Pros and cons: Quality washing machine verses cheap washing machine
It's not always as simple as just buying the best washing machine. If it were there'd only be great quality washing machines, and no one would buy the cheap ones. Cheap washing machines are clearly attractive to customers but what are the pros and cons?
If you buy an quality washing machine* (usually £500 to £1000 or more) you will get a solid, reliable washing machine built to a much higher standard to normal washing machines. You should expect it to last a long time ( Miele for example claim their washing machines are tested for the equivalent of 20 years use ). During this time it shouldn't break down regularly. It should be much quieter and more stable during spin and be pretty heavy.
If it breaks down, there are fewer (independent) engineers available to repair the machine so you may have to use the manufacturer. The call-out and labour charges will be more expensive and the spare parts more expensive too.
At the end of the day, if you can afford it, the quality washing machines are far superior in every way, they are quieter, more sophisticated, often more technically advanced and more reliable as well as cheaper to run.
* NOTE: Don't make the mistake of assuming a washing machine costing over £400 must be high quality because some manufacturers charge a lot for their top end models but build quality is not enhanced - If I buy a more expensive washing machine, do I get a better washing machine?
Cheap washing machines
At the cheap end of the washing machine market, we now have brand new machines that can be purchased at less than the cost of some major repairs. Expect them to be noisier and much less stable on spin. They need treating with respect. Not because they deserve it, but because they are not robustly made, soap dispenser drawers and doors have a tendency to drop off occasionally unless well treated and the writing on the control panel is may eventually wear off or rub away.
You can expect one to break down more often during its (shorter) life. When they do go wrong though there are often plenty of people to repair them so repairs can be quick. Unfortunately though, although the cost of many repairs are cheaper than equivalents on quality washing machines they are more expensive (as a percentage of the purchase cost). This can make people reluctant to invest in a repair and many get scrapped after only a few years because having only paid a few hundred pounds or so to buy it they prefer the extra perceived value of starting again with a brand new washing machine - complete with 12-months guarantee. Paradoxically, their cheapness undermines their true potential life span and so it can often work out more expensive in the long run than buying a much better quality one in the first place.
Cheap washing machines are also less repairable by design in many cases. As explained in Are new washing machines only built to last 5 years? and Do washing machines have built-in obsolescence? they aren't designed to specifically be non-repairable, they are designed to be as cheap as possible to manufacturer - it just works out the same. Examples of this are motors that can't be stripped down and repaired (even some have been known to have no carbon brushes available!), drum bearings that can't be replaced meaning a far more expensive (uneconomical) tub change instead, and the latest crazy idea (The Hotpoint Aqualtis) has a sealed outer tub and drum, which can't be stripped down. These machines are too cheap to invest much money in keeping them going, so, the old adage of "buy cheap - buy often" is pretty accurate here.
Buy washing machines online
There are lots of places to buy a washing machine or washer dryer online and Washerhelp is a good place do it from.
Affiliate links help keep Washerhelp going without adding any cost to you the user. In fact there are often special offers only displayed by affiliates such as Washerhelp. If you are looking to buy, please help Washerhelp by using a Washerhelp link.
John Lewis are a great place to buy a washing machine from. They give at least 2 years guarantee on all washing machines and other appliances - and even 3 years on their own brand (plus 5 year guarantees on TV's).
Free standard delivery on all orders over £30
They've also been voted top of the customer satisfaction polls by Which? consumer association. John Lewis - the best? (external link to my Blog)
Buy Washing machines and white goods appliances online
- John Lewis (Minimum of 2 year guarantees on washing machines and white goods. Consistently voted best retailer for customer satisfaction)
- Comet Web deals on white goods
- Appliance City
- Sainsburys Kitchen Appliances
- Currys Web offers on white goods
- Pixmania washing machines and dryers
Alternatively you can try comparing prices and finding out much more about Washerhelp's affiliates using my Buy washing machines page (Full page of retailers and online stores)
Special offers and discounts on washing machines
As an affiliate, many retailers regularly notify me of special offers, discount codes and money off vouchers for washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, fridges, fridge freezers and cookers. This section is where I post these offers - Special offers on washing machines and other white goods (goes to my Whitegoodshelp Blog)
See lots of retailers all on one convenient page
Alternatively you can try comparing prices and finding out much more about Washerhelp's affiliates using my Buy washing machines page (Full page of retailers and online stores plus reviews and information about them)
The main article begins on the left column
Despite what's said on the left column, there are various circumstances where a cheap - no frills - washing machine is all that's required. Some might argue that for £200, if you get 2 or 3 years you shouldn't grumble and this is a common attitude although not shared by me. You could buy three of these machines for the same price as a top quality one - more if you compare with the most expensive.
However, buying a new washing machine every several years is very likely to cost more than investing in a quality one in the first place. Plus they can be very noisy and unstable in comparison to the quality machines. They tend to break down more regularly and are comparatively crude in places. They are may also cost more to run, which is something many people leave out of the equation. A poor energy rating for a washing machine can add a few hundred pounds to the running costs over a lifetime.
Then there's the environmental effect of scrapping washing machines.
Finally, be aware that some cheap washing machines have smaller drums which may be inappropriate for your needs, so check the amount of washing the machine will take.
The third option? The middle range
If you can't afford the £500 plus washing machines, but you don't want a "cheap" washing machine then the middle ground is a good place to try. Here you can find a reasonable amount of features and a "decent" washing machine. This section is represented by companies such as AEG, Bosh & Zanussi (find AEG | Bosch or Zanussi appliances) although all also have models that dip into the budget range as well as quite expensive models which have lots more features rather than being better made.
For more information on the best and worst washing machines see - Which are the most reliable and the least reliable makes of washing machine?
More topics in this section -
- Are new washing machines made as well as they used to be?
- Are new washing machines only built to last 5 years?
- Do washing machines have built-in obsolescence?
- Which are the most reliable and the least reliable makes of washing machine?
- If I buy a more expensive washing machine, do I get a better washing machine?
- Which is the best washing machine to buy?
Main Buying Section: Buying washing machines
Latest washing machine reviews
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, which you may find useful as they review and advise on all products, not just washing machines.