Need to know
- Kmart's whitegoods range includes four washing machines (two top loaders and two front loaders), all priced under $450
- Our whitegoods experts have tested the Kmart 8kg-capacity top loader washing machine and given it a CHOICE Expert Rating of 61% with a very poor score for water efficiency
- CHOICE experts say that, generally, front loader washing machines perform better than top loaders and will cost you less in energy and water use over time
Kmart has forayed into the world of whitegoods, launching a new range of cheap appliances in 2022. The range includes fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers under the Kmart Anko brand and is available exclusively online with home delivery in selected states (Vic, NSW, Qld, WA SA and ACT).
While the budget price tags are certainly enticing, particularly if you're trying to save money and your washing machine gives up the ghost, CHOICE experts say that there are a few things to consider before buying cheap-as-chips whitegoods.
Are Kmart Anko washing machines any good?
Kmart is selling the following washing machines in its range:
- Kmart 5.5kg Top Load Washing Machine: $299 (currently on clearance)
- Kmart 6kg Front Load Washing Machine: $299 (currently on clearance)
- Kmart 7.5kg Front Load Washing Machine: $399
- Kmart 8kg Top Load Washing Machine: $419
Our experts tested the 8kg top loader washing machine which, at $419, was the cheapest by far of all the models we looked at in our recent review (the average price of currently available top loaders we have tested is around $1080).
Unfortunately, it was also one of our worst performers, scoring a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 61%.
When we score each washing machine, we look at things such as how well they clean your clothes on a normal cold cycle, how well they rinse and how gentle they are on your clothes, as well as how water- and energy-efficient they are.
This Kmart washing machine is like the fast fashion of the washer worldCHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale
Due to the fact that top loaders typically use more water and energy than front loaders, they usually receive lower scores in our testing. However, this Kmart model is a particularly poor performer, scoring a shocking 1% for water efficiency and guzzling a huge 199 litres per wash on a normal cycle. Comparably sized top loaders (7–9kg capacity) in our test used an average of 127 litres.
"This model is like the fast fashion of the washer world," says CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale.
"It may be cheap to buy but it wastes a huge amount of water when the normal cycle is used and has a poor energy rating, which means it will likely cost you more in electricity bills than another model over its lifetime.
"To be priced this low, it's likely also made with cheaper parts and materials, with less consideration for how easy it will be to repair or how long it should last," Ashley says.
How much will the Kmart washing machine cost you to run?
Our experts calculate running costs for each washing machine we test to help you understand how models can differ in the amount of energy and water used over a 10-year period.
The running costs can vary quite a lot between machines so it's worth taking them into account before you're wowed by a cheap price tag.
"It's often the case that spending more upfront on a more efficient machine is worth it over the course of the machine's lifetime, and is better for the environment, too," says Ashley.
We calculate the approximate cost to your pocket over 10 years for one daily load on a normal cycle, based on 30c/kWh for electricity and $2 per 1000L for water. Our estimate excludes laundry detergent, which can be about a third of the cost.
The 8kg Kmart top loader washing machine has a two-star energy rating and uses 600kwh per year to run, making it the highest energy-guzzler in our test compared to similar sized top loaders. It uses a lot of water, and you need energy to heat that water. Our experts calculate it will cost you approximately $1628 over a 10-year period, if it lasts that long.
It has a two-star energy rating and uses 600kwh per year to run, making it the highest energy-guzzler in our test when you compare it to similar sized top loaders
By comparison, the best performing top loader in our test is a 14kg capacity machine (so, 6kg bigger than the Kmart model) but will only cost you $753 over a 10-year period to run. And even though that machine costs significantly more at the checkout, ultimately you get a higher-quality product that performs better and will be worth it in the long run.
We also found a machine of similar capacity in our test (7.5kg) that initially costs $500 more, but performs better and has a 10-year running cost of $834 – almost half that of the Kmart washer over the same period.
Other factors to consider before buying
Delivery and installation costs
Some online appliance retailers offer free delivery (perhaps even next-day delivery to metro areas or selected regional centres), but you won't get this perk with your Kmart buy.
Delivery costs detailed on the Kmart website for this washing machine are around $60 for metro addresses and around $100 for regional areas (almost a quarter of the purchase price) so you need to factor that into your budget.
Other retailers may also offer services such as unpacking your new appliance and moving it into position, as well as removing and recycling your old appliance if you have one. But if you buy a washing machine from Kmart – you guessed it – none of this is included or available.
The Kmart Anko 8kg capacity washing machine weighs 41kg and the website advises a "team lift or a mechanical aid" is needed.
Appliance lifetime and potential for repairs
The Kmart website says the Anko washing machines have a 24-month warranty, which is fairly standard. To organise in-home repair or replacement, you'd need to contact Kmart customer care.
"One of the risks here is that you're buying a washing machine from a brand that has no history of selling or organising the repair of washing machines," says Ashley.
"The Anko washing machine may be cheap, but unlike well-known washing machine brands, you're going with a new, hereto unknown manufacturer."
How long should this Kmart Anko washing machine last?
CHOICE experts say that a washing machine at this price should last at least five years (with more expensive washing machines expected to last 10 years or more). As this is a new product to market, it's difficult to guess how long this product will perform.
If you've purchased a Kmart washing machine, we'd love you to share your experience with us on the CHOICE Community.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.