Energy-efficient washing machines
Buy an inefficient washing machine and you could find yourself paying up to £63 a year to wash your clothes. Opt for an energy-efficient model and it could cost just £15 a year.
Our washing machine reviews will tell you which model will have you spending more money, including the purchase price and energy costs.
Top five energy-efficient washing machines
How much does a washing machine cost to use?
A washing machine can cost anything from a little over £15 a year to run to more than £60. It really does depend on the model, how much you use it, the amount of clothes you put in and the programmes you choose.
Our energy calculations are based on each washing machine being used four times a week to wash an 80% full load of cottons - because that's the wash people most commonly use.
Usually, the more energy a washing machine uses, the better it is at cleaning. So it’s really hard to find one that has a good balance of both.
That's why we’ve started badging our top picks that hit this as Eco Buys. A washing machine has to be both efficient with both energy and water and clean well to get our Eco Buy recommendation. This makes it easier for you to know which will be kinder to the planet and your bills.
What does the energy label mean on a washing machine?
The energy label you see in the shop or online will give you an indication of where the washing machine sits in terms of energy use, but it doesn’t give you the full picture.
The label ratings changed in March 2021 to get rid of all the pluses (no more A+++, A++ or A+). It now starts at G (for the least efficient) and goes up to A (for the most efficient). But what does that actually mean for your wallet and the planet? It should mean that appliances get more efficient, as brands fight for the top A rating. But take these official ratings with a pinch of salt.
Our reviews go one step further and show how much each machine will actually cost to run. Unlike the energy label, which is largely based around washing clothes at 60°C, we base our energy running costs solely on the 40°C cottons wash, because that’s what people most commonly use. This means that our energy ratings are more accurate than the official ones.
Our findings have even shown that two washing machines with the same energy label rating can vary quite wildly. Take two 9kg-capacity models as an example:
- The A-rated LG F4V909WTSE costs £55 a year to run
- The B-rated Bosch WAV28MH3GB costs £10 less a year.
Washing machine energy-saving tips
- Wash at lower temperatures Our research has found that making the shift from 40°C to 30°C cut energy costs by 38%, and going from 40°C to 20°C cuts costs by 62%. Unless you’re washing really soiled clothes, modern machines (particularly Best Buys) will still do a good job most of the time.
- Switch to a liquid detergent It will wash better at lower temperatures than powder detergents.
- Wash less often It sounds obvious, buying a machine with the right capacity for your needs will mean you can wash less often, as you’ll get more done in one go. If you don’t have enough laundry to fill the drum, go for a quick program, which will often have a lower recommended-fill level.
- Stop over-washing your clothes Not only is this a waste, but it could be causing fading, shrinkage and misshaping. Chip Bergh, the chief executive of denim brand Levi, famously said that you never need to wash its jeans, although we advise you to wash them every six to 10 wears.