Blomberg LWF29441W

Score

Pros

  • Super-low running costs on Eco
  • Excellent programme selection
  • Very quiet wash and spin
  • Inspiring build quality
  • Top-spec inverter motor

Cons

  • Not 9kg real-world capacity
  • Average spin efficiency
  • Non-Eco cycles are costly

Key Features

  • Review Price: £389.99
  • 9kg load capacity
  • A+++ energy efficiency
  • Full-load fast wash in 32 mins
  • Hand Wash programme
  • Inverter motor with 10-year guarantee

What is the Blomberg LWF29441W?

Hot from your local independent electrical retailer comes Blomberg’s 9kg, 1400rpm-spin, A+++ energy-rated LWF29441W washing machine. Solid and inspiring build quality, a wide selection of programmes, LCD panel and a full-load fast wash in just over 30 minutes all look great value.

More than justifying its A+++ badge, this machine’s Eco programme uses minimal electricity and sips water for the lowest possible running costs. It’s quieter than some machines we’ve tested well above its asking price, too.

The drum is a little cramped to claim a proper 9kg load capacity, spin efficiency could be a better, and operation can take some getting used – but none of these issues detract too much from the LWF29441W’s great value and very low potential running costs.

Blomberg LWF29441W – What is it like to use?

If we rated an appliance on build quality alone, Blomberg’s LWF29441W washing machine would score very highly indeed. It’s a true heavyweight with solid feeling controls, positive buttons and a robust handle, neatly concealed in the door surround. It looks the part with a clear trim ring around the controller knob, gloss-black door and crisp blue LCD panel.

There’s plenty in the specification worth shouting about, too. It’s a large capacity 9kg machine with a 1400 maximum spin and a whopping A+++ rating for energy efficiency. The 16-programme list has a good range of cycles, including a super-fast 14-minute wash to freshen up small, lightly soiled loads. High-quality touches include an inlet hose with a built-in mechanical safety shut-off valve to stop flooding in the event of a failure, and a high-tech inverter motor with a 10-year guarantee.

Given that Blomberg is available exclusively from independent electrical retailers, you might expect a premium price for this level of build and specification. Not so – the LWF29441W comes in comfortably under £400. While that’s no bargain-basement price for a washing machine, few offer such good build quality and features at the price.

That build translates into very solid yet slightly clunky controls. While the programme knob is easy to grasp and turns effortlessly, the soap drawer and door handle are best described as “firm” bordering on “stiff”. The main on/off and square buttons beneath the display need a fair prod to engage, too.
 
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While programme selection is straightforward enough, the options buttons and long arrays of LED indicators on the display can be a little confusing at first. Arguably, a larger LCD panel with graphic icons might have been easier initially – but you soon get used to the illuminated dots beside the white legends on the display. Scrolling through them with the buttons below is simple enough.

The soap drawer comes with a separate insert for liquid detergent, and down at the bottom of the machine is a small flap concealing the pump filter. The huge and rather stylish door swings open to the left to reveal a mid-sized porthole and a stainless steel drum – which looks a little shallow for a full 9kg load.

Sure enough, we couldn’t get the full 9kg of mixed cotton clothing in the drum. For typical loads of shirts, socks, trousers and smalls, we reckon 7.5-8kg is about the maximum realistic capacity the Blomberg can handle before you need to squash in the load, which would limit wash performance.

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Blomberg LWF29441W – How noisy is it?

The great build quality and inverter motor also leads to super-quiet operation. Despite the single-glazed door, which does allow water sploshing noises to be heard, the LWF29441W turned in a spectacularly quiet performance. From its first rotation this machine is wow-factor quiet, which for a machine costing less than £400 is superb.

That alone does make us wonder where the energy label figures of 56dB for wash noise and 77dB for maximum spin originate. While they’d be acceptable for a mid-priced machine, we measured an average of just 48dB for wash noise, with only the odd rotation and click of the programmer getting above 50dB.

As the spin builds up to its 1400rpm best, our Blomberg emitted just 70dB – some 7dB lower than claimed on the energy label! As ever, since this seemed almost too good to be true, we recalibrated the test equipment and tested another wash load…. only to get exactly the same super-quiet figures for a second time. Clearly, the LWF29441W is going to be a solid choice if you want some peace and quite while washing.

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Blomberg LWF29441W – What programmes does it have?

Heading up the LWF29441W’s 16-strong list of programmes are Cottons and Cottons Eco. The latter cycle is used for energy efficiency testing, so will achieve the most frugal resource results at the expense of time… it isn’t quick at 3hrs 19mins.

Other main washes include a 4kg Synthetics wash, a 2kg Woolens cycle approved by Woolmark, and an ultra-cool 20-degree Delicates wash for a 4kg load. The 1kg Hand Wash cycle will also be useful for super-delicate items. The Hygeine+ programme is approved by the British Allergy Foundation and is a very hot wash with additional rinsing to ensure allergens are cleaned away.

A Dark Wash for dark colours, dedicated Shirts programme for lightweight cotton or mixed-material garments, and a general “throw it all in” Mix 40 40-degree wash are all solid programme choices. This machine’s Bedding programme is specifically geared for duvets, begging the question why it wasn’t called a “duvet” programme. It will wash fibre-filled duvets on 40 degrees and reduces spin speed to 1000rpm to ensure the fibres stay fluffed up for warmth.

Sports garments are catered for in the 4kg Sportswear programme, although there’s no specific option for cleaning training shoes with this machine.

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For those looking to get their wash load done in a hurry, this Blomberg has two very handy quick-wash cycles. The Fast Full Load programme is for lightly soiled loads and unstained washing of mixed fabrics, and you can fill the drum. Run-time is dependent on the temperature you select for the wash, but choose a cooler temperature and you can expect a full load to be washed, rinsed and spun in just over half an hour.

If you find the main programmes too lengthy, hitting the Shorter Wash option will reduce run-time at the expense of some cleaning, rinsing and spinning performance.

Need an even quicker wash? The Mini 14 programme caters for just a 2kg mixed load but charges through the wash, rinse and spin in less than 15 minutes. Don’t expect cleaning miracles from this wash, but for lightly soiled small loads in hurry it’s quick and energy efficient.

For most programmes you have the options of adding a Pre-Wash for extra dirty loads and Rinse Plus for an additional rinse phase, removing all traces of detergent for sensitive skin.

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Rinse Hold makes a welcome return; this has become a less popular feature recently. If you’re unable to unload your washing immediately then Rinse Hold pauses the wash before the last rinse, ensuring clean washing doesn’t sit around in the drum.

The Blomberg’s End Time function goes one better than a delay start in that you can specify when you want the wash to complete. The machine will self-calculate the start time depending on the programme and then set End Time. Finally, there’s a child lock to lock off the machine’s control panel from small inquisitive fingers.

Overall, the LWF29441W offers a solid set or programmes and very useful options.

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Blomberg LWF29441W – How well does it wash?

Traditionally, we run a full load as 80% of the stated maximum capacity and a half load as 40%. Real-world washing, including screwed-up shirts and the like, tend to be quite bulky, so the reduction is an allowance for that.

However, the LWF29441W’s claimed 9kg load capacity proved rather ambitious. We struggled to get our 80% (7.2kg) load of mixed clothing, tea towels and sheets into the machine without having to compress the load, which generally leads to poor wash performance. In the end, we reduced our “full” load to 6.4kg to give the clothing some chance of moving around and being cleaned.

Our test stain strip included blood, wine, ketchup, turmeric, coffee and engine oil, all allowed to dry on for at least 24 hours. The Cottons Eco cycle did a reasonable clean of the strip, eliminating the wine, ketchup and coffee stains completely. There was the faintest hint of the blood stain, while the turmeric and stubborn engine oil were clearly still visible. This would rate as an average stain-removal result for a mid-priced machine, but given the super-low energy and water consumption, it perhaps isn’t that surprising.

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Switching to the standard Cottons programme, it was clear that the additional water and power usage had a positive effect on cleaning performance. On this stain strip, the blood stain had vanished, while the turmeric and engine oil were significantly reduced – albeit at the expense of the doubling of the running costs.

Spin performance was  good, if not exceptional, for mid-priced 1400-spin machine. Both full-load and half-load test washes retained around 35-36% of their weight in residual water after the full cycle and maximum spin. We’ve seen 1400 machines range from 32% to 40%, so this Blomberg is solidly mid-table for spin efficiency.

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Blomberg LWF29441W – How much will it cost to run?

Comfortably living up to its A+++ energy rating, the LWF29441W Cotton Eco programme is a super-frugal cycle to run, particularly if you stick to larger loads. Our first full load on Cottons Eco used just under 1kWh of electricity, or around 15p, which is very good indeed for well over 6kg of real washing.

However, we were even more impressed by the Blomberg’s water usage. The same full load used just 50 litres of water, which is around 20 litres less than many comparably priced machines on the market. Again, we double- and triple-checked our results, but this Blomberg never failed to impress us with its low water use on the Cottons Eco cycle.

If you wash a much smaller load, around 3.8kg in our test case, consumption figures drop again – but not linearly with the size of load. In fact, water and electricity consumption on the Cottons Eco programme with a half load is only around 10-15% lower than a full load. For the full A+++ Eco credentials, a good full drum is essential.

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Yet outside of the Cottons Eco cycle, the Blomberg’s consumption figures score a rather poor average across the board. For example, the standard Cottons programme with a full load used a fairly serious 2.3kWh of electricity and 88 litres of water. That said, wash performance was also improved over the Eco version of the programme, so maybe this is one cycle to save for super-dirty washing.

If you were to use the Cottons Eco programme for 200 full loads and 20 half loads, and the standard Cottons programme for 20 half loads that needed a bit of extra cleaning gumption, the LWF29441W will return supremely low running costs.

That scenario of washing over a year would cost you around £35 in electricity consumption and save you even more in water if you’re a metered customer. In fact, the LWF29441W’s water use is one of the lowest we’ve seen for our 240 annual washes at a little over 12,000 litres. At around £3.50 per cubic average metered water and waste charge, that equates to just £42 per year.

Stick predominantly to the Eco Cottons programme with good-sized loads and this Blomberg is a real star for keeping both your running costs and your carbon footprint as low as possible.

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Should I buy the Blomberg LWF29441W?

The LWF29441W is another great addition to Blomberg’s impressive lineup of domestic appliances. Using the Eco Cottons cycle it turns in fabulously low running costs, thanks to frugal water and electricity use, and doesn’t give too much away in wash performance while doing so.

For tougher washes, the standard programmes clean well but double the running costs. Its drum is on the small side for a 9kg load, and the spin efficiency is only average. However, those minor niggles aside, the LWF29441W is great value to buy and run.

Verdict

A solidly built, good-value machine that offers impressively low running costs on Eco programmes.

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