on new washing machines and while most of them are useful and provide better quality of washing for your laundry, others are just cosmetics and more toys than actual features. We will present you the most common features you should look when buying a washing machine.
Auto dispenser for bleach, detergent, and fabric softener release powder or liquid at the appropriate time in the cycle and bleach dispensers also prevent spattering. Some washers cand hold up to several months’ worth of detergent, dispensing it automatically while letting you refill the reservoirs less frequently. We find this feature very handy and we recommend you to look for the washing machine with this feature.
Automatic load sensing is available on front-loaders and most high-efficiency top-loaders, this features automatically determines load size and the amount of water needed. This is the feature which helps the washer to be more efficient and we highly recommend it.
Automatic temperature control adjusts the water to the correct temperature for the cycle you’re using. Most machines mix hot and cold water in preset proportions. An automatic temperature control adjusts for especially cold incoming water. This is a good feature and you should look for it when buying a washing machine.
High-quality drum is more a question of quality of craftmanship than a feature but since it is most commonly listed under features by the dealers, we decided to list it here. Look for a stainless-steel or plastic drum. Unlike a porcelain drum, stainless or plastic won’t rust if it’s chipped and stainless steel drums can withstand higher spin speeds, which extracts more water and speeds up drying.
Dial control is a “must have” on new washing machines and we advise you against buying a new washing machine without it. Dial-control washers are easy to use and are usually conventional top-loaders. Electronic controls with a dial, push button, or touchpad tend to be more versatile, letting you save favorite settings, for instance. Some washers offer dedicated cycles for fabrics such as silk and denim. Touch screens are available on some higher-end models and have a display with a progression of menus with customized programs, though they can be tough to learn and navigate. They generally offer the most options and added information, such as a stain guide.
Time-saving wash option is the last feature in our list of “must have” features on your new washing machine. As washers have become more water efficient, wash times have increased and can range from 60 to 90 minutes for high-efficiency top-loaders and 60 to 100 minutes for front-loaders. Some manufacturers add a time-saving option to trim normal wash times.
Best washing machines
To conclude this washing machine guide we decided to present you top washing machines for those who don’t want to spend days investigating and finding the perfect washing machine at a reasonable price. We will present you the best front loading washing machine and the best top loading washing machine. Each of these washing machines we consider to be the best in that category and they fulfil all the demands which we presented in the article.