If I buy a more expensive washing machine, do I get a better washing machine?
A common misconception is that the qualty and reliability of an appliance is related to the price, but this is only partially true. (This is one of the most important questions on Washerhelp regarding choosing a new washing machine)
If you paid an extra £50 or £100 for a more expensive model, will you get a better washing machine? No. You'll get a faster spin, more options, and maybe a bigger drum, but the build quality of your washing machine will be the same.
All manufacturers produce a range of washing machines that are built to the standard of quality they have decided to produce. The differences between their basic, and their top models, are that the basic washing machine will have a slower spin speed, less buttons, less options, smaller drum etc. Even though the price difference could be hundreds of pounds, there is no difference in quality between their basic model and their top model. (There is one exception to this that I know of and that is the ISE brand of appliances. The ISE brand of washing machines have commissioned a few semi-commercial quality appliances such as the ISE10 washing machine and a similar quality tumble dryer in a totally different league to their basic machines which are of standard build).
If you want a better quality washing machine, you need to choose a better brand.
Example: Miele's entry level washing machine is considerably better quality and will be much quieter and more reliable than Hotpoint's top of the range washing machine - but they are pretty similar in price.
The important thing to understand is that any specific brand of washing machine (or any appliance) tends to be either budget, middle of the road, or top quality, and all washing machines within their range are built the same standards (sharing most parts). TIP: Compare the basic entry model of each brand of washing machine you are interested in. So if you see a £450 washing machine, but they do a basic model at just £250, you know that the £450 washing machine is likely to be built to the same build quality as the £250 washing machine, the rest of your money is going on features.
Clearly one could argue that a not very well made washing machine that spins at 1400 rpm and has a 6Kg drum is still a "better" washing machine than the same brand's cheapest model which only spins at 1000 rpm with a 5Kg drum. However, it's important to understand that when I use the phrase, "better washing machine" I am talking about the quality and reliability of the washing machine. If you judge how good a washing machine is by its features then you miss the point, and may end up with a rubbish machine with bells and whistles.
Over the years I've often tried to tactfully explain to customers facing continuous repair costs or the demise of their "not very old" washing machine that they've bought a cheap and poor quality washing machine. I've often been met with, "but it wasn't cheap!". The problem is that many washing machines are expensive, but the money goes on faster spin speeds, bigger drums and more options - not on better quality parts. The worst quality washing machine manufacturer in the UK can still produce a souped-up model in the latest fashionable colour. It may spin way too fast for the build quality of the machine, and bounce around the kitchen because the suspension is cheap - but is still expensive. If you take out an extended warranty too, you can end up paying out more money for a rubbish washing machine than for a less specified but high quality washing machine that could last 15 - 20 years.
If you could buy a basic BMW car for around the same price as a top spec Lada, which would you think is the best buy? Decide whether to spend your money on a more basic but well made washing machine, or on a washing machine with a faster spin and bigger drum that's potentially unreliable and noisy. Of course you may be able to find something in between these extremes and if that's what you are looking for I would recommend, Bosch, AEG, Zanussi, John Lewis Brand ( see Washerhelp's washing machine reviews ).
Ideally, if money's no object then a washing machine that combines higher spec and quality is best, but if money is tight then a basic cheap washing machine may have to do. I just think too many people are paying £400 - £500 out for washing machines that are not well made at all but just have bigger drums and faster spins, when for the same money they could buy a much better quality one.
Finally: Don't go on looks. The highest quality washing machines are rarely the most "attractive" (often expected to go into wash rooms) and the ones that look the nicest, are often not as well made.
For personal recommendations (so far) see washing machine reviews or consult Which? who have considerably more resources than Washerhelp and many years of data to research - now online and with a 1 month trial offer - Which? washing machine reviews
There are lots of places to buy a washing machine or washer dryer online and Washerhelp is a good place do it from.
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Why do we hate spending money on washing machines?
It just isn't exciting. It's not the same as buying a new car, or the latest wide screen TV, video camera or iPod etc.
To most people (especially men), it seems a washing machine is just a necessary evil. Spending hundreds of pounds on a new one just does not excite. All they do is make noises, break down from time to time and wash clothes.
But like it or not we all need one, and as long as we live in our own home we are going to need a washing machine. If you set up your own home aged 18 and live to 88 you will need a washing machine for 70 years.
So how many washing machines should you have to buy in all that time? If you spend as little money as possible each time, you may have to buy at least 10, and that's assuming each one lasts 7 years, which many cheap ones just aren't achieving any more. Then there's all the repairs to pay for in between.
It's quite possible though, by investing more money, for someone to only need to buy 4 or 5 washing machines because washing machines do exist that can last 20 years or more.
Many people can't afford to invest in a better quality appliance but if you can, it may be much cheaper in the long run to buy better and less often.
Best washing machines?
Although my reviews are comprehensive and very detailed, they are limited in number and may not feature all the very latest models. Which? have the resources to review many of the latest washing machines and have a specially set up test laboratory. They also have a huge database of savvy members to gain reliability and satisfaction feedback from.
You can easily obtain a 1 month trial from them (Is there a catch?), which you may find useful as they review and advise on all products, not just washing machines. Which? Online 1 month trial - what's the catch? | Which? Best washing machine brands