Laundry has evolved over the years. In ancient times, one could not even do laundry at home. They would have to take their clothes to the riverside and smack them against rocks to remove the stain.
Detergents and water supply to homes made hand washing the popular laundry method. But we all know how inconvenient that is, don't we? It is nearly impossible to wash materials like jeans without having blisters.
Like other pieces of technology, the washing machine has removed that challenge. Once an appliance for the homes of elites, hotels, and Laundromats; washing machines are now readily available in homes. There are varieties of washing machines in the market with different design specifications, functionalities, and budgets to accommodate customer needs.
But this variance makes it difficult to choose the right one for your home. If you are reading this article, you must be considering getting one. You can browse for household equipment in online stores and read reviews of their services on BritainReviews. BritainReviews collate independent reviews of businesses around the UK.
This article will explore all you need to know about washing machines and hopefully help you make the right decision.
Here is a look at what this article will discuss:
1. Types of washing machines
2. Factors to consider before getting a washing machine
3. How to maintain your washing machine
4. Best brands in the market
5. Where to buy a washing machine
1. Types of Washing Machines
Based on automation
i. Semi-automatic washing machines
Washing machines are automatic appliances. Semi-automatic washing machines are automated, but they still require some degree of human intervention. This intervention is not in the washing process but in moving clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub.
After washing is complete, you have to take it out and put it in the drying tub. Not much of a hassle, is it?
ii. Fully automatic washing machines
As the name suggests, the machine seamlessly handles everything from washing to drying. You put your laundry in one tub, and the machine does the washing, rinsing, and drying. You only need to pack out fresh clothes when you open the tub.
Unlike the semi-automatic ones, this machine would give you the freedom to focus on other tasks without interruption. You might be wondering why anybody would prefer the former to the latter, but it's probably because semi-automatic machines are cheaper.
Based on Door Placement
What does a door have to do with anything? Well, a lot.
i. Front Loaders:
A front-loading washing machine has a door in the front. Because of its design, which allows water to come into contact with the door, mould tends to build upon the rubber gasket of a front loader. Some modern front-loaders come with advanced features to self-clean after every use. However, most don't. To prevent mould buildup, one needs to keep the machine aerated when not used and clean regularly after use. Another downside is that you cannot slip in any clothing you forgot to include mid cycle.
Also, depending on the installation site and your height, you may need to bend frequently to access the door. Many customers find these hectic. But front-loaders have excellent attributes. First, they are the best cleaners. Its tumbling wash mechanism ensures a thorough wash. Secondly, they are efficient on many fronts. They use less water in their washing.
The machine removes a lot of water from the clothes in the washing process, so the clothes are less heavy when they move to the drying tub hence less time to dry. So you will save more water and power with front loaders.
ii. Top loaders
Unlike front loaders, top loaders are less prone to smell and mould issues.
That is a big plus because it cuts out the need for regular maintenance. Because the door is at the top, you can easily slip in a piece of clothing mid-cycle.
Also, you would not have to bend frequently to get to the door, so it is generally easier to use. However, it does not reach the cleaning capabilities of a front loader. This is because its twisting wash mechanism is less effective at getting stains off the cloth. Although it generally washes faster, it uses more water than a front loader.
Based on Installation
i. Freestanding washing machines:
The name says it all. A freestanding washing machine is a standalone appliance that you can place in your kitchen or bathroom. It is less complex to install, but it occupies more space. You can, however, opt for a portable washing machine if you have a small space.
ii. Integrated washing machines:
Modern homes favour a sleek outlook. People do not want their living space to look stuffed with appliances and gadgets. Washing machines are large gadgets, but you can fit them into your kitchen units. An integrated washing machine is a washing machine built into your home. It requires professional installation and is more expensive, but adds style to your home.
2. Factors to consider when getting a washing machine
From the categories of washing machines explained in the previous section, you should already know what kind of washing machine you want. But there are other complementary factors to consider.
i. Size and Design
The washing capacity of a washing machine – that is, the size of the inner drum – is an essential element to consider when buying a washing machine. It determines how much load your washing machine can handle at once.
Do you like to pile up laundry and do it all at once? A small washing machine might suffice if you live alone and do laundry regularly. Besides the drum size, the washing machine size is also worth consideration. How much space do you have in your kitchen or washroom? Generally, washing machines require about 1-3 inches of space on the sides of the washing machine, 4-6 inches at the back, and about 20 inches at the front (if it is a front loader) or above (if it is a top-loader).
Aesthetics play a crucial role in washing machine choices. A silver washing machine is the most common, but no rule says you can't get a black washing machine. It all depends on your interior décor and preference.
ii. Washing Performance
Here, consider effectiveness and efficiency. You already know the pros and cons of front and top loaders. Whichever type you want to buy, you must check if its performances meet your needs. Washing machines come with advanced features that can make all the difference. Some of these features include a casual wear setting.
This setting spins the clothes slowly to avoid rumpling. If you are not the biggest fan of ironing, that's a feature you should look out for. There are many more: stainless steel washer tub (or plastic tub, if you want), dispenser for cloth softener, WiFi, presoak, temperature controls, extra rinse, a handwash option for delicate clothes, child lock, alert signal, etc.
Washing machines use either an agitator or impeller (impellers are surfaces on the machine's bottom that move clothes around; agitators vigorously move the clothes at the centre). Impellers allow for a better wash. You could also check out the energy ratings of the machine.
Integrated washing machines might have more plumbing requirements, but even regular freestanding machines need a plumber's attention, especially with utility hookups. Not sure if your home is washer-ready? Have a plumber inspect it.
Appliances fail. Most manufacturers offer a one-year warranty, but that might not cut it if you buy one of the more expensive washer models. Check out manufacturers that provide extended warranties – say, 3-5 years.
v. Washing Machine Price
Finally, what is your budget? In the end, this is the most crucial factor that determines the machine you get. Washing machines range from around £165 to £1700 (could be higher). The varying prices are because of the different functionalities that the machines offer.
A cheaper model might serve your needs, but it is best to prioritise quality even if you pay a little more
. Want to get the best washing machine sale prices? Check out online stores like White goods and appliances. Read White goods and appliances reviews and other electronic shops that sell household equipment.
How to Maintain your Washing Machine
Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your washing machine:
i. Clean the inner drum and the rubber gasket around the door regularly to prevent soap and mould buildup.
ii. Leave the lid open after use to remove moisture and keep the machine fresh.
iii. Use only recommended amounts of detergents for the load.
iv. Check your clothes for change and other objects before throwing them into the wash.
Best Washing Brands in the UK
It would take a whole article to discuss every brand currently in the market, but you can check out the washing machines from household names producing appliances. Here are the most popular brands:
i. Beko washing machine
ii. Bosch washing machine
iii. Hotpoint washing machine
iv. Currys washing machine
v. Samsung washing machine
vi. Indesit washing machine
Where to Buy a Washing Machine
You can shop for washing machines at retail outlets and webshops. To get the best deal, check out UK webshop reviews. There are many webshops in the UK, but these reviews should help you narrow your list.