Best washing machine for individuals

We look at what size and type of washer will best suit your needs.

If you live on your own, buying a washing machine can be a big investment. And there are many variables to consider when choosing one – from how much you need to wash and how often, to the size of your space and budget. 

We look at how to choose the best washing machine for you. 

Our washing machine reviews compare top and front loaders to help you find the right model for your needs. 

Consider your laundry space

Ashley Iredale, CHOICE whitegoods and washing machine expert, says there are some important considerations to weigh up if you're living alone and looking to buy a new washing machine.  

"You'll want to look for a washer that has the features you want, the capacity you need, will fit your laundry space and your budget, and of course one that performs well," he says.

If you're living on your own, you may have a tighter budget than, say, a dual-income household, so price may be an important consideration. 

Additionally, you may be living in a smaller home and not have a large laundry area, which means you'll need to choose a machine that will fit into the limited space you have. 

Top loader or front loader?

small front loading washing machine in laundry
Front loaders do a better job of cleaning your clothes, says CHOICE expert Ashley.

Ashley says that in his experience, front loaders are the better option for big or small households.

"They do a better job of cleaning your clothes, use much less water, and are gentler on fabrics. They typically cost a little more, but it's worth it for the performance and economy gains," he says. 

But for people who might rent or move around a lot, he says the top loader may be the more practical option. 

"A top loader will weigh less and be easier to get up and down stairs," says Ashley. "It depends on your individual situation."

Size does matter

While most people who live on their own probably won't have the same amount of washing to do each week as a family of four, Ashley says you need to consider the size and frequency of your laundry loads.

"Obviously you're not going to need an 18kg capacity washer, but it comes down to your washing habits," he says. "For example, someone living on their own may go weeks between washes, then do a huge load in one go." 

Someone living on their own may go weeks between washes, then do a huge load of laundry in one go

And just because you live alone doesn't mean you should automatically buy the smallest capacity washer either. By choosing a washer with a typical capacity of 7.5–8kg, you'll have a wider range of machines to choose from.

"While you can get smaller capacity washers, you probably won't save much in terms of price or physical size," says Ashley. "Having a bit of extra capacity also future-proofs you if your situation changes, or makes it a more marketable appliance if you decide to sell it and move overseas, for example.

"It's also worth noting that regardless of the capacity of their washing machine, most people will only put around 3.5kg of clothes in it at a time – that's about the size of a full laundry basket." 

Be wary of fancy features

It can be tempting to buy a top-of-the-range washing machine with all the bells and whistles, but Ashley says it's important to think about what you actually need in terms of capacity and features, rather than pay for things you won't use. 

"You should also consider how your situation might change, and keep one eye on the future when deciding," he says.

"Shop around, and don't be afraid to haggle. And if you anticipate a big lifestyle change – going away to study or moving overseas – then consider a second-hand washer that you could sell when it's time to move and pretty much get all your money back."

We independently lab test and review washing machines to reveal which models are best at dirt removal and use less water and energy than others.


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