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Cheap vs pricey washing machines: Is it worth paying more?

Our latest test covered 10 new models, but one Miele and one Beko model really stood out. Can such a large price difference ever be justified?

At Which?, price has no bearing on how we rate a washing machine – but that doesn’t mean that we’re oblivious to it, either. Sometimes you see two washing machines priced so wildly differently you can’t help but take note.

Our latest reviews include a Miele washing machine machine for more than £1,400, and a Beko for just £250.

Should you splash out or save for the best washing results? Our washing machine reviews will help you make the most sensible decision.

Read on to compare what you get for your money from a washing machine priced at the top of the market versus one for a fraction of the price.

Miele WKF 322 – £1,430

Miele has a reputation for putting out slick machines priced a little higher than average. The price of the Miele WKF 322 is undeniably some way above that, though. In fact, the average price of a Best Buy washing machine is roughly half the £1,400 you’ll be paying for this one. So, what do you get for all that extra outlay?

  • Cotton capacity: 9kg
  • Synthetics capacity: 4kg
  • Max spin speed: 1,600rpm
  • Energy label: A+++
  • Number of programmed cycles: 12
  • Wash temperatures: Cold, 20°C, 30°C, 40°C, 50°C, 60°C, 75°C, 90°C
  • Quick wash program maximum capacity: 3.5kg
  • Intensive program: Yes
  • Length of guarantee: 24 months

Outside of its vital statistics, at first there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot to elevate the WKF 322 above from the rest. Its glass and mirrored-silver door is eye-catching, but other than that you’re still looking at a large, white block of plastic. There’s a digital display, but most of the controls are handled the old-fashioned way, with tactile buttons and a rotating dial.

It has the ability to select the correct program for your load by stain type, which is an interesting feature – pick from three types of stain (eg ‘red wine’ or ‘grass’) and it will work out the rest for you. The ‘Express 20’ quick-wash program takes 20 minutes to complete, which is fairly standard, but the 3.5kg maximum load size for that quick wash is quite generous.

Similarly, the 12 built-in programs aren’t overwhelming, although there should still be one for every scenario you could envisage, including modes for duvets and sportswear.

As for how well it actually washes your laundry, and how long it takes to do it? Find out by reading our full Miele MKF 322 washing machine review.

Beko WTG741M1W – £250

Beko is most popular washing machine brand on Which.co.uk*, so a model as tantalisingly low-priced as the Beko WTG741M1W is sure to draw attention. Given that it’s even cheaper than the average price of a Don’t Buy, can this affordable unit possibly offer enough to compete?

  • Cotton capacity: 7kg
  • Synthetics capacity: 3kg
  • Max spin speed: 1,400rpm
  • Energy label: A+++
  • Number of programmed cycles: 15
  • Wash temperatures: Cold, 20°C, 30°C, 40°C, 60°C, 90°C
  • Quick wash program maximum capacity: 2kg
  • Intensive program: No
  • Length of guarantee: 12 months

Let’s start with what you don’t get with the Beko WTG741M1W compared with the Miele: there’s a smaller drum, which means 2kg less per cottons wash, 0.5kg less per synthetics wash or 1.5kg less per quick wash, the maximum spin speed is slower, there are fewer temperatures to choose from, there’s no intensive wash program, and the guarantee is just one year, rather than two.

However, the reduction in drum size means that the WTG741M1W is 10cm shallower than the Miele, meaning that it can fit more snugly in smaller homes, plus there are more pre-programmed cycles, for those who want the most intricate level of control over their wash. As for the range of temperatures, the chances of you needing to wash at anything at exactly 50°C or 75°C is pretty slim. And even though the quick-wash capacity is slightly less than the Miele’s, it’s finished in 14 minutes, rather than 20.

Unless you’re serious about your laundry, will any of these downsides really put you off buying this machine? If you’re tempted, make sure you find out whether it cleans clothes as well as the specs suggest, by reading our full Beko WTG741M1W review.

Mid-priced washing machines

For those of you who believe the answer lies within moderation rather than in the extremes, we’ve tested plenty of mid-priced machines, too. The LG F4J7JY2W costs £760 and intrigues with its wi-fi connectivity. LG’s ‘Smart ThinQ’ technology allows you to use your smartphone to communicate with the washing machine, letting you control the cycle, diagnose problems, and even download additional programs.

The Hoover DXOA 68LW3/1-80 offers a similar feature in a machine that costs a fair bit less – just £280, in fact. It has NFC (near-field communication), which means that if you have an Android smartphone with NYC can give it a tap to connect the two devices together. However, we’re struggling to see how it’s of much use, given that you have to practically be stood next to the machine to use it. From there it offers the same features as the LG machine,

We’ve also just reviewed two popular washing machines from Bush, the Bush WMDF814W and the Bush WMDF914W. You may not be aware of it, but Bush is actually an Argos own-brand, used for all sorts of products from washing machines to DVD players. As that might lead you to expect, both machines are very cheap (less than £300 each) – but you’ll have to read their reviews to find out if they are worth buying.

Just in time for Christmas, or if you’re already planning your shopping list for the January sales, we’ve also just reviewed more new models from Hoover, Beko and Miele, as well as a mid-priced machine from Chinese brand Haier, the Haier HW80-B1636. As a name you may or may not recognise, Haier is actually responsible for all the washing machines you see branded Fisher & Paykel and Hotpoint, too.

*Number of visits to Beko washing machines and brand pages for month to 7 December 2017.

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