8 best washing machines that are affordable and efficient

·8 min read
As well as successfully doing a full load, these also took good care of clothing (iStock/The Independent)
As well as successfully doing a full load, these also took good care of clothing (iStock/The Independent)

How lucky we are to have washing machines. These labour-saving appliances have been common in UK homes since the middle of the 20th century.

Washing machines may be close to ubiquitous, but many have been kitted out with new features in recent years. Some can be connected to a smartphone to enable remote operation and other advanced features, and many are now equipped with eco settings that limit the energy or water used in each wash.

Even more important than newfangled features are a washing machine’s key performance specifications, including its capacity and energy rating. Before you buy a washing machine, you should always ensure the maximum load (almost always measured in kg) is suitable for the volume of laundry your household gets through.

Another essential feature of a washing machine we recommend considering is its spin cycle, which partially dries the load while it’s still in the machine, thereby reducing the total drying time. While this capability doesn't offer the same drying that is comparable to the best washer-dryers, it certainly comes in handy when you need to prepare wet laundry for drying indoors on a clothes horse. The higher a washing machine’s maximum spin speed, the better its drying capability is likely to be.

Most washing machines belong to one of two types: freestanding or integrated. Freestanding washers can be placed under a counter or on their own, while integrated washers can be built into your kitchen units. All the washing machines featured in this guide are freestanding, unless specified as integrated.

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As well as successfully doing full loads of laundry, the washing machines we tested here will also take good care of your clothes.

The best washing machines for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Bosch serie 4 WAN28050GB: £379, Currys.co.uk

  • Best integrated washing machine – Indesit BIWMIL71252: £309.99, Very.co.uk

  • Best for stain removal – Hotpoint BIWMHG81484UK: £389, Ao.com

  • Best 10kg washing machine – Samsung quick drive + add wash WW10M86DQOA: £1,037.97, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

  • Best for thorough cleaning – LG F4V910BTS turbowash 360 with AI DD V9: £849.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for visually impaired users – Miele WDD131 WPS guideline: £899, Miele.co.uk

  • Best efficient washing machine – Hisense WFBL9014V: £260.98, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

  • Best washing machine under £300 – Beko WTG841B2W: £299, Amazon.co.uk

Bosch serie 4 WAN28050GB

Best: Overall

  • Capacity: 7kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++

In our view, this gives you everything you could ever really need from a washing machine (provided the 7kg maximum load is sufficient for your household). It is exceptionally quiet, almost soothingly so, and it has a good selection of cycles, including dark wash, mixed load, and a super quick setting which gets your washing done in as little as 15 minutes. Over a long testing period, the machine’s performance was consistently excellent.

Our one minor quibble with this brilliant appliance is that the spin + drain setting adds a rinse by default, which can be counterproductive if you want to use it to partially dry delicate clothing that you have washed by hand. Just remember to turn off the “aqua plus” option before you start the cycle, and this won’t be a problem.

Buy now £379.00, Currys.co.uk

Indesit BIWMIL71252 integrated 7kg washing machine

Best: Integrated washing machine

  • Capacity: 7kg

  • Max spin speed: 1200rpm

  • Energy rating: A++

This is a neat, simple integrated washing machine that does a solid job relative to the price you pay. It strikes us as an ideal washer for busy people, with a good selection of settings, including "coloureds", "mixed", "eco" and "sport", enabling you to start an appropriate wash in a matter of seconds. There’s also a delay start function, so you can set the washer up to finish its cycle just before the time you’re due to arrive home. With a 7kg capacity, this washer is best suited to households of one or two people.

Buy now £309.99, Very.co.uk

Hotpoint BIWMHG81484UK integrated 8kg washing machine

Best: For stain removal

  • Capacity: 8kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++

Offering high performance at a mid-market price, the Hotpoint BIWMHG81484UK is one of the very best integrated washing machines we’ve come across. It has enough capacity to cater for a medium sized household, and its A+++ energy rating is at the top of the conventional scale. We’re particularly impressed with this machine’s anti-stain function, which creates ideal conditions for stain removal by pumping a high concentration of detergent into the drum and raising the temperature to 40C for a sustained period.

Maxing out at around 70 decibels, the BIWMHG81484UK is relatively easy on the ear – and that’s before you’ve added a layer of noise insulation by shutting it behind a unit door.

Buy now £389.00, AO.com

Beko WTG841B2W 8kg washing machine

Best: Washing machine under £300

  • Capacity: 8kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • ​Energy rating: A+++

In our opinion, the Beko WTG814B2W is one of the best reasonably priced washing machines you can get. It does the basics very well, with energy efficient operation and plenty of capacity to serve a medium sized household. It doesn’t give you quite so many fancy features as you’d get with some of the more extravagant washing machines we’ve reviewed – but the functionalities it does offer work like a charm. A particularly handy feature is the “fast+” mode, which shortens the duration of the chosen wash setting. There’s also an option to do an extra rinse at the end of a wash cycle.

Buy now £299.00, Amazon.co.uk

Samsung quick drive + add wash WW10M86DQOA

Best: 10kg washing machine

  • Capacity: 10kg

  • Max spin speed: 1600rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++-50%

There’s rationale for investing in a very good washing machine. It’s likely you’ll be using the appliance for about a decade, so you’d best get along with it, and the energy efficiency savings of the best machines can effectively recoup a small chunk of your investment each year. If you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a high end machine, the Samsung WW10M86DQOA would be a fine choice. This machine is so energy efficient, it breaks the conventional energy rating scale (it is classed as “A+++-50%”). It can wash a 2kg load in just 15 minutes and offers premium features such as the “addwash door”, a small door at the front of the machine which can be used to load in more items at any point in the wash cycle.

Buy now £1037.97, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

LG F4V910BTS turbowash 360 with AI DD V9

Best: For thorough cleaning

  • Capacity: 10.5kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++

The F4V910BTS is stacked with interesting features that combine to help it wash clothes that little bit more effectively. The most eye-catching of these bells and whistles is “turbowash 360” feature, a system of water jets around the machine’s drum, which can be used to blast clothes during a washing cycle. This can help get rid of stubborn dirt that hasn’t responded to conventional machine washing. Another nifty feature is the steam+ mode, which adds a steaming phase to the wash. While this machine has a fairly hefty price tag, it does have a whopping 10.5kg maximum load.

Buy now £849.99, Amazon.co.uk

Miele WDD131 WPS guideline

Best: For visually impaired users

  • Capacity: 8kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++

This washing machine is something quite wonderful. Designed for the blind and visually impaired, the WDD131 WPS guideline uses tactile markings, raised symbols and auditory cues to provide a more accommodating experience through touch and sound. In addition to its innovations in accessibility, it offers very good washing performance. With a maximum load of 8kg, the machine is spacious enough for medium to large households, and its energy efficiency is very good. The drum has a hexagonal patterned surface, which is designed to give laundry a relatively gentle ride inside the machine.

Buy now £899.00, Miele.co.uk

Hisense WFBL9014V

Best: Efficient washing machine

  • Capacity: 9kg

  • Max spin speed: 1400rpm

  • Energy rating: A+++

Spacious, efficient, and reasonably priced, the Hisense WFBL9014V has all the hallmarks of a thoroughly sensible washing machine. It just so happens to be a little snazzy, too. Our favourite feature is its capability to pause a wash that’s in its first 10 minutes, so you can add more laundry to the drum. If you’re anything like our reviewer, you will know the pain of starting a wash, only then to realise you’ve dropped a sock or two on the way to the machine. The “pause and add” feature turns this small domestic tragedy into a non-event. Another plus: we reckon the touch controls and digital display on this machine look especially sharp. It’s currently out of stock, so we’d recommend signing up to receive an email for when it’s back.

Buy now £260.98, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

The verdict: Washing machines

Out of a round-up of extremely impressive washing machines, we’ve decided to name the Bosch serie 4 WAN28050GB our IndyBest best buy. While there’s no doubt that some of the higher end machines, such as the Samsung WW10M86DQOA and the LG F4V910BTS have fancier features and higher specifications, we felt that Bosch’s washer did everything the average household could need it to, fantastically well. Larger households may need to look for a machine with a bigger maximum load, but for many users, we think the Bosch serie 4 WAN28050GB will turn out to be the ideal washing machine.

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