Energy labels explained Washing machine energy labels

Washing machine

All washing machines must carry an EU energy efficiency rating

Washing machines currently carry EU energy ratings between A+++ and D, with A+++ referring to the most energy efficient models. The labels offer shoppers an at-a-glance idea of how much energy and water the product typically consumes.

Energy ratings for washing machines

As manufacturers have continued to make more energy and water efficient laundry appliances, few washing machine models are scoring less than an A or B-rating these days. This is good news for the environment, but with the majority of new models carrying the same rating, it's currently difficult to work out which models are more energy efficient than others.

To make it easier for consumers to identify the most efficient washing machines, the EU has added A+++, A++ and A+ ratings to the traditional A-G labelling scale (which now ends at D), to indicate those machines even more efficient than A-rated models. 

You may also see some manufacturers claiming their new washing machine models achieve 'A+++' or even 'A+++++' energy efficiency. These aren't official energy ratings, but are used to advertise a product claiming to use less energy than a standard A-rated model.

Washing Machine label

Look out for washing machines with ratings of A+ or above to find the most energy efficient model

How the EU energy ratings are calculated

A washing machine's energy-efficiency rating is calculated by measuring kilowatt hours (kWh) used annually by the machine, based on a weighted average of 60°C and 40°C cotton partial load cycles.

You'll find other information on the label too, including annual water consumption (in litres), capacity (in kilograms), spin drying efficiency class (rated from A to G) and noise emission (for partial and full loads, in decibels).

The labels don’t include information on washing performance anymore because all models with a capacity of more than 3kg must achieve an A-rating.

If you're choosing between two A-rated washing machine models, take a closer look at the energy consumption figure quoted in the energy label and make sure you cross-reference this with Which? test lab scores for energy consumption.

How Which? tests washing machine efficiency

Which? believes it's important to test products in the same way that people actually use them on a day-to-day basis - which is why we use a different method from the EU to calculate washing machine energy efficiency in our tests. 

We test on 40ºC normal cotton and synthetic programs - the most popular washing machine cycles used in the UK - to reflect the way people generally use their washing machine. This helps us to collect more realistic energy and running costs data. 

Choosing a washing machine scoring four stars or more for water use and energy use will ensure you're getting an efficient model - you can filter your washing machine results using our compare features and prices tool.

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