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Pick the Best Washing Machine for Any Budget

As the buyer for laundry at Comet, I get countless requests from people wanting a recommended washing machine for their friend, mother, sister, brother, great aunt or for themselves always saying ‘I need a great deal’.

Whilst you may think this is an excellent question for somebody in the industry who should know everything there is to know about these machines, a washer that works for you may not be the right one for your mum.

First thing – washing machines will always come in a standard footprint so, unless specifically highlighted as oversized, all will fit under your counter. (60x40x90) Secondly most of the washers in the UK are now A rated (I am hard pressed to think of one in my range that is not, but in the interest of a possible one in the independent world I refrain from saying all). Thirdly, an easy way to ascertain what you need is to remember that 6kg holds 30 shirts. As a rule of thumb every time you go up 1 kg in capacity add 5 shirts.

We may need a slightly different outlook to understand what washer is right for you and what the best way to spend your budget is. Comets’ washers range from two hundred to over a thousand pounds. Being a girl first and foremost, I decided to compare washers with a thing close to my own heart – handbags.

Budget Washing Machines

So on to advising which washer is right for you. Starting at the Primark end of the scale I introduce you to what we would call entry price point. Prices range from £179 to £250. These washers would be equivalent to the same time you would spend on a Saturday, picking out a cheap imitation bag that will go with the outfit you just bought on a whim in order that your Facebook pictures did not feature you in the same dress two weekends in a row.

In effect they are cheap, cheerful but the expectation for them to do little more than carry your phone and make up and not break mid way through the night is pretty much all you have.

Washers of this description usually come in the form of small capacity – 5kg or 6kg, (max capacity for washers in a standard footprint is 11kg). Generally, a washer in this class will have basic programming – cotton’s, colours etc. They usually have the option to change the spin or temperature – what we call ‘variable’. There is not a lot of beauty about them and generally all touch points on the panel are dial control and basic buttons.

A good example of your basic washer would be the Beko WM7120W (left) and the Beko WMB61431B (right). Ratings on these from fellow customers are good so others are with me when I say they are good basic machines. For any older people living alone or young poor ex students seeking work these washers will be a good starting point. Cheap, reliable and basic just what is needed for those who want simplicity.

As with the cheaper handbags, washers of this calibre may not be what you want to have as a finishing piece to your ultimate kitchen, but will do the job. I perhaps wouldn’t trust it with your most expensive items – keep going to the dry cleaners for these at the moment.

To summarise, look at the bullet points below for what to look for:-

  • Prices range from £179 to £250
  • Small capacity – 5kg or 6kg
  • Basic programming – cotton’s, colours etc.
  • You can change the spin or temperature
  • Basic controls and buttons

Mid Range Washing Machines

We then move on from the prices of Primark into a retailer that is an institution in the UK – Topshop. Generally mid way in the market and, for me, the place you go when you want something new but need to save a bit more money before gracing the entrance of Selfridges. Generally someone older has shopped in Topshop before you – your mum, sister aunt.

As a retail experience it is comforting and you know what to expect. As you move up from £6 bags to £40 the difference is clear. When you buy a bag from here it usually has a bit more about it – more expensive leather, nicer colours, and more detail in the stitching.

In summary you expect your friends to compliment it and ask where you got that bag from. If you are really lucky they potentially mistake it for a more expensive brand – a fashion wolf in sheep’s clothing if you will.

Enter the mid range market of £250 to £350 washers. The brand I can compare most to Topshop is probably Hotpoint. It is always there in the market, a heritage brand (albeit Italian rather than British) and one everyone probably knows. With this range of washers like handbags, you are moving into getting more for your money. Hotpoint sell their ranges in families (Aquarius, Aquarius +, Ultima and Aqualtis) and more is included in the machine depending on which family you are looking at.

Washers of this description usually come in the form of medium capacity – 6kg to 8kg. Generally, a washer in this class will have more advanced programming, for example eco wash options that allow you to save water (if you are on a meter) or energy (if you are eco-friendly). They may have a baby wash that has extra rinse to stop the clothes irritating baby’s skin.

Mid range washers generally also tend to have an LED screen – think calculator screen. This shows time remaining on the wash. You also tend to find there are more buttons on the front.

Imagine a handbag that is more expensive because it has a zip pocket – generally used to hold old sweet wrappers, pennies and half used packets of chewing gum. Makes it a bit harder to find stuff but when you organise yourself it is quite useful. In the same way extra buttons can look daunting but are usually there to help you improve the wash. Buttons like half load, or reduced creases can be switched on to any wash.

These washers start to look a bit nicer. A good example of washers in this class are the Hotpoint WMPF762P (left) and the Hotpoint WMPF843GUK (right). 7-8kg capacity and ratings on these from fellow customers are good again at 4.5/5. These are really good washers for a family with children as they have a fast wash in case anything is forgotten on a Sunday night and a child lock for those busy hands.

If you are not a fan of Hotpoint, I would say try a Hoover washing machine. Hoover are specialists in large load so you tend to get more capacity for your money – well worth a try.

To summarise, look at the bullet points below for what to look for:-

  • Prices range from £250 to £350
  • Medium capacity – 6kg to 8kg
  • More advanced programming and controls, for example Eco wash
  • LED screen – shows time remaining on wash
  • Nicer designs

Quality Washing Machines

Moving on to what I would call entry top brands or, those brands that are at the bottom of the steep climb to the ultimate purchase. This is what would be classed as designer brands and are a good first step for a girl on her way to the ultimate brand and way ahead of high street goods.

For me this is displayed in brands such as Ted Baker and Coach – anything I suppose in the centre of the handbag section in Selfridges before you enter any concessions. These brands are much better put together and the quality of the work is reflected in the price. They are beautiful but also long lasting. If you are paying for these it is because you want quality as well as the brand. So we too move up in the washer range. Prices are now from £350 to £550.

At this level you are getting sleeker controls, more programmes and more endurance. For this price, sizes can range from 6kg to 9kg. We generally start to see LCD screens (like a mini computer) and touch control buttons rather than cheaper ones.

Programmes such as dark wash, hand wash or bedding are introduced and more often than not there will be a memory button to store you favourite wash(es). It is also worth noting as you go up in price, products start to have more than a 12 month warranty on from 2 years to 10 years.

As there is only one country known for its quality in white goods I will now introduce the Germans. For reliable, solid product I think some of the washers that come out of Germany are the best.

A good product in this price point is the Bosch WAE244S1GB (left). Like Hotpoint (WMUD962G (right)), Bosch also group their models in to families (starting with Clasixx, Avantixx, Exxcel and Logixx). This product has an A-20% energy efficiency rating meaning it is 20% more efficient than an A rated product. It also scores very well with 5 star customer reviews.

Bosch also have two specific features – Speed perfect (a quick but thorough wash), and Eco perfect (for those who want to save money or energy but have some time). So doesn’t matter if you want to save the world or save the stained dress you want to wear tonight, it is perfect for both.

To summarise, look at the bullet points below for what to look for:-

  • Prices range from £350 to £550.
  • Sizes range from 6kg to 9kg
  • Sleeker design and controls
  • More programmes such as dark wash, hand wash or bedding
  • Touch screen controls

Premium Washing Machines

We then move into the wonderful world of expensive designer bags. Fortunately white goods manufacturers realise that the world is never going to be queuing down the block for the latest washer and are therefore more realistic about their proposition and constantly offer great savings at this end.

To me the world of serious handbag lovers has to start with Louis Vuitton. Purchases of this are justified by my not going out for a few weeks in order to guilt free purchase another for the collection. These works of art are so completely perfect in their appearance, design, quality and use they are worth skipping lunch to pay for. As we move into the higher priced realm washer prices are now from £550 to £650.

So for washers this means big capacity, technology filled, stylish and great value for money. At this level you are getting much better finishes, more programmes and new features. For this price, sizes can range from 7kg to 9kg and features such as steam cleaning are considered.

Steam is great as it means you can refresh clothes worn once and not soiled (think evening wear or suits). It is cheaper (in the long run) than a dry cleaner and much more convenient! You will also find Woolmark symbols on washers in this category. This means you can wash woollens free of any stress that they will be shrunk as this product has been endorsed by the wool experts.

A good example of a washer that does everything and if I was looking for the handbag that had everything – phone space, zip compartment shoulder strap, its big box equivalent would be the Hotpoint AQ113D697L (left).

To me, this washer is one you would design your kitchen around and happily talk about to your friends – if not for the innovative technology then because it looks great. Also worth mentioning is the other machine featured above, the Samsung WF1804WPU (right), another great all-rounder.

To summarise, look at the bullet points below for what to look for:-

  • Prices range from £550 to £650
  • Sizes can range from 7kg to 9kg
  • Features such as steam cleaning and woollens
  • Stylish designs and innovative technology

Top Brand Washing Machines

Lastly is the category I can only call the holy grail of bags. Yes, the product of handbag royalty can only be the Chanel calfskin classic. This elusive piece (and I say elusive because of the price not because of desire from women everywhere) is the one bag that is timeless, never goes out of fashion and can be passed onto daughter with much envy to their peers.

If you are lucky enough to own one I salute you. If like me it is a toss-up between the mortgage and the bag I also salute you for understanding the importance of this creation in our lives. Washer price points from here on in are £650+, cheaper than a Chanel but hopefully the same in their build quality, look and value for money.

In this price point capacity can range from 7kg to 11kg. Focus at the top end is very much on two things –garment care and machines that are built to last. Denim wash is a programme introduced and if you spend a lot on jeans I cannot recommend enough having a specific programme to stop them fading. Also consider the type of drum – brands at the top end of the market create their own drums in order to protect clothing by filtering water and moving the clothes around in different ways.

A good example of washers in this price point are the Miele W-1914 (left) and the Miele W5748 (right). These washers, although priced at around £999, have a 10 year guarantee on parts and labour so you do not need to worry about replacement for a while.

They have 7kg honeycomb drums which take better care of your clothes and instead of the drum being secured with concrete all internals are made with cast iron. They also have the important denim wash for keeping dark jeans dark. To me these washers are almost worth half a Chanel bag (unless I have the other half and could actually afford the bag).

To summarise, look at the bullet points below for what to look for:-

  • Capacity range from 7kg to 11kg
  • Specific garment care such as Denim wash
  • Individually designed drums to protect clothing
  • Durability

So there you have it from Primark to Chanel, Dials to LCD, KGs to energy and more. I hope this has been interesting and gives you some insight into travelling through the range of washers at Comet. My final comment would be to say once you have decided on a budget always look out for sale deals as they could potentially put the product you could not afford into your price bracket. As all shoppers know, everyone loves a bargain.

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