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Need a new washing machine? Here are the features you need to know about before buying, and the brands that perform well:
Front loader washing machines
Front-loading washing machines are usually more expensive to buy than top loaders. However, over their lifespan they make up for this initial cost, with better performance, and less water and energy usage. This can mean their wash cycles often take longer than a top loader, although today there are usually "quick wash" cycles on front loaders too.
They often use less washing detergent, have higher spin speeds - meaning faster drying - and can be more gentle on clothes than top loaders. They're good in small spaces, but if you have a wooden floor, beware; some front loaders need special brackets if they're sitting on wood as they're so heavy, and can be very difficult to move. Front loaders often are louder when they spin than top-loaders too.
The Fisher & Paykel 8kg Front Loader Washing Machine, $759, is a great, affordable option.
Fisher & Paykel came up as the best front loader washing machine brand in a CanstarBlue review, gaining five stars for performance and reliability, quietness while operating, additional functionality and overall satisfaction. It got four stars for value for money and design. This model has nine wash cycles to care for your clothes, including a 30-minute quick wash cycle. It has 4.5 star water rating and 4 star energy rating.
The Haier 7.5kg Front Load Washing Machine, $569, is perfect if you don't need a large capacity drum.
It has high spin speeds of up to 1200 rpm which means clothes will need to spend less time in the dryer afterwards - saving you time and money. There's a child lock on the door to prevent it being opened or buttons being pressed.
The delay start feature allows you to plan cycles in advance, and there are 16 different wash programs. It has a 3.5-star energy rating and 4.5-star water rating. Haier came second in CanstarBlue's ratings for overall satisfaction.
Top loader washing machines
Top loader washing machines can be a much cheaper outlay than front loaders, but use a lot more water, so may not save you money over the course of several years.
They can be harsher on your clothes, and use more washing detergent than front loaders. However, they're often more reliable than front loaders, generally have shorter wash times, and are easier to move around as they're lighter. They generally rinse better than front loaders as well.
The LG 9kg Top Load Washing Machine With Smart Inverter Control, $935, is part of the range which came out top in Canstar Blue's review of the best top loader washing machines.
LG's machines don't contain an agitator - the mechanism in the middle of most top loaders which moves the clothes around and can be damaging to some fabrics. Instead, they have an 'inverter control motor' that mimics hand washing motions to move the water in the tub. This one also has a wide glass lid so you can monitor and access your washing easily.
The Fisher & Paykel 6kg QuickSmart Top Load Washing Machine, $879, is ideal for small families.
It has SmartDrive technology that means it's really quiet, and because it is made up of fewer parts, it delivers efficient performance. The agitator features flexible fins to reduce tangling of clothes and give a gentle wash. Fisher & Paykel came in second in Canstar Blue's review of top loader washing machines, with five-stars for performance and reliability, quietness while operating and value for money.
A washing machine and tumble dryer in one, these combination machines can be a mixed bag.
They can be expensive, and although it might seem as though you're saving money by only buying one appliance, they can be prone to breaking down. However, the technology is improving quickly, so there are some options out there if you don't have an alternative.
The Fisher & Paykel 8.5kg/5kg Washer Dryer Combo, $1399, is easy to use, as well as water and energy efficient. It has 10 wash cycles, most of which can be completed in an hour or less. It fits in the space of a standard washing machine.
The Bosch 10kg/5kg Serie 6 Washer Dryer Combo, $1403, is one of Choice's recommended washer-dryer machines.
It's energy efficient, quiet to run and works fast - you can wash and dry 1kg of laundry in an hour.
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