Buying any household appliances is a headache. After all, you want to have high-quality equipment, but at the same time inexpensive and with all the necessary functions. The task is not easy, to say the least. This especially applies to the choice of washing machines, which need to take into account not only the needs of washing, but also the issue of placement and installation of such a large household appliance. How to correctly choose an automatic washing machine, what is worth overpaying for, what can be refused – read on.
Location of the loading hatch: frontal or vertical
Washing machines can have a loading hatch located at the top – vertical loading, or they can – on the front side of the body – frontal loading. How to choose an automatic washing machine based on this feature?
Vertical loading has two significant advantages. The first is the ability to add laundry during washing. The second – they usually have a smaller width and depth (but higher) compared to front washing machines. There are several more positive points that can influence the choice if there are small children in the family: small children will not reach the control panel and it is more difficult for them to open the door. If this is important to you, consider this option, but consider the cons.
There are also disadvantages when loading the washing machine vertically. The first is that you cannot build such a machine under a sink, countertop, etc. The lid opens upwards, so the washing machine can only be installed “solo” – the distance above the equipment must be taken into account. The second disadvantage is that the prices of washing machines with vertical loading are higher (the difference is 40-50% or even more). And this is probably the main deterrent.
An additional plus to the decision to choose a front-loading washing machine is their great variety. Any manufacturer has many times more models.
Choice of maximum download and sizes
These two parameters should be considered together, as they are interrelated: small-sized machines have a smaller drum, accordingly, less laundry can be placed in them. At least this applies to cars with a front loading hatch.
Dimensions of models with front loading
Conventionally, all washing machines of this type can be divided into four groups by size:
- Half-sized. Width and depth – about 60 cm, height 85-90 cm. You can load 5-8 kg of laundry into such machines.
- Narrow They differ in a smaller depth – 35-45 cm, the width and height remain the same (60 cm and 85-90 cm, respectively). You can load 3.5-5.0 kg of dry laundry from them.
- Very narrow. The depth is even less – 32-35 cm, for the same other dimensions. The maximum load is 3.5-4.0 kg.
- Compact or built-in. The smallest washing machines can be installed under the sink. Width – 47-50 cm, depth 40-45 cm, height 68-70 cm. The load is also small – up to 3 kg.
When considering the dimensions of the machines, take into account that the measurements are given on the top cover. In fact, the installation will require more space in depth. A few centimeters will be added for the outputs and connection of the hoses sticking out from the back. The door also protrudes for some distance. This should be kept in mind.
Dimensions of models with vertical loading
The choice of sizes of washing machines with vertical loading is much smaller:
- Standard height is 89-90 cm.
- The width is found in two versions – 40 cm and 60 cm. Wider ones, as a rule, have a large load.
- Depth 60-65 cm.
- Loading – from 3 kg to 7 kg.
In addition to the dimensions, pay attention to the shape of the top panel. In some models, it is flat and can be used as a shelf. Other manufacturers try to make the design more interesting and add decorative elements. To what extent they improve the appearance, it is difficult to say, but there is nothing to bet on them.
Amount of dry laundry
The dimensions are more or less clear. The machine must “fit” into the available space. But how to determine the maximum download? In general, it is assumed that it is convenient to start washing every day or once every 2 days. This of course depends on lifestyle and habits, but there are general guidelines:
- For a family of 3-4 people, the optimal load is about 5 kg.
- A 3.5-4 kg machine is quite enough for 1-2 people. It is possible for 5, but often the car will be underloaded. This does not affect the performance of the unit, but it is not too economical (water + electricity).
- For families of 5 people, it is better to choose larger drums designed for 6-7 kg. You can take 5 kg, but you will have to run several washes every day.
Based on these criteria, you can choose an automatic washing machine both by size and drum volume (load size).
Drum – stainless steel or plastic
The drum of the automatic washing machine can be made of stainless steel or composites – special strong plastics. There used to be drums made of enameled steel, but they turned out to be so unreliable that they were abandoned. So today you have to choose an automatic washing machine with a plastic or stainless tank.
We are more used to stainless steel. Everyone knows that it serves for a long time. And it is so. But it is expensive. If there is a desire to save, you can consider a washing machine with a plastic tank. If the car is not overloaded, it is not worse at all. The service life of plastic drums in a washing machine is 25 years. No washing machine will do so much. So, if you need to fit into a small budget, look at models with a plastic tank. What you need to pay attention to is that the surface of the tank is smooth. All. No more subtleties.
What you should pay attention to is the shape of the grabs-partitions inside the tank. The asymmetric shape increases the quality of washing, as do the convex perforation holes in the body of the tank.
Type of drive and motor
Washing machines with a direct drive appeared a few years ago. Compared to a belt drive, they are less noisy, with equal dimensions, they have a large load, reduced washing time (due to the fact that a sharp start and stop became possible, and the laundry is washed better). And another plus is a slightly reduced consumption of electricity (higher than energy efficiency).
In addition to the drive, you should pay attention to the type of engine. An inverter motor is better in terms of operational characteristics. There are no brushes in its design, so there are no losses on them. It is more economical, has a long service life (more than the usual one), can accelerate to significant speeds, and it is easier to control and regulate the speed of rotation. There are also positive points: it makes less noise during operation.
If you need to choose an automatic washing machine that is quiet, reliable, that washes well and is economical, look for models with an inverter motor and a direct drive. It is they who meet these criteria. But at the same time, their price is higher than average. And this is for a minimum of programs. But this option has other disadvantages — expensive repairs and spare parts in case of engine problems.
Management: mechanics or sensors and electronics
An unequivocal answer to this question has not yet been found. On the one hand, electronics provide more options for controlling the washing process, which reduces electricity consumption. It is not for nothing that almost all washing machines with a high energy consumption class are electronically controlled. On the other hand, electronics are more sensitive to the quality of the supply voltage. For long-term work, it is advisable to install a stabilizer. In addition, few people today repair control boards. They are usually simply changed. And in terms of cost, they are approximately equal to half the cost of the car.
The advantage of mechanical control is that it is less sensitive to voltage fluctuations. But also less functional. A lower price can also be attributed to the positive points. But such equipment does not have additional service functions, protection, etc. So, according to this parameter, you will have to choose an automatic washing machine based on your own preferences.
It is impossible to choose an automatic washing machine and not pay attention to its technical characteristics. Perhaps you should not delve into the subtleties, but it is better to know the parameters that affect the quality of washing and the efficiency of the unit.
Energy consumption class and power consumption
The class of energy consumption is also called energy efficiency. It is indicated by the letters of the Latin alphabet – from A (first class) to G (lowest). Shows how efficiently electricity is consumed during the washing process. In connection with the rise in electricity prices, this parameter has become relevant — the higher the energy efficiency, the less electricity consumption will be, other things being equal. To choose a washing machine with minimal consumption, take class A with pluses (A+, A++, A+++). The more advantages, the more economical it is. But here you have to look in combination with the price – sometimes it rises sharply with an increase in the number of pluses.
Just don’t confuse energy efficiency with power consumption. The power consumption is highly dependent on the power of the heating element. And here you have to make sure that the power consumption is not too low. Otherwise, in winter, the water may not have time to heat up to the required temperature. Therefore, it is better to take medium or high power, but paired with good energy efficiency. Then the water will be heated to the required temperature, and due to good management and energy-saving technologies, the consumption of electricity will not be excessive.
Spin efficiency class and drum rotation speed
The efficiency class of washing clothes with a washing machine is indicated according to the same scheme – they put Latin letters from A to G. They reflect the amount of moisture that remains in the washed laundry:
- class A – 45%;
- class B – 54%;
- class C – 63%;
- class D – 72%;
In percentage terms, the difference is significant, but in practice the difference between class A and C is not very large. Yes, it takes a little longer to dry, but not so much that you can shell out a hefty sum for a higher grade. After all, the amount of water left directly depends on the speed of the drum during wringing, and the more revolutions it must gain, the more powerful the motor and more reliable bearings are needed. And this is reflected in the price.
In general, the optimal choice today is a spin class B or C with a drum rotation speed of 1000-1200 rpm. There are models that develop even 2000 rpm (Gorenje WA 65205), but why overpay? At high speeds (meaning 1000-1200 rpm), mainly cotton fabrics (but not knitwear) and synthetics are spun. Lower speeds are recommended for the rest. Do you have a lot of cotton fabric (not knit) and 100% synthetics? Most likely not. So why such capacities that will not be used?
Therefore, it is better to choose an automatic washing machine with spin class B or C and a maximum number of revolutions of 1000-1200.
Everything is more or less clear with this parameter. The better the machine, the higher its class. It is also denoted by Latin letters from A to G. It’s just that the difference between the ABC classes is difficult to find even upon careful examination. But the price difference is very noticeable.
|Laundry class||Efficiency index|
In general, no one has come up with anything fundamentally new in the field of washing modes, and based on experience, we can say that the quality of washing depends on the right program and detergents. The washing class does not affect this indicator much.
In the technical characteristics of washing machines, two levels of noise are indicated: during washing and spinning. Happy is he who has a dedicated technical room in which all noisy household appliances can be installed. They can ignore this indicator. For those who install a washing machine in an apartment or house, and still try to start it at night, during the preferential tariff, the noise level is a very important point.
An automatic washing machine will not interfere even at night if the noise level during spinning does not exceed 70 dB, but it is better if this indicator is lower. There are several models that can be recognized as the best according to this criterion:
- LG F1296SD3. Load 4 kg, noise level during washing 47 dB, spinning 67 dB.
- LG F1020ND1. Load 6 kg, noise during washing 54 dB, during spinning 64 dB.
- AEG L6FBG48S. Load 8 kg, noise level during washing 50 dB, spinning 70 dB.
- AEG L 87695 WD. With drying. Loading 9 kg, noise 49/61 dB.
- Gorenje W 6843. For 6 kg, noise 55/70 dB.
- Bosch WIS 24140. FOR 7 kg, noise 56/70 dB.
To reduce the level of vibration and noise, it is worth putting vibration-damping pads under the legs. They will allow to reduce the noise a little more.
In order for the washing machine to be really economical, it is also necessary that it consumes as little water as possible. This is another resource whose prices are constantly rising. With this indicator, everything is not so simple. Sometimes the technical characteristics indicate the water consumption for one wash – they just stand for liters. But this is incorrect – the loading of machines is different, so it is more reasonable to calculate the water consumption per kilogram of dry laundry. Some manufacturers or some online stores/stores have this feature specified.
If not, you can split the total cost yourself for maxing out the tank. So the comparison more accurately reflects the real state of affairs.
Number of programs and additional functions
To finally choose an automatic washing machine, see the list of available programs. Of course, I would like to have as many of them as possible. But there is a strict pattern — the more programs, the higher the cost. And you will not use all of them. Some are turned on once – to see what kind of mode it is, others are not used at all. With a limited budget, it makes sense to limit yourself to the minimum.
What should be mandatory
It is easy to determine the necessary set of functions. There are basic programs that are used by almost everyone:
- Washing cotton fabrics.
- Program for thin things.
- Quick wash.
It is not bad if it is possible to put an additional rinse or separately only spin without washing. This will be useful for families with children, asthmatics or allergy sufferers.
“Pre-washing”, “soaking”, “bio mode” is useful. These are all the names of the same algorithm, in which the laundry is kept for 15-20 minutes in soapy water without heating before washing. This allows you to wash heavily soiled items.
If you live in an apartment building, the fear of flooding the neighbors from below is always in the background. Therefore, it is scary to leave a working washing machine unattended. But there are smart machines that monitor the water level during washing. If it decreases for no reason (water pumping is not included), the machine blocks the flow of water, stops the program.
There is protection against leakage of only the housing or only hoses, and there is a complete one, with the installation of sensors and valves at the inlet and outlet of the hoses, inlet and outlet of the housing. Overall a good thing, but only if this option fits into your budget.
Start delay timer
This option will be useful for those who have a multi-zone electricity meter. With the help of this function, you can postpone washing for the duration of the preferential tariff, and not monitor the time yourself, do not wait for the arrival of this preferential time.
You just need to see what time you can postpone the start. The longest transfer is 24 hours. There is no more long-term one yet, and even then, not everyone can postpone it for such a period of time. Some models (with electronic control) allow you to set the delay with an accuracy of minutes, others have certain time intervals. For example, 3 and 9 hours.
If there is no place in the apartment to install a dryer or a separate dryer, the drying mode can help. At this time, the laundry is turned over in the drum and blown with warm air.
Some models allow you to set only the duration of this mode, others monitor the state of laundry, automatically turn off when a certain humidity is reached.
List of additional modes of automatic washing machines
In addition to the modes listed above, which are found in about a third of the units, there is a fairly solid list of additional options. They are clearly not mandatory, but may be useful to someone:
- Drum lighting. When pulling things out, there is less chance of leaving something inside due to insufficient lighting.
- Protection from children. Enables control panel lock.
- Control from a smartphone.
- Control of foaming. Excess amount of foam interferes with washing and can damage the machine. Units with this function can pump out excess foam with a special pump.
- Imbalance control. If the laundry is unevenly distributed, it helps to redistribute it.
- Air-bubble washing. A special washing mode that removes stains better due to the large number of small air bubbles. Works fine only with soft water.
- Steam treatment. The temperature of the steam is above 100 °C, thanks to which a bactericidal effect is achieved.
- Direct injection system. The detergent is not washed away by the general flow of water, but is fed directly into the drum through a special nozzle.
- Automatic detergent dosing. Powder is poured into the volume container, and the machine itself determines the required amount of it.
- Programs for washing sports clothes and shoes. A more intensive mode with a large number of rinses.
These are all the main points thanks to which you can choose an automatic washing machine that will fully satisfy your needs.