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Six things you need to know about big washing machines

When size matters, how much a bigger machine will cost to run, and whether they're any good at washing your clothes.

Woman loading a large washing machine

Is every day wash-day in your home? If it is, the next time you’re in the market for a new washing machine, you might be interested in going for a machine with a huge drum.

Washing machines have a wide variety of capacities, from compact 5kg machines right up to clothes washing behemoths with cavernous 12kg drums. And our latest Which? washing machine reviews include the LG FH495BDS2 washing machine, £834, which has a 12kg drum.

But is a big machine, such as the LG, best for you? Or will your washing and your wallet be more satisfied with a smaller washer?

Big washing machine pros and cons

Double the wash – half the chore

Go for a washing machine with a 12kg drum and you’ll be able to wash almost twice as much laundry as you could with a standard 7kg machine. That’s around 38 men’s shirts in a 12kg, as opposed to around 22 in a 7kg drum.

Washing will take longer

Big machines wash more clothes, so expect longer wash times. 12kg washing machines take around three hours and 30 minutes to wash a load of cottons. 7kg machines are quicker, at two hours and 40 minutes.

They stick out a bit

Extra capacity in the drum means that larger washing machines tend to be a bit deeper than smaller machines. They will still fit under a kitchen counter, but the control panel and door are likely to protrude by a couple of centimetres. You might need to take this into account if you have a galley kitchen where space is at a premium.

Big washing machines cost less to run…

Washing a lot of clothes at once is a good way of saving energy. 12kg washing machines we’ve tested use, on average, 10% less energy per kg of laundry washed than standard-sized 7kg machines. Whatever the size of machine you’re using, remember that a fuller machine will always wash more efficiently than an emptier one.

…But they cost more to start with

The 12kg washing machines we’ve reviewed cost around £900 on average. The cheapest 12kg washer we’ve tested is the Hoover DXP412AIW3/1-80, £550, and the most expensive is the LG FH6F9BDS2 at £1,500. Smaller machines average about £350. The higher initial outlay means its worth seriously considering whether you’ll ever have 12kg of laundry to wash at once before buying a bigger washing machine.

Expect a faster spin speed

Larger washing machines tend to have faster spin speeds. 1,400rpm is the entry level for 12kg machines, with some hitting 1,600rpm. The extra power is needed to rid the heavier load of additional water used to wash them. But bear in mind that a faster spin doesn’t always equal a better wash. Find out which machines spin so effectively and wash so brilliantly they top our list of best washing machines.

LG FH495BDS2 (12kg) £834

If you’re looking for a bigger machine, the LG FH495BDS2 (12kg) £834 that we’ve just tested might appeal. It’s A+++ rated for energy. Among its 14 wash programs are two that use steam to refresh and wash clothes. But a cottons wash will take more than four hours.

Bosch WAN28280GB (8kg) £390

If you think a washing machine with a less massive drum might suit, the new Bosch WAN28280GB (8kg) £390 could catch your eye. There’s room inside for 8kg of laundry, and it spins at 1,400rpm. It carries an A+++ energy rating and has 15 wash programs, including a hot wash for allergy sufferers. Washing a load of cottons takes just under three hours.

Which? washing machines: latest reviews

As well as the washing machines mentioned above, we’ve just published the results of our tests on the latest, popular washing machines listed below. Follow the links to read our full reviews:

Beko WR862441S (8kg) £320
Belling FW814 WHI (8kg) £370
Bush WMNSN612W (6 kg) £160
Candy CS1492 D3 (9kg) £250
Hoover DXOC67C3 (7kg) £297
Samsung WW80K5413UW (8 kg) £500

Prices correct as of 20 April 2017.

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