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.
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 Energy Savers. A washing machine has to be in the top 20% for energy use and clean well (has a total test score of at least 60%) to get this rating. This makes it easier for you to know which will be kinder to the planet and your bills.
What does the energy rating 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.
Label ratings start at G (the least efficient) and go up to A+++ (the most efficient). But what does that actually mean for your wallet? Our reviews go one step further and show how much each machine costs to run per year.
We also fill the washing machines to 80% of their capacity, because that’s how most people load their machines. And unlike the energy label, which is largely based around washing clothes at 60°C with some data taken from a 40°C wash, we base our energy running costs solely on the 40°C cottons wash, because that’s what people most commonly use.
Two seemingly identical A+++ washing machines can actually vary quite wildly. For example, the Haier HW100-B1439 has an A+++ rating, but our tests show that it would cost around £54 a year to run. That’s £20 more than another freestanding, 10kg A+++ washing machine, the Beko WTB1041R4W.
Top five energy-efficient washing machines
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.