What to look for when buying a new washing machine

At the weekend my washing machine packed up. The drum just stopped going around. Water fill and empty was fine. Just no movement. I took the back off to check it wasn't something simple like the drive belt (did you know a washing machine drum has a drive belt? It's like the one in the vacuum cleaner so I had high hopes of donning a morphsuit and fixing it, but sadly the drive belt was fine). I fear the motor had finally died. It is not really surprising, we use the machine (an Indesit) a lot and have had it for 15 years. It was a replacement for a Hotpoint one that caught fire one Christmas morning...but that's another story...

Anyway, the broken machine led to me looking at new ones. I assumed they would have changed a bit in 15 years so I decided to take a good look at the information available. It made sense to look online as I'm not fit enough to get a washing machine home myself so it would have to be delivered anyway, and online you can usually find more information, often even read the full manual.

Things that were important to us as a family, were
  • Size. The washing machine needed to fit to gap in our breakfast bar. I would love a laundry room, but sadly (Americans should look away now lest they are filled with disgust) we have the washing machine in the kitchen. 
  • Economy, I wanted an energy efficient machine that used the least water to get a clean wash. 
  • Price, we had a budget of £300. Ideally I'd like to get the old machine taken away and a new machine delivered and plumbed in for that budget. As Mr TM is in his 70s and I have some disability issues neither of us is really up for manhandling a washing machine into place or scrabbling about to get all the pipes sorted.
I hadn't reckoned with all the modern stuff that I didn't need! I quickly realised I did not need a wifi enabled machine or one that could be controlled via a smartphone. Since the fire incident we don't leave the washing machine on when we are out, so remote controlled seemed pointless. All machines seemed to also have a delay timer, but as even starting it while we all sleep fills Mr TM with foreboding we didn't really need this option either. One thing we did use a lot on our old machine was the quick wash though. A 15 minute freshen up wash, so that went onto the list.

I looked on a few websites, Curry's, AO and Argos. And started narrowing down my choice. I wasn't especially fussed about brand. Our current drum size is 6kg so while bigger would be nice, that is fine for us.
Most sites let you filter and sort by a few options, so I checked boxes for quick wash and price and top efficiency.
AO were very helpful on social media and suggested a machine that looked really nice, large drum size and a good choice or programs. Sadly it turned out to be too large for our gap, but I thought I'd take a look at the same model with a smaller drum size (and thus a smaller depth) , I had a look at the manual online, which turned out to be a really good idea. Washing machine manufacturers give you information on cycle lengths for a basic 60 degree wash so you can compare. This machine had a basic wash time at 60 degrees of 270 minutes...I paused, and looked again...how long?! 270 minutes (for those without a calculator or maths brain is 4 and a half hours) there was an option to make the wash shorter, reducing it to 267 minutes. Crikey. Basic washing cycle length hadn't been in my essentials list but suddenly it was! (by the way if you don't care about washing cycle length and have space then the Haier range looks absolutely excellent!)

I asked on social media to see if I was odd, did anyone else look at cycle length? was this long time normal? did anyone care?

Various answers came back about economy but on the whole people were shocked! Several said they would always now look in future.
I noticed that few websites mentioned specific cycle lengths except the quick washes, which varied from 30 to 15 minutes depending on machine.  As we don't leave the house with the machine on, 4 and half hours would be a real tie, and imagine trying to get a couple of washes done on a good drying day (we don't have a tumble drier) !

So the search continued until I finally found the (almost) perfect machine...another Indesit! Pretty much the identical one to the one we have now, except with an LED countdown display and a delay timer. The washing cycle for a full load at 60 degrees is 200 minutes, still a long time but the manual says most wash cycles are 45 minutes. (note the full wash at 60 is a standard hot wash for comparison and may not be the actual time a wash takes, but it does give an idea, and as I said, it's good for comparing like with like)

The washing machine is being delivered on Wednesday and being installed by AO. I'll let you know how it goes. And what a basic wash time turns out to be in reality! The total cost of washing machine, delivery, installation and removal of the old one? £264

Do please comment with what you find useful to check when buying a new washing machine! If they all last as well as mine has then it's not something we do often and it's a good idea to refresh yourself on what to look for before you buy!

Not a sponsored post - just a chatty one about washing machines.

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