In the past shopping for washing machines involved turning up to your local out of town retailer, browsing a range of seemingly identical lumps of plastic and then settling on the model which had a special offer on at the time. The savings obtained from the special offer period were then cunningly recouped though a delivery charge for your item. Shop and customer parted ways amicably.
This approach always seemed strange as firstly, these machines are quite a sizeable initial cash outflow and secondly, they are a utility item that will remain in the house for many years to come. Maybe even for a longer period of time than the family cat (consider that when you next go to pet the cat and the washing machine stands faithfully by – unloved and under-appreciated).
In any case, the age of the internet has empowered consumers to enter shops armed with a wealth of washing machine facts and comparisons. Importantly, a lot of the ground work for a decision on a model should be done well in advance making the process on the day a whole lot more well informed and painless.
One often overlooked aspect is the long term cost of washing machine ownership. Given all this, below is a very helpful buying guide for the key cost considerations when buying a new washing machine. This is especially important given that a wash and dry load can cost up to 85p per cycle, even more on older models. Over the year, this can really mount up given that the average use per household is 274 cycles over the course of the year .
Efficiency is measured using the EU energy efficiency label – an EU standard for most white goods. The efficiency range is a sliding scale from A+++ to D, where A+++ is the most efficient and D is the least efficient based on the product’s energy consumption. Also displayed is the annual energy consumption in kWhrs and extra information includes capacity, water consumption and noise levels. As these measures are all standardised, comparison between machines is easy.
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Washing machines nowadays come with a whole host of cycle programs and combinations designed to make the washing process as easy for the user as possible. The key is to select a washing machine that has programs to fit your lifestyle. Aren’t likely to have severely dirty clothes on a regular basis? Opt for a washing machine with low temperature and short time washing and drying programs.
Or how about if you are a larger family? Opt for a larger capacity washing machine to avoid having to run multiple cycles.
Reliability and warranty
Nowadays, the increased reliability of washing machines mean that most washing machines come with a long manufacturing warranty, often 5 years. This tends to cover the customer against faults with the machine (excluding maintenance and user negligence).
Increasingly, the store will offer a more comprehensive warranty, covering the customer against general maintenance costs as well. Before taking out anything with the store, check that you are not already covered under the manufacturer’s warranty or home insurance terms to avoid double paying.
Delivery and installation
Chances are you will require delivery to ease the hassle of transport. You may even opt for installation to prevent any plumbing disasters. If this is the case, make your mind up on the price you are willing to pay for these extras beforehand. Often extras like these attract significant commissions for sales representatives so they are likely to be aggressively sold to you when on the shop floor.
Removal and recycle of old machine
Again for ease and piece of mind, many shops will also collect and remove your old machine. Similar to delivery and installation costs, go in with a clear mind over how much you are willing to pay as sales representatives will have (often significant) monetary incentives to sell these extras to you.
Also bear in mind other options – for example your local council will run a recycling service for white goods for a small charge. Check this out before hand as it could well be cheaper.
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As a washing machine is owned for a significant period of time, it is a purchase worthy of research. Retailers will often try and grab the customer with a headline price but in reality, there are other costs to be considered.
Research your required features, the efficiency of each model, and don’t pay for extra warranties that you don’t need – always check your cover under manufacturer’s and home insurance cover first.