Washing Machine Buying Guide

A Guide to Washing Machines

Introduction

Though washers and dryers are an investment, with all the different types of washing machines and the many features they offer, the time and effort they save definitely make them worthwhile. This guide helps make it easier to choose a washing machine, based on your requirement.

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Types of Washing Machines

Semi-automatic, Automatic Top Load or Automatic Front Load?

There are three types of washing machines to choose from. The comparison below highlights the features of these types.

  • A few semi-automatic washing machines have a single tub and feature only wash functions
  • A few high-end, front-load washing machines have dedicated dryers

Function Type

Which washing machine will suit your requirements better – a semi-automatic or a fully-automatic one?

Semi-automatic machine

Entry-level, semi-automatic washing machines mostly have twin tubs – one for washing and the other for drying clothes. For these appliances, clothes have to be manually moved from the washing tub to the drying one.
Price varies from Rs – 5,500 to 12,000
Benefits
  • Consumes comparatively less water and energy
  • Doesn’t require continuous water supply
  • Water can be poured in manually
  • Clothes are washed fast over shorter washing cycles
  • Cheaper than a fully-automatic washing machine
Most semi-automatic machines have agitators or impeller wash systems. Here’s how they work to clean clothes:
Types Agitators Impellers
Description Agitators are spindles with fins that twist and turn. Impellers make currents so the system doesn’t touch clothes.

Fully-automatic machine

Fully-automatic machines are of two types – top-loading and front-loading.
Price varies from Rs – 8,500 to 25,000 for a top-loading machine and Rs – 20,000 to 75,000 for a front-loading machine.
Benefits
  • Many wash programmes
  • Better wash quality than semi-automatic washing machines
  • Doesn’t require any manual intervention
  • Most models have built-in heaters for hot wash options
  • Less space consuming

Load Type

Which washing machine will suit your requirements better – a top-loading one or a front-loading one?

Top Loading Washing Machine

As the name suggests, clothes are loaded from the top as the tub sits vertically in this machine. They have fewer wash programs when compared to front-loading washing machines, but they are easy to use.
Price varies from Rs – 8,500 to 35,000
Benefits
  • Ergonomics – no need to bend to load or unload the machine
  • Inexpensive when compared to front-loading washing machines
  • Usually lighter in weight and more mobile
  • Clothes can be added even after the washing process has started
These washing machines either use agitator systems or impeller systems, similar to semi-automatic machines. Top-loading machines may also be of the pulsator wash type:
Type Pulsators
Description Pulsators are rotating hubs at the centre of tub’s bottom

Front Load Washing Machine

Front-loading washing machines have the longest wash cycles and provide better wash quality. They work in such a way that clothes need less water to soak.
Price varies from Rs – 20,000 to 75,000
Benefits
  • Excellent wash quality
  • Has more wash programs
  • Built-in heater for hot wash options
  • Better for washing delicate clothes
  • Variable spin speeds to suit the material of the clothes for quicker drying time
This type of washing machine has a horizontal tub which uses a tumbling action system to clean clothes. Here’s how it works:
Type Tumble wash
Description Tumble washers rotate the wash tub to clean clothes.

Conclusion

Front-loading machines are better in performance and efficiency while top-loading ones are less expensive, easier to handle and need less maintenance
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Capacity

Capacity will depend on your usage and the size of your family.

Most manufacturers suggest loading the drum to 75% capacity for best results. Do not overload the washing machine – it will not run.

The capacity you need will depend on the size of your family. As a washing machine is usually a long-term investment, it’s advisable to account for changes in your family before deciding on what the capacity of your washing machine should be.

Family Size

The chart below illustrates how the capacity of a washing machine and the number of users are related.

Wash Frequency

If you have a full house and you only tend to do laundry once or twice a week, you should get a large capacity washing machine.
For those who prefer to wash clothes more frequently, or if space is a constraint, smaller capacity washing machines should suffice.
It is important to remember not to overload the capacity of the machine.

Weight guide to measure capacity

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Features

Quick Wash

Quick Wash programs finish a washing cycle faster than ordinary wash cycles. The time taken depends on the load.

Fuzzy Logic

This feature automatically chooses the best washing conditions, depending on the quantity of the load. It detects the weight of the laundry and then determines the time, water and detergent required. Depending on the manufacturer, different combinations of sensors and settings are used to give the machine better control over the wash.

Delay Start

This feature allows you to start the machine at a predetermined time. For instance, if you want to wash clothes in the afternoon but you’re leaving for work in the morning, use the Delay Start feature and set the number of hours you’d like to delay the start of the program by. The wash program you choose will start at a later time. This feature allows a delay of up to 23 hours.

Steam Wash

This program transmits steam, using heat and humidity to remove tough stains from clothes for an odour-free wash.

Space in the Laundry Room

How do you allot space to a washing machine?

Features

Wash Programs
In every washing machine, there are three main wash programs – heavy, normal and permanent press (for delicates), apart from programs like cotton, sports, duvet, wool, silk, outdoor, intensive, rinse spin, rinse hold and others.
Quick Wash
Quick wash is only available for smaller loads – a 14-minute cycle takes a load of 1.5 kgs. 30-minute and 44-minute cycles are available which can take larger loads.
Fuzzy Logic
This feature automatically chooses the best washing conditions, depending on the quantity of the load. It detects the weight of the laundry and then determines the time, water and detergent required.
Delay Start
The delay start feature allows the user to set a delay in starting the washing process by up to 23 hours. This allows you to automatically start the wash program at a later time, even if you’re not around.
Child Lock
The Child Lock function locks the machine’s panel and prevents your children from hindering the wash cycle.
Protective rat mesh
These prevent rodents from damaging the machine.
Digital Display
Digital displays show the time left in the cycle, different wash modes and a help button.
Hot wash/Temperature control
Some washing machines have built-in heaters which make it easier for you to wash clothes during winter.

Conclusion

Consider buying a washing machine that has a washer and a dryer together. The amount of time it takes to finish a complete cycle varies from model to model and these times can vary even more, depending on which program is used. Many models now have either LCD or LED displays or voice guides to let you know when the wash cycle is finished.
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