With its A-rated wash cycle, the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK is one of the cheapest washer-dryers to run for washing. While its tumble drying, in line with all washer-dryers, isn’t quite as efficient, it’s still good as far as all-in-one machines go. As a washing machine, this model is excellent, cleaning stains well even at a temperature of 20C. If you want a washer-dryer that, first and foremost, is an excellent washing machine, this is the model to buy.
- Low running costs for washing
- Excellent stain removal at low temperatures
- Wide choice of cleaning programmes
- Confusing dry-only options
- Drying cycles are expensive
- TypeThis is a freestanding washer-dryer.
- CapacityThis machine can take 8kg of washing and 6kg for drying.
- Energy ratingThis machine has a D rating for washing and drying and a A rating for washing.
As convenient as they are, washer-dryers are typically much more expensive to run than standalone appliances, particularly for tumble drying.
To save cash, then, it makes sense to focus on buying an appliance that is relatively cheap to run as a washing machine, using the tumble dryer more sparingly, which is exactly what the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK delivers.
With its A-rated 8kg washing machine, this is as efficient as washing machines get, and even the D-rated 6kg tumble drying isn’t too bad as far as washer-dryers go.
Design and features
- Decent choice of programmes
- Slightly fiddly dry-only selection
- Good capacity
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hotpoint’s current styling hits exactly the right balance: eye-catching enough that its appliances look good without being too flashy that they dominate. Externally, the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK looks very similar to the Hotpoint NDB 9635 W UK.
Both have roughly the same layout and programme selections, and the differences are down to size and capacity. Both machines can dry 6kg of washing and have a D-rating, but the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK has a smaller 8kg wash capacity (it’s 9kg on the NDB 9635 W UK), and a higher A-rated wash performance.
For the most part, the NDD8636DAUK is very easy to use, with a clean interface and smart LCD screen on the front. Everything is controlled manually, and this washer-dryer doesn’t have a smart app.
From the main programme dial, you can select from a wide variety of wash and dry programmes, with special ones for Wool, 20C wash, bed & bath, steam refresh and all of the usual options.
Strangely, there’s not a dry-only mode selectable here. Instead, there’s a dry-only button next to the LCD, which can be turned on with any programme selected and puts the washer-dryer into tumble dryer mode. That’s a touch confusing, and a dry-only programme selectable via the main programme dial would have made more sense.
From the LCD, the tumble drying mode can be selected, with a choice of iron, hanging, cupboard and extra dry, and a set timer. I prefer the sensor drying modes, as they’ll shut down early when the clothes are dry enough, helping save cash on running costs.
Wash programmes can also be overridden, picking temperature, spin speed, and extras, such as additional rinsing and steam.
Once all of the options are picked, the display shows the estimated wash time, although this is adjusted during the wash, depending on the load size.
There’s a standard pull-out detergent drawer that can take softener and detergent for pre- and in-wash. While the softener compartment is finished in blue, the wash compartments aren’t marked and I had to check the manual to see which one I should use for the main wash.
There’s no light inside the drum on this model, but it has a fairly large door that makes stuffing larger items, such as bed sheets and towels, easy.
- Competitive washing costs
- Decent drying costs (for a washer dryer)
- Excellent stain removal at low temperatures
I used my standard set of tests for the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK, starting with the Eco 40-60 wash. Measuring water and energy use for my standard 5kg washing laid, I found that a cycle cost 31p, which was 6p per cycle cheaper than the larger NDB 9635 W UK (assuming a unit cost of 34p per kWh).
Clothes came out 35.08% heavier than they went in, which shows that the spin cycle is doing a good job.
Stain removal was excellent. The red wine stain (far left) is still slightly visible, but the vegetable oil, ketchup, orange juice and gravy stains are all largely gone.
Next, I moved onto the Cotton 30C cycle, which used a load more water, and upped electricity costs, resulting in a cycle cost of 48p. That’s still competitive. My clothes added 38.06% in weight, showing that the spin cycle works well. Stain removal was just as good on this cycle.
This machine has a special 20C anti-stain wash that I also tried. Although the electricity and water costs rose, to a total cycle cost of 52p, the stain removal was exceptional. There’s barely any trace of the red wine stain left and, while the ketchup stain is more visible, it’s nothing that a normal Eco 40-60 wash wouldn’t remove.
On this mode, the spin wasn’t quite as efficient, although as my clothes only weighed 42.4% more, there’s not a huge difference between this and a ‘normal’ cycle.
For quick washes, there’s a rapid wash cycle that can take up to 4.5kg of lightly soiled clothes. This resulted in a wash cost of just 23p, although a slower spin speed meant that my clothes were slightly wetter, adding 61.73% in weight.
All washing machines are most efficient when run at a full load. In the UK, on average, 1370kg of clothing is washed per year, which would take the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK 171.25 loads to wash. A full Eco 40-60 load costs 39p per cycle, resulting in a yearly cost of £66.91. That’s cheaper than the larger, Hotpoint NDB 9635 W UK, which can wash the same amount of washing in fewer loads.
The one area that hasn’t been improved is tumble drying. Here, the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK has similar running costs to its sibling.
I started by testing the cupboard dry programme, which results in a running cost of £1.05 – much higher than a traditional tumble dryer, as washer-dryers aren’t as efficient and have to use water during the cycle. On this cycle, I measured my dry clothes as having 96.89% of the water removed, which is enough for them to be folded and put away.
I then measured the cupboard dry setting, which costs 85p per cycle to run in my tests. With this cycle, clothes had 96.14% of water removed, so I’d use this setting and save on the running costs.
Overall, expect to pay around £144 a year in tumble dryer running costs, assuming the UK average of 160, 6kg loads is used.
Should you buy it?
If you want a washer-dryer with low washing costs, this is the model, thanks to its A rating.
If you tumble dry a lot and can buy separates, you’ll get lower running costs by doing so.
It’s nice to see a washer dryer with an A rating for washing, making this one of the cheapest models to run that I have reviewed. Tumble drying is still relatively expensive, although good for a washer-dryer.
It’s a tough decision between this model and the Hotpoint NDB 9635 W UK. Here, you get lower wash costs, but practically the same tumble drying costs, and have to pay a little bit more; the Hotpoint NDB 9635 W UK has a larger capacity but costs more per cycle for washing.
On balance, both machines are good, but I’d spend a little more upfront for the Hotpoint ActiveCare NDD8636DAUK and take its lowing running costs and excellent stain removal at lower temperatures.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every washer dryer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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We test compatibility with the main smart systems (HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT and more) to see how easy each machine is to remote control. Smart washing machines only.
We test each machine with the same stains to see which ones are best at cleaning.
We test with the same sets of clothes for each machine, run through a cycle on our test washing machine, so we can compare energy costs and drying performance between tumble dryers
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It can wash 8kg of clothes and dry 6kg.
No, this washer-dryer is controlled via the programme dial on the front.
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