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Washer-dryers vs washing machines: which are best for cleaning clothes?

One tends to be better at cleaning and rinsing, another at spinning

We’ve number-crunched the washing, drying and spinning test results of all washer-dryers and washing machines we’ve reviewed since October 2018 to uncover which machine is best at tackling your dirty laundry.

Neck and neck for cleaning cottons

Washer-dryers and washing machines are evenly matched on four or five-star performance for cleaning cottons.

However, there’s a higher proportion of washing machines that aren’t great at cleaning cottons – 12% of those we’ve recently tested received one or two stars, compared with 4% of washer-dryers.

Avoid the washing machines we’ve named Don’t Buys because they score badly in our tests.

Washer-dryers better for synthetics

Washer-dryers are the clear winner for busting stains from synthetics, with all but one washer-dryer receiving four or five stars.

But you can’t tell which models are best for cleaning by simply looking at them in the shop. That’s where our washing machine reviews and washer-dryer reviews are invaluable to save you wasting your money on a cleaning dud.


Latest washer-dryer reviews

We’ve just tested new washer-dryers from Beko (above, left) and Blomberg (above, right).

The better of the two offers an excellent synthetics clean and spin dry. It’s also quite easy to use. The worse of the two cleans synthetics quite well, but the cottons-drying program takes a long time and isn’t anything special.

Find out whether they’re worth buying by reading our reviews of the Beko WDB7426R1W and Blomberg LRF2854111W.


Washer-dryers better for rinsing

Our snapshot data suggests that washer-dryers are around three times more likely to get at least four stars for rinsing excess detergent from clothes.

Our data shows that if you choose a washer-dryer or washing machine without doing your research first, chances are you won’t end up with a good rinser – especially if you’re looking for a washing machine.

A washing machine or washer-dryer that rinses well is particularly important for those with sensitive skin, as excess detergent that isn’t squeezed from clothes could prove to be an irritant.

Especially poor rinsers could leave detergent streaks on your laundry too.

Washing machines better for spin drying

Washing machines were more likely than washer-dryers to earn good spin-drying ratings in our recent tests.

If you plan on always using a dedicated drying program on your washer-dryer after cleaning, this is potentially not that important. But if you’re just washing your laundry, it’s likely that it will take longer to dry if the spin cycle isn’t up to much.

So, which is best?

Washer-dryers clinch it at cleaning and are more likely to be better at rinsing excess detergent from clothes. Washing machines, on the other hand, are better at spin-drying water from clothes after washing, on average.

It’s important to remember that these findings are based on averages. We’ve found both washing machines and washer-dryers that really don’t deserve a spot in your home, as well as those you’ll be thrilled with.

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