Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy.

Which washing machine?

Energy-efficient washing machines

By Matt Stevens

Article 3 of 4

Washing machines use energy to heat the water and spin the drum. Discover the washing machines that wash clothes well while keeping energy costs low.

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 washing machine lifetime-costs calculator will tell you what your machine will set you back to run, including the purchase price and energy costs. Our energy calculations are based on each washing machine being used three times a week to wash an 80%-full load of cottons.

Washing machine energy costs

Buy one of the most expensive-to-run washing machines and you could find yourself up to £80 a year worse off than if you'd bought an energy-efficient machine. Some machines will cost very little to run each year – just slightly more than £20 in some cases. But others will set you back significantly more – sometimes as much as £100 a year – based on being used three times a week to wash a cottons load at 40°C.

But what you need to weigh up is that a washing machine with cheaper running costs won’t necessarily be any good at washing clothes. So, be sure to use our washing machine lifetime-costs calculator in combination with our washing machines reviews. That way, you’ll give yourself the best chance of finding a great washing machine that also keeps running costs low.

The real cost of using and owning a washing machine

The washing machine lifetime-costs calculator tells you how much washing machines cost to run. We've also added the annual running costs to the price of the machine so you can see at a glance what the total cost of owning and using the machine will be over its lifetime.

You can use the calculator to compare running costs between different washing machines you're interested in. And you can look at costs for anywhere between three and 12 years of ownership (depending on how long you generally keep a washing machine for). You can also sort machines by brand and type.

Exceeding the washing machine's energy label

The energy label you see in the shop or online will give you an indication of where the washing machine sits in terms of energy use, but it doesn’t give you the full picture.

In every one of our washing machine reviews, and the costs calculator, we show how much each machine costs to run in pounds sterling – and you won’t find that kind of information on the energy label.

We test washing machines to find out how much energy they use based on how people actually use them in the home. We fill them to 80% of their capacity, because that’s how most people load their machines. And unlike the energy label, which is largely based around washing clothes at 60°C with some data taken from a 40°C wash, we base our energy running costs solely on the 40°C cottons wash, because that’s the wash people most commonly use.

Washing machine energy-saving tips

Wash at lower temperatures: washing clothes at lower temperatures will help to reduce the cost of doing the laundry. Turning the dial down from 60°C to 40°C cuts your washing costs by about a third.

Wash at night: Electricity is cheaper at night, so setting your machine to wash while you sleep will cut the cost. Most machines will have timers that allow you to do this, but check out the noise ratings in our washing machine reviews to find a machine quiet enough to wash while letting you sleep soundly.

If you’re on an Economy 7 or an Economy 10 electricity tariff and your washing machine has a timer, you can save money on your washing by setting your machine to run at night.

This kind of energy tariff won’t be right for everyone – they can save money for you if you have electric storage heaters, for example – but don’t switch to this kind of time-of-use tariff just to cut the cost of washing your clothes.

SHARE THIS PAGE