Looking for the best washing machine? There's a big old market out there packed with appliances all promising to make your laundry whiter than white while preventing your colours from becoming greyer than grey. You could even go for one of the best washer dryers – although they are neither one thing nor the other really, are they? Which is The Daddy of All Laundry Wranglers? For us the best washing machine of all is still the AEG 9000 Series.
So now you don't have to read the rest of this lengthy feature. That's a tad pricey though, and if you're after a 10kg washing machine (the washing load, not the weight of the entire machine) the AEG 9000 won't suit you either, so maybe you should carry on reading. Needless to say, all these washing machines are among the best; that's why we chose them. All you need to add now is a best steam iron for well laundered perfection.
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How to buy the best washing machine
Our advice on buying a washing machine would be this: carefully weigh up your budget and needs. Families will need a large capacity drum and rapid spin speed for instance. Then, once you've done that, go and buy a Miele. They're just the best.
In our experience, washing machines are one of those purchases where paying more really is worth it. Not only will the machine itself last longer but because pricier models tend to wash clothes both better and more gently, your garms should also look their best for longer.
• Pro tip: if your machine is making the room it's in a little steamy, try getting the best dehumidifier
These are our favourite, tech- and feature-laden washing machines. You can get a perfectly decent washing machine for 300 quid, but these are worth the extra. They're listed with our favourite first, then the other options in order of price, from high to low. Happy laundering, suds fans!
The best washing machines to buy, in order
This cracking stand-alone washing machine has won numerous awards (including T3’s own) plus a plethora of five-star user reviews because, well, it’s splendid in every way.
The headline feature is the introduction of a salt dispenser. As used in your dishwasher, this softens the water, which means better cleaning results and softer clothes at the end. Obviously, it does mean you will have to keep buying salt for it, and if you live in a soft water area, you won't see any benefit. But for most of us it's a great innovation.
There are also improvements to the cleaning of delicates (it's Woolmark certified for sheep-based garments), and a steam-based programme to freshen clothes and return them for use without the need for ironing – although modern irons are so kick-ass, maybe that's not a positive any longer.
Obviously, it does all the basic stuff to a high standard as well, runs quietly and efficiently, and is rated A+++ for energy. All for under a grand, you lucky launderers…
The Serie 6 i-Dos deserves a lot of love, because there’s an awful lot to like about it. Smooth, near silent running, cool tech features and an undeniably practical design means we’ve got a lot of time for this mighty machine. Naturally, Bosch has also done a fine job at bolting it altogether too, so it’s both smart and robust. What’s not to like?
Bosch has really come up trumps with this machine, the Serie 6 i-Dos. As you’ll detect from the name, you get the very handy i-Dos system. What this does is to load the machine with detergent and fabric conditioner and it’s then primed for up to about 20 washes, calculating the correct amount of detergent and water to use each time.
This is one of Bosch's smart appliances, and the Wi-Fi connectivity is a plus if you want to use your phone to keep an eye on your washing machine. Gimmick? Not at all, because the ability to connect to the Serie 6 i-Dos wirelessly means it can provide diagnostic info when something goes wrong. And you can start and stop washes from your office, if that's your bag.
Capacity-wise the 9kg is more than enough for most average families, and the large porthole door and drum are a cinch to load, even if you’re stuffing in a duvet. There’s a child lock, delay timer, and the buttons and dial arrangement make access to core controls simple enough. Naturally, you’ll need to do a little setting up if you want to use the Wi-Fi functionality, but it’s straightforward if you’ve ever connected a telly or a laptop to your home router.
Wash times are comprehensive with this machine too, thanks to its WaveDrum design that doesn’t so much pummel but caresses your clothes clean. The highpoint for us though is the Unlock and Reload option, which lets you bung in that random sock you missed during a wash cycle. That’s such a brilliant feature. The Bosch Serie 6 i-Dos will even tell you when it’s time to look after the machine itself, with an automatic DrumClean program that’ll give the appliance's innards a little bit of TLC.
If you’re after a top-performing washing machine from a trusted brand, then this model sits right in the sweet spot of affordability, features and quality.
The Beko brand – owned by the really quite excellently-named Arcelik and KOÇ Holding – is a pretty safe bet if you’re on a tight budget. The cheap and exceedingly cheerful Beko WTK104121W boasts a huge 10kg drum capacity replete with large 34cm portal, an energy-efficient inverter motor and an A+++ energy rating.
It also features a comprehensive selection of 16 wash programmes – including duvet, hand wash, sports gear and stained clothing – and an especially speedy wash cycle that’ll remove the muck off a 2kg load in just 14 minutes. The Quick programme, meanwhile, tackles a full 10kg load in a very respectable 28 minutes.
Figure in the 1,400rpm spin speed and the easy-to-use turn-dial interface and you have one very capable and keenly-priced machine that’s perfect for large families on tighter budgets.
The LG F4V910WTS is perfect for average family laundry tasks. While the 10kg drum is beaten in the size stakes by others on our list, the capacity is more than suitable for most wash-day requirements. It runs like a dream, much like other new LG washing machines, thanks to its direct drive motor. That means smoothness of operation and not much noise either, which if you live in a small space makes it a real boon.
LG has also packed in plenty of features and functionality with the F4V910WTS. We’re keen on the TurboWash tech that not only produces a deeper cleaning effect but is also a little more frugal on water usage. So you’re saving energy and time too, with your laundry having a good old seeing to in just 49 minutes. Other demands for your socks, smalls and other prized laundry items? Well, there are programs aplenty, with the Steam+ option being really useful for users with allergies.
LG has incorporated lots of smart technology into this machine too, with its Smart ThinQ feature allowing you to download up to 20 special wash programs, via the app that add extra functionality for different needs. That makes it a great all-rounder. This washing machine also packs more connectivity as part of the package, and can work in tandem with your smart device, or with help from Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant to get your wash done. The Smart Diagnosis option, for example, lets you troubleshoot any wash-day issues.
While the Samsung ecobubble WW90J5456FC might not boast the most capacious drum capacity, it can still handle up to 9kg of your dirty clothes. At this price, and with a proven performance record, it’s perfect for a mid-sized household or anyone who prefers to wash little and often.
The main appeal of the Samsung ecobubble WW90J5456FC is its dazzling feature set, which is topped off nicely with the very impressive Bubble Soak function, designed by Samsung to pummel tough stains into submission. Another killer star turn is the class-leading, 15-minute quick wash – ideal when you’re desperate for fresh socks and smalls.
You also get shortcuts to your favourite programme settings (of which there are many), a self-cleaning detergent drawer, and an A+++ energy rating, which should see some solid savings on your electricity bill. The 1400 spin cycle isn't ultra-fast, but it works well.
Add pleasant styling in graphite or white, and a sizeable door, which means loading and unloading is a breeze, and you can see why this Samsung is so popular.
If you can’t quite stretch the budget to the award-winning AEG 9000 Series above, then definitely consider this slightly lower spec option, which washes clothing almost as efficiently and just as quietly. In fact the only differences between this cracking model and the more expensive 9000 Series is that its drum is a kilogram smaller, it uses a bit more water per annum (10,999 litres vs the 9000’s 10,499 litres) and it consumes roughly twice the energy per wash cycle and spin (0.68kW vs 0.32kW). However, much of this is down to the 9000’s innovative water-softening feature which allows you to wash at much lower temperatures.
The sensor-stuffed 7000 Series comes with an amazingly simple and clearly readable touchscreen interface that is a joy to use. Simply select your preferred program using the large dial, then move over to the Audi-like dashboard on the right to adjust the washing duration, the temperature of the wash and the spin speed. It also has a steam option which can be selected to run automatically towards the end of the cycle or on its own to freshen up a creased pre-worn shirt.
This writer was so encouraged by the multitude of glowing user reviews that he actually bought one. I’m glad to report it hasn’t missed a beat in two years of regular use – it comes with a five year guarantee – and is gobsmackingly quiet. Moreover, it truly trounces the admittedly older Miele it was replacing in almost all disciplines, from wash quality to spin speed
Miele’s domestic appliances consistently top the reliability ratings charts of Which? magazine and this mid-range (by Miele's standards) model is a case in point. Here, your hard-earned wedge buys you a feature-packed machine of exceptional long-lasting quality.
Let’s begin with the TwinDose and CapDosing automatic detergent and conditioner dispensing features. Not sure how much detergent or fabric softener to use for a given wash? This machine comes with two large containers filled with Miele’s proprietary detergent and softener – simply open the top and bottom doors and slide them in. Voila, you now not only have enough detergent and softener installed for up to 30 washes, but the machine will only use what it needs. And no problem if you want to do it the old fashioned way, because the machine also features a conventional dispenser tray.
If you’re on an economy drive (you will be after forking out this kind of dosh), consider using the new PowerWash 2.0 feature, which uses minimal water and energy while still performing a grand job. And if you’re in a hurry, select the quick Express 20 cycle and follow it up with a 1,600rpm spin that’s fast enough to shift the Earth off its axis.
The Miele comes with a family- and fashion-lover-friendly 9kg drum and enough cycle programmes to meet any eventuality, from rendering white sheets like new, to gently ‘hand washing’ your delicates.
However, what really sets this machine apart from its competitors is the silence during operation. Really, you might find yourself checking the wash a few times just to be sure it's still working. A smart bells-and-whistles model for the discerning, well-heeled laundry fiend.
In many respects Bosch is the Audi of white goods: it's expensive compared to some – and the top-end machines get really expensive – but what it makes is superbly engineered and lasts for ages.
The A+++ rated Serie 8 uses two energy-saving methods: ActiveWater Plus, which uses a sensor to control the amount of water according to the fabric type and quantity, and the i-DOS detergent saver system, which is rather like Miele's TwinDos. It measures the exact quantity of detergent required for a given load, so long as you remember to periodically open a small hatch, fill up the liquid reservoir with your preferred brand. A single top-up will last for around 20 washes.
The Serie 8 also boasts app control, a 9kg drum and quiet running. So in short, it has all the same features as its slightly more expensive rivals. Bosch stuff is always good; being underpaid journos who can't always afford Miele, we love it.
We’re very smitten with the LG FH4G1BCS2 washing machine. One look at it suggests you're in for a treat once you load your laundry into that generous 12kg drum, and as it starts up the fun continues. LG has really gone the extra mile with this model, and it features a 6 Motion Direct Drive motor. What that delivers is power, excellent cleaning, low noise and very smooth operation. That’s a fine crop of features most of us are after, right?
Before you get to the expansive program selection, the exterior of this appliance is something to behold too. LG has done a very nice job on the overall design, but it’s the control panel that really sets things off. The white on black information is cool, clean and very easy to fathom. Once you're into program-land then it’s a comprehensive array of options, with full marks going to LG for adding in the likes of Allergy Care, Steam Softener and Steam Refresh programs.
Indeed, these programs have meant the appliance has bagged a British Allergy Foundations Seal of Approval, which makes it a good choice for anyone affected by allergies. Elsewhere, we’re very keen on the TurboWash aspect of the LG FH4G1BCS2 washing machine. This feature means your laundry can still get a methodical rock-solid wash, but it gets done quicker at just 49 minutes, but more efficiently too.
Adding to the appeal is the extensive program selection, and you can also boost that with specialised wash programs that can be downloaded. While some apps that supplement so-called smart machines aren't always what they could or should be, LG has done a very good job with its Smart ThinQ software. Add this in to the overall equation and you can see why the appliance has been getting the thumbs up for all and sundry.
Rounding out the huge appeal of the LG FH4G1BCS2 is its party trick in the shape of the Pause & Add Item feature. While this isn’t a unique thing as such, the way the LG allows you to pause your chosen cycle, wait for it to stop and then throw in last minute items is a real dream. It’s not just socks or hankies either; the appliance can also accept something like a large jacket if you’ve forgotten to put it in with the original load. Now that’s very cool.