Buying guides & tips
17 May 2022
Laundry buying guide
Home Appliances Team
Your perfect laundry setup is easy to achieve. With a little explanation, the latest smart features are a touch away and here is what you need to know.
I’m going to break this down into categories. Washers, dryers, and washer dryer combos – and I’ll start with washers. If you do enough searching, you’ll find a lot of outdated washing machine information or info that’s not relevant to this part of the world. So here’s the latest.
What's in this guide ...
- Washing machine types and the differences
- Front loader washing machines
- Top loader washing machines
- Washer dryer combos explained
- Dryer types and how they differ for your laundry setup
Top loaders use more energy and water than a front loader but both types can now wash items quickly with fast wash cycles. Although, a top loader can generally wash more items in a fast wash than a front loader can as most front loaders with a fast wash option are for only 1 - 2kg of clothes. Which is basically just one outfit. Front loaders with a capacity of 10kg or under usually fit in the standard cavity but this isn’t always the case. So, just like when buying a fridge, you need to measure the cavity as a first step.
People used to prefer a top loader as it allowed you to add extra items during a cycle, but now, many front loaders like some from Samsung allow items to be added after you have started using a special door.
Many other brands of front loaders also allow items to be added after a wash has started, sometimes there are limitations that will stop you adding in items so just because a washer has this feature, doesn’t mean you can always use it.
- the temperature of water, if it’s too hot, too bad,
- or if the cycle has been going on too long, that will stop you, too.
- the type of cycle also has an effect as certain cycles really need the garments to be in there the whole time and if not, it won’t clean properly, and the washer companies won’t allow you to add clothes when they won’t be cleaned properly.
When you spend more money on a front loader you will get things like faster spin speeds, which extracts more water from your clothes, reducing drying time. 1400rpm is usually the max here. You will also get hotter wash temps, up to 95 degrees in some cases. Perfect for killing bacteria and for cleaning stubborn stains.
Look out for the Woolmark certification on high-end product. Appliances can be certified with the Woolmark Apparel Care logo, amongst others. Look out for different cycle types which are usually printed on the machine itself.
These cycle types do make a difference and aren’t just advertising gimmicks. More wash cycles don’t necessarily mean better, so look for the models that suit what you want to wash. Front load washers like some from LG have connected features that allow you to add more cycles from their online database.
Keep on the lookout for a Drum Clean Cycle. This helps remove gunk and residue from your machine while killing nasties, but I also use it after washing the dogs bedding for a true clean and peace of mind.
never too hot to handle
Front load washers also have inbuilt heaters to warm up the water, so it doesn’t matter how hot your tap goes, plus, it won’t ruin your shower time by sucking up all the warm water.
Lastly, look for a direct drive motor in your front loader for the best experience. If it doesn’t have a direct drive motor, the drum is moved with belts and pulleys, resulting in a wash that is louder, has more vibrations, with increased power consumption. Direct drive motors tend to last longer as they have fewer moving parts – but please, don’t take my comments as constituting additional warranty.
While we’re talking longevity, Asko have stainless steel throughout, improving quality and giving you peace of mind vs cheaper machines that use plastic or enamel parts. If you want my hot tip, check out the filter at the bottom of a front loader. When you clean this filter, and you should do so regularly, water usually spills out everywhere. Front loaders from Electrolux have a handy tube to drain this water into a tray or bucket. But please, don’t try this in-store. Washers are tested at the factory and will have water in the filter. So don’t open them and make a mess!
my front of mind picks for front loaders
Next, we have top loaders, and when you spend more money on a top loader, you get all the extra benefits like when you spend more on a front loader, so I’ll keep this short.
Many top load washing machines have what’s called an agitator in the middle of the drum. This creates the turbulence that cleans your clothes. While agitators are tough on stains, they can be quite tough on clothes, so you might find yourself using a garment bag more often to protect items, or risk tangling your ‘delicates’ around this structure. Want to wash your pets bedding or muddy sports clothes, boom, agitate away, it will clean those items best. Since you’re using much more water, items are constantly immersed in sudsy water and this can improve wash results.
Modern top loaders now also come without an agitator. Instead, they use directed jets of water along with an impeller to tumble your clothes. While this can cause your clothes to get all knotted up, it won’t damage them. And let’s be honest, top loaders are amazing for big families. As they use more water for each wash, you can really fill a top loader, and because they’re completely submerged in water, you’ll get a great clean.
Look out for top load washers that have 2 water inputs
One is for hot water, the other is for cold water. If you only have a cold-water inlet hose at your place and buy this type of washer, you may not get any of the hot water wash features so check this out before you buy.
In my experience, your hot water tap will never get as hot as what the inbuilt heater in your machine will, so potentially, the wash results won’t be as good.
my top picks for top loaders
Washer dryer combos
Washer dryer combos are the best option if you’re time poor or stuck on space. One device to rule them all. Great to throw in a load of sheets overnight and wake up to dry sheets that don’t need to line dry.
check capacity ratings
My biggest tip here is to remember that washer dryer combos have different capacity ratings for washing and drying. Meaning you can’t utilise a full capacity for washing if you want to dry. The machine won’t usually stop you, but the drying won’t be as effective.
Washer dryer combos use condenser drying technology and this uses water during the drying process but uses less energy than a traditional vented dryer. This is where dryer tech can get confusing, so let’s explore that now.
My top picks on washer dryer combos
There are 3 main types of dryers. Vented, Condenser, and Heat Pump.
Vented dryers work by drawing air into the dryer and passing it over a heating coil, then blowing this hot air over your clothes, venting this hot and humid air back into your room.
- The cheapest option
- Fastest way to dry clothes
- Easy to wall mount unlike condenser and heat pump which are often far too heavy
- Can be the most damaging on clothes as you’re essentially just super heating them
- No ventilation: If you don’t have a well-ventilated bathroom, vented dryers will make your walls cry and sweat with moisture.
It’s best to grab accessories such as a venting kit like the one from UNILUX to improve the vibe and help save in your laundry from wet walls and any damage over time.
My top picks on vented dryers
They also blow air over a heating coil, but they capture the hot, damp air, condensing the vapour into water and capturing the water in a tank or draining via a return hose.
- Removes moisture during the drying process
- Perfect for laundry spaces with no ventilation
- Slower to dry than vented dryers
- Often less energy efficient
If the condenser dryer has a tank, you will usually need to empty the tank every time you use it. Some condenser dryers allow you to plumb them into your sink like a normal washing machine, so the captured water just drains out, eliminating the need to empty a tank each time.
Some models may require a drainage kit if they support this feature, UNILUX have a great solution here, too.
My top picks on condenser dryers
Heat pump dryers
Lastly, we have heat pump dryers. The most energy efficient by a long shot, but they have the most expensive purchase price. They work in a similar way to a condenser dryer but without a heating coil. Instead, they use a compressor, much like a fridge or air conditioner.
- Much safer on your clothes than all other dryer types, with some models having wool safe cycles
- The most energy efficient
I’m going to mention energy use again because you’re now seeing nine-star rated products. This makes a huge difference for our planet and your energy bills. Heat Pump dryers are the future and if you want the best, this is what you need to buy.
My top picks on heat pump dryers
There really is a perfect laundry experience waiting for you
Weigh up your needs and budget, both at point of purchase and in energy and water use over the products lifespan.
But I want to leave you with one last thing. A good laundry needs great accessories. Stacking kits for your perfect washer and dryer pair in the form of rubber mats or a special shelf are a must have, especially when you can’t wall mount your dryer or have no room on the floor. Extra hoses to drain water from a condenser dryer, or venting kits to get that humid air out of the house are also a must-have – and don’t forget your OMO laundry liquid, you’ll always need it, so just grab it from us.
I hope that helps you build your perfect laundry experience, turning one of life’s most annoying chores into something a little more manageable.
Make your new laundry appliances last longer
When upgrading your laundry or getting set up in your new home its worth considering JB Hi-Fi Extra Care to extend your products warranty once the manufacturer’s warranty and our JB minimum voluntary warranty expires. You can add extra care to your purchase online or ask us in-store.
You can add Extra Care to your purchase online or ask us in-store.More about Extra Care