Washer-dryers: How to buy the best washer-dryer
- Shopping tips to help you find the best washer-dryer
- Key washer-dryer features to look out for
- Which? lab test findings for washer-dryers from Bosch, Indesit and Hotpoint
- Watch our video buying guide and decide which washer-dryer is best for you
Washer dryer video buying guide
Which? has tested more than 70 different washer-dryer models – from brands including Hotpoint, Bosch, Indesit, LG and Zanussi – to sort the top performers from the low achievers. But what do you need to consider when searching for the best washer-dryer for you and your home?
Our video guide below explains what you need to know to find the right model for you. Underneath the video you'll also find our washer-dryer shopping checklist, outlining some of the key factors you should think about when buying a new washer-dryer.
Washer-dryer shopping checklist
Washer-dryers versus washing machines and tumble dryers
The first question you should ask yourself is whether a washer-dryer is the best choice for you. Washer-dryers are inevitably a compromise purchase – asking an appliance to perform two quite different tasks means that achieving all-round excellence is a tall order.
While the best washer-dryers wash as well as washing machines, they don't generally dry as well as a standalone tumble dryer – and washer-dryers are the least reliable household appliance. On the plus side, a washer-dryer uses only half the space needed for a separate washing machine and tumble dryer.
If you have space for two appliances and want to tumble dry clothes regularly, buying separates could be a better choice for you.
Best washer-dryer brands
It's important to choose a washer-dryer from a company with a good reputation for product reliability and performance – but a household name doesn't guarantee you'll get a reliable product, particularly where washer-dryers are concerned. So which are the best washer-dryer brands?
Take a look at the results of our washer-dryer customer satisfaction survey, which reveals how thousands of washer dryer owners have rated their chosen brand.
Type of washer-dryer
Like most other kitchen appliances, you can choose between a standalone or integrated washer-dryer model to blend in with your kitchen – the type you choose depends on the size and layout of your kitchen, and personal preference.
Bear in mind that your washer-dryer will need to be plumbed in to the mains water supply and, if it's a vented model, have easy outdoor access for the hose to get rid of damp air.
Energy and water efficiency
The EU energy labelling scheme can help you choose a greener washer-dryer, but in the past we’ve found that these labels aren’t always accurate.
Our washer-dryer testing reflects the way you use your machine. We look at the annual running costs on the most commonly used wash program, 40°C cotton, and drying running costs based on energy consumption per kg of washing on four programs. Use the compare washer-dryer features and prices tool to find washer-dryers scoring four stars or more for energy usage.
The average washer-dryer uses the same amount of water to wash as a washing machine, but you may not realise that it also uses an average of 36 extra litres of water for cooling during the drying cycle.
Find out which models will add the least to your energy bills by using our washer-dryer energy cost calculator tool.
These days you can match the colour of your washer-dryer with the rest of your kitchen and appliances – choose between colours such as white, silver, black and cream.
Washer-dryer capacity will differ according to the size and model of machine. Bear in mind that washer-dryers usually have different capacities for washing and drying – which means you'll often have to split your load of washing into two or more drying loads. Our washer-dryer chooser tool lets you filter each washer-dryer model by washing and drying capacity.
Because of the dual function of a washer-dryer, the overall drum size tends to be smaller than that of a standalone washing machine or tumble dryer.
You can't tell how noisy a tumble-dryer's going to be when you're in the shop, but we test washer-dryers for noise in our lab. Our lab test results reveal the best washer-dryers for those with sleeping babies, nearby neighbours or families who relish the uninterrupted quiet.
Filter your washer-dryer test results by noise to find which washer-dryers scored four stars or more for noise levels (the more stars, the quieter the machine).
The best washer-dryers will get your clothes washed and dried in good time, but speed can vary significantly on different models, particularly when it comes to drying times. Take a look at the different cycles and programs offered by a washer-dryer before you buy to see whether a quick wash or dry option is available. Our Best Buy washer-dryer models score highly for speediness.
You might also need to factor in extra ironing time with washer-dryers – they tend to leave more creases in clothes than you'd expect with a standalone tumble dryer.
Extra features on washer-dryers
Extra rinsing, energy-saving programs, variable spin speeds, electronic displays, delayed start, easy-to-access doors... Extras like these can make all the difference when you're choosing the best washer-dryer for you and your home.
Think about which washer-dryer features you want, and take the time to check what's available on each model – that way you'll get the gadgets you need, and won't end up paying extra for the ones you'll never use.
Washer-dryer price and running costs
The cost of a single washer-dryer will probably work out cheaper than forking out for a separate washing machine and tumble dryer – but, because even the best washer-dryers are less reliable than their standalone counterparts, you may need to factor in extra repair and maintenance costs.
Day-to-day running costs for a washer-dryer don't greatly differ from what you'd expect to pay to run the equivalent separates – around £50 a year, depending on the model. Our washer-dryer energy running costs tool reveals the annual costs for each model we've tested, to guide you to the best models that'll keep your electricity bills down.