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Home & garden.

Updated: 25 May 2022

Energy-efficient washing machines

Discover the washing machines that wash clothes well while keeping energy costs low.
Aaron West
Man loading clothes into washing machine

Buy an inefficient washing machine and you could find yourself paying up to £95 a year to wash your clothes. Opt for an energy-efficient model and it could cost just £26 a year. 

Our washing machine reviews will tell you which model will have you spending more money, including the purchase price and energy costs. 

Alternatively, head straight to our best washing ma 

Top five energy-efficient washing machines

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  • 81%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    This excellent washing machine cleans brilliantly and works quickly, quietly and efficiently. A brilliant all-rounder.

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  • 80%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    This is among our top Eco Buy recommendations. Not only is it a brilliant cleaner and a breeze to use, it’s also energy and water efficient enough to save you money and help the planet.

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  • 79%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    It uses less energy than most large-capacity washing machines, so could also save you on your energy bills.

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  • 74%
    • eco buy

    Not only is this washing machine fantastic at cleaning grubby cottons and synthetics, but it does the job without racking up a huge energy bill. We were so impressed that we’ve made it an Eco Buy, so if you’re after great cleaning and low running costs, this one gives you both.

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Last updated: 11 May 2022

How much does a washing machine cost to use?

A washing machine can cost anything from a little over £26 a year to run to more than £90. 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.

Use our energy running cost tool to see which washing machines will be the cheapest in the long run.

What is a Which? Eco Buy?

Which? Eco Buy logo

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.

To see our pick of Eco Buys, see all our washing machine reviews.

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 £62 a year to run
  • The B-rated Bosch WAV28MH3GB costs £45 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.