What Washing Machine Should You Buy
Things to think about when you go shopping for a new washing machine
We get asked this. A lot.
If you read through the other articles about washing machine (and other domestic appliances) you might get the impression that we’re a bit despondent about it all with not a lot of positive things to say about the general quality and standards in the industry.
You’d be right, we are.
The past couple of decades have seen manufacturers race to the bottom on price which, inevitably, means a huge downturn on quality and, most of the brand names that you know and perhaps even trust, probably aren’t even who you think they are now.
Whatever name may be on the front of the machine does not mean to say that is who actually made the washing machine.
We Are Impartial
Since the demise of ISE who were one of the very few quality brands out there ceased trading in 2014 we’ve got no stake here.
We do not make washing machines. We do not sell washing machines. Just spare parts for washing machines is all we do.
We have no vested interest at all in what you buy and, this article is free of advertising (ignoring the Google ads) and any affiliate links unlike many other sites so, all you’re getting is the truth, even if many people both inside and out of the industry might not like it.
Many may not agree with our opinions and that’s fine.
Top Of The Market
This sector of the domestic washing machine market is widely considered to be products above the £700 barrier.
What’s left is Miele and V Zug in domestic washing machines.
That’s it. Everything else is compromised in one way or another.
Buy either of those and understand that you will get a good machine but that spare parts and service on either are limited and probably going to be very expensive when you need them. However on the upside of that, you won’t need those often at all.
Performance wise you will struggle to get any better, there’s usually little to fault them on as the machines are extremely well designed and tested.
Expect to get well in excess of ten years from these machines in normal domestic use.
Upper Mid Market
The upper mid market is where many of the widely know brands sit, the like of LG, Siemens, some Bosch, some AEG and so on with enough gravitas in their brand name to carry off the more premium pricing.
However there’s a lot in here that’s little more than tarted up lower end stuff with a posh name on the box, some clever aesthetics and marketing spin. Oh, as well as often having pointless and largely useless features to encourage you to part with more cash than you really ought to.
Most of this will be roughly in the £300-700 bracket.
There are a few exceptions, for example LG only produce under their own label as do Samsung (although Samsung’s are rubbish) but apart from those virtually all the machines that sit here either sell the same stuff under other brands or, they supply the same stuff to other brands.
The chance of you buying a washing machine in this price bracket that’s what you think it is or that is unique to the brand name on the box, not far off zero.
The chance of you buying something that’s just a rebadged version of a lower spec model, pretty high.
The further down the price food chain you go, the higher the chances that all you would buy is a posh version of a cheaper machine, very high.
Performance here varies with most of the established brands offering up good performing machines in terms of results but don’t expect them to be as good as the top end machines as, they’re not.
The lower down you go, the more the performance is liable to tumble.
Depending on the use you put them to, expect in the region of five to ten years from these machines.
Sealed tanks, doors and more also creep in here and are becoming more commonplace.
This section is regarded as being anything below the £300 mark but we’re going to split it in two in order to highlight problems we see almost daily with spare parts and service.
Known brand names in this sector are the stripped out cheap versions of whatever the manufacturers have to offer. Or, what they have production lines set up to produce.
It’s also where a lot of the the true junk starts to appear although, you can see that on the level above albeit not often.
From the large groups, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Bosch, Beko etc that you can find out more on in the manufacturer section designed to give you information and a fighting chance of getting spares and decent service support. Many other lesser known brands but still known in the industry and decent enough companies such as Amica, Lamona, Candy and some others are the same.
A lot of the others, not a chance.
Many are or, seem to be, almost throw-away machines with little (if any) support at all.
Performance in this sector is passable for most but some of the rebadged junk we see, well it’s really not very good.
In respect to durability, for normal use anything between three and eight years will be what you can expect here depending on what machine you choose.
Sealed tanks are almost universal in this sector with many sealed doors and other rubbish designs for service.
There are a whole host of rebadged machines you can buy under the £200 mark now, some for under £150 and to be blunt, they are generally rubbish.
These are the headline grabbing cheap and nasty machines and used to be the preserve of brands most people had probably never heard of. Now though we have been seeing “known” or “familiar” brands being used in the section to try to flog more as loads of people will buy it as, it’s cheap and, they know the brand and trust that alone.
Thing is, that brand is almost certainly not who people think it is as this sector is packed with own label brand names.
Almost all the machines here are going to be coming from Turkey or China in the main. Produced at a price with little spare part back up, often no technical support and if there is service available for them it’s probably not going to be any good, even in warranty.
That’s fine if you’re a single home occupant and it’s likely to last a while but, for family use you can expect to burn through one of these machines in eighteen months to three years, easy.
We’ve seen bearings collapsed inside the initial twelve month warranty as machines in this sector are not built to take the punishment of family life.
They are cheap but you will have to accept that after a short time you could well be dropping it off at the local council tip and heading off to Argos or wherever to buy another washing machine.
Whatever you do, do not buy machines at this price on finance. If it falls over and dies you could end up paying for the one you’ve thrown out and be faced with having to buy another. We’ve seen this happen many times, the finance is more durable than the machine!
Washing Machine Reviews
If you’ve gotten to this page as you’ve been out hunting on the internet for washing machine reviews then please take note of this bit.
Most of them are complete and utter rubbish. A lot are PR releases dressed up as reviews, perhaps paid for or just to fill up space. Or perhaps it's just to push affiliate links so the publisher gets paid by you buying their "recommendations". And all this, often from people or organisations that know Jack about washing machines or any other appliances.
They are often about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike as the saying goes.
Even ones you can trust from the likes of Which? cannot tell you about durability, won’t tell you who really made the machine and not just the name stamped on it or anything about service and spare parts. Which? are very open about what they measure, as shown here;
What those can tell you is stuff about the ease of use, the programs, performance (as tested) and so forth. It won’t tell you much else, like how long it will last, if you can get it fixed when it breaks or if you can get parts for it when it does.
By all means use and trust Which? as it is probably one of the most reputable sources of information in the world but, it's not the whole story.
User reviews we’ve seen range from those posts a few days after people have gotten a new machine, which his hardly indicative of long term performance to some that are, will we say, a bit suspicious in origin. Maybe even some that are perhaps fraudulent to try to dupe buyers, just maybe.
We advise looking by all means but do have some pinches of salt to hand, you’ll need them.
Where you choose to spend your money and what on is entirely your choice of course and we are not trying to say that you will only get a washing machine that suits your individual needs buy spending at the very top end of the market.
There are some reasonable choices for less but, the lower down you go the more danger areas there are. It is also the case that, chance are you will not be buying what you think you are buying or even from the company you think you are buying it from.
Badge engineering in the appliance industry is almost unrivalled and many would argue that this is a very deliberate thing designed to confound and confuse you, the buyer. Some would say, to dupe you in what is effectively bait and switch tactics.
You might think you are getting a bargain washing machine from a trusted and reputable manufacturer but, often as not, you won’t be and won't be a bargain after all either.
For advice on individual models and what machine may suit you, please ask in the forums where the guys will see your post and tell you straight up what they think of the machines.