Sharp ES-GFD814QW3

Score

Pros

  • Energy efficient across programmes
  • Solid wash and spin results
  • Plenty of options
  • Quiet wash and spin
  • Low water use
  • Good value

Cons

  • Complicated to master
  • Eco wash over six hours!
  • Not eco with half loads
  • Possibly too many options

Key Features

  • Review Price: £399.00
  • A+++ energy rating
  • 1400rpm max spin
  • 8kg load capacity
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • 15 wash programmes
  • 15-minute quick wash
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What is the Sharp ES-GFD814QW3?

Sharp’s latest ES-GFD814QW3 comes to the TrustedReviews test bench promising to be the world’s quietest washing machine thanks to its high-tech inverter motor. It’s super-eco with an A+++ energy rating, sips water, and has one of the largest arrays of programmes, options and dedicated stain cycles we’ve ever seen!

On test it’s quiet, if not quite world-beating; it washes well and lives up to it’s A+++ billing, as long as you stick to full loads. The sheer number of options, the scrolling display and recalcitrant touch buttons are a challenge to get to grips with. However, there’s no denying that the ES-GFD814QW3 offers great performance and an enviable features list for the money.

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Sharp ES-GFD814QW3 – What is it like to use?

World’s quietest washer is a big claim from Sharp for its ES-GFD814QW3, especially when the asking price is a relatively affordable £399. We’ve experienced many quiet washers, but few at this price.

The energy label backs up Sharp’s claim, stating a stunning 39dB for wash noise. That sort of level is usually reserved for very quiet fridge freezers. Strangely, then, the spin noise is stated as 74dB – which is far more average for a washer at this price. Either way, the figures have earned it Quiet Mark accreditation.

The full LCD panel is a very nice touch at this price, too, and delivers plenty of information. The larger top portion of the display spells out the programme function and delivers key parameters such as temperature, spin speed and wash time. The lower, lighter-coloured band ties in with a row of touch-sensitive option buttons below the display. Using the far-right button, this section scrolls vertically through a few menu layers of symbol-based options.

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That combined with slightly reticent touch buttons didn’t make for the slickest operation from the get go, although it did become more familiar with use. The same can be said of the lack of obvious on/off button. Off is the vertical position on the dial and any rotation to a programme powers up the machine. The knob itself has a nicely roughened texture and a tactile click.

Pull out the soap drawer and you’re immediately struck by its vivid turquoise colour on the inside. The drawer is set up for the usual array of powder, conditioner and pre-wash, and has a removable liquid detergent tray. The double-glazed door opens with ease, revealing an equally turquoise-blue rubber door seal and a reasonable-sized drum with turquoise paddles.

There didn’t appear to be a reason for the turquoise colour-fest but it certainly makes a change from 50 shades of grey.. as it were.

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Before first use, there are a series of set-up options including language, beeps, screen contrast and defining times of day for low-rate electricity. Scroll through its 15 main programmes and you’re also presented with a vast array of options, from defining one of three levels of soiling, to saving custom programmes and Allergy UK approved cycles to no less than 22 stain-specific wash options.

The ES-GFD814QW3 is a spectacularly well-featured machine in terms of washes and options, but that does rather go hand-in-hand with making for fairly complicated machine to set-up and use.

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Sharp ES-GFD814QW3 – How noisy is it?

As soon as the inverter motor begins to turn the drum, you can understand how this machine has the potential to deliver a wash noise quieter than most fridge freezers. It really is that quiet.

However, while that motor is super-hushed, other wash noises aren’t so librarian about proceedings – including noisy water in-rush and a waste pump that itself puts out 55dB when the machine is emptying. There isn’t the overall sound insulation you might get on premium washers, plus the noise of water and clothes sloshing about all add up to a wash noise that in reality averaged 44dB in our tests.

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While that misses its 39dB claim by quite a mark, it’s still one very quiet washing machine. Few similarly priced models get close to being this quiet.

The good news continues on the spin noise, too. The quiet motor and smooth drum bearings keep things hushed when your smalls are pinned to the drum walls at 1400rpm. The upshot is that we measured spin noise some 5dB quieter than the claimed 74dB at a very respectable 69dB on full spin.

So while the energy label noise and Sharps’ claims might not bear out in the real world, the ES-GFD814QW3 remains a very quiet washing machine.

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Sharp ES-GFD814QW3 – What programmes does it have?

If you’re the sort of person that only ever uses one or two programmes and never tweaks the options, best skip to the next section of this review. The ES-GFD814QW3 offers a frankly staggering array of core programmes, sub-programmes and wash options.

The key Cotton wash is the standard program on which the energy ratings are based. As a 40oC wash – shown as 40e in the display to underline its eco-credentials – the programme inputs a lot of dwell and soak time to get the best wash with the minimum resources. The upshot is a genuine world first… the first washer we’ve ever tested with an Eco wash that takes over six hours!

Yes, that’s a 6hr 10min wash at 40oC – and 10 minutes longer if you go for the 60oC version. In reality, we found the Sharp’s sensors reduced this time for lighter soiled loads to around four hours, but with a dirty load expect a seriously lengthy wash.

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The rest of the core programmes are designed significantly for less than 8kg loads, and many offer several sub-programmes to further define the load. For example, turn the dial to Synthetics and the display buttons provide the option to specify synthetic clothing or curtains. Turn to Delicates and you get to choose between wool and silk-specific washes.

As an antithesis to the epic duration Eco programmes, the Sharp counters with a rapid 15-minute wash. This is a 30oC-only programme for loads up to 3kg and is for lightly soiled garments. It did deliver the wash consistently in 15 minutes.

Another stand-out is the night wash programme. This pauses the cycle before spinning and holds the washing in clean water until you arise the following morning and release it to spin dry.

Alongside the Sharp’s 15 main programmes is one of the most comprehensive suites of stain-specific wash options we’ve seen. As an add-on to key programmes, you can tailor the wash to best address the likes of blood, coffee, red wine, engine oil, fruit stains and grass. Including the catch-all ‘mixed’ stain setting, there are 22 specific stain options.

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In core programmes such as the Cottons cycles, dirty water sensors adjust wash times and how the machine washes according to the load. Choose one of the more niche programmes, or any of the stain options, and you get to select one of three levels of soiling. We did wonder how you’d define what constituted light, medium and heavy soiling of specifically shirts/blouses with make-up stains, for example. Yes, you really can drill the programmes down to that level of detail.

Sharp ES-GFD814QW3 – How well does it wash?

It’s a good job we have some standard wash tests to run. If we stood in front of the Sharp looking at mixed load with mixed stains, we might end up with a programming and option anxiety attack.

While not unusual, our standard 80% of max load capacity (6.4kg) of typical cotton clothing proved simply to voluminous for the drum. We had to remove around 1kg of garments, running a full load with around 5.5kg of washing. That’s still a very big pile of T-shirts, shirts, jeans and towels.

After we’d stopped gawping at the Sharps’ indicated 6hrs 10mins for the standard 40oC Cotton wash, we loaded up with a leading-brand non-bio detergent and our standard stain strip. This was stained with blood, coffee, turmeric, cranberry, ketchup and engine oil and left to dry on for 24 hours.

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Some time later… this main wash had used almost 1.0kWh of electricity and 50 litres of water. Both are very good figures and certainly within A+++ for an 8kg machine. Given we had to reduce the wash load to 5.5kg to fit it in the drum, the figures aren’t quite so great per kilogram of washing, but this Sharp comfortably rates as a very economical machine to run.

Moreover, wash results proved impressive. Perhaps thanks to the very long wash time, our test stain strip was very well addressed, with most of the easier stains reduced to near-invisible or removed altogether. The turmeric and engine oil hung in there tenaciously as usual, but both were significantly reduced. If you were to use bio powder as well, the Sharp would deliver super wash results all round – and that’s without engaging any of its dedicated stain options.

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We ran a variety of other wash loads over the course of two weeks of testing and results were generally positive. It’s difficult to determine how much more useful adding the ‘tomato stain’ option is over a standard wash, but the machine handled the aftermath of a hand-eye coordination failure with bolognese sauce quite well.

Spin efficiency is just about on the money – if not exceptional – for a 1400 spin machine, with full loads retaining around 33-34% extra load weight in water. Smaller loads with a little more spinning space showed a consistent 32-33%. Those figures are commensurate with most mid-range 1400 spin machines, although premium models with innovative drum designs do get a few per cent lower.

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Sharp ES-GFD814QW3 – How much will it cost to run?

Both water and energy consumption remainedpretty much the same whether you were washing a full or half load. On the Cotton Eco 40 wash this was 1.0kWh and 50 litres for a full load, and 1.0kWh and 49.5 litres for a half load on the same programme.

For a full load those figures are pretty healthy and tick that A+++ energy box per kilogram of washing. With no saving for a half load, though, the cost per kilogram of washing simply doubles if you halve the load. Clearly, you should be saving up for big washes to make the most of the ES-GFD814QW3’s A+++ energy efficiency.

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Interestingly, using just 50 litres of water was a theme across many programmes, including the super-frugal Eco 20 cool wash. Again, around 50 litres of water is quite the water saving, and energy for this super-frugal wash went down to just 0.45kWh for a full load.

We’d normally calculate energy use as 240 washes a year with 40 of those at half load. Since that won’t make any difference to the final figures, 240 washes per year on Cotton 40 will use 240kwh and 12,000 litres of water. At 15p per kWh average, that’s around £36 in electricity and £42 in water if you’re paying an average of £3.50 per cubic meter supply and waste. If you do use the Eco 20 programme then expect to halve the 15p per load average electricity running cost.

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Should I buy the Sharp ES-GFD814QW3?

The new Sharp is a very quiet washing machine with good eco credentials with full loads, and more programmes and options than you can wave a month’s worth of mixed washing at. The sheer scope of options, stain cycles and tweaks doesn’t make for simple and straightforward use, however, and the multi-layer menus on the LCD panel require a bit of tech-savvy to master.

Yet for the affordable asking price, the features, wash results, low running costs and low noise make the effort of getting to grips with the operational complexity well worthwhile.

Verdict

A very well-featured, great-performing eco-washer with masses of options – but it will take some learning.

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