Hoover H160E washing machine review
Independent washing machine reviews by a repairman with 30 years experience.
Hoover still give a free 5-year parts guarantee with their washing machines. A free 5 year parts guarantee does sometimes come in useful, and as long as you understand its limitations ( I have a 5 year parts guarantee - should I use it? ) it's still a plus point when buying a washing machine though clearly not as good as a parts and labour warranty.
Virtually all repairmen in the trade repair Hoover washing machines, which means there is healthy competition and repair charges are more reasonable as a result. Unfortunately though, if drum bearings failed after 5 years this washing machine is likely to be scrapped because it would need an entire new outer tub, as mentioned earlier, drum bearings can't be replaced. This is becoming common on lots of washing machines in this price range.
This model isn't commonly available although the latest Hoover washers don't look much different to this one build quality wise. This review can still give a good idea of what Hoover washing machines are like.
The only make of washing machine I've always repaired on a daily basis for the last 30 years is Hoover. I trained on Hoover washing machines (from 1976) and for the first 15-years I repaired nothing else but Hoover washing machines. I always believed that, all things considered, (particularly the cheapness and availability of parts and repairmen) Hoover was on of the best value for money washing machines available (in the UK)
Unfortunately, Hoover were taken over by Candy in the mid 1990s, and for several years, new Hoover washing machines were actually Candy washing machines badged up as Hoover. During this time, Hoover were not as recommended by myself and countless others because Candy had a poor reputation in the UK. Candy have now owned Hoover for long enough for us to see a range of washing machines that are much more of a collaboration, and so here's my review of a Hoover washing machine.
I like the look of the H160E This washing machine looks chunky and solid. It's the heaviest and most solid looking range of washing machine Hoover has produced for a long time. Mind you, most of this weight is due to the extra large concrete weights inside. The door looks large, and gives the impression you can fit even more washing in than the 5 Kg load it's capable of. It has a very fast (too fast?) 1600 spin with a manual spin override speed option, and its control panel is nicely laid out.
This washing machine is designed for the value-for-money market rather than the quality end. The thin soap dispenser drawer front bends under the strain of pulling it out. The customer I was installing this washing machine for couldn't pull out the soap dispenser drawer out for her first wash. There was no fault, it just needed pulling harder than you'd expect, and the bowing of the drawer front had concerned her enough to not want to pull any harder.
The kick strip at the bottom is held on tentatively with brittle clips, which can easily be broken by someone trying to tilt the washing machine back by grabbing it at the bottom (which I have done in the past) or accidentally kicking it.
Holes in back panel:
The quality of the screw holes in the back panel is poor. After just one undoing (to take transit packing off) the holes became enlarged and prevented the back panel screws tightening up properly again. I've seen this many times on recent Hoover washing machines, so it wasn't just this one. Again, it's not a major problem, but it's likely to result in unnecessary rattles from the back panel in the future.
Continued on next column ...
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).
Review continued .. (starts in left column)
Usability of the washing machine
The Hoover H160E has very nice and clear controls. It's good to see that Hoover have at last put their main control panel information behind a protective see through strip. In the past, Hoover's washing machines have been the worst I've come across for the writing on the control panels rubbing off after a few years. Some of their previous washing machines have been reduced to a blank control panel, with all the information worn off completely, after less than a couple of years.
However, because the main indicator panel is set at an angle facing upwards, it reflects light. The indicator lights that usefully show the wash time remaining don't shine through strong enough in a bright environment and can be difficult to see clearly enough without getting very close up.
The lights built into the option buttons underneath the indicator panel are nice and bright. I also like the straight forward manual spin speed selector option knob. This allows you to set the spin to any of eight choices from no spin at all, to 600 RPM and through to 1600 RPM.
The other information on the option buttons and the control knob is printed directly onto the plastic, which if not cared for, could suffer the same disappearing fate as previous Hoover washing machines. To be fair, Hoover's instruction book will no doubt warn only to wipe with a damp cloth, and people who have lost the writing may have used cleaning products, but as I say, Hoover washing machines have been notable for this problem above all other makes. Take care to just wipe carefully with a damp cloth.
The parts inside the H160E washing machine
There are some good improvements to parts that caused breakdowns in previous Hoover washing machines and some deficiencies that still haven't been addressed yet. The suspension legs look a bit basic, but then crude suspension is common on all but the quality washing machines and it's one of the reasons why they aren't so stable on spin. The plastic lower half of the suspension looks breakable, but modern washing machines use advanced out of balance load detection which presumably allow the use of plastic in the suspension. I've seen the same type of suspension on other makes too.
The top and bottom photos show a simple un-cramped design which should be easy to maintain (apart from if drum bearings fail, which is covered further down this section)
- The Heater and thermostats are where they should be on a washing machine - at the back where an engineer can get to them easily
- The two top tub springs holding the tub central inside the casing are now extremely strong
- Hoover are still one of the only washing machine manufacturers that often don't have a customer accessible filter to protect the water pump.
- No adjustment on the motor for the drive belt means a new belt will be required instead of tightening up the slack as it wears (This is becoming common these days)
- Hoover have a good track record with drum bearings over recent years, so drum bearing failure isn't a common fault on them (as it is with Hotpoint's) However, If the drum bearings fail on this range of washing machine, you can't replace them separately. You have to replace the entire tub with them already pressed in. This means that the washing machine is likely to be scrapped if the drum bearings fail (after the 5-year parts guarantee has expired) because of the high repair cost compared to the low purchasing price. This type of scenario is very common with all the cheaper washing machines these days (Built-in obsolescence? Are new washing machines made as well as they used to be?)
Things I don't like about the Hoover H160E
One thing that annoys me (from a repairman's point of view) about the Hoover H160E is the lid arrangement This range of washing machines share the same lid that Hoover have adopted from Candy over the last several years. This isn't a serious consideration from a user's point of view, but depending on the location of your fill taps, drain stand pipe and mains socket, it can affect how easy it is to work on the machine in the future.
Let me explain:
A washing machine lid usually fits under two lugs at the front and is secured with two screws at the back. To remove it, you pull the washing machine out (usually from underneath a work surface) far enough to get to the two screws at the back. Once undone, the lid knocks forward and is off in seconds.
The lid on the H160E range (and previous Hoover washing machines like the Performa and Quatro) slides in from the back between plastic guides. This means you have to pull the washing machine much further out (about 3 foot) so you can slide the lid completely out of its plastic fittings. Due to the shortness of standard washing machine hoses and the fact that plumbers often plumb taps under cupboards this is often impossible to do without disconnecting the washing machine from the plumbing and is an unnecessary pain.
The first time I came across this lid arrangement, I stood the lid on its side away from the washing machine while I worked on the machine. The floor became wet (as it does) and because the lid is made of laminated wood, it absorbed water, swelled at the edges and refused to slide back in. I had to trim it extensively with a Stanley knife.
Unpacking the washing machine before use:
This is a heavy machine. Part of the procedure for removing the transit packing and getting the washing machine ready for use involves fitting a plastic cover underneath (supplied). This means laying the washing machine down on the floor.
I don't even see why this cover is needed. Hoover have never used them before and most other washing machines don't use them either. If they are going to fit them, they should be fitted at the factory and not by customers, many of whom may be able to take out transit bolts and packing, but not able to lay down and pick up a heavy washing machine.
The sump hose and pressure chamber share the same source of water in such a way that I wonder what would happen if a sock, or other obstruction, was to get jammed in the entry to the hose. Looking at the hose arrangement, if the blockage prevented water getting past it, then water could also be prevented from getting to the pressure chamber and cause overfilling. This may, or may not happen and maybe Hoover decided that socks would not get swallowed up in this machine. Only time will tell. Also, 1600 spin speed is unnecessarily fast, especially when the washing machine isn't particularly well built.
Summary: I put my summaries at the beginning of my reviews so people can quickly assess the washing machine.
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