How to Choose the Right Washing Machine for your Family
Choosing and buying a washing machine in most households will be a considered purchase. The initial cost means that we want to ensure that we have bought the right model to suit our purposes and that the machine will continue to perform in such a way as we feel we have got value for money; so from the outset it is important to establish what you expect from the machine and what needs it will have to fulfil within your budget and lifestyle.
Economy is a major consideration for most of us whether that be out of concern for the environment, our own pocket or both. The first thing to establish is a clear idea of your budget for the machine initially and what sort of running costs you hope to achieve in the future. In short the washing machine’s impact on the environment and your budget are inextricably linked as less consumption of energy is better for the environment and also means lower running costs. A machine that washes well at low temperatures will almost certainly be cheaper to run than a machine that needs to be set at 40o plus to achieve a good result. All machines that have been brought to the market since December 2013 will have achieved an energy rating of A+ or higher, but there may still be older models on the market which do not achieve these standards. If running costs are your main concern then of course it is worth balancing the initial cost of the machine with projected future running costs – how long will it take you to recoup the additional cost of a more advanced or high spec model?
Having established how much you are prepared to pay to buy and run your machine the next step is to find a model which best suits the washing needs of your household. Consider the size you have available to house your machine. Combined washer dryers or top-loading machines are both good choices when space is at a premium. What sort of drum size you require will normally depend upon the size of your family and the frequency with which you wash. A couple who wash on a regular basis will probably not require a drum size as big as a family of four that prefers to wash only once a week. Remember that it is more economical to wash with a full load but that it is also important to avoid overfilling the machine as this can lead to poor wash results and faults with the washing machine over time.
The variety of programmes on offer will often have an impact on the price of a machine so if you are looking to cut costs then consider carefully which features will really benefit you. Many washing machines offer programmes for half loads, quick washes and hand wash cycles. A delay timer is particularly useful if you have off-peak energy rates which can be utilised by setting the washer to come on within those periods, it can also minimise the time that wet laundry sits in the washer waiting for you to return home in order to transfer it to the tumble dryer or washing line, reducing musty smells. If you are prepared to pay for the latest technology then some machines can be operated via your smartphone from anywhere.
Consider which features will be of use to you and how important the overall look and build quality of the machine is to you? Will the washing machine be hidden in a garage or take pride of place in your kitchen? Good looks, like cutting edge technology normally come at a price. It is also worth taking into account that a simple machine may do the job of washing clothes perfectly well, whilst a feature heavy model has more opportunity for faults and breaks.
Unless your machine is tucked well away in a utility room or outhouse then noise is often worth taking into account. A noisy machine will need to be timed around homework, meals or bed time whilst a quieter model gives you the freedom to wash whenever necessary. A model which runs at 50dB is considered quiet.
Finally, once you have settled on the model which best suits your needs then it pays to shop around for the best price, but do remember to balance the total overall cost including any associated fees for delivery, installation and removal of your old appliance from one retailer to another. You may also want to look out for extended guarantees offered by the retailer on top of that provided by the manufacturer.
By using the guide above you will hopefully be equipped to work out what your household really needs from a washing machine and make the best choice for your home and your pocket.