How to buy - Washers and dryers

How to buy - Washers and dryers

Back to Washers and dryers

The expert guide to buying a washing machine

Did you know that mums with a child under one year old are 77% more likely to have bought a new washing machine in the last year than the average person? There’s a good reason for that – all those extra clothes, nappies , sheets and blankets to wash. For such a tiny person, it’s amazing how much laundry they can create!

How to be an expert

Where’s it going?

Most machines are a standard size; however, some may not be. If you’re putting your new machine in a space created for one beneath your work surfaces, make sure you choose one the same size. If you’ve a narrow space, a top loader might be better and if you put your machine freestanding, perhaps in a utility room, you’ll have no problems with the size.

Is there power and water?

Ensure there is a water and power supply handy. Most machines are cold-fill, so only one connection is needed.

What type of wash?

If you have a baby, you’ll be best off with a large capacity washer that offers a half load wash, one for stains and one for delicates. It’s also useful to have one that uses less water and power and one with a good energy rating (look for A energy rating for wash, spin and overall) which will be better for the planet and save you money too.

Spin speeds

The faster the speed, the dryer your clothes will come out. This will save you time and energy in a dryer and mean clothes stay on the line for a shorter time. But faster spins also create more creases. If you have lots of cotton and linen, look for one with a slightly slower spin speed or a variable one.


Though you’ll want to buy a machine to your own budget, have a look at all the features offered by different makes and models before making a decision. You may find that a triple A energy rated machine is just a bit more than a similar model with a lower rating, but it will save you money over years as it washes more efficiently.

Also, a machine may offer lots of programme settings and functions but you may be better off with a higher quality one with fewer functions. It should be built to last – and you’ll be getting a lot of work out of it over the next few years!

The expert guide to buying a tumble dryer

Again, if this is to go in a space you already have, check the size first. If you are putting your machines free standing, it’s a good use of space to stack the dryer on top of the washer, though ensure there’s a solid floor and that they are installed so as to reduce vibration. Look for a fixing kit.

How to be an expert

There are two main types of dryer


a hose can be put out of the window or through an exterior wall, taking the moisture away from the machine. You must position this near a window or outside wall. It tends to use less energy than a condenser model.


this separates the water from the air inside the machine and puts it into a tank or pumps it out into a nearby sink or toilet, or sometimes through the washer’s plumping if they are close together.

Look for:

  • Heat settings: Look for at least two heat settings – a cooler one is good for synthetics and delicates.
  • Timer or sensor: You can either choose a time for the clothes to dry or some machines have a sensor that tells it when clothes are dry. The sensor models are more energy efficient, as they don’t over dry. This also means fewer creases.
  • Energy: Dryers use more energy than washers and are not as environmentally friendly – or as fresh smelling – as putting your clothes on the line! If you do have to buy one, look for as good an energy rating as you can afford – A is the highest – or choose an A-rated heat pump condense model.