If you're often rushing for time, research wash lengths before you buy. As a rule, a top-loader is quicker than a front-loader, which can take anywhere up to two hours, although many of the front-loaders offer a 'fast wash' setting.
Water And Energy Efficiency
WELS (Australia's Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme) rates washing machines – including washer dryer combos - depending on how much water they use. The label shows a zero to six star rating; the more stars, the more water efficient the product. It also displays the water consumption flow (litres per wash) of the product.
The Energy Star Rating label gives a star rating of the model's energy efficiency. It also states energy consumption (usually kilowatt hours per year) as an estimate of the annual energy consumption of the appliance.
Generally, a more efficient washing machine can be dearer initially, but there are significant savings to be made over its lifetime.
Stay In Control
Make sure the controls on your washer are accessible and easy to understand.
Budget-priced machines will most likely have mechanical knobs.
Pricier models will have one-touch digital buttons and display screens, which can be programmed to suit.
What Drives It?
A washing machine's motor is connected to the drum via a gearbox and, commonly, a belt. Make sure you're buying a washing machine with a drive system that's been designed to handle heavy loads.
Some washing machines now have direct drive systems, which connect the motor directly to the drum. This removes the belt transmission and any risk of it breaking.
Check For Noise
Washing machines get louder as they spin faster. Think about how close the washer will be to living areas and how quiet it needs to be.
Look for a machine that has a dampener system to cushion the drum from the outer casing.
Some newer models offer extra insulation and reinforced frames to reduce operating noise.
Keep It Steady
Washing machines are very heavy and can vibrate, so their legs must be strong and wide enough to distribute the weight evenly.
The machine must be level at all times for it to work properly.
As most laundry floors slope towards a drain, you should look for a washer that has adjustable legs.
Some washing machines have an out-of-balance correction feature that automatically detects and redistributes the load.
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