Washing machines. We all need them, and yet buying one is no easy task. There’s a lot to consider, and even more, questions to ask before you make the commitment. I know the struggle having purchased several machines myself, and that’s why I want to help you out. I’ve taken the time not only to create a concise, yet vital, buying guide, but also answered some of the most pressing washing machine questions so that you are able to make clear and educated decisions. Prepare for the home appliance read of your life.
Part one of this ultimate FAQ is all about you, the buyer. This short guide has all of the key information that you need to consider as a new washing machine owner, including the best brands to go for. When you are finished here and feel more confident in your choices, you can head over to one of my many review collections, which provides you with a selection of popular machines to read about and potentially buy.
What Does a Washing Machine Cost?
This really does vary quite a lot. You can get a cheap washing machine for £100, and sometimes even less, or buy a high-end model for £3,000 and above. However, I would tend to recommend something in the middle if you want excellent quality that will last you a long time.
If you buy a cheap machine, it might be good for now, but you will definitely be replacing it quickly. On the other hand, the more expensive machines often last for well over ten years if taken care of. As for the cost of running, the average price of electricity is 16p per hour for most standard washing machines.
What Size Do I Need?
This all depends on the size of your household and how many clothes you need to wash as a result. However, it will also be reliant on any bedding you have. If you are the kind of home that has comforters, a larger capacity will be needed to actually fit inside. The same goes for dog beds if you have massive bedding that needs machine washing. What’s the size I’m talking about? Drum size.
This is the giant cylinder inside your washing machine; the thing that spins while you wash. A standard 5kg washing machine is able to cope with 25 shirts, which is the equivalent to a few sheets and towels. It’s good for small families or couples. A 7kg washing machine is able to handle a double duvet, as well as larger loads of clothes and towels.
This is good for slightly larger families that have a regular amount of laundry to do. For those heavy king size duvets and comforters, you are going to need a 12kg washing machine to handle that. It’s also best to suited to large families with a lot of washing. There are even larger capacities out there as well if you feel like you need something more.
Best Washing Machine Brands
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of washing machine brands out there. Below, you will find a selection of top companies that produce some of the best appliances on the market; as well as why I think they are so fantastic. Take a look and see what you think.
Samsung. Stylish and sleek, these machines look fantastic, and they do a great job of washing clothes too. The prices are quite low considering the brand name, and this affordable cost means that it can be suited to a range of households and budgets. Plus, they were built to last and are sure to do a great job for years to come.
Hotpoint. This is one of the classic washing machine names, and it is certainly popular in homes across the country. They are great for those who want a good budget washing machine that will last for an excellent amount of time. The functionality is great, with a nice selection of functions and controls. The most technical machines have higher prices, but the budget ones have all you need.
Beko. Whether you want a 5kg machine or are looking for a 12kg model, Beko is able to provide you with everything you need. There are plenty of great basic and advanced models to choose from, and many have a water-saving function so that your clothes still get nice and clean while also reducing your usage.
Indesit. Quick washing times and low budgets are what makes this washing machine brand so desirable. They are good quality, and certainly a brand worth considering in your quest for a new machine. There are a variety of capacities available for you to choose from, and they are suited to every kind of household.
Bosch. Just like the tools they create, these washing machines are sturdy, reliable, and made to last. The mid-range pricing is ideal for those that want something that’s not cheap, but also not too expensive either. Many come with great technological features that can make life easier, as well as different load types for the ultimate clean.
Miele. This is such a classic brand, and what I love about Miele is that they never skimp on quality. All of their products are rigorously tested to ensure that they can last between 15 and 20 years, so you can rest easy knowing that it won’t need to be replaced any time soon. On top of that, the pricing isn’t too bad either.
Does Spin Speed Matter?
Yes, it actually does. The faster the spin, the drier the clothes will be when it has finished washing them. Of course, the spin speed will also depend on the fabrics and clothing you have in there, as some will require gentler treatment while being washed. If you want clothes that are relatively dry when you pull them out to dry, choosing a machine that has a fast spin speed is best. As a note, fast speeds are considered to be between 900RPM and 1400RPM.
Energy Efficiency Importance
This is important, even though we don’t always think about it when we are buying new appliances. We can end up spending a lot of money on electricity because of inefficient machines, and so checking to see the kind of power they use is a smart move for energy savings. On top of that, some machines are water-saving as well to ensure that you don’t waste any and also save some cash on your water bill each month. More efficient washing machines are better for the planet and your bills.
Features and Programs
It’s a good idea to check out the kinds of features and programs you are going to get before you buy your washing machine. Here are some of the best around that you should be keeping an eye out for:
- Synthetic/cotton program
- Wool/delicates/handwashing program
- Sports program
- Hygiene/anti-allergy program
- Eco program
- Baby care program
- Quick wash
- Temperature settings
- Delay start/end time
- Time remaining display
- Automatic detection/time delay
- Child locks
- Fabric softener compartment
Should I Buy a Washer/Dryer to Save Money?
There are some that would swear by the washer/dryer combo as the best thing they have bought, but in my experience, they can be a bit of a risk. The washing works as it would in a regular machine, and it is the dryer where things can fall short.
This can often take a couple more hours than if you had the machine separately, which could also increase the cost of your energy bills. Of course, having a washer/dryer combo also means that you save a lot of space, which is suitable for small homes that don’t have enough room for each separately.
Will My Machine Fit?
Hopefully. I know, not an amazing answer. The thing is, you need to make sure that the measurements are correct before you actually buy the machine. So, grab a tape measure and start figuring out the kind of space you are going to need for your ideal machine.
I have a word of advice though, leave 7cm at the top so that you can account for a potentially deeper washing machine than expected. You’d be surprised by how often people get caught out on that one. Do this, and your machine will definitely slide into place.
The second, and final, chapter of this guide is all about the FAQs. That’s right, your most frequently asked questions in one place. Have a read and see if this helps to rid you of any concerns you might have about your new appliance.
How Much Does a Washing Machine Weigh?
The average washing machine weighs between 60kg and 90kg, depending on the size and the capacity. This is why you should not move them alone, because you can strain yourself doing so.
How Long Should a Washing Machine Last?
The average lifespan for a washing machine is 11 years. This is quite impressive, and also means you are unlikely to need to replace it too frequently. Some brands are even renowned for machines that will last as long as 20 years. Either way, a quality washer won’t be giving up on you any time soon.
Why Is My Washing Machine Drum Not Spinning?
There are a number of reasons why this might be happening, such as:
- Faulty lid switch
- Broken belt
- Motor malfunction
- Object lodged in the drum or rubber lining (like a hairpin)
Things like hairpins can be removed by hand to get the machine working again. While technical faults can also be a DIY job, there is the option to call a professional too. I have a few great guides on washing machine repair that you can flick through.
What Size Washer Do You Need to Wash a King Size Comforter?
For this, you are going to need a 12kg washing machine, or a 15kg if you want some extra space. The former of these should be more than suitable for the task at hand, however. They don’t tend to cost a massive amount more than the standard 5kg machine either.
Why Does My Washer Not Spin all the Water Out?
There are a couple of things that can cause this to happen. If your clothes are soaked at the end of a cycle, here are some of the issues you might be having:
- Make sure it is on the right washing cycle
- Make sure the drain hose is not clogged or bent
- Make sure the drain pump is not blocked
- Make sure the clothing is balanced and not all on one side
- Make sure the lid/door lock has not been damage/bent as it disrupts the electrical safety
- For top loaders, make sure the washer belt is not stretched or damaged
- For front loaders, make sure the direct-drive motor has not been damaged
For blocked hoses and filters, a DIY job is more than possible. Those who are more confident could also replace motors and belts. However, there is no shame in calling an expert to help you. Just to give you a good visual idea of what to expect, here is a quick and easy video on the topic.
How Do I Stop My Washing Machine Mid-Cycle?
This is really easy to do. If you find yourself needing to stop your washing machine in the middle of a cycle, just press the “Start/Pause” button on the machine. You will have to wait a few moments, or minutes, but the cycle will stop, and the door will be unlocked for you.
Which is Better; Top Load or Front Load?
There is a lot of debate over this topic because everyone has their preferences. However, I would strongly stand behind the front load washer as the best. The top loaders are cheaper, and they are also easier to clean because they have less risk of mould and general smelliness, but that’s about it.
The front loaders use 40% less water, are more energy-efficient, and clean clothes to a higher standard. They might be more expensive than a top loader, and need to be cleaned regularly, but the results they produce are so much better. I would say always go for a front-loading machine.
What is the Largest Size Washer?
The Samsung WF9110 has the world’s largest washing machine capacity at a staggering 20kg. I can’t even imagine the size of it. You’re highly unlikely to need that in your home, however, and it is probably best for industrial use. 15kg is the largest standard machines available, but they are far less common than the 12kg models.
This can be really frustrating, and I have actually written a great repair guide for this that you might want to look through. However, the most common causes for a machine that won’t drain (and often won’t spin as a result of this) are as follows:
- Damaged belt or water pump
- Damaged or clogged drain pump
- Clogged pump or hose
- Damaged or loose drive belt
- Damaged lid/door switch
Many of these things are relatively easy to fix, and so you don’t need to spend the money on a pro to get it done for you. If you don’t have the extra time, the experts won’t take long to fix these either, so it shouldn’t come out as too expensive.
How Do I Stop My Washing Machine Smelling?
Again, this is something I have written about in more detail, but I can give you some great advice here. A lot of the time a washing machine will start smelling because of mould growth in the machine. Usually, this is on the outer ring of the drum because it is constantly wet. You may have also left a damp load of laundry in there for too long, and it has become mouldy as a result.
But how do you stop that awful smell? The good news is that it’s simple. Here are each of the things you can do to stop your washing machine from smelling:
- Clean the outer ring regularly and dry it after every cycle
- Mix white vinegar and baking soda, then place it in the drum and run a cycle
- Scrub detergent residue away to prevent mould and bacteria growth
- Use a different detergent, one that leaves less goop behind after use
How Do I Keep My Washing Machine from Moving?
If your washing machine is moving, it means the flooring beneath it is uneven. This causes increased vibrations and noise, the former of which can reduce the lifespan of the machine and cause damage. However, you don’t need to try and wedge stuff under it in order to get it level; your machine has feet. I know, I only found out when I installed my last machine, and I was shocked.
Accessing the feet is easy as anything you just need to lift the front of the machine and hold it in place with something, like a brick. From there, you can access the feet and adjust them accordingly on each side so that the machine stands still when it is running. Once that’s done, you won’t need to worry about a wobbly machine anymore.
Are Samsung Washers and Dryers Reliable?
Yes, they are. In fact, they soared up in ranking in early 2019 to stand among some of the most reliable washing machines in the world. In fact, they overtook Whirlpool, which came as a surprise to many. Combined with affordable prices, Samsung is a great option to go for.
How Long Should a Washing Machine Last?
It should last you at least ten years, especially with the average lifespan being 11 years. Some can last a lot longer than that, but you can rest easy knowing that you shouldn’t have to replace it for a decade. As a side note, always get that extended warranty where possible, just to be safe.
What Brand of Washing Machine is the Most Reliable?
This can vary from person to person, but if we are looking at the statistics, these are the three most reliable brands of washing machine according to the experts:
There are plenty of other brands out there that many would state are just as good, but these are the one that has been tried and tested by homeowners and professionals alike. These names are according to Which, and there are other companies that might put the list in a different order.
What is Considered a Large Capacity Washer?
12kg and over is considered to be a large capacity machine. This is because the vast majority of households don’t actually need something this big. The standard size is usually a 7kg machine, with the smallest being 5kg.
What is a High-Efficiency Washer?
These are all about reducing the amount of water and energy being used by your washing machine. Usually, you can expect them to use between 40% and 80% less water, and a lot less electricity because of this. In fact, some say they have saved 65% of what they normally spend on their washing machine in energy bill savings. It’s incredibly effective, and the appliance will still clean your clothes expertly.
How Do I Know if My Washing Machine Drain Hose is Clogged?
The usual symptoms of a clogged drain hose are the drum not draining water at all, or only draining some of it, as well as not spinning when going through a cycle. It may also make a strange sound like the drum is trying to spin but cannot as it is getting stuck. You can see my solutions for fixing these issues both in my dedicated guide, or some of the earlier FAQs.
Can Vinegar Damage Your Washing Machine?
No, it won’t damage your machine. Vinegar is perfectly safe to use for cleaning and deodorising. It’s actually bleach that you need to be careful with, as this can cause damage if not incredibly diluted and used sparingly. I would always recommend using vinegar over bleach.
Why Does My Washing Machine Smell After Cleaning?
Clothes smelling damp and musty right after a wash? You’ve probably got old detergent building up inside the machine or a limescale issue. You may also have poor drainage in the pipe, which is causing stagnant water to sit and grow bacteria. The first thing to do is scrub your machine one more time, really get in there and just double down on the scrubbing.
If it still smells, investigate the draining pipe and see if there is a bend or blockage. These are two things that can cause stagnant water, and it needs to be rectified quickly. When you have identified the issue, either unblock it yourself or call out an expert to do so. This should clear up the issue and stop the smell.
Can You Take the Feet off a Washing Machine?
You can take them off, all you need to do is unscrew them from the underside of the machine, and they will slip right off. I don’t recommend this, though. The feet are there not only to level out your machine if it needs it, but also to stop it from scratching the floor. No feet can leave the flooring a real mess when you are done, and if it even becomes uneven, you will be a bit stuck. My advice? Leave the feet as they are.
How Much Does a Washing Machine Cost?
There is a lot of variation here. You can buy a machine for £100 or £3,000; it depends on the brand and the kind of capabilities it has. There is so much choice out there, that you are certain to find something that sits comfortably in your budget. As for running costs, the average for that is 16p an hour, which can be more or less depending on how energy efficient your machine is.
Can I Put Bleach in My Washing Machine to Clean it?
You can, but you have to make sure it is very diluted or just the ingredient of another cleaner that is washing machine safe. Personally, I think white vinegar is a lot better because it is a natural cleaner that disinfects, washes, and deodorises without all the chemicals.
My Washing Machine is Leaking
Let’s take a look at some of the different leaks you might be experiencing and what causes them:
#1 Pool of water, front or back of the machine. This means something is wrong with the water supply hoses. Check that they are properly connected, and that they are not damaged and in need of replacement.
#2 Mineral deposits inside. This is likely to be caused by the drain hose, because the spring clamps that connect them can loosen over time. Check that they are properly secured, and that the pipe is not clogged.
#3 Front of cabinet leak. This is caused by the seals becoming loose, damaged, or torn around the water pump. Check this for damage and ensure they are repaired quickly.
#4 Water drips near the seals. This is where the seals have become brittle with age and need to be replaced. It is a common thing in older machines, or young ones that have not been taken care of.
#5 Excess foam overflow. It’s like the movies, but less dramatic, and it happens when you have used too much detergent. If you are using pods, don’t use more than two, and if you are using powder, two scoops should be your maximum to prevent this.
#6 Washing machine door is leaking. This is why you must always make sure it is closed properly. Check the door for clothes that have got stuck in it, dirt or grime around the seal, the machine being on uneven ground, or using too much detergent.
#7 Leaking under the machine. This is usually caused by a hole in the pump or leaky drain hoses from inside the machine. This can be fixed by you, but I do tend to recommend the professionals when you have to go inside the washing machine.
I hope that this has been able to help you feel more confident when you go and buy a washing machine. There is a lot to consider, and I have done my best to put all of the key information into bitesize chunks that are easier to manage. Of course, I know that I may not have been able to answer every question you have, and that’s where you can come in to lend a hand. If you have any queries that you want answered, just leave them in the comment selection below and I will be sure to get back to you with a clear solution.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.