Key specification


Freestanding is the most common type of washing machine. They can be fitted into a slot in your kitchen or left standing on their own – as long as you can attach it to a waste pipe, and some come in different colours. Integrated washing machines are designed to be built in to a fitted kitchen, and have a large exterior door to which a furniture panel can be attached, helping it blend seamlessly into your kitchen. Top loading washing machines are rare in the UK, and cannot be installed under a counter as you load clothes through a door on top of the machine.


Slim washing machines are as tall and as wide as normal washing machines – which on average would be about 84cm high and 60cm wide. You can find the precise dimensions of this washing machine below.


The amount of clothes you can wash in one go using the cotton wash programs. Cotton cleaning programs allow you to fill the drum to its maximum capacity, while other programs are usually designed for a smaller load. At Which? we test using the 40˚C cotton wash program and fill the drum to 80% of its maximum capacity, to simulate how people typically use their washing machines at home. Drum capacities currently vary from 5kg (enough for 16 shirts) to 12kg (enough for 38 shirts).


The amount of clothes you can wash in one go using the synthetics wash programs, which may also be known as the easy-care programs. Cycles for washing synthetics have a smaller capacity than cottons and are designed to wash man-made fabrics such as polyester and acrylics.


The height, width and depth of the washing machine. Most models are around 84cm high with the feet fully retracted. Most models are 60cm wide, but there are exceptions. And most washing machines are between 55-65cm deep. For the models we've tested the measurement includes space for hoses at the rear of the machine.


The washing machine’s fastest spin speed. A typical spin speed is 1200rpm, but we’ve tested models that can reach 1800rpm. A washing machine does not need to have a faster than normal spin speed to do an excellent job of removing water from clothes, so check our test results before paying extra for a model with a faster spin speed.


Most models are available in white, some are available in black or silver. A small number of washing machines are available in other colours as well, such as red or blue.


The EU Energy label, which ranges from A+++ to A. As of December 2013, the lowest energy efficiency rating a new washing machine can have will be A+. We test machines differently to the EU Energy label, basing our running costs completely on the popular 40˚C cotton program – and we’ve found A+++ machines that cost more to run than A+ rated machines. See our annual energy cost below.

Popular programs


A program that will wash clothes gently. Models of washing machine will vary in what they are able to wash, but this program may be suitable for washing fabrics like mixed fibre garments, rayon and viscose.


Some washing machines come with a steam function. Steam programs are usually short programs designed to refresh clothes by removing odours and creases. Steam hygiene programs add steam to a regular wash cycle to help eliminate bacteria.

Handy features


Time remaining displays provide an estimate of how long your washing will take, and count down until your washing is ready.


A start delay program allows you to postpone the start of a wash cycle, in case you want your washing to be ready later. Some models allow you to delay the start by up to 24 hours. An end delay function is very similar, but you set when you want the program to finish, rather than start.


An extra rinse setting will allow you to increase the number of rinses at the end of a wash cycle, to help the washing machine rinse your clothes of detergent.


A panel lock is the most common type of child lock - it works by disengaging the controls on the panel, so will not be able to change the program or settings when your back is turned.


A door lock stops the washing machine door from being fully closed, so kids cannot accidentally lock items inside the drum. A door lock is much rarer than a panel lock, though a few machines have both.

Run time and energy cost


The length of time it takes for a cotton 40˚C wash program to run, without any extra settings (such as extra rinses) applied to it.


The length of time it takes for a synthetic 40˚C wash program to run, without any extra settings (such as extra rinses) applied to it.


An estimated running cost based on using the popular Cotton 40˚C wash program, four times a week, every week, for a year. We update this figure annually to reflect changing average energy prices.