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Energy-efficient washer-dryers

By Matt Stevens

Washer-dryers are doubly energy hungry, needing power to heat water to wash with and to provide heat for drying. Compare energy costs on all the top models.

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Washer-dryer energy costs

There are massive differences in running costs between the cheapest and most expensive washer-dryers. Some machines will cost very little to run each year – only around £60 in some cases. But others will cost significantly more, sometimes more than £150 a year, based on being used to wash at 40°C four times a week and dry three times a week.

But a washer-dryer with rock-bottom running costs won’t necessarily be any good when it comes to washing and drying clothes. Often, this kind of appliance will be OK as a washer but struggle to dry effectively. So, use our washer-dryer reviews to have the best chance of finding a washer-dryer that’s great at its job and that keeps running costs low, too. 

Exceeding the washer-dryer’s energy label

The energy label you see in the shop or online will give you an indication of where the washer-dryer sits in terms of energy use, but it doesn’t give you the full picture.

In every one of our washer-dryer reviews, we show how much each machine costs to run in pounds sterling – and that’s the kind of information that you won’t find on the energy label.

The washer-dryers energy label is calculated based on tests with machines filled to the brim. But in Which? tests, we find out how much energy machines consume based on how people actually use them in the home.

As we all tend to underfill when washing and drying, we generally only make use of 80% of their washing capacity and 70% of their drying capacity.

Find out more about how we test washer-dryers

Washer-dryer energy-saving tips

Wash at lower temperatures: washing clothes at lower temperatures will help to reduce the cost of doing the laundry. Turning the dial down from 60°C to 40°C cuts your washing costs by about a third.

Wash at night: electricity is cheaper at night, so setting your machine to wash while you sleep will cut the cost. Most machines will have timers that allow you to do this. We give each of the washer-dryers we review a noise rating, so you can find a machine quiet enough to wash while letting you sleep soundly. We don’t recommend using the machine as a dryer at night.

If you’re on an Economy 7 or an Economy 10 electricity tariff and your washer-dryer has a timer, you can save money on your washing by setting your machine to run at night.

This kind of energy tariff won’t be right for everyone. It can save money for you if you have electric storage heaters, for example, but don’t switch to this kind of time-of-use tariff just to cut the cost of washing your clothes.

Separate different fabrics when drying: drying sensors inside the washer-dryer become confused if different fabrics are dried together, and this can lead to longer-than-necessary drying times. So separate different fabrics to speed up drying and save money.

Loosen your laundry: clothes bundled into a ball will take forever to dry, and that will drive up the cost of drying. Fix this by loosening your clothes before drying them – and with large items, such as a duvet cover, look for any stray clothes that may have become trapped inside.

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