It isn’t the cheapest washing machine to run, but the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N makes up for this by way of being simple to use and offering excellent stain removal. If you want a washing machine capable of tackling a lot of washing at once, this Indesit will hold 10kg of washing, which comes in at a decent price, then this model gets a lot of things right.
- Simple to use
- Good selection of programmes
- Excellent stain removal on Eco programme
- Not the cheapest to run
- CapacityThis washing machine can hold 10kg of dirty washing
- Energy ratingThis model has a D certification
While much of the competition has introduced fancy features, such as smart apps, the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N is a refreshingly simple machine to use, with all of its features clearly labelled on its front panel. It isn’t the cheapest 10kg machine to use, but you control costs by opting for some of the more economical programmes. There’s nothing to complain about in terms of wash quality, making this a great mid-range washing machine.
Design and Features
- Simple to use
- Good choice of programmes
Sporting a white plastic exterior with blue highlights, with a clearly labelled buttons and programmes, the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N looks plain and simple, gently fading into the background.
It’s super-simple to use, since all of the programmes it offers are available via the dial on the front, and everything is labelled in English. It’s worth referring to the quick start guide to find the best programmes to use. For example, the Cotton 30ºC wash runs with a maximum of 5kg of washing; if you want to use the machine’s full capacity, then you need the standard Cotton wash, which you’ll find listed under Traditionals.
Outside of the selectable options is the Push & Go button, which runs a 30ºC wash programme that lasts just 45 minutes, for a maximum of 5kg of clothes. This is your “everyday” wash button for clothes that have been worn but aren’t particularly dirty.
For most programmes, you can override the default temperature and spin cycle, plus select one of the special stain removal options (Food, Work or Outdoor). There’s also a delayed start button, if you’d like your washing machine to complete a cycle at a specific time.
Once you’ve set your options, the washing machine displays the time remaining for the programme, although this may reduce quicker depending on the amount of washing loaded into the drum.
Open the door, and there’s a generously sized opening to begin loading the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N. My preference is for a machine that includes a light inside the drum, such as the AEG L9FEB969C, since it’s easier to see what I’m doing.
Indesit hasn’t strayed too far from the norm with the detergent drawer. Pull it out and there’s space for pre-wash, washing detergent (liquid or powder) plus fabric softener. The compartments are clearly labelled, too, so you’ll be left in doubt over which cleaning fluid goes where.
- Not that cheap to run
- Excellent stain removal on Eco wash
To test the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N, I put it through my standard tests. First, I started with the Cotton 30ºC wash, loading up with my test washing and stain strip that’s been soiled with (left to right) red wine, orange juice, ketchup, oil and gravy.
The results having completed the first run were pretty good, with just the tough red wine stain that remained. That’s to be expected at this temperature, since nothing but the best washing machines will be able to successfully remove this kind of stain at such low temperatures.
On this cycle, I measured water use at a fairly high 68.4 litres, although power consumption was excellent at just 0.176kWh. Part of the power saving comes through using a lower spin speed, so my washing was quite wet at the end of the cycle, having added 54.7% extra in retained water.
Next, I moved to the Eco 40-60 wash. Here, stain removal was among the best that I’ve seen from a washing machine, with the stains all pretty much gone. Squint and stare closely and you might see a very slight trace of red wine, but you’d find this difficult to spot, particularly on darker garments.
Power consumption jumped to 0.795kWh with this cycle, while water consumption dropped slightly to 55.6 litres. Water retention was better here, too, with clothes weighing just 36.75% more than when they went in.
Under the new grading system, the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N is classed as a D-rated appliance, which means it isn’t the most efficient washing machine I’ve tested. To test all machines on a level playing field, I work out the cost of a full load on the Eco 40-60 wash using the provided energy label figures.
Next I work out the total amount of washing in kilograms completed by the average household in the UK, which is 1644kg, assuming wash loads of 6kg and 274 washes per year. If the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N was used to its full capacity, then it would take this model only 164.4 cycles to complete this amount of washing, for running costs of £39.46 a year.
Typically, 10kg washing machines cost more per cycle than smaller-capacity machines but work out cheaper to run if used to maximum capacity over a year. However, with the Indesit, this isn’t quite the case. The Hoover H-Wash 500, for example, comes with annual running cost of £32.21, which is just over £7 a year cheaper to run.
An efficient 9kg washing machine, such as the AEG L9FEB969C, would also be cheaper to run: £34.39 for that model, based on the same calculations.
Should you buy it?
If you want great stain removal and simplicity, then this washing machine makes a lot of sense.
If you want lower running costs or a wider choice of features, including smart options, look elsewhere.
It isn’t the cheapest washing machine, then, nor does the Indesit BWE 101638X W UK N come with the widest range of features. However, what it lacks in these areas it makes up for in its simplicity and – particularly in the Eco 40-60 wash – stain removal. Given its decent mid-range pricing, this is a solid choice for those looking for a larger machine. For other options, check out my guide to the best washing machines.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every washing machine we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
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.
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No, it can be controlled via the front panel only.
Yes, it’s Woolmark approved.
This is a 10kg washing machine.