Washing Machine Load Sizes
Why the load capacity you think you're buying might not be the capacity you're getting
We often get people looking for the largest capacity load that they can get in a washing machine with the impression that washing larger loads saves more money as many an advert will try to tell you. But, when we look at the declared capacity on many models and what can actually be loaded into the washing machine there would appear to be some disparities between what is claimed and what the reality is.
In this article we will explore this a little and show you that what you are being told and what you are actually getting may be very different.
Testing The Load Size
We managed to, shall we say, acquire the results of a test with seven machines from a manufacturer that they had carried out by an independent test lab in Switzerland.
The ISE washing machine model wasn't the one actually tested, it was the same drum and tub from an equivalent Asko model so the result would be identical but it allows you to compare a bit better.
The Samsung BigWash and Bosch Logixx 8 are series designations of washing machines so they also will apply to UK models using the same drum and tub assemblies. The LG and Miele models will also be used in the UK.
Washing Machine Brand
|Bosch||WAS 32790 (Logixx 8)||8kg||65 litres||59 litres**|
|ISE||1607W Hydroactive Drum||8kg||60 litres||60 litres|
|LG||WD-14376FD||8kg||58 litres||55 litres|
|Miele||W1716 (2008)||6kg||54 litres||53 litres|
|Miele||W5963 WPS||8kg||60 litres||58 litres|
|Samsung||BigWash Q1435||8kg||60 litres||54 litres**|
|Siemens||WM16S761DN||8kg||65 litres||59 litres**|
As you can see, only one model from the seven tested actually had the load capacity claimed.
You can also see the disparities between the load rating in kilograms as opposed to the actual volumetric measurement of the drum and, there is quite a difference on some as you can see. In fact, it can be more than 10% of the space being claimed is there in the washing machine drum. The obvious question, which remains unanswered, is how that one drum with a 10% or greater rated volume can have the same rating in kilograms of load?
The news here gets still worse however as all those in red with the ** next to them do not include the protrusion of the door bowl into the drum, which depending on the size of the door, can be a fair bit of space that is eaten up inside the washing machine. You can bet on losing at least another two or three litres just because of that.
And, on the LG machines where direct drive is used, which is another marketing gimmick really, how can you get a bigger drum when you have to have space at the back for the stator?
Washing Machine Door Size
Testing done with the door open and all the space, even that which cannot be used if you closed the door, is counted.
That means that, if you make the washing machine door bigger you get a higher rating. Is it any wonder that washing machine doors have gotten bigger and bigger over the past few years?
The irony is, a larger door has been used as a marketing tool as well, you will be told it allows easier access and to a degree that is quite probably true, but not the reason that they are there.
Kilogram Load Size Measurement
This is something that annoys many of us in the trade that know about this stuff.
The way in which the load capacity is measured and, more importantly, marketed to people is in the number of kilograms of laundry that the manufacturer can stuff into the washing machine.
To our mind (the people it annoys) it should not be possible to have these differences in actual drum volume yet still have the same load capacity published where there can be a 10% or more difference. That is not right in our book and in many other industries a practice like that would be abolished pretty smartly.
Can you imagine a one supermarket being allowed to have a 10% difference on a litre of milk over another? Or a car manufacturer allowed to have that sort of disparity over another in its MPG rating?
Either practice would be outlawed across the EU in a heartbeat as it would get public attention.
Here it does not.
The reason it doesn't is that people cannot actually measure the drum volume so you take it on faith that the manufacturer is telling you the truth or simply made a mistake in their calculation.
It is also the case that, when you ask people what a kilo of clothes looks like or, what it equates to when loading a washing machine, they haven't got a clue.
When buying a new washing machine people will look in the drum and state that it looks huge an just believe the claims being made. But, as the evidence shows, what is being claimed isn't always the actuality, the kilo rating is just some flaky figure given by the marketing people that doesn't really tell you much, as you can plainly see. It also allows the figures to be, we will be polite and say, fudged.
Getting a drum volume is far, far more accurate than a rating in kilograms that nobody undertands or can measure.
You might even think that this way of measuring capacity was deliberately so.