There’s no way that you can live without a washing machine: it really is an essential part of modern living. Choosing the best washing machine isn’t as easy as you think: do you need certain special cleaning modes? What about a large drum? How well does a machine actually clean? These and other questions ensure that the choice is more complicated than you thin, which is where we come in.
We’ve reviewed washing machines at every budget from every major manufacturer. Our tests are the best you can find, as we actually get machines in, test them with real clothes and real stains, so that we can tell you which ones are best. Out of everything that we’ve reviewed, there are two washing machines that stand out.
For the ultimate performance and convenience, the Samsung QuickDrive WW6800 (WW80M6450PW) comes highly recommended. Cleverly, it allows you to pause a cycle mid-wash, to open a small drawer and drop in that sock you may have missed. For those on a tight budget, the Indesit MyTime EWD 81482 is a great choice, costing less than £300, yet managing to clean effectively.
How we pick the best washing machines
The only way to recommend washing machines is to test them thoroughly. We put every single machine through the same in-depth tests, which allows us to accurately compare models.
We’ve picked a range of washing machines, from a basic model that costs £249, running up to a far more feature-packed appliance at £899.
For each machine, we measure the power and water usage, which lets us accurately work out running costs and efficiency. It’s our wash tests that make our reviews stand out, giving you the confidence to buy a machine that has the cleaning power you need.
Here’s an example ‘test stain’ strip that is placed in every washing machine we test. It features wine, blood, ketchup, coffee, fruit juice and oil – it will be placed inside every machine we test, and washed using a branded non-bio 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. There’s just a hint of oil remaining, which is normal given we use a non-bio detergent.
Here’s the result from a less proficient machine, one 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 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 lots of money to get a machine that will do the job well. Some models in our list of best washing machines cost less than £300.
1. Samsung QuickDrive WW6800 (WW80M6450PW)
Incredibly low running costs, fast wash action and the ability to add washing mid-cycle make this machine stand out.
- Excellent wash results
- Speedy washing
- Effective spin
- Brilliant AddWash door
- Low running costs
- Very, very quiet
- Variable finish time
- Two-rinse default
The Samsung QuickDrive WW6800 (WW80M6450PW) is the pinnacle of washing machine technology. QuickDrive is built in, promising fast washes with great performance. We can safely say that this washing machine washes clothes faster than its competitors, and does a brilliant job of getting stains out of clothes: on the cotton programme, we estimated saving around an hour of washing time. This makes it easier to forgive the optimistic display, which always shows a very optimistic end time for loads, and inevitably ends up increasing the run time as the machine starts running.
As with previous Samsung washing machines, this model has AddWash, so you can use the small door to add extra items (the odd missed sock or two) to the machine mid-wash. That’s more useful than you might think and saves those momements of frustration.
Throw in low running costs, app-based control and very quiet operation and the Samsung QuickDrive WW6800 (WW80M6450PW) is the ultimate washing machine.
Read our full Samsung QuickDrive WW6800 (WW80M6450PW) review
2. Indesit MyTime EWD 81482
A great washing machine for those on a tight budget.
- Speedy programmes
- Easy to use
- Fairly quiet spin
- Decent stain removal
- Good value
- Poor spin results
- Small porthole
- Cramped drum
- Poor half load eco
- Knobs can be slippy
The Indesit EWD 81482 is a budget machine that offers a relatively quiet spin, sensor load adjustment and a host of standard programs that take less than an hour to complete. While the drum is cramped for an 8kg machine, this affordable washer is great for doing sensibly sized loads while keeping your energy bills trim.
In our tests, wash results were good for a model at this price point, and our test stain strip cleaned up relatively well, even using non-bio powder. A nice touch is the LED indicator on the right side of the fascia, which tells you what stage the wash cycle the machine is at.
It’s a neat and tidy appliance that’s easy to operate, which makes it a no-brainer for those on a budget when you consider its overall washing performance and energy efficiency.
3. Whirlpool FreshCare FWG81496W
A well-priced washing machine packed with features
- Great cleaning performance
- Simple to use
- Efficient with half loads
- Easy-to-read display
- FreshCare+ works well
- Higher running costs than expected
- So-so spin performance
- Creasing on full loads
- Not that quiet
The Whirlpool FreshCare FWG81496W isn’t a particularly exciting washing machine, but it’s well priced and gets the basics right: it washes very well, it’s easy to use and it will comfortably handle its maximum load.
While some of its features are a little questionable, but there are some neat options. FreshCare+ helps keep your clothes smelling nice after a wash cycle by gentle tumbling them and injecting steam. This works for up to six hours, and could be handy if you start a cycle and aren’t sure when you’ll be back to unload.
Wash performance was very good, although the FWG81496W had a tendancy to twist things into a creased mess, which could make ironing a bit of a chore. Overall, then, this a solid and reliable washing machine at a good price.
Read our full Whirlpool FreshCare FWG81496W review
3. Blomberg LWF29441W
A great-price washing machine with tonnes of features
- Super-low running costs on Eco
- Excellent programme selection
- Very quiet wash and spin
- Inspiring build quality
- Top-spec inverter motor
- Not 9kg real-world capacity
- Average spin efficiency
- Non-Eco cycles are costly
Solid and inspiring build quality, a wide selection of programmes and excellent cleaning performance make the Blomberg LWF29441W one of the best machines around at the £400 price. It’s A+++ rating puts its running costs nice and low for a machine that cleans so well, and the full-load fast wash is a winner, delivering a thorough clean in just over 30 minutes.
The machine boasts a 9kg capacity, but we reckon 7.5-8kg is about the maximum realistic capacity it can handle before you have to cram in clothes, which would impact wash performance. Still, that’s a decent-sized load, and the supremely effective Eco Cottons cycle makes up for any load size misgivings.
There’s a 16-strong programme list with a great range of cycles, including a super-fast 14-minute wash to freshen up 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. Few machines offer such good build quality and features for this price.
Read our full Blomberg LWF29441W review
4. Miele WDB020
The innovative CapDosing system and great build quality make this machine a winner.
- Exceptionally easy to use
- Great wash results
- Potentially amazing efficiency
- Very low water consumption
- Choice of innovative Caps
- Limited 7kg drum size
- Half loads not as efficient
- Eco cycle not the most eco
- Only average spin efficiency
- No caps supplied
The Miele WDB020 is one of the most affordable washing machines in Miele’s appliance catalogue, with pricing starting at a reasonable £650. For your money, you get an A+++ energy rated 1400-spin machine with Miele’s innovative CapDosing system, which makes it an outright steal.
In tests, the WDB020 delivered great wash results and was wonderfully simple to use. This coupled with its stellar build quality and spectacularly good energy and water efficiency make it a great choice for small families on a budget. The 20-minute quick wash is also a godsend if you find yourself needing to do an emergency wash.
Larger families may want to look elsewhere, however – the WDB020 has a limited 7kg drum capacity. People in flats should also be aware it isn’t the quietest machine around and could lead to some complaints from neighbours one floor below.
Read our full Miele WDB020 review
5. Samsung AddWash WW80K6414QW
A high-end washing machine that lets you add items mid-wash.
- Amazingly frugal Super Eco Wash
- Excellent AddWash feature
- Smart Control app control
- Good stain removal test
- Even quieter than label states
- High water use on standard Cotton wash
If you think you’re immune to getting giddy over a washing machine, think again. With Samsung’s AddWash feature and app-based Smart Control, the Samsung AddWash WW80K6414QW has more bells and whistles than any washing machine to have ever graced our testing room.
So what’s AddWash, and why should you be excited about it? Simple yet genius, the AddWash feature lets you pause the washing cycle, open a small drawer built into the door and add small items such as socks and undies that you might have dropped on your way to load the machine. Brilliant.
Speaking of pausing, the WW80K6414QW’s Smart Control feature is just as exciting. With an app on your phone, you can start, stop and pause a cycle any time – and even receive notifications when your load is done.
Along with a nigh-on unbeatable estimated yearly running cost of just £33, a solid array of programmes and great washing performance, the WW80K6414QW is a great choice.
Read our full Samsung AddWash WW80K6414QW review
6. Whirlpool FSCR10432
A very quiet washing machine with great cleaning performance.
- Quietest washer on the market
- Extremely energy efficient
- Huge programme and options list
- FreshCare post-wash tumble
- Low water use
- Effective 1400rpm spin
- Average stain removal in standard wash
- Programme/load specific performance
- No delay start
The kitchen is a noisy enough place without the infernal rumbling of a washing machine. But worry no more, because the Whirlpool FSCR10432 is here to restore domestic peace and tranquillity. Part of the brand’s top-spec SupremeCare series, it packs in sensor load detection, water-jet washing, a gentle wave-motion drum, and a tumbling cycle once the wash is complete to keep it from stagnating. And its most important feature of all? Silence.
This feat is down to a new traction motor system. In our regular cycle tests, the FSCR10432 hummed gently along at an average of 44-45dB, peaking at 48db at faster spins. If there’s anything going on in your kitchen much nosier than someone reading a Sunday paper, you simply won’t hear this machine. Peace at last.
Along with its stealthy silence, the FSCR10432 packs in a whopping 18 programmes and a respectable wash. You probably do need to leverage all of these programmes to make the most of this machine’s performance. After being left disappointed by the machine’s main wash stain results, we had to turn to the Intensive and Bio Stain options.
Read our full Whirlpool FSCR10432 review
7. Whirlpool SupremeCare FSCR12441
A dream to use, super quiet and low running costs make this a great high-end machine
- Extremely good Eco wash
- Genuinely high-load capacity
- Great wash results
- Auto-dosing detergent
- Good app features
- Lowest running costs we have tested!
- Epic long Eco wash time
One washing machines that received a rare five-star rating in our tests, the Whirlpool SupremeCare FSCR12441 is a top performer and a dream to use. Plus, it delivers on its A+++ energy rating to offer some of the lowest running costs we’ve ever seen. With its huge 12kg capacity and whisper-quiet 50dB-ish noise level, sadly that means it comes at a big price. Nevertheless, we’re confident that the budget stretch is worth it.
So what does a £900 washing machine do that others can’t? For starters, it has Whirlpool’s 6th Sense load and turbidity (dirtiness)-sensing technology, which will automatically dose the load with exactly the right amount of detergent and conditioner to limit waste.
There’s also a 6th Sense app, giving you the power to control the machine from your phone, along with wash-selection and alerts. Perhaps most innovative is the app’s ability to synchronise the FSCR12441 washer with the HSCX10441 dryer, which is pretty neat.
That big budget also buys you simplicity: the SupremeCare FSCR1244 is incredibly easy to set up and navigate, with a crisp LCD panel spelling out exactly what you’ve selected alongside direct symbol buttons for each wash programme. There are eight everyday programmes alongside a further eight special cycles.
The level of detail displayed on the panel is superb, including graphs to denote how frugal (or not) your selected options are. Put simply, it’s one of, if not the best sub-£1000 washing machine we’ve ever tested.
Read our full Whirlpool SupremeCare FSCR12441 review
8. LG Centum FH6F9BDS2
The ultimate washing machine: powerful, quiet, cheap to run and with a huge capacity.
Super-efficient acoss programmes
Great wash results
Excellent spin efficiency
Speedy normal programmes
Finicky touch controls
Some instructions not clear
Single programme download
You didn’t read the price wrong, the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 really is that expensive. So, why pay this much? The simple answer is because of the quality that you get. For starters, there’s the enormous 12kg capacity, which means you can fit in large loads and big items, such as duvets, with ease.
Next, there’s a direct drive motor, rather than using a belt. This gives the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 a 6-Motion drum action, which improves wash quality and makes the washing machine very quiet. Then, you get the steam option, for refreshing clothes and killing bacteria, all backed up with app-controlled programmes designed specifically for different types of clothes.
Impressively, the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 is super-efficient and has an A+++ rating across the board. With its excellent cleaning performance and all-round quality, the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 is the ultimate machine for those that need impressive results and want to clean large loads.
Read our full LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 review
Those are our top picks of the best washing machines. If you want to know more about washing machines and what to look out for when buying one, then read on.
Best washing machine – What size drum do I need?
Washing machines have different drum sizes. These are measured in kg, and tell you the maximum weight of dry washing that you can put in. The bigger the number, the larger the drum and the more washing that you can do in one load. Larger drum sizes are also useful if you want to wash more generously sized items, such as duvets. Typically, most households will find that a minimum of a 6kg drum will do for weekly washing; go for 8kg or larger if you have a lot of washing or regularly wash larger items.
Best washing machine – What spin speed do I need?
Spin speeds, measured in revolutions per minute (rpm), tell you how fast the drum spins. The faster a drum spins, the more water can be expelled from your clothes, leaving them drier when the cycle is complete. This cuts down the time that your clothes have to be hung up for, and can reduce the time needed in a tumble drier. Budget machines tend to spin slower. If you want the best performance, look for a machine rated at 1400rpm or 1600rpm.
Best washing machine – What are efficiency ratings?
All electrical appliances have an energy certificate that tells you how efficient they are, with A+++ at the top and A at the bottom. The more efficient the machine, the lower the running costs. We work out the running costs of each machine, based on typical usage, so you can compare total running costs.
Best washing machine – What wash modes do I need?
All washing machines will give you basic wash modes for cottons and synthetics, plus half load or eco options. If you want to clean a wider variety of clothes, look for the wash modes to match. Woolmark certification is essential if you want to wash woollen items; a silk wash is useful; and a handwash mode can save the drudgery of washing delicate items.
Best washing machine – What temperature should I wash at?
All washing machines have a variety of temperature settings from which to choose. Our reviews demonstrate how well each mode performs, but there are some general tips. Washing at the cold setting (20ºC or below) is great for lightly soiled items and reduces running costs. Most normal clothing can be cleaned at 30ºC or 40ºC. A higher 60ºC wash is useful for very soiled items or to reduce bacteria, such as on towels or underwear. Some machines even have a 90ºC wash, which you shouldn’t need very often, but could be handy to run as an empty cycle to keep the inside of your machine in tip-top, bacteria-free condition.
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