For the first-time buyer, the range of things to consider when looking at washing machines can seem mind boggling. Fortunately for you, we've put together this extensive guide which should help put all the technical, practical and lesser-known things right into perspective.
While choosing between washing machines will never be as simple as baking a cake or going out on the town, by informing yourself with the facts before you buy, you'll at least be in a position to get the best deal for you. So, with no further ado, let's start with the most important points you need to consider.
First of all, you'll need to decide upon the right concept for you: to settle this quickly, look no further than the fact that top-loading washing machines are fantastic space-savers and cheaper as well.
While they're not as good at saving energy as the classic front-loading machines that are always so popular, they do have their advantages, such as the ability to open mid-cycle without spilling water everywhere, allowing you to throw more washing in or see how it is doing.
If you're decided on a fast spin-speed and you know you want to save energy in the long-term, then you'll benefit from the advantages and sheer range of choice offered by front-loading washing machines, and that's a fact.
Moving swiftly on, you'll need to have a good think about capacity. Are you in the market for washing machines that can handle 8, 9 or even 12kg? Or perhaps you're only after something for occasional washing?
Alternatively, you may want a machine which offers labour-saving ironing functions or even eco settings which cut the cost of electricity and water. Either way, the first thing you'll need to work out is the size of the drum.
This, combined with your budget, will dictate to you the kind of machine you are getting. Spend just a couple of hundred pounds and you'll be looking at cheaper washing machines, but spend twice that and, providing the features are there, you should have a serious arsenal of weapons at your disposal.
Next up, you're going to need to think about speed. To answer the question of how fast your machine needs to go, consider that the faster the spin, the more dry your clothes will be when the cycle finishes. It may sound unimportant, especially if you have a dryer, but those extra RPMs have been proven to make a genuine difference.
And don't worry too much about the noise and vibration. Providing you don't buy the cheapest version possible, the chances are that the washing machines you're looking at will come with quality ant-vibration technology, as well as features which minimise the sound of clothes tumbling around.
Last in our guide, you'll need to take stock of some of the features that are out there. In the features department, it's fair to say that the better the brand, the more impressive the technology you’re getting. This is an area where washing machines differ from other products, because when it comes to getting clothes really clean, there's a reason why, among others, German machines are considered the best.
These washing machines, aside from looking the part, have all kinds of labour-saving functions and displays which make washing amazingly easy. The more money you spend, the easier to operate the machine will be.
When considering budget, brand, spin-speed and capacity, the best thing to remember is that you'll want to try to aim for the top of your price range. It might seem expensive at the time, but with solid warranties being handed out as standard now, modern washing machines are an investment which is far more preferable to a machine that breaks down all the time and requires multiple call-outs.
David writes about the changing world of how classic brands continue to offer the same range of successful products decade after decade and survive the ever changing storm in one of the world's most competitive and fad-focussed consumer markets.