Top-loading washing machines require relatively less space. Relatively speaking, because they save the space needed to open the front door and are significantly narrower compared to pre-filled washing machines, on the other hand, they take up more space vertically (they need approx. 50 cm of space above them to open the lid), it is not possible to put things on them (if applicable, it is necessary to take them off every time they are washed) and they cannot be incorporated, for example, into a kitchen cabinet.
But they can be suitable, for example, for the elderly or people with mobility problems, because they don’t have to bend so much to the washing machine. In general, it can be said that top-loading washing machines tend to have a smaller range of functions and often weaker performance, for example, when spinning, compared to front-loading washing machines. Although there are already well-equipped models on the market that offer, e.g. steam functions, they are usually quite expensive compared to pre-filled washing machines with these technologies.
Front loading washing machines
Most models on the market are front-loading washing machines. Some can be built into, for example, the kitchen unit, while free-standing models can be used as a storage area – you can place a dryer on them, for example. You will learn how in this chapter.
Front-loading washing machines are usually better than top-loading models in terms of parameters and range of functions. They also offer a larger selection of different capacities, and you can find them at all price points. This makes pre-loaded washing machines suitable for basically everyone, with the exception of users who really don’t have room for them at home.
Slim washing machines
Investing in a slim washing machine could be an excellent solution for individuals dealing with limited space. These models have a smaller depth, usually up to 50 cm, allowing them to take up less space than traditional pre-filled washing machines. While they typically have an average or smaller capacity, their range of programs and functions is comparable to standard front-loading machines. This means you won’t have to compromise on the quality of your wash. However, mini-washing machines are also available if you require even more significant space savings. It’s important to note, though, that these models may have significant limitations in terms of functionality. Therefore, you should weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully before making a final decision.
Washing machines with dryer
Models of washing machines combined with dryers are also appearing on the market. They are a good choice, especially for households that do not have a separate dryer or, for example, a balcony or other place to dry laundry. Their disadvantage is that they often need help to dry the same volume of laundry that they can wash. On the other hand, the advantage is the possibility of a continuous program in which drying is smoothly followed by washing.
We did not include washing machines with dryers in our review; they usually have a higher electricity consumption and are heavier, more expensive, and have a higher water consumption. A comparison with other washing machines would therefore be uninformative. We, therefore, devoted a separate comparative test to washing machines with dryers.
What is the best place to put your washing machine?
The space where you want to place the washing machine will fundamentally influence the choice of washing machine type. Washing machines are often placed in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. It is always essential to evaluate the space requirements of the washing machine. For smaller bathrooms, most customers will appreciate top-loading washing machines or so-called slim washing machines, which have a depth of perhaps only 50 cm and are nevertheless pre-loaded. For pre-filled washing machines, then remember the space for opening the door.
- Kitchen: If you’re looking for a washing machine to integrate into your kitchen unit, a front-loading machine is the better choice. It is particularly suited to the kitchen and can provide an ideal solution.
- Bathroom: The size and layout of the bathroom is what matters most. If you need to save space on the depth, reach for the slim model. If a lower height is essential to you, a front-loading washing machine is the obvious choice. If you need a washing machine as narrow as possible, we recommend a top-loading washing machine.
- Laundry room: If you have a separate laundry room or a large bathroom and you don’t have to deal with space requirements too much, you don’t have to limit yourself in any way with the dimensions of the washing machine, and you can easily choose a larger and more voluminous model.
Where to put a washing machine and a dryer?
If you already have a dryer at home or are buying this appliance with the washing machine, you may be wondering how to place both instruments. There are three possible options – washing machine and dryer in different rooms, both devices next to each other or dryer on top of the machine.
Washing machine and dryer in different rooms
In case you have a small bathroom in which two appliances cannot fit, even if you place them on top of each other (or have a boiler above the washing machine, for example). In this case, putting the washing machine in the classic bathroom and the dryer in the pantry, kitchen, or another room is ideal. This is possible because the dryer does not need waste, but you must count on regular emptying of the condensation tank.
Washing machine and dryer next to each other
If you have a large bathroom or laundry room, you can afford to place both appliances next to each other. This solution can look very nice, especially if you have a washer and dryer in the same design. Some users even put a worktop over these two devices, which they use, for example, to fold laundry.
Dryer on top of washing machine
It is good to point out that it is always necessary to build the dryer on top of the washing machine; the opposite solution is not possible. The washing machine is too heavy and vibrates more during work. Thus there is a risk of damage to both appliances. When stacking appliances, the washing machine must have the same or larger dimensions than the dryer; a suitable intermediate piece should connect both appliances. It is easier if they are both from the same brand; you can also get a stacking kit from the manufacturer.
If the appliances are from two different brands, you will have to reach for one of the stacking kits, but make sure that it is suitable for the dimensions of your appliances.
If the dryer is larger than the washing machine, a possible solution is to build a structure with a plate around the washing machine on which you will place the dryer. But this solution requires a skilled tradesperson, so often, a simpler and cheaper option will be to place the dryer somewhere else.
Important features when choosing a washing machine
The energy label is a valuable aid when choosing a washing machine, which tells you the most essential information about the washing machine. If you have already encountered an energy label, for example, when choosing another appliance, reading it will be a piece of cake.
We have prepared clear explanations for those who have not become familiar with it. The consumption and efficiency of washing and spinning only indicate values corresponding to the Eco program. When using a different program, they may differ more or less.
To find more information about a specific washing machine, you can use the QR code in the right corner of the energy label, redirecting you to the appliance database.
We have already mentioned the dimensions in the previous lines; since they can be decisive for some users when choosing, let’s clarify what size you can expect from different types of washing machines.
- Washing machine height: For front-loading models, the size is usually around 85 cm (this also applies to slim washing machines); top-loading washing machines can be a little higher, generally measuring 85-90 cm.
- Washing machine width: For pre-loaded washing machines (even slim ones), the typical width is 60 cm; top-loading models are usually 40 cm wide.
- Washing machine depth: Standard pre-filled washing machines have a depth of between 50 and 65 cm; their slim variant starts at 30 cm, and the maximum depth of slim washing machines is around 50 cm. Top-loading models usually stick to a depth of 60 cm.
The capacity of the drum is also an essential factor in the selection. For a household of one or two people, a small washing machine with a total of around 4 kg is sufficient; for a family of four or more, large washing machines with a capacity of 6 kg or more are better.
In general, it is better to buy a washing machine with a larger capacity than a smaller one because the drum should not be filled more than 80% to leave enough space for the laundry to move, making washing more efficient. Once in a while, you also need to wash bulky laundry items, such as blankets.
If, on the other hand, you only fill the drum halfway, washing ceases to be economical. Individual household conditions (more laundry in a household with a small child or washing things for work) also remain at your discretion.
Washing and rinsing efficiency
An index expresses washing efficiency; the lowest allowed value is 1.03. But there is no need to worry about this number; in this respect, practically all washing machines today are equivalent, and you will find either the number 1.03 or 1.04.
You can already notice some differences in the effectiveness of rinsing. It is rated according to how many grams of washing powder remains in 1 kg of laundry after rinsing. The maximum allowed value is 5 g, and most washing machines are between 4.5-5 g. However, some exceptions show 3 g or less of residual detergent.
It is marked with the letters A to G. The best class A means that less than 45% of the water should remain in the laundry after spinning. Owners of tumble dryers should mainly focus on spin-drying; they should choose washing machines from class A or B; models with a lower class do not spin the clothes sufficiently, which increases drying costs.
In the case of centrifugation, it is ideal when it is possible to choose the number of revolutions. For example, when washing delicate laundry you do not plan to dry in the dryer, you will certainly appreciate the possibility of reducing the speed. When you spin your favourite sweater at high speeds, you will take it out of the washing machine drier, but probably also completely wrinkled (not to mention that higher speeds are understandably less gentle on delicate laundry and can cause, for example, pilling).
Energy class and consumption
As with any appliance, we also demand that the washing machine save us as much as possible. From 2021, washing machines have been classified into energy classes A-G, A being the most economical. However, most washing machines fall into categories C and D.
Thanks to the stated consumption, you can also get an idea of the operating costs. This is calculated for 100 cycles, corresponding to roughly two weekly washing cycles. You can then calculate the approximate costs from this consumption; multiply the consumption by the price of 1 kWh from your supplier.
The label also shows the water consumption indicated for 1 Eco cycle. To get the costs, you need to multiply this number by the price of water, but if you also want to know how economically the washing machine uses water, consider its capacity. A larger capacity usually means a higher water consumption, but it does not mean that the washing machine somehow wastes water.
The washing machine is one of the noisiest household appliances used often in many households, even daily. It is in the interest of every user to focus specifically on noise and try to find the least noisy model. Especially if you often wash in the evening or even at night.
There was both the washing and spinning noise on the older energy labels. In general, however, the washing noise level of newer models is relatively low, so it is usually no longer mentioned, and you will not even find it on the energy label.
When wringing, the noise is between 70 and 80 dB. It seems like a slight difference, but it is necessary to consider that audible noise does not increase linearly with the number of decibels; on the contrary, every additional decibel is noticeably more audible.
There are three types of motors most often found on the market. The motor mainly affects noise and consumption; it also affects the washing machine’s lifespan.
- Classic motor: Consists of four components: motor, belt, pulley and drum. It is located off the axis of the drum and is less efficient than newer types. Carbons transfer electricity from the motor. This motor type is noisier and consumes more than the newer ones. In addition, carbons need to be replaced occasionally, which brings additional expenses.
- Inverter motor: It consists of the same components as the classic model, and its location is also the same. But it is controlled electronically, so its regulation is smoother. Compared to the traditional type, it reduces the noise and consumption of the washing machine. In addition, manufacturers often provide an extended warranty of up to 10 years for the inverter motor.
- Direct drive motor: Inverter Direct drive motor is usually found in more expensive and better quality washing machines. Unlike the previous two models, this motor is located on the axis of the drum. Thanks to this, it does not need a belt or a pulley, the drum drives directly. It is more controllable and more stable than other motors. It also reduces vibration, noise and is more efficient. Like other inverter motors, this one also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Features and accessories
Modern washing machines abound with several functions, such as facilitating control, improving the washing result or simplifying maintenance. We have divided these functions into several groups:
- Basic functions: Display, delayed start, etc.
- Quantitative automation: Fuzzy logic, the 6th sense…
- Overflow protection: AquaStop, AquaSafe…
- Steam function: To refresh the laundry
- Smart function: For remote control
- Cleaning function: StayClean Drawer, drum flushing
- Automatic dosing of washing powder: For effortless dosing
The more or less standard functions of washing machines include child lock and delayed start. Many households have children’s insurance, but it is essential for parents with children. The delayed start then makes the washing machine somewhat independent. It washes the laundry even when you are not at home, so you do not have to submit your program to the washing machine; it adapts to you. A slight simplification is also represented by an audio signal, which the washing machine uses to alert you to wash clothes.
Under the names AquaStop, AquaSafe and others, clever technologies protect your home from overheating. They monitor whether there is any malfunction or water leakage in the washing machine and, based on this, automatically stop the washing machine and drain the water from the inside.
Steam programs refresh laundry, remove wrinkles and eliminate odours and allergens. So you can use them, for example, for delicate laundry that has smelled in a smoking restaurant. You will then appreciate their antibacterial effects when washing bedding and other linen. Steam washing is generally more economical, gentler and more effective than washing in water. In the future, we may even see purely steam washing machines.
The trend of modern times is the smart home, i.e. a home in which you can control practically everything from the light in the kitchen to the blinds to the washing machine remotely, using your phone or other mobile device. The advantage of intelligent washing machines is not only the ability to turn on the appliance, even when you are at work.
Of course, models with a delayed start can handle this function for a long time. But a smart washing machine can also, for example, inform you about a fault or allow you to download a new range of programs from the Internet.
A common addition to today’s washing machines is a unique program used to clean the drum. It rinses the inside of the washing machine with hot water and at high speed to clean the drum of various fibres and other deposits. This program does not require using a detergent for some washing machines.
Automatic flushing of the detergent drawer is also a supplement to cleaning the drum. Unsightly deposits from fabric softeners and detergents do not remain in it, and bacteria or fungi do not multiply.
Automatic dosing of washing powder
An inappropriate amount of washing powder can negatively affect the washing results. A dose that is too small does not wash the laundry sufficiently, and too much powder prolongs the washing process, thereby increasing water and energy consumption. In addition, powder residue can remain on clothing and cause skin problems.
That is why some washing machines are equipped with automatic powder dosing. You always add detergent and fabric softener to the large containers inside the washing machine once in a while, and the machine dispenses the detergent according to the amount of laundry, the degree of soiling and the type of fabric.
Program control and menu
When it comes to washing machines, ease of use is critical. That’s why we’ve included user evaluations in our review to understand how intuitive the controls are clearly. A display is also a great advantage, providing updates on the washing progress and cycle time. But simplicity can be subjective, so it’s helpful to evaluate the machine visually. Photos can show you how transparent the control panel is and whether you’ll need to consult the manual for unfamiliar symbols constantly. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what using each washing machine is like. Check on how to read washing machine symbols.
Most washing machines today have somewhere between ten and twenty washing programs. However, the average user uses significantly fewer of them. Suppose you want to use the maximum potential of your washing machine. In that case, we recommend you study the user manual, where all the programs are detailed, often with approximate energy consumption.
So that you don’t have to remember all the data, it’s a good idea to write down a few of the most valuable programs or take a photo and stick them on the washing machine. Everyone can probably handle the “Cotton 40°” program, but there are far more sophisticated washing options on the market, so let’s take a look at at least the most interesting ones:
- ECO programs: Energy-saving programs save the environment and your wallet. Their disadvantage is mainly the long washing time, but if you time the washing machine, for example, for the time when you are at work, the long washing time will not bother you in any way.
- Baby care and anti-allergen programs: These programs mainly rinse the clothes more carefully so that no residues of washing powder can irritate sensitive skin. For washing machines with a steam function, steam treatment with disinfecting properties is usually added.
- Pet programs: With programs designed for pet owners, you will get thorough soaking and rinsing before and after washing, which should guarantee the removal of as much pet hair and other fibres as possible. If you want to take extra care of your laundry, we recommend investing in a clothes dryer, which is unsurpassed in removing hair, dust and allergens.
Popular brands of washing machines
Whirlpool washing machines
Free-standing pre-loaded washing machines dominate the offer of the American brand Whirlpool, but you often come across top-loaded models. The assortment also includes several built-in washing machines. The capacity is usually medium-sized washing machines that can hold 7-9 kg. But there are also several larger models with over 10 kilograms or smaller washing machines from 5 kg. The noise level and consumption of these models are standard by current standards.
Most of the models are already equipped with an inverter motor; from more advanced technologies, you can also come across steam functions, automatic detergent dosing or the possibility of adding laundry during washing. On the contrary, these washing machines usually do not have smart functions. They range in price from £250 to £700.
LG washing machines
The Korean brand LG brings classic washing machines and so-called slim models to the market. It focuses exclusively on pre-loaded washing machines. Most models fall into the best energy classes, A and B, which are economical. The range of capacities is pretty standard, you will find most washing machines in the 7-9 kg range, but there are also large models with a total of over 10 kg, which will satisfy even large households.
Newer models are equipped with an inverter motor, steam functions, smart functions, and other advanced technologies are also the domain of this manufacturer. The usual price is between £400 and £500. But you will also come across models exceeding the cost of £1,000.
AEG washing machines
The German brand AEG is generally trendy in the field of household appliances. This is not the case with washing machines either. Classic pre-filled washing machines predominate in the product range. However, you can also find models with top-filling or slim variants. In four model lines, the manufacturer offers appliances with a capacity of 6 to 10 kg. Some are very economical and have occupied the best energy classes, A and B; in terms of noise, they are standard.
The inverter motor is a matter of course in washing machines of this brand. The new models also have a steam function, but you usually need help finding intelligent functions. The price range is extensive.
Bosch washing machines
Washing machines from the German company Bosch are mostly classic front-loading models. However, the offer also includes slim models and top-loading washing machines. The consumption of these models is standard; they usually belong to the most common class C. The capacity of washing machines ranges from 7 to 9 kg of laundry.
In general, Bosch washing machines are well equipped with features, and the price also depends on this, with most models costing more than £400. Paradoxically, however, they are usually not equipped with steam programs, which are standard among other manufacturers.
Andrea is an accomplished home appliances reviewer, editor, and blogger with a profound passion for enhancing everyday domestic tasks through thoughtful appliance choice. Her writing journey began in 2015 when she expertly married her talent for writing with her love for design, crafting insightful content on home improvement, DIY projects, and interior design.
Specialising in home appliance reviews, Andrea has carved a niche for herself with a particular focus on dishwashers and washing machines. Her comprehensive and incisive reviews have helped illuminate thousands of homes, steering consumers towards informed decisions that match their personal needs, budget, and style.