Water saving products Water efficient washing machines

Save money with an energy efficient washing machine Wash full loads to save water

Choosing a water-efficient washing machine and using it in a more thrifty manner is an excellent way to cut water waste in your home. If you're on a water meter, reducing your water usage will save you money, too.

But washing machines need water to wash clothes and then rinse them of detergent, so you can't just head to the shops and buy a washing machine with the lowest water use you can find.

The most water-efficient model we've tested since 2011 is so bad at rinsing clothes, there's a risk you'll find visible traces of powder detergent on your clothes. 

However, there are a few washing machines on the market that have struck a balance between low water use and impressive washing. If you're after a water-efficient washing machine that gives clothes a brilliant wash, then Which? members can log in to unlock the table below to reveal the best we have tested.

If you're not a member yet, you can get instant access to the table below and all of our online reviews by starting a £1 trial to Which?.

Water-efficient Best Buy washing machines

Most water-efficient Best Buys
Washing machinesBrand and modelWater useScore

Blanked-out-water-efficient-Best-Buy-washing-machine

£1 trial for the full reviews72%
This washing machine combines low water and electricity use with brilliant washing to make it one of the most bill-friendly models we've seen. It's also easy to use. It is however, quite expensive and it could be better at rinsing clothes. Which model are we talking about? Try a £1 trial to Which? to find out.

Blanked-out-water-efficient-Best-Buy-washing-machine

£1 trial for the full reviews71%
The large drum can fit in 9kg of clothes (that's about 29 cotton shirts' worth) and what goes in, comes out clean. While the rinse on the cotton wash could be better, the spin cycle is excellent at removing water from garments and it's a straightforward machine to use.  Which model are we talking about? Try a £1 trial to Which? to find out.

Washing machine energy labels

The energy label on your washing machine doesn't take water usage into account, only power. The water consumption is shown on the label but doesn't affect the rating. 

But basing your buying decision on water consumption alone is not recommended.

Water and washing machines

The average washing machine uses 11 litres of water for every kilogram of cottons it washes on the standard 40oC cotton program.

Our testing shows that, on average, Best Buy washing machines tend to use a little more: 11.5 litres of water per kilo. Whereas, on average, Don't Buy machines use less: 9.8 litres of water per kilo.

If you move beyond averages, our washing machine tests reveals that water usage varies a lot between different machines. Looking at common 8kg-capacity machines as an example, the most water-efficient 8kg washing machine we’ve tested used just 5.5 litres per kilogram and the least-efficient used 14.1 litres.

So if you use the standard 40oC washing program four times a week for a year, filling these 8kg machines to 80% capacity, the difference in water used amounts to 11,448 litres. Sounds like a great way to save on water use - until you realise the machine that uses 5.5 litres for every kilo is the Don't Buy machine we mentioned above the table that gives a disastrous rinse to clothes.

The only way you can find out which washing machines offer the perfect balance between cleaning power and water consumption is through our testing. Make sure you look at our Best Buy washing machines to make sure you're buying a washing machine that's not going to leave you with buyer's remorse.

Washing machine programs and water

Different washing machine programs also use varying amounts of water. While the average 40oC cotton program uses approximately 11 litres per kilogram of washing, the equivalent 40oC synthetics program is less efficient - using over 15 litres per kilogram.

But the maximum wash load for a synthetic wash is usually about half the amount you can clean on the cottons program. So per kilogram of washing you can launder in one go – cotton washes usually work out better, but only if you always fill the drum.

Find our more about washing machine programs by going to our guide on useful washing machine programs and shopping tips.

Water-saving tips for washing machines

There are some simple ways you can improve your washing machine's water efficiency, whatever model you have at home.

Wash full loads 

40oC cotton washes are designed to take a full drum of laundry, so always try to wash the maximum amount in each load to get the most value from the water and energy you're using. 

If you find you're not able to fill the drum of your 8kg washing machine on a regular basis, it might be worth considering a washing machine with a smaller drum size.

Avoid using the extra rinse where you can 

If you have very sensitive skin, you may find it necessary to use the extra-rinse function on your washing machine to remove more detergent from laundered clothes. But try not to use this function unless you really need to, as it's another water waster.

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