Washing Machine Buying Guide

1. Type

There are two main types of washing machines. Top Loaders and Front Loaders.  They each have their advantages and depending on your personal preferences each person will prefer one or the other.

a) Top Loader

Top load washing machines are typically cheaper in price. They often wash clothes faster but tend not to be as gentle on clothes are front loaders. Most models will allow you to add additional clothes mid cycle as they open from the top. These units also tend to be larger in size then front loaders.

b) Front Loader

These washing machines open from the front and are typically more expensive.  Usually cheaper to run over a long period as they are normally more water and energy efficient. They are typically more gentle on clothes and therefore have longer wash cycles. Keep in mind if they are placed on ground level you will need to bend over to put clothes in, so for those with back problems these may not best suit you. Front Load Washing Machines also tend to be better suited for smaller areas.

c) Washer and Dryer Combo (Front Loader)

These units are both washing machines and dryers built into one unit. Therefore, if you are limited by space these units are great for you. However, these machines tend to have smaller capacities compared to single dedicated units. They also are virtually always front load types.

2. Dimensions

Once you know what type of washing machine will suit you better measure the space you have available. Keep in mind you need to leave enough room to allow the water connections. 

3. Size

The size of washing machines is measured in kilograms (kg). The more kgs the bigger that unit it. Typically, the size of the washing machine you require is directly related to how much washing you do and therefore how many people live in your home. As a general rule of thumb:

1-2 People = 5.5kg or less
2-4 People = 5.5kg to 7.0kg
4-5 People = 7.0kg to 9.0kg
5+  People = 9.0kg or more
The most common size would be around 6 to 7kg.

4. Energy and Water Efficiency

Energy and water efficiencies in washing machines are rated in stars. The higher the star rating the more energy and water efficient that unit is. The water star rating is called WELS rating (Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme). Typically, any unit that has an energy or water star rating of 5 or over is considered very efficient.
Washing Machine often also state how many litres of water that unit requires to wash one cycle.

5. Programs

Washing Machines that have more programs and speed setting give you more flexibility when washing. Typically, the faster the drum spins the dryer your clothes are after the wash cycle is finished. Some programs to keep an eye out for are:
  • Whites
  • Delicates
  • Fast Speed
  • Anti-crease
  • Half Load
  • Load Sensing (automatically detects type of clothes, how much and how dirty they are)

6. Features

Some features that are worth mentioning are:
  • Adjustable Legs
  • Extra Insulation for noise reduction
  • Automatic lock function
  • Ability to add in clothes mid cycle
  • Dispensers for fabric softeners
  • Electronic controls

7. Installation

You can install washing machines on your own however please be careful. You don’t want to wake up to a flooded home. Some things to consider when installing are:
  • Make sure it fits
  • Ensure the washer is as stable as possible
  • Leave enough room to make water connections
  • Double check you have enough room to open the door
  • Can stack a dryer on top of front loader