Washing Machines Buying Guide

Washing Machines Buying Guide

Deciding what type of washing machine you need in your home is important; choosing one that doesn’t hold all your family’s washing or doesn’t fit in the space you wanted it to in your home can make doing the washing far more difficult than it should be.

How do you live without a washing machine? Simply put, you can’t. So, choosing the right one is no small task. Thankfully, our handy buying guide will help you choose between freestanding or integrated, and help you pick out which features or wash programmes you’re after.

Washing Machines Buying Guide
Washing Machines Buying GuideWashing Machines Buying Guide

Washing Machine Types


Freestanding washing machines give you the freedom to put your appliance wherever you want within your home (subject to water supply source)


Integrated washing machines are especially useful if you are conscious of your house’s appearance as they are able to be hidden within cupboards for a tidier looking kitchen. They also allow for extra room if you are low on space.

Things to know

Energy rating

A washing machine’s energy rating will tell you how energy efficient the model is. Ratings range from A – G, and a more efficient appliance means you’ll save more money on your energy bills. Look out for a washing machine with an energy rating of C or above, these will be some of the most energy efficient models on the market.


These machines are built to last, but if something does go wrong, you’ll be covered by a warranty. They usually last around 2 years, but some models will come with an extended warranty, and a few machines even offer up to 10 years’ cover on the motor – double check the specs to make sure. During this time, the manufacturer will replace or repair your machine for free, giving you some extra peace of mind if anything breaks.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Noise level

The noise level of a washer is measured in decibels – the higher the number, the louder it is. 50dB is about as quiet as a normal conversation, and washing machines usually sit between 60dB and 80dB. So, if you want to avoid that background buzz, aim for the lower numbers.

Spin speed

Spin speed refers to how many times your washing machine’s drum spins per minute. A faster spin speed will remove more water from your clothes, meaning they’ll dry quicker. You should only use a fast spin speed for synthetics and cottons, wool and delicates will need more special care.

Wash load

The wash load or drum capacity on a machine tells you the maximum amount of clothes it can hold. A wash load of up to 6kg can easily handle laundry for 1 or 2 people. Between 7kg and 9kg is great for medium homes of 3 to 4 people, and anything over 10kg is perfect for big families of 5 or 6.


Before you buy your machine, it’s super important to check the dimensions and make sure it’ll fit in your space. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our measuring guide for some handy tips to get you going.

Key features


Need a helping hand on laundry day? A smart-connected washing machine will definitely lighten the load. They can be connected to a Wi-Fi network and controlled from an app on your phone or tablet. You'll find this nifty feature on machines from all your favourite brands, including Candy, Hoover, Samsung, Miele and more. Our handy guide will take you through what a smart washing machine is, and all the benefits of having one.

Super quiet

Super quiet washing machines are fantastic for making laundry nights more peaceful – perfect if you have an open plan living space or little ones who are sensitive to sound. Unlike normal motors these models use frictionless magnets instead of noisy brushes to power the machine. This also helps to make your washing machine more energy efficient and longer-lasting. 

Sensor controlled wash

Sensor controlled wash is a super clever feature that tailors the cycle to the laundry load. There’re different kinds of sensors, with some being able to work out how much water and energy to use based on the weight of the load. Some sensors even detect the type of material and adjust the wash to match – no harsh cycles shrinking your woolly jumper this time. You can say goodbye to laundry detergent confusion too. There’re sensors that know how much to add, or can pick up on excess detergent and extend the rinse cycle to make sure it’s fully removed – that’ll help to keep skin irritations at bay.

Automatic detergent dosing

When it comes to pouring laundry detergent, you’re either a meticulous measurer or a free-spirited guesser. Whichever one you identify as, automatic detergent dosing is here to make everyone’s life easier. Sensors will weigh clothes once they’re in the drum, and measure how dirty they are. They’ll then work out the perfect amount of detergent and conditioner for your laundry, before dispensing it. This means you’ll never use too much or too little again, you’ll save money and you’ll enjoy softer, cleaner outfits. Honestly, what’s not to love?

Quick wash

A quick wash is the perfect setting when you need to do a spot of last-minute laundry. These quick wash programmes typically tend to be 30 minutes; however, some models can wash a load in as little as 15 minutes. To get the best from a quick wash cycle, only use them for small loads or slightly dirty items.

Add extra clothes

Found a stray sock on the floor after a wash has already started? Not to worry, some models will let you pause a program after it’s begun so you can add any items that have been accidentally left behind.

Allergy care

If you or anyone in your house has sensitive skin or allergies, the anti-allergic programme will become one of your favourite features. By using extra rinses at the end of wash it removes all traces of dust, pollen and pet fur – so you can breathe easy and feel comfortable in your freshly washed clothing and bedding.

Stain removal

Accidents happen, but with stain removal technology, those little spills and mishaps will easily be taken care of. This clever tech usually adjusts the temperature and drum movements to tackle common stains like mud and food, so your favourite outfits will be back to their best in no time.

Steam clean

Some washing machines use the power of steam to take care of your clothes. The hot temperatures from the steam gets rid of bacteria and freshens up your clothes. Plus, it helps stop creases, so you’ll have less ironing to do after.

Fabric care

Some washers come with programs that are specially for more delicate types of fabrics like wool and cotton. They make sure your clothes get a gentle clean, while still giving you amazing results. This means your favourite items will look amazing for years to come. 


Most washing machines are kitted out with nifty, energy-efficient tech. This can include anything from eco washes that use lower temperatures to inverter motors that gradually wind the drum into a spin, using less power to get going. Some even let you reduce the number of rinses in a cycle, meaning you save water and energy at the same time. Double win.

Sustainably made

A sustainably made product is built with the environment in mind. Whether it’s handy programmes designed to use less water and shorten washing time, or efficient motors to make your machine last longer, brands care about reducing their impact on Mother Nature. Some manufacturers even use recyclable parts in their drums, meaning clean cardis and a clean conscience too. Win-win.

Machine clean

From muddy football kits to that little black dress, your washing machine works hard to keep everything looking new. But after all that cleaning, the drum needs a little TLC to prevent mould and unpleasant odours from building. Luckily, we've got all the info you need to keep your appliance happy and your laundry germ-free.

Prevents creases

Bored of the ironing board? With these washing machines you can keep it in the cupboard. Whether it’s gently tumbling clothes to stop creases forming or steaming them away, the nifty tech keeps your best shirts and blouses looking fresh without even picking up the iron – don’t worry, it’s our little secret.

Flood prevention

The flood prevention system stops any water damage in your kitchen. As soon as it detects any problems with the water supply, the machine activates the drain pump to stop a flood before it happens. This means you won’t be mopping up any puddles should something go wrong, and your machine will keep itself in good nick too.


What should I look for when buying a washing machine or washer dryer? 
When choosing your new washing machine or washer dryer, there are a few things you should look out for. First is the fit type, do you want freestanding or integrated? Then you’ll need to think about drum size and how many people you’ll be washing for. Then you’ll want to consider what programmes and features you want from standard wash settings and quick washes to more niche features, such as sensor washing and auto-dosing.

How big is a washing machine or washer dryer? 
Most washing machines tend to have the same height and width, it’s just the depth that changes because of the different drum sizes available. Typically, the standard depth is around 60cm, the same as the average kitchen counter.

How much energy does a washing machine use? 
This will vary between models. Look out for a washing machine’s energy rating, this tells you how energy efficient it will be. Energy ratings range for A – G with A rated washing machines being the most economical models on the market. Sometimes a washing machines energy rating may only apply when using eco programmes, which tend to wash your clothes at a lower temperature and will take longer to complete.

How many litres of water does a washing machine use? 
This can vary depending on the size of your model and how energy efficient it is, but on average washing machines tend to use around 50 litres of water per wash.

How long does a quick wash take? 
This can vary between models and manufacturers, but most tend to last between 15 to 30 minutes.

Which are the most reliable machines? 
All the washing machines and washer dryers we have on offer are from respected and reliable manufacturers and are sold with a 1 to 10 year warranty. For extra peace of mind, take a look at our AO care package which covers you in the event of a breakdown or offers you a replacement appliance if it can't be fixed.

Which are the quietest machines? 
Look for washing machines with inverter motors. Unlike normal motors, these models use frictionless magnets instead of noisy brushes to power the machine - perfect for open plan living. They also make your washing machine more energy efficient and last longer than normal motors.

Which washing machines have the quickest wash cycle? 
This can vary between model and manufacturer but quick wash cycles tend to be around 15 to 30 minutes long. The quickest wash cycle available is 14 minutes long. (Hoover). Take a look at our range of washing machines with quick wash here.

Which is the best budget machine? 
Take a look at our selection of great washing machines under £300.

Which is the best large capacity machine? 
Look for a washing machine with at least a 10kg drum size. You might also want to consider other factors such as spin speed which will make short work of your laundry load. Shop large capacity washing machines here.

Which steam washing machine is best? 
Steam washing machines use a combination of water and steam to clean your clothes effectively. Look for additional features like sensors which analyse fabrics and adjust the settings to match your laundry needs.

Which washing machines have a hand wash cycle? 
Hand wash cycles work at low temperatures and are much more gentle in the agitation part of the cycle. They help to protect delicate fabrics like wool and silk. You can see the range here.

Which is better - a front loading or top loading washing machine? 
Front loading washing machines tend to be better than top loading models as they give your clothes a more thorough clean, they’re more energy efficient and they usually have more wash programmes.

What is a direct drive washing machine? 
Direct drive washing machines use a motor to spin the drum instead of belts, chains or gearboxes. They’re more energy efficient, quieter and will last longer than standard models.

How long does an eco-wash take? 
Eco washes typically take a little longer to give your clothes a thorough clean. This is because they use lower temperatures to save energy. It varies with each make and model, so be sure to check the product info for the one you’re looking at!

How to save energy with a washing machine? 
When buying a new washing machine, look out for the energy rating, which tells you how energy efficient it'll be. Energy ratings range from A-G, with A-rated washing machines being the most economical models on the market. To further save energy, go for eco mode and quick wash cycles whenever possible.

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