A washer dryer combo is a big investment
Our report will save you money for years to come, and goes beyond the sales hype to reveal:
- which of the less expensive models perform best
- which brands need the fewest repairs.
Choose the right type of washer dryer
Use this report to decide what optional features you need, and what you can do without.
- Bosch WVH28441AU
- Electrolux EWW12832
- LG WD1402CRD6
- LG WD14130FD6
- Miele WT2780WPM
- Samsung WD10F7S7SRP
- Samsung WD856UHSAWQ
How we test
How do we choose the program we run to test the machine?
Over the years we've received many member responses to our product use surveys, which ask about what programs you use. Because of your feedback, CHOICE uses a set of testing criteria that generally involves a normal, cold wash. When this doesn't exist on a machine, we use the closest approximation to a normal, cold wash. Because of this selection, you'll sometimes see differences between what the energy and water labels say on the machine and our results. This is because manufacturers try to get as good an energy and water label as possible, because the more stars they have, the better the chance a consumer will buy their product. Unfortunately, often this means the program the manufacturer selects is not what consumers will choose at home.
How do we test washer dryer machines?
Our lab testers subject all washer dryer machines to the same round of rigorous scientific tests. First, using a normal cold-water wash cycle, they test each machine to see how it shifts tough stains from specially prepared cloths that have been attached to a standard wash-set of linen. After the wash cycle has finished, the testers use a special machine to examine each cloth to see how much light is reflected from each stain, which allows them to calculate how much dirt has been removed. This machine is more sensitive than the human eye: differences of 6% or more in the dirt removal scores are visible. We then run a drying cycle using the same load size for washing and measure how much energy drying the load takes, and how long it takes to dry the clothes.
What makes up the overall score?
Wash performance (70%)
- Dirt removal (40%)
- Rinse performance (20%)
- Water efficiency (15%)
- Spin efficiency (10%)
- Gentleness (15%)
Drying performance (30%)
- Energy efficiency (40%)
- Drying time (40%)
- Ease of use (20%)
What we measure
Rinse performance This is a measure of how well the machines keep the dirt suspended in the water rather than depositing it back on the clothes, and how well they rinse out the detergent — our testers add a marker chemical to the wash. At the end, they take a sample of the water remaining in the clothes to determine the amount of chemical that's left — the less there is, the better the rinse.
Water efficiency Water flow meters are connected to each machine to measure water use. To compare efficiency between different-sized machines, we calculate the amount of water used per kilogram of the test load of washing. The lower the water consumption per kilogram of clothing, the higher the efficiency score.
Spin efficiency The test load is weighed before and after each wash. The higher the score, the more water is removed, which means the washing takes less time (and energy, if you use a dryer) to dry. We use the maximum spin speed (some machines let you vary the speed).
Gentleness To check for fabric wear, we attach swatches of easily frayed fabric to the garments in each load. The area of the swatch is measured before and after the wash – the less fraying, the gentler the machine is assessed to be and the higher the score it's given.
Noise levels The maximum noise level is recorded during the spin cycle and is measured one metre away from the machine and one metre above the ground. Typically, the noise level of these machines is similar to that of a normal conversation (about 65dB). It's not an absolute noise measurement – the acoustics of your home will determine exactly how a machine sounds in use – but it's a good comparative measure.
Energy efficiency We put a 3.5kg wet load of washing into the clothes dryer and measure how long it takes to dry and how much energy is used. The energy efficiency and drying time scores are based on the amount of energy and time used per kilogram of clothing. We then dry the clothes until they're bone dry. We then saturate and spin them dry in a washing machine. Following this, water is sprayed evenly throughout the load while the weight is measured until the moisture content reaches 90%. The load is then placed in the clothes dryer to assess its drying performance and energy efficiency.
Drying time If the clothes dryer has a sensor to determine when the clothes are dry and automatically turns off, we use it, otherwise we test using the timer.
Ease of use we also assess the labeling and intuitiveness of the controls and how easy the filter, if any, is to access and clean.
We also detail how much water is used in the entire drying cycle, including the cooling time, but this is unscored.
How do we estimate the running costs?
This is an estimate of how much it will cost you over 10 years (the average life of a washer dryer) for water and electricity, if you wash one load every day using a normal cycle and drying a full load about three times a week (150 times a year) for 10 years. The calculations are based on 26c per kWh for electricity and $2 per 1000L for water. For simplicity, we've excluded depreciation, interest costs (if you borrow to buy the machine), and the cost of detergent – people use different amounts and the price varies considerably between brands.