It may not be the funnest purchase, but it’s important to do your research when buying a new washing machine. Get one that’s not big enough to deal with your needs, or too loud for your living space and every wash will quickly go from a chore to an outright annoyance.
Here to help we’ve put more washing machines through their paces than we can count to help offer you clear buying advice about which are best.
Our pick of top washing machines includes models from major brands such as Hotpoint, Samsung and Whirlpool, with prices ranging from as little as £250 to above the £1000 mark.
We examine the washing performance and power of every washing machine we test, and we know what constitutes a good and bad cleaning result. We scrutinise all areas from the design, capacity and range of programmes. We’ll even tell you how good a machine is at tackling tougher stains, like red wine and oil.
For more details on how we test, see below, then keep reading for our pick of the best washing machines on the market.
Related: Best tumble dryers
What’s the difference between a good and a bad washing machine?
We examine the washing performance and power use of every washing machine we test, but what’s the difference between the best washing machines and plain bad ones?
Here’s an example ‘test stain’ that we use in every washing machine we test. It features wine, blood, ketchup, coffee, fruit juice and oil – we put similar test strips in every machine we test and use a branded non-bio washing detergent.
This is what a test strip looks like after a standard cotton wash in one of our recommended washing machines. Almost all the stains are entirely removed with just a hint of oil, which is normal given we use a non-bio detergent.
Here’s the result from a less proficient machine that didn’t receive such a glowing review. The oil is almost untouched, while the wine (far left), coffee (middle) and fruit juice (second from right) are still clearly visible.
That’s a very poor result, but it’s important to know that there are cheap machines that wash well and do so efficiently. More expensive machines do typically wash better and have more features, but you don’t have to spend loads of money to get a good machine – some in our best washing machines cost less than £300.