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Whitegoodshelp (Andy)

Are Washing Machine Spin Speeds A Con?

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The slower your washing machine spins the better. It will be cheaper to buy, quieter, should be more reliable and should last longer. However, it's not much use if the laundry is dripping wet so there has to be a certain spin speed that gives optimum results.

Washing manufacturers wont tell us what the optimum spin speed is because they charge extra for spin speed and the faster they spin the more they can charge. What are your thoughts and experiences on the best spin speed for a washing machine?

Please read the full topic before discussing - washing machine spin speeds


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Guest Jean

If you are able to hang your washing outside, I do agree that the higher spin speeds are of little real value, if you are in a flat, and have to hang washing were you can, with little airflow or sun, then I feel that the extra spin speed is worthwhile, changing from a 900rpm machine to a 1200rpm machine made a big difference to my drying. I'm thinking of swapping to the AEG L88810 which spins at 1800rpm, I could feel a big difference in the dryness of the washing when using the AEG of a friend.

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Guest Guest

I had to replace timer control unit on a Hoover Softwave 800rpm machine. I replaced it with a secondhand unit which I think is 1100 rpm. Clothes definitely come out drier. The way to test would be to put a load of towels in and dry at 800rpm and weigh them. on electronic scale Then increase speed by different timer/modulle to say 1100 RPM nand spin and reweigh. Difference in weight would indicate if higher spin sped realy does dryclothes. Alternatively just look to see if any more water comes out of drain hose.

I have enjoyed your site.

Regards

A home repairer

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Thanks. The difference between 800 and 1100 spin is impressive, and usually worth it because the extra drying convenience doesn't come at such a big price. But after 1100 or 1200 spin speeds, the extra water extracted compared with the extra purchasing cost, noise, and potential extra wear becomes diminishingly less attractive. However, the public tend to assume each increase in speed is good, and the faster the better. Manufacturers charge a lot more for a few hundred extra revs per minute - even though it doesn't really cost them any more to make.

My argument is basically this, there must be one, optimum spin speed, that balances drying efficiency with the wear and tear effects on the clothes and the washing machine itself. Washing machines should spin at that speed, and they all did about 15 years ago (1100 or 1200). Then someone increased their spin speed by 100 revs, (which I can’t believe makes that much difference) and said buy our washing machine, it spins faster than everyone else’s. Then someone else brought one out that spun another extra 100 revs a minute and so on, until we now have at least 7 different spin speeds to choose from.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the fast spinning washing machines had bigger motors and better suspension. When buying a car with a faster, more powerful engine, you pay more, but get a physically bigger and more powerful engine. But with washing machines you tend to get exactly the same size and build-quality motor, which has to work harder, and the suspension (which also works harder) is usually exactly the same too.

Many washing machines today spin far too fast for the build quality of the washing machine, and are likely to be noisy, bounce around and suffer wear and tear consequences.


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Guest Guest

I spin at 400 rpm in my 18 year old Indesit. Then I spin at 2800 in my spin dryer!.

I don't see why spinners seem to be out of favour these days. They're fast, cheap (esp second hand), reliable (in my experience), save on tumble-drying bills if you can't hang outside and are convenient for hand washes.

Granted you need to transfer the wash and some people may not have room.

Skeggy.

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At 400 rpm there's no wonder the washing machine's lasted 18 years :) As I say in the article, the slower the washing machine spins the less wear and tear there is. But conversely, the slower the spin speed the less use they are. Ideally there should be an optimum spin speed that balances the pros and cons of price, noise, stability and wear with the usefulness of the spinning efficiency.

Your method sounds a bit mad, but it is a great idea apart from than the hassle involved, and the space needed to store the spinner, so it’s not for most people. However, it saves the most strenuous job for a separate machine that can cope with spinning much faster than a front loading washing machine is ever likely to be capable of.

I did once visit a customer, who like you, always set her front loading washing machine to either not spin, or spin at the slowest speed, and then spun them out in a separate spinner. Her washing machine was in a remarkably clean and good condition.


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Guest steve

There is also a big diffeence between machines from different makes with similar spin speeds. My Hoover Nextra 1600 had a very poor spin, it was too short and clothes just didn't feel that dry and you cant do a spin only program faster than 800 on it so you cant respin to any effect. I got rid of it because it was pathetic for the money. On the other hand i had a 1200 LG which span for a long time and came out really dry feeling plus my current servis 1400 spins really well even set to 1000 or 1200 they feel drier than in the Hoover Nextra. I know the elderly Hoover Classica 1000 my mum has spins for ages and is really effective, i think you have to be carefull about what perceived benefits there are with faster spins as there seems so much variation. Only being able to try them is a way of making sure and somehow currys n comet dont seem to let you.

Steve!

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Good point Steve. I remember some Hotpoint washing machines used to spin at 1400 but only for less than a minute as a last burst before finishing the normal slower spin.


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There's a big difference in dryness of the clothes between my very old 800 machine ( clothes were very wet and took long time to dry) the hotpoint I bought 3 years ago spun at 1600 and dryness was very impressive but extremly noisy, however my new miele is set for spinning at 1200 and it purrs its so quiet and yes clothes are a little bit wetter than 1600 but its so peacefull in the house now its well worth it!

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Guest Guest

There is also a big diffeence between machines from different makes with similar spin speeds. My Hoover Nextra 1600 had a very poor spin, it was too short and clothes just didn't feel that dry and you cant do a spin only program faster than 800 on it so you cant respin to any effect. I got rid of it because it was pathetic for the money. On the other hand i had a 1200 LG which span for a long time and came out really dry feeling plus my current servis 1400 spins really well even set to 1000 or 1200 they feel drier than in the Hoover Nextra. I know the elderly Hoover Classica 1000 my mum has spins for ages and is really effective, i think you have to be carefull about what perceived benefits there are with faster spins as there seems so much variation. Only being able to try them is a way of making sure and somehow currys n comet dont seem to let you.

Steve!

Hi... just a quick remark on the Hoover Nextra... mine has a max speed 1400 but I usually set the highest speed at 1000. Provided that one chooses a cotton programme it will carry out a final spin sequence for a duration of over 10 minutes. The first minute foresees a slower spin speed regardless of your settings with an increment of the latter after every minute: by the third minute it would have reached 1000 rpm and continue with that speed for the remaining time unless one's chosen a higher speed. I agree with Steve about the spin only programme which is ridiculously short and low in speed... the only way out of it is to repeat it several times should you get stuck with an out of balance load. All in all, I am satisfied with the Nextra... I had it for almost 2 years and it has only in a very few occasions detected an unbalanced load and consequently it has reduced the spin speed to 600/800... it has never drastically cancelled the spin sequence. I'm off... thank you for this great site!!

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Guest Steve

I also agree re the difference in make with similar spin speeds. I had a hoover new wave 1400. The final spin would last 6 mins with the last three mins at a constant 1400 (unless unbalanced) and the clothes would come out bueatiful dry. my mum had the 1500 new wave and it would also spin at full speed for three mins. Unfortunatly after 11years, it was dropped by removals and I purchased a bosch 1400Exceel machine. The final spin on this is 11mins long, but it only spins at 1400 for less than a minute. Clthes come out alot wetter than the hoover machine . Very sorry I detered from the Hoover range. Anyone have any expericence with the new Vision range??.. I'm tempted to ditch the bosch and try the Hoover Vision 1600I

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I remember my parents Hoover Electron 800, brought back in 1986. Despite it's top speed being 800rpm (considered slow these days), clothes seemed to feel dryer than many 1000 spin machines I've owned over the years.

My own first automatic was a Servis Easiwash 600, back in 1992. I would spin for 5 minutes at just 600rpm, and though not great, you couldn't physically ring out any more water from heavy items such as jeans and towels.

For a number of years, I ran a hotel laundry. We had two Primus 10KG automatic machines, with a max spin speed of 400rpm. Towels would be put in a 5kg hydro-extractor once taken from the machine, and spun for 5 mins at 1450rpm. This seemed to be the most efficient amount of time. The amount of water extracted from the load over 5 mins, was negligible, being just a trickle out of the waste pipe at most.

My washing machine (an AEG 76669) has top spin speed of 1600rpm. The cottons spin dry lasts 9 minutes or so, with the last 5 mins or so at the top selected speed.

I only ever spin at 1200rpm as this seems to remove enough water . I have noticed the fuller the load, the dryer the clothes seem to feel after the spin, possibly because of the drum being well balanced? In summer months, when I'm able to peg clothes on the line, I tend to spin at just 900rpm (my machine has variable spins of 400rpm; 700rpm; 900rpm; 1200rpm; 1600rpm), which saves on ironing.

Morgan

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Yes, the top speed of the spin isn't everything; it's also how long it spins at the top speed. Your observations about fuller loads getting dryer are most probably because uneven loads won't usually reach the top spin speed. Electronic controls only allow the top spin speed if the load is really well balanced.


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First of all congratulations on the site, the information given is fantastic.

Regarding spin speeds it seems that the actual maximum spin speed is only available on a few programs, other programs use an optimum spin speed that you can only reduce. So for the majority of washing needs a spin speed above 1200 is rarely used. Compare the spinning specs of Miele W3240 (1400 rpm) and Miele W364WPS (1600 rpm) there are only three programs that spin faster than 1400 (cottons, express and spin/drain) all others are using 1200 or less.

You may want to pay more for other extras on a particular model and the faster spin speed comes as a bonus but I don’t think it is the headline catcher the manufacturers would have us believe.

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I think one reason why newer machine may get the clothes dryer even with slower spin speeds is that they have bigger drums. When you make the drum larger, don't you get more centrifugal force for the same spin. I remember we had a hotpoint 1200 which shook itself to bits 9 years ago. I bought a Bosch with 900rpm with balance sensing logic (which was a new thing back then) thinking it would last better if it didn't spin itself to oblivion. The Bosch although apparently far slower got the clothes just as dry and I think one reason was probably the bigger drum (as well as a longer spin).

(BTW, the bosch has lasted years. It has been through 2 sets of bushes and a main drum bearing but is still going even though we've had 2 kids so it has probably done a wash every day for 9 years! We're having an extension built and the old girl has a dead spot in the motor and there is signs of slight play to the main bearing so I'm thinking of retiring her at last but she has served me well and I've found her easy to fix especially with the Bosch web site to get parts online and diagrams).

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The amount of holes in a drum also makes a difference. The length of time a washing machine is another a factor. Some Hotpoint washing machines only spun on full speed for about 30 seconds and then only if the load was nicely balanced so it's possible they may not spin as dry as a slower spinning washing machine with more holes in the drum, a bigger drum or one that spins longer. The whole thing is unclear, which is why at least the spin drying performance rating on the energy labels comes in handy. If two washing machines both show the same top spin speed but both have the same spin drying performance letter then I'd go for the one with the slower spin speed, which is likely to be cheaper, quieter and suffer less stress and strain.


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I found that the Miele website gives you a "Residual moisture at maximum spin speed" figure. The 1400 machines are 50%, a 1600 is 44%, and the 1800 only 43%. On that basis, I'd say the 1800 is definately not worth paying for. 1% is not a lot of water.

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After a certain spin speed (around 1100 rpm) the amount of extra water extracted is relatively small and after something like 1400 rpm the extra water extracted can start to become negligible and comes under the category of "diminishing returns". The faster a washing machine spins the noisier it is, the more it shakes and vibrates, the bigger pounding the suspension takes and the more wear and tear is taken out of the motor - not to mention the laundry. Add to this the extra costs charged for a washing machine according to its sin speed and you have to ask at what point is a washing machine's spin perfectly fast enough? Washing machine manufacturers need to charge more for something, and one of the best extra charges comes from making it spin faster - even though in many cases it costs them very little extra to do.

To take an extreme as an example, if a washing machine only spun at 400 rpm it would be exceptionally smooth and quiet, it would be a lot cheaper and it would almost certainly last much longer. Clearly 400 is so slow it would be useless so the spin needs increasing to something that extracts the maximum amount of water from laundry before price, noise, longevity and additional wear and tear start to cancel out the advantages of getting a bit more water out.

In any design whether it's a car or a house there's always an optimum size. You can always show that bigger or faster does something better or quicker but finding the optimum is about balancing results with efficiency and cost. Washing machine manufacturers don't want to show us that optimum spin speed because it would wipe out lots of models in their range. My best guess is that an optimum spin speed for a washing machine is between 1200 - 1400.

Unfortunately, a further complication is that the higher the build quality of the washing machine the less the negative impact of spinning faster (other than the purchasing cost) is. Therefore a Miele washing machine spinning at 1600 is going to be more stable, quieter, last longer etc. than a cheap washing machine spinning at 1200. Isn't it always the case that everything is so complex and there's rarely a definitive answer?

The only thing I can advise is not to be obsessed or over impressed by spin speeds on washing machines. That many cheap washing machines spin way too fast for their build capabilities and that if you want a really fast spin try to buy a better quality brand that can cope with it.

My current washing machine spins at a maximum 1400 (a Miele W 3740) and it is perfectly fast enough.


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This article looks at the real differences between spin speeds as tested by a manufacturer. You'll notice that the extra time required for tumble drying laundry spun at different spin speeds is surprisingly little

http://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/washing-machine-spin-speed-efficiency-figures-and-drying-costs/


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I believe there are other factors than just the speed/length of the spin when it comes to drying effectively. The size of the drum has to make a significant difference, ie. The larger the drum size the further and faster the washing has to travel during each revolution meaning the same spin speed in a larger drum would be more effective. Also the quality of the drum would appear to make a big difference. If the drum is made of a stronger material which allows more holes for the water to drain out of in terms of area as a proportion of drum surface area, this will allow more water to drain at a lower spin speed. I have noticed that my latest machine has many more holes in the drum just on a visual inspection than my previous one. This makes a lower spin speed more effective. 

Furthermore, if you buy a machine which has a faster spin speed but with the features above, it allows you to reduce the spin speed to what is still the maximum rating on a slower machine without ever running your machine at maximum, thus surely saving wear and tear. Just my 2 cents.

 

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