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  Useless Features

Don't waste money on expensive features you don't need and probably will never use

Washing machines are workhorses, they are intended to save you the time and trouble of a manual, repetitive and laborious chore and that chore has not altered much at all in many decades, if not centuries.

Sure the processes have altered a little but, the basic idea, is just the same as it has been for a long time.

A washing machine washes and spins laundry, that’s all it does.

This replaces the old manual method of washing clothes in a running stream or river then wringing them out. In the past century or so, of washing them in a large vat then wringing them out, perhaps with some mechanical assistance. Now, it’s an automated wash process and the wringing is a spin cycle, hence the mocker of, automatic washing machine.

The process is largely unchanged.

The differences between the various washing machines on sale centre around how well they will perform those tasks and, for how long of an operational life that they will have.

Given that there is very little to differentiate between the products for most people, other than perhaps the price, styling and after those the features on offer we thought we would highlight the simplicity of the chore at hand and, explain some of the useless and sometimes costly features you do not need.

Why We Have Unique Features

The reason that you see these often useless features on machines in a showroom is both simple and complex at the same time.

The simple way too look at it is that, just as is the case with most other products, better or more features encourages potential buyers to spend more.

A more complex way to look at it that we will not delve into here is that, the appliance market is stagnant with no new disruptive technology, few if any new entrants to the market and you can’t really get away from the fact that they are there simply to carry out menial tasks. So, adding features and making them sound as if they will somehow enhance or transform your life are the only way to get these products to be “desirable”.

Regardless of how you want to view it, many of the features we see are of little use to many people so we will try to highlight the ones we feel are especially not worth spending your money on.

  Applies To All

First off we will highlight features that apply to all segments and try to quickly explain why you should perhaps not ignore them but, not go out your way to pay for them.

Washing machines are the largest category by far in terms of sales volumes so they are also the product that seems to attract the craziest ideas at times. Or the most marketing hyperbole.

As we said above, they wash laundry. Then they spin it. That’s it.

But around this process we see so much garbage that is aimed to lure buyers into choosing one brand over another and, a lot of it is complete and total horse manure. We will point out some highlights.

  Connected Appliances

connected washing machine appFor many years we have repeatedly stated that internet connected appliances now more widely under the banner of the “Internet of Things” or IoT are largely a pointless expense.

It doesn’t matter what machine it is as, you still need to put stuff into the appliance to clean, cook, dry or store it and you cannot do that remotely. At least not yet, until you have a robotic butler.

Beyond the initial “wow factor” these types of products are largely of little use and most certainly not worth paying a large premium for.

Over and above all that, there are numerous concerns about security on these devices and longevity of both the products themselves and the services on them.

Manufacturers will try to have you believe otherwise. Probably as they make a good deal more on these more “premium” appliances as they are billed but, often as not, it’s the same mechanicals with the technology bolted on, no more.

Not worth paying for.

  Energy Efficiency

Think Volkswagen.

Manufacturers test and rate their own products.

We think that’s enough said.

  Large Loads

Often discussed and all too often we hear people saying that the “NEED” a large capacity machine. They usually don’t.

The average wash size is a lot lower than most people think and a large capacity machine with a small load is a problem in terms of use and performance but it also wastes energy, your money. Like many of these sorts of features there can be instances where you pay more to get it then it ends up costing you more to run it.

Aside which a lot of the information on load capacity is, will we say, not accurate.

As is the case with energy efficiency, the figures you see are not independently governed, checked or verified in any way.

  Fast Spin Speed

We don’t recommend going above about 1200rpm, 1400rpm at the most. It’s not needed and higher spin speeds will damage more delicate items so, that will cost you.

Loads of people say that thing feel dryer on fast spins but the potential damage to clothing cannot justify that in our opinion.

Plus you get more creasing so, more ironing and more electricity used ironing but it could be argued less drying time in a tumbel dryer although we'd reckon the extra time you spend ironing out stubborn creases is the worst of it there.

Don’t pay more for a super duper high speed spin as, it’s not worth it.

Steam Refreshing

Largely a moot point now since as is the case with many features it turned out to be little more than a passing fad for a while.

Also largely useless, which it likely why it has all but died out. Certainly not worth paying for.

  Add Wash

A newer development surrounded by the usual marketing bull that most Samsung and LG gimmicks have.

This enables you to open a small trapdoor on the main door of the washing machine to stuff in the odd small item you’ve forgotten to add.

Apart from the technical problems with that in regard to wash performance we won’t get into here, it’s another thing to break or leak and that door with another door on it, won’t be cheap.

Pass. Not worth paying for.

  Crazy Programs

Crazy washing machine programsYou can see this one on a huge number of washing machines.

What they do is add on a “sport” or “refresh” or whatever program and hail it as the greatest thing since bread was first sliced.

It’s not.

These programs are custom by the manufacturer and are not HLCC approved. That means that they are not recommended by the clothing and garment industry and using them may result in poor results or even damage to your laundry.

Not worth paying for.

  Direct Drive

There is no evidence (other than from the manufacturer/s of direct drive machines) that they are any significant gains to a direct drive system where the motor is essentially bolted to the back of the tank as opposed to suspended beneath it.

There is just as much evidence from manufacturers that do not use this system to tell you it is a waste of effort as, there’s no significant benefit.

Our experience is that direct drive is of no real benefit and no more or less reliable.

Not worth paying for.

  Honeycomb Drums

Miele and others with their own take or spin on it use what they call a honeycomb drum. We’ve also seen it called a diamond drum and so on.

This is a drum with tiny holes to let water escape with the idea being that your laundry is swirled about on a “cushion of water” and looked after better.

Problem with it is that particle removal isn’t so good so, small bits of grit or blades of grass and so on are left in the drum as they cannot pass through the small holes, often being redeposited on the laundry.

You won’t find that in the marketing blurb.

Not worth paying for.

  Fast Wash

Read instructions carefully!

Almost every so called “fast wash” isn’t a fast wash at all, it’s a refresh cycle that will get your laundry wet, rumble it about a bit, and do a short spin. It does not clean.

We think these can actually be deceptive and give a false impression as they are not what many people think they are and, much like the crazy programs, are not supported by HLCC guidelines.

Not worth paying for and probably best to avoid making a buying decision based on this one feature.

  Marketing Jargon

A good number of these things you will see being wrapped up an a load of hoopla in sales literature, on websites, social media and in reviews that are often found to be little more than a glorified press release.

And a good many are found on any number of machines used on other own label brands given how many of the design are shared across multiple brands.

Normally the feature will be given a cool name that's unique and quite often even trademarked for a brand so competitors can't use the term, even though they quite probably do the exact same thing. It is meaningless jargon.

They will tell you how you must have this feature, how it will change your life or how much money it will save you.

Invariably, this is complete and utter nonsense. Much of it half truths and lies.

It is however very good at parting people from money they really didn’t need to spend. If you let yourself fall for it.

Marketing explained in a glorious cartoon on the topic

Judith Tankink
Great information!
lol Thanks! I really appreciate your clean look on things. Why can't we just get simple washing machines that only do what they need to and do it well? I guess that is because we would then pay less hahaha!

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