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‘50% less energy’ washing machine disappoints

'A+++++' washer only scores average efficiency

Beko's WMB81445L - '50% more efficient'?

Beko claims its WMB81445L washing machine uses 50% less energy than a standard A-rated machine, and has called it ‘A+++++’. But our tests show that it’s not as energy efficient as it’s cracked up to be.

Our labs test washing machines with full and smaller loads of cottons, and also test each machine with an ‘easycare’ load.

We found that the WMB81445L scored well with a full 8kg drum. But the energy used per kg of washing on a small load was the second highest of all the Beko washing machines we tested last year, and only got an average rating of three stars for energy efficiency.

You can find out whether the washing performance made up for this average rating by reading the full results in our washing machine reviews. The reviews also contain more information on how we test washing machines – and why.

Clearer energy claims

Which? washing machine expert Katie Hill said: ‘It’s great to see manufacturers upping their game in energy efficiency – but manufacturers need to be clear about the claims they make.

‘While ‘A+++++’ – or ‘A-50%’ as some say – suggests 50% efficiency improvements over standard A-rated washers, it’s not an official rating.

‘It’s also important to remember that the label doesn’t give a full picture, though recent developments in EU testing should help improve the label’s accuracy regarding everyday use.’

Realistic washing tests

Ratings on energy labels, which are set out by the EU, are the result of specific tests under specific conditions. The current scheme tests washing machines at maximum capacity on a 60°C cotton cycle, and the energy used is translated into a rating from A-G – with A being the most efficient.

But our research shows that 40°C is the most popular temperature to wash at – and that most people don’t fill their drum – so a rating based on a 60°C wash at maximum capacity isn’t a realistic reflection of how the machine will perform at home. That’s why we test in this way.

EU energy rating changes

The information displayed on energy labels is changing. While current labels rank washing machines from A-G, the new system will have seven classifications between A+++ and D. Each ‘+’ after the A represents a 10% improvement in energy efficiency compared with a standard A-rated machine.

As well as considering energy use per year instead of per cycle, the ratings will be calculated according to full and partial loads at 60°C and a partial load at 40°C. Manufacturers have been using the new labels since December 2010, and they will become mandatory in December 2011.

For more information on the new energy labels and how the ratings are changing, have a look at our online guide – energy labels explained. The guide has pages dedicated to refrigeration, dishwashers and tumble dryers – as well as washing machines – as different appliances are affected in different ways.

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