You could save 46% on your annual detergent costs if you switch from our top-scoring laundry capsule to our best-value alternative. But we’ve also found some capsules that you’ll want to avoid at any price.
We tested 11 laundry capsules from big brands including Ariel, Fairy, Persil and Surf, as well as supermarket own-brand products, pitting each one against a variety of common household stains.
One cheap own-brand pod scored almost as well as the top-scoring brand, and was actually better at removing some everyday stains – such as curry, baby food and chocolate ice cream. Switching to this cheap capsule could save you more than £22 per year (based on four washes a week and using one pod per wash).
Find out which branded capsule topped our tests – and the cheap alternative to snap up – in our laundry detergent reviews.
Don’t Buy these laundry capsules
Not all of the capsules we tested managed to get our dirty laundry clean, and two were so poor at washing clothes that we’ve added them to our list of Don’t Buy detergents.
There’s a difference of 22 percentage points between the best and worst-scoring capsule in our 2017 tests. Choosing the wrong one could mean you have to put some items back in the machine for a second wash, or tackle the stain by hand.
Not only did our worst laundry pod leave traces of food, grease and make-up stains behind, it also dulled our pristine whites to a dingy grey hue after just a few washes.
Discover which powders, liquids, gels and capsules you’ll want to leave on the supermarket shelf by checking our round-up of Don’t Buy laundry detergents.
Best detergent for washing colours
Capsule detergents are generally good at keeping colours fresh because, unlike powders, they clean without using bleaches. So do you need to choose one that’s specifically designed for colours? We don’t think so. Only one of the laundry pods we tested this time around caused colours to fade, and one brand that was specifically labelled as colour-friendly actually caused more fading than the standard version of the same brand.
When it comes to whites, you’re better off using a powder if you want your sheets and shirts to stay dazzlingly bright. The best capsules, liquids and gels will keep them looking fresh, but they can’t quite match the whitening power of a powder detergent. Check our full laundry detergent test ratings to find out which powders, liquids, gels and capsules will get your clothes cleanest.