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  Busting The Jargon

All the time we see stuff written by marketing departments that honestly crack us up with laughter. Some of it is just complete tosh, some of it just spin.

All of it to try to part you with your cash on their machine rather than someone else’s.

Like all other appliances a lot of the things that get shouted about as being “features” often spoken of as being unique, aren’t. They are all too often just rehashed or renamed things that almost everyone uses.

Some of the names they come up with are hilarious for this stuff well, it is to us but we know what they are on about. You might not and this is to help you see through the marketing spin when buying a new washing machine.

We’ve listed the more common ones we’ve seen but you can let us know if we’ve missed any or leave a comment and we’ll have a look and tell you what it really is.

  No Regulation

It is very important to keep in mind that with many of the claims made in sales literature that there is no regulation and that it is extremely unlikely that any will be challenged other than by another manufacturer or brand, usually for commercial gain.

The chances of a customer proving that the like of a load capacity isn’t as advertised, the programs aren't hitting the temperatures they should or indeed the energy use is wildly untrue is almost zero.

Brands therefore can make claims of almost whatever they like and nobody will do much of anything about it even if they prove to be totally false. We are not saying that they do (mostly as we don’t want sued) but we are saying it’s up to the buyer to investigate the claims being made about the appliance you are looking at.

What’s the worst that can happen to a brand owner if they do get caught though? A slap on the wrist and maybe even a fine from the Advertising Standards Authority, if they get caught and, that’s a big “if”.

So buyer beware, there’s more to be gained for a brand claiming something that isn’t true than there is to be lost in the extremely unlikely event they do get caught out.

Energy Rating

Energy ratings are billed in marketing a lot and, people use them to base buying choices on but, they’re not as important as you might think they are.

There’s a bunch of information on this website about these, what they mean and how much you might really save but for this particular article let’s leave it at, you almost certainly won’t save what you think you will. And, you will need to accept that the better the energy rating, the longer a wash will normally take.

Practical Use

Low. Not worth bothering about for most people or paying extra for as the investment will never pay back.

Inverter Motor

Samsung digital inverter motorOkay so this seems to be misconstrued a lot and to better understand what an “inverter motor” or “digital motor” is you need to first understand what they’re banging on about.

All it means is that rather than an AC motor they use a DC magnetic motor that is digitally controlled by an inverter card.

Get it?

So, any machine that uses a motor of this type can be called something like that to make it sound like it’s some radical ground breaking new technology. It isn’t. They’ve been in use for decades.

Practical Use

These motors are more efficient and they are quieter, no doubt about it.

They are generally also more reliable with no carbon brushes to wear out. That's why you'll often see ten year warranties on that part alone as, we all know they are unlikely to fail. It's all the rest that will break.

Downside, they are more expensive and require a speed control card which is also expensive so, these are usually only found on more upmarket and, expensive models.

Fast Wash Or Quick Wash

A total fudge that is used all the time by marketers that sussed people get hacked off waiting for a two hour cycle to complete.

The marketing solution as it cannot be solved practically and keep the energy rating low, is to invent a fast wash or rather, punt the refresh cycle that’s been there for decades as a real wash program. It isn’t.

There’s a lot more on this topic in a dedicated article all about fast washes here.

Practical Use

None.

Do not base your buying choice on this or, if you ask us, even consider it to be remotely what it is sold as being or you might assume it to be.

Weird Drums

Bosch Wave DrumOkay we see this one a lot and it’s usually a Diamond Drum, Honeycomb Drum, Wave Drum or some such thing.

All it is really is normally will be smaller holes in the drum and more of them normally with the idea being that the laundry glides over the drum on a cushion of water.

Now while that all sounds great and to a lot of people it will we guess, what isn’t told is that it means that larger items won’t go through the holes (good and bad in that) and off out the waste pipe like your old washing machine probably did.

So things like grass blades, bits of debris like larger bits of grit, clumps of lint and so on will be or can be left on the laundry after the wash is done. Some people get on with this fine and it’s not an issue, for others it can be.

The jury is out on the claims that it looks after clothing better as, to date we’ve not really seen any credible evidence to support that claim.

Practical Use

Debatable at best and could be detrimental to some people so caution advised.

Direct Drive

Direct drive is a system that bolts the motor assembly to the back of the drum doing away with the need for a belt and pulley.

The marketing will have you believe that it’s quite, smoother and probably more stuff that’s absolute nonsense as shown in this video from LG.

The thing about it is, it makes the drum go around. So does a normal motor. Would anyone really notice a difference between the two systems in everyday use… no or, probably not as it’s not really all that dramatic a difference.

Is one any more reliable than the other, even with the two extra components? Not really, no.

If you really want all the gory details about direct versus indirect drive you can find more about it in the linked article.

Some people do disagree with our assessment of these drive types but, the proof is in the pudding as they say and, they’re no more or less reliable or smooth than any other induction motor. As, that’s pretty much all it is, a big flattened induction motor.

And, it still has suspension to soak up the vibration with some being overly complex so as to accomodate the direct druve motor at the back and give the volume so it could be argued, you create a problem by solving a problem nobody even had.

Practical Use

None, in our opinion and should be compared with other induction drives or DC motors.

As with DC motors you'll often see a ten year warranty for exactly the same reasons.

Intelligent Wash Systems

We get a kick out of giving these a kicking!

Intelligent Wash, Dynamic Wash, VarioPerfect… the list is almost endless with marketers spitting out new ones all the time to make it sound all fresh and funky. Maybe in a bid to try to make you think you’re getting the latest and greatest invention known to man you might say.

Normally this will mean a digital pressure sensor and a thermistor then a bit of programming. Maybe, on the very odd occasion a weight sensor but that’s not common as people moaned about those because they aborted cycles because, most people overload their machines and caused them to halt the machine and tell you to take stuff out.

So weight sensors, very rare.

Every single washing machine we have looked at in the past decade uses pretty much the same system. Mileage may vary of course but, they’re all the same thing in essence.

Normally these are accompanied by claims of this and that energy reduction in percentages. Well that’s a bit misleading at times as it depends what they were compared against in the first place and the savings are made to look as great as possible, they usually won’t be as billed.

If you look carefully you will normally see no information whatsoever on how these claims are arrived at. Who even knows if they’re true as we suspect many are not as we explain in Performance Cheating.

The marketing department’s job is just to flog it to you.

Practical Use

Not a lot generally and there’s usually very little advantage of one of these over any other.

Auto-Dosing

Just don’t do it!

For commercial applications this can make sense but, that’s a whole other ball game to domestic use.

For domestic use just maybe the manufacturer is trying to lock you into being able to only use or coerced into using their own detergents etc which, will often prove to be pricey.

Practical Use

None. Costs you more money, avoid.

EcoBubble

This one is an exclusive to Samsung.

All it is really is an extra pump used to make more bubbles with the idea being that this allows the laundry to be penetrated faster and reducing energy. However it is important to note that this is the manufacturer claims only and not independently verified.

Samsung’s promo video is below.

Does it work though?

Well we're not convinced by it and a number of owners are also not agreeing that it's of much use. One guy posted a video on YouTube of it not working as below.

Let us just say, he's not the only one. As any Samsung repair agent will tell you if you press them.

Practical Use

Maybe but we remain unconvinced by the claims. If it works at all.

Connected Washing Machines

Don’t get us started on this.. please!

It is a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist and, it’s an expensive solution to boot.

We’ve gone over the topic of connected appliances a number of times over the years and to date we’ve still to see a compelling case for them. Period.

If you’ve got money to waste and you want to show off or whatever, knock yourself out but for us, these are a total waste of time and money.

Practical Use

None.

  Hype & Spin

Here’s the thing about a lot of theses “features”, they’re nothing new at all.

The basic principals and technologies used in modern washing machines have not changed in decades. Sure they have evolved a lot and gotten more efficient for certain but, radical new stuff? Not really, no.

On this website we constantly bang on about the build and reliability of the parts you cannot see being of hugely greater importance than the bits you do see and, stupid and pointless “features” that are often little more than marginal differences being used as unique selling points.

Then there’s the real world performance to consider, which you can read about at length in many articles on this site.

What we hear when we ask people why they bought a particular machine will often be due to the brand or one of these so called features and that sort of winds us up a bit at times given so many of them are just marketing speak, not actual benefits.

The aim here is to allow people to see that a lot of it is largely a bunch of absolute garbage.

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