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Don't Buy washing machines

by Matt Stevens
A Don't Buy washing machine may skip stains, leave detergent on your clothes and make a racket – these are models you should avoid.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Our tough tests help us find the best washing machines on the market, which you can rely on to give your clothes a great wash every time. But the same tests also ensure we can alert you to washing machines that will do a pitiful job.

Compared to Best Buy washing machines, a Don't Buy with a one-star rating for cotton cleaning may remove 30% less staining from clothes, and models with a one-star rating for rinsing could leave traces of detergent in your laundry, which is particularly bad for those with sensitive skin.

Best Buy vs Don't Buy washing machines

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Every year we wash more than 1,750kg of clothes to test washing machines from a huge range of brands, including Bosch, Miele, Candy, Indesit and John Lewis. Our tests, combined with unique reliability and customer satisfaction scores from washing machine owners, means we can recommend machines that clean excellently, don't cost a lot to run and that are easy to use.

The models we name and shame as Don't Buys are proven in test lab conditions to have a tendency to skip over stains, guzzle energy so costing you a lot to run and can make a racket while they're washing.

  • We test every machine on tough-to-shift stains including coffee, wine, grass and blood. We run the machines three times so you can be certain a good wash is what you will always get – see an example of how a good machine tackles stains on the right, and bad on the left in the image below. On each cloth, you can see the stain before a wash, and then below it how much was left after being put in a washing machine. Where all the stain was removed, you can only see the red outline indicating where the stain was.
  • Using a special dryer that spins at around twice the speed of a normal washing machine, we measure how much detergent is left on the laundry. We also check how much water it drains out, so you know your clothes won't take ages to dry.
  • So that we can provide you with estimated running costs for each machine, we measure how much water and energy the machine uses and what temperature the machine gets up to. We've found A+ models that are more efficient and cost less to run than A+++ machines.

It's not just cheap washing machines or models from small brands that fail to make the grade, either. We've found Don't Buy washing machines from big brands, such as Beko, Samsung, Hotpoint, Whirlpool and Zanussi.

Some of these brands also make Best Buy washing machines that are dramatically better – but you won't know which are which in the shops, unless you've checked our independent washing machine reviews and recommendations.

Find out which washing machines are Don’t Buys and which are Best Buys by taking out a £1 trial to Which?.

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