Cheap Washing Machines
If you are looking for the cheapest washing machine you better read this before you buy one
It is not uncommon that we get people looking for the cheapest washing machine, the cheapest dishwasher or the cheapest cooker on the site. Generally what people are looking for is a good, cheap appliance and we try to help as best we can.
The problem is that it is very rarely that "good" and "cheap" sit well together in relation to the same product.
Of course there are exceptions that prove the rule but, in the main, you will get what you pay for. And, whilst we can offer guidance and advice based on experience as well as masses of industry knowledge, what we can't do is provide miraculous solutions that do not exist.
Another thing we won't do is sugar coat the answers, you will get honest opinion based on the industry knowledge we have, you can choose to take the advice or not, it really is up to you in the end. We will try our level best to give you help along with good, solid and worthwhile information but you have to work with us and also to be willing to listen to that advice.
We will often find ourselves being asked why we offer the free information and help to people that we do and why we will go out of our way to help; the answer is that we live and breath this industry, we know it very well indeed. Why should we not pass some of that information and help on to others, why not help the very people that keep us in a job, you, the customer?
The sad fact is that many people in the industry these days are motivated purely on a financial basis when it comes to both buying and servicing appliances and this doesn't help us on many occasions. But, that said, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation and money in the longer term if you pay heed to some of what we tell you.
We don't want to see people getting misinformed or paying more than they have to for appliances but, at the same time, we also have to balance that with what's best as well as what is actually worth buying. As independent repairers and retailers it is not in our interest to see people buy rubbish as we like to keep your custom and people aren't just numbers on a balance sheet to us, it is a more personal service that we offer.
Price Driven, Another View
Consider yourself for a moment to be the proud manufacturer of appliances.
You make white boxes, people buy them and then, hopefully, buy another in ten or so years. But there's a problem, the shareholders want bigger dividends and they want to see growth. How do you do that, the market is stagnant as virtually everyone that wants a washing machine or dishwasher and can accommodate them can afford them?
It's real simple, you make them so they don't last as long but they are cheaper to produce and you can slash the prices. Okay, so they're not as good as your old ones but hey, they're cheaper and everyone else is doing the same thing.
This is exactly what happened in the Eighties and Nineties in the Whitegoods industry.
The knock on effects are evident today, we have a massive reduction in laundrettes and dry cleaners, just try to find on outside a major town or city. Everyone has a washing machine, fridge, freezer and cooker at the very least and, for those that have space, a dishwasher and all because they got cheaper.
We'll look at a typical washing machine.
When we all largely started in this industry in the mid eighties you couldn't buy a washing machine for less than £300 and, when that barrier was broken, the old boys in the game thought the sky had fallen on their heads. But now, more than twenty years later you can buy a machine with a far higher specification, more features, better efficiency and that is quieter for more than 30% less than the most basic machine was back then.
You have to ask, how do they do that? How do you beat twenty odd years of inflation and made the machines supposedly more efficient as well as adding features and upping the specifications, it boggles the mind when you think about it?
By our calculations and, we admit to being no expert economists so we may be a little out here, had the most basic machine (an old 4.5Kg load, 800rpm spin) had tracked with inflation, in today's money it would cost around £450-550. Anything with a greater than 1000rpm spin and, on those days, a massive 5Kg load, would cost well over £600.
But people think that a 1600rpm, 6Kg (or greater) machine with countdown timers, electronic trickery that are super efficient and super quiet should cost less than £300 and last a decade or more. This is ludicrously cheap, it is not possible to offer all these extra features, bring down the price and retain the quality. So, the quality goes out the window in favour of making the washing machine more "marketable" and looking better value when sat next to the competition.
The point is that the quality has been eroded over the years and cheap isn't always better as well we know but, did you know that you were being fleeced by this "“cheap" option? We bet you didn't.
How To Con The Consumer
Magicians of course we all know are fooling us by using a slight of hand, smoke and mirrors to make us believe that what we see is real. But we know this when we pay for the ticket to see the show.
When products are sold the slight of hand is far more subtle and the smoke and mirrors far more elusive to track down.
On average the normal humble washing machine circa 1980 would be expected to celebrate it's fifteenth birthday in 1995, that was nothing unusual and it wasn't unusual for them to last longer.
In the early nineties especially the prices tumbled on appliances as did the quality and, since then, the lifespans have been decreasing year on year. More pollution through waste, more pollution thorough additional production as well as lower quality and, in many ways, reduced performances. It's all bad news for you, the consumer but with one noteable exception, the machines are cheaper.
And therin lays the magic trick.
Now that the majority of machines last under eight years over that same fifteen year period the makers of appliances get two bites at the cherry, the cherry being your bank account. So, they sell you a machine at £300 in year one and then another in year eight to ten but, in reality, that often is reduced and they will sell three or maybe even four machines to you over the fifteen years.
Now add on the warranty costs, many people take it as, with the reduced quality, you need it and you're forking out £350-450 every 5-8 years, at best!
Had the quality remained and prices remained as they were then you'd pay out £500-600 over the same period. Best case scenario, you're being charged roughly what you were but with more hassle but, in the real world, you're likely paying over £500 more than you were, the manufacturers have doubled their revenue.
Worst case scenario, you buy a new machine every few years as you wear them out and think it's not worth buying a good one and, in that case, you may well be paying well over £1000 more over the same fifteen years.
In short you may well be being fleeced and you don't even know it.
Escaping The Washing Machine Trap
Most people buy appliances on the understanding that they will last for some time. People buy them to last longer than they would most often keep a car or many other more "sexy" products and yet they do little research about them and try to often get the cheapest that they can.
Is it just us or does that seem a fundamentally wrong way to go about choosing appliances?
If you do want an appliance that will give good service, be economical and perform well you have to consider the purchase. Sure, you can do it cheap if you like but if you read the above you may reach the conclusion, as we did many years ago, that cheaper appliances actually cost you more over time. It is very wise to look at what you are actually buying and how long it will last.
Asides from anything else you will likely save a packet as well as be causing less environmental damage, get less grief from an appliance that doesn't do what you want it to or breaks often and, as a bonus you will all too often get better results.
But the biggest pleasure in it is not falling into the financial trap that's been set for you.
Why We Are Telling You
Working in a busy appliance repair company we often got to answer the phone and if we had a pound for every time we'd heard the following over the past ten years or so we could probably retire by now.. to a beach in the sun!
"My last machine lasted 15 years, this one is broke after 2 months, why?"
Well, pretty much because a lot of people spend more on a silly Dyson (pile of plastic junk) vacuum cleaner than they do on a washing machine or dishwasher, what do you expect?
If you buy rubbish because it was the cheapest in the shop then you have a much, much higher chance it will break, end of story.
"When are you bringing me a new one as this one is only 6 months old and it's broken?"
Ehm, forget exchanges on a new machine these days as it costs more to swap one out than people often paid for the machine in the first place in transport and labour!
Don't expect high service levels on cheap appliances as the maker hasn't the money in the product to give you that.
"Why have I got to wait two weeks or more on spare parts?"
Because to reduce costs on your cheap appliance nobody keeps parts on the shelf so as to keep costs down.
It really is hard to bite your tongue sometimes when people start on the phone thinking that they are entitled to something beyond Mercedes service levels on a £200 washing machine. we really are sorry, but the reality of it is that you won't get it, far from it in fact as, in order to allow you to have the cheap up front prices there is a cost, but it's hidden.
And, we do sympathise with people as all too often people don't realise all this until it's too late.
Let us put it this way, one manufacturer pays their agents £33 per completed call (yes, that's the sort of money we get paid to call and see you to repair a machine, once only per completed call, we don't get paid for multiple visits or returns to fit parts) and another pays £42 per call and the top end manufacturer pays £50 per call. Who do you think is going to get the best service level? It's not exactly rocket science to work it out is it?
With cheap machines you will get reduced service levels in all likelihood and you will get higher spares costs, stock shortages and a host of other things and services slashed to boot but remember, you got the machine cheap. To achieve that, compromises had to be made.
You don't buy a cheap car and expect top level service, you don't pay £30 for a hotel and expect the Hilton; expect the same with appliances as the old adages apply, buy cheap and you get cheap and you get what you pay for.