We've seen big difference between the results of models we've tested, which has led to several being rated Don't Buy washer-dryers that you should avoid, and a whole host that will give you very average results.
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To help you narrow down what you need, we've rounded up the best washer-dryers so you can choose one depending on what's important to you.
Vented dryers remove warm air through a hose or vent that leads out of the house, for example through a window. Washer-dryers usually don't need a vent, as the majority of models cool air inside the machine and the remaining water is drained away.
Can you buy an eco washer-dryer?
Washer-dryers hit with your energy bills with a one-two punch of washing and drying.
While tumble dryers have become more energy efficient recently due to heat pump technology, washer-dryers still lag behind.
Even the most efficient washer-dryer still uses more energy than most heat pump dryers, so the most environmentally friendly choice is to buy a separate washer and dryer. But for everyone where that's not an option, our Eco Buys can help you find the best for the planet and your bills.
An Eco Buy washer-dryer cleans well and dries quickly while keeping energy and water use as low as possible to still do this. A washer-dryer also can’t be an Eco Buy if our survey shows that the brand is below average for reliability.
See below for which features to look out for when choosing a washer-dryer and keep scrolling to find out why you might want automatic drying, and why you definitely need to factor in noise and water usage.
Many washer-dryers are set using just a dial and a start button. Some come with a digital display, which helpfully shows the remaining program time, and more expensive machines have bigger LCD screens showing the state of the wash and identifying any faults. We test control panels for ease of use in 19 different ways - find an easy to use model among our Best Buys.
Washing capacities for washer-dryers are on average 7kg to 8kg, and will always be higher than the drying capacity. The largest machine we’ve tested has a 12kg drum. But think twice about buying a massive machine if you don’t do much washing. A 7kg drum can wash around 22 shirts whereas a 12kg drum can wash 38. We have Best Buy washer-dryers with a range of capacities, so filter by size on our site to find the machine with the right capacity for you.
Spin-speeds range from 1,000rpm to 1,600rpm with most washer-dryers spinning at 1,200rpm or 1,400rpm. So, there’s no cut in spin speeds for washer-dryers when compared with washing machines. But faster spinning doesn’t always mean better results and dryer clothes.
The compromise you make when buying two machines in one is that drying capacities are usually low, often no more than half the washing capacity. A drying capacity of around 3.5kg to 4kg is about average, whereas tumble dryers can dry around twice as much. But we can point you to Best Buy washer-dryers that dry as much as a tumble dryer could.
Condenser and waste water
One benefit of a washer dryer over a condenser or heat-pump tumble dryer is that you won’t have to remove and empty a waste-water tank when it’s full. Water from the drying clothes is drained away, rather than collected in a tank. And this is helpful as water tanks can be heavy and unwieldy when full. So, there’s one less chore to do if you choose a washer-dryer.
Almost all washer-dryers nowadays come with sensor-driven automatic drying programs. This means that the machine sets the drying time based on the humidity in the drum. But our tests have found that some machines are much more accurate at setting how long to dry than others.
We've found washer-dryers that over-dry clothes, which could lead to shrinkage and fabrics becoming damaged. Others miscalculate the other way, leaving clothes too wet.
Which washer-dryer is quietest?
When you’re in the shop, you won’t be able to tell how noisy different models are going to be. So, if having a quiet appliance is your key buying concern, take a look at our washer-dryer reviews. for those machines that get at least a four-star noise rating from us.
We include a noise star rating for all the washer-dryers we review. The more stars the quieter the machine will be.
Which washer-dryers use the least water?
Almost all washer-dryers use water when drying – they use water to cool the condenser and it's this that turns the steamy air into water, which can be drained away from the machine. An average sized machine (8kg washing and 5kg drying) will use around 20,000 litres per year in total to wash and dry.
How much does a washer-dryer cost?
A washer-dryer can cost anything from around £300 to more than £1500.
Our research shows paying more for a washer-dryer doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a more reliable machine. In fact, the brand with the lowest average spend achieved a decent 70% reliability rating. Find out which brand by checking our washer-dryer reviews.
Running costs for washer-dryers can be expensive, but opting for a more efficient machine will help save money in the long run. A typical washer-dryer will cost about £120 per year to run, with drying making up the majority of this cost.
We'll give you the usage cost in each of our reviews, so you can compare the most and least expensive models. Take a look at our washer-dryer energy-saving tips to find out how you could cut the cost of your bills.
Where to buy a washer-dryer
While cheaper models are always tempting, our in-depth tests show it's worth stretching your budget to around £500 for a great model that washes and dries well.
Popular online retailers that sell washer-dryers include:
Currys sells washer-dryers from AEG, Beko, Bosch, Hisense and other major brands. Prices for freestanding models range from £329 to over £1,000 for premium LG and Miele washer-dryers. Standard delivery within two working days is free, or you can opt for a next-day time slot from £35.
Argos primarily stocks freestanding washer-dryers and has a smaller selection of integrated models. It offers fixed monthly payment plans.
AO.com names Bosch, Hoover and Hotpoint among its 'top brands', but you'll have to check our expert reviews to see how good they really are. The retailer has over 100 freestanding washer-dryers with prices starting at around £300.
Appliances Direct sells washer-dryers with claimed wash loads of around 9kg. Listed brands include Bosch, Hotpoint and Indesit.
To see which washer-dryer retailers are rated highly by Which? members, consult our expert guide on the best and worst shops.
Size and spin speed
How big is a washer dryer?
Most washer-dryers are between 595 and 600mm wide. They are designed to fit into a space 600mm wide. The standard height of a front-loading washing dryer is 850mm high. But there can be exceptions, so check the specifications before choosing a model.
Depth can differ though – ranging from around 40cm to 70cm. Avoid having your machine sticking out into the walkway of your kitchen by checking the specs of a model against the space you have in your home before you buy it.
What size drum should I look for?
Washer-dryers always have two drum capacities – one for washing and one for drying. They can always wash a larger load than they can dry.
Base your buying decision on how often you wash your clothes and the amount of garments you like to wash in one go. If you have lots of clothes but you only like to do two loads a week, a larger drum size will suit.
Washing capacities in washer-dryers
The amount a washer-dryer can clean in one go typically starts as little as 5kg (which is enough to wash 16 men's cotton shirts at once) and ranges up to 12kg, enough to wash 38 shirts at once. An 8kg washing drum capacity is about average.
Drying capacities in washer-dryers
The drying capacity is always smaller than the machine's wash capacity, typically ranging from 2.5kg to 8kg. That means that if you've filled the drum when washing, you’ll need to take a few items out before drying. The more you need to take out, the more of a pain the machine might be to live with. The weights given are dry, rather than wet weights.
Typical washing to drying capacity for a 8kg drum size
11 towels - 8kg wash capacity
7 towels - 5kg dryer capacity
What spin speed do I need?
A good spin can remove the majority of water from your clothes, which reduces the amount of drying time you’ll need.
Higher spin speeds often do a great job of removing water from your clothes, but not every time.
Spin speeds typically go from 1,000rpm to 1,600rpm, and you may have to pay more for a model with a higher spin speed. Faster isn’t always better though – we’ve tested washer-dryers with 1,400rpm spin speeds that do a better job of removing moisture from clothes compared to a model with a 1,600rpm spin.
Pros and cons of washer-dryers
Space saving – Being able to combine two machines into one is probably the best thing about a washer dryer. This means they are perfect for those of you that are short on space, don’t have a garden to hang out washing or just simply don’t want too many large appliances in your home.
Upfront cost – If you’ve just moved house and you need new appliances or if your washing machine and tumble dryer have conveniently packed up at the same time, opting for a washer dryer means you save money buying one machine instead of two.
Running cost – Like most standard washing machines the wash cycle is generally efficient and economical in a washer dryer. However, the dry cycle typically uses more energy than traditional condenser or vented tumble dryers.
Drum size – The wash and dry drum capacity is different in every machine. This means that if you fill the wash cycle to its capacity, you will have to remove some garments before the dry cycle. If you tend to wash as much as you can in one load this could cause hassle.
Lack of choice – Naturally there will be less choice for a washer dryers, compared to traditional washing machines and tumble dryers because there is less demand for them. So if you’re looking for a different colour or specific features finding the perfect product might be a little more difficult.
Black and silver washer-dryers
If you’re looking for a black or silver washer-dryer, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Most brands, including Samsung and Indesit make models in variations of white, black and silver.
But if you’re looking for more individual shades like green or blue you will have less choice, will probably have to pay a little more and you might have to opt for a lesser known brand.
Best washer-dryer brands and popular models
Which washer-dryer brand won't breakdown?
Washer-dryers are two machines in one so in theory there’s more that can go wrong with them. Choose a washer-dryer from a brand with a good reputation for product reliability and performance.
Going for a well-known name won’t guarantee you'll get a reliable washer-dryer that won’t breakdown – particularly where washer-dryers are concerned.
Every year we contact thousands of members and get feedback to find out how reliable brands of washer-dryers are. Find our which washer-dryer brands have the best breakdown record with our most reliable washer-dryer brands guide.
We've tested washer-dryers from brands including Bosch, Hotpoint and John Lewis. See below for quick summaries of the most popular models, including key specs. Or, take a look at the best washer-dryers to find out which models we recommend.
Bosch WDU28560GB, £763.97
Wash capacity: 10kg
Dry capacity: 6kg
This washer-dryer has a very generous wash capacity which is useful for households that do a lot of laundry. But with a price of more than £700, it’s an expensive option.
The John Lewis JLWD1614 washer-dryer offers a whole range of useful programs including an anti-allergy cycle, a steam refresh and a specialist sportswear option. There’s even a program that will wash and dry a small load in just one hour.
The Zanussi Z716WT83BI has 21 different programs, with specialist cycles covering everything from wool, to denim and duvets. Those with a busy lifestyle will appreciate the Flextime function, which lets you shorten the program to get your clothes cleaned more quickly.