Smart new wi-fi-enabled washing machines are becoming increasingly popular, but what exactly are they, how do they work and how much will they cost?
Read on to find out more about the technology, the features to look out for and what brands are doing in this smart space, including Bosch, Miele and Samsung.
Smart washing machines are appliances that can connect to your household wi-fi network in the same way that other devices, such as tablets and smart phones, do. You can then set your washing machine remotely using an app on your phone or tablet, or via Alexa or Google Assistant.
You don't have to have a smart phone, either - you can set it manually. So, if your partner has the latest iPhone, but you’re still playing ‘Snake’ on your old Nokia, you won’t be able to get out of doing the laundry.
Smart washing machines can come with lots of additional useful features, including:
Hoover and Samsung were the first two manufacturers to launch wi-fi-enabled smart washing machines in the UK. But now increasingly more manufacturers are launching their own versions - in fact, one out of three of the machines we've tested have smart functionality.
Here, we run through what different brands are offering in this space and how they compare with their competitors.
Bosch uses Home Connect, an app that can control appliances from numerous brands. A number of its machines are smart - we've tested four - but this year the wi-fi capability has moved from 'premium' to a 'core' feature, meaning the entire 2019 range will come with wi-fi.
Like other apps, you can start, pause and stop cycles, and it will also notify you when the cycle has finished.
Other useful features include:
You'll have to pay more for this, though. Boschs' smart models typically cost between £600 and £800. You can get a basic - but quality - machine for less than half this price.
Miele's app is still relatively new to the market and is only available on more advanced models.
Alongside the basic functions, WifiConn@ct gives push notifications when detergent needs filling up and offers a direct connection to the Miele store so you can place orders.
Miele is typically in the higher price bracket compared with its competitors, and for a smart model you can expect to pay anywhere between £900 and £1,500.
Described by Candy as a personal assistant, Smart Touch is available via its Simply-Fi app and is the first voice-assisted washing machine. Candy claims 'Talking Bianca' can offer washing advice, learn your routine and patterns, and even spot laundry mistakes, such as picking the wrong program for the load.
Smart Touch also comes with a check-up function that monitors the condition of your machine and troubleshoots errors.
Other useful features include:
Smart models will cost up to around £400.
Hoover was one of the first manufacturers to adopt smart tech. Hoover claims that its Wizard app enables you to manage and control your connected washing machine.
It's capabilities depend on what model you have and whether it's wi-fi connected or equipped with One Touch.
Some of the features of One Touch include:
Unfortunately, this app doesn't seem to have wowed users on the app store and has only been given a one-star rating. Costs can vary, too - ranging from under £300 to nearly £700.
LG's smart tech has the basic functions that many of it competitors offer, including starting and stopping cycles, notifications when a job is complete and maintenance reminders.
It also has an extra 20 washing programs, can troubleshoot small problems and can be controlled via Alexa or Google Assistant.
Depending on the extra features you want with your smart model you can pay as little as £400 or more than £1000.
Once you've loaded up your washing machine, Samsung's SmartThings app can take full control. From cycle selection to making washing suggestions the app is fully integrated with the machine.
If you have a FlexWash model, both washers can be controlled via the app.
If you want a feature-packed smart Samsung, then expect to pay around £1000.
Like Bosch, Siemens uses Home Connect - an app that can control appliances from numerous brands. It also has pretty much the same functionality, but with a different interface.
Along with the basic features, you can also troubleshoot problems, use it with the Amazon Echo and hold off on a rinse cycle.
The AEG app is currently only available on one of its washing machines - the AEG L9FEC966R, which costs around £900. It has the capability to start the cycle and it will notify when its finished.
The 'care advisor' will ask you a handful of questions about the load, including the fabric, colour and stain before washing accordingly.
You can also find general advice on getting rid of stains and how to use detergents, too. And, like its competitors, it will troubleshoot any issues and offer access to the customer centre.
Whirlpool's app offers basic functionality, plus assisted cycles that will help you choose the right program.
6th Sense Live will also show you how much each cycle will cost before it starts so you can aim to select low-tariff options.
However, there is limited availability for connected models at this stage and it will cost around £700 to get your hands on one.
It's important to make sure your privacy and safety isn't compromised by using this new smart technology. Here are our top tips on staying safe: