Need to know
- The $949 Samsung top-loading washing machine used 199 litres of water to do just one load of washing
- Although top-loaders are usually slightly cheaper to buy than front-loaders, they can use a lot more water and generally don't wash quite as well
- To get the best value for money, check out our washing machine reviews before you buy
With drought conditions continuing to intensify across Australia, lower-than-average rainfalls and a long summer of water restrictions ahead of us, we're all looking for more ways we can conserve water around the home.
The laundry is a great place to start, and if you're in the market for a new washing machine, there are a few water-wasting culprits you should avoid, including one of the least water-efficient washing machines we've ever seen: the Samsung 8.5kg Activ DualWash Top Load Washing Machine WA85N6750BV.
Why is it so bad? Read on...
What you need to know about water usage
"When we used the default program on this Samsung machine, it used a whopping 199 litres of water to do a complete load – that's the most water we've seen used by a washing machine in quite a long time, so it receives a score of just 1% on that front," says CHOICE home appliance expert Ashley Iredale. "In fact, it's only one litre of water away from scoring zero."
We test a washing machine's water efficiency by calculating 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.
"Manufacturers must declare how many litres of water are used per wash cycle of a dishwasher or washing machine, which determines the water star rating you see on the front of the machine when you buy," says Ashley.
"Many people don't realise that manufacturers often use the most efficient program – an eco or water saving mode – for this rating. If you don't then use this same program when you do your own wash at home, you could be using significantly more water, as we can see with this Samsung machine."
Samsung's 8.5kg Activ DualWash top loader was 1 litre of water use away from scoring 0% for water efficiency.
The sinful Samsung top-loader
When trying to conserve water, there's a big difference between using 199 litres per wash and 60 litres per wash, right? Especially when you think about how many times you run that machine per week. Here's how a couple of different machines stack up...
Samsung 8.5kg Activ DualWash Top Load Washer WA85N6750BV
- Cost: $949
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
- Rinse performance score: 98%
- Dirt removal score: 60%
- Gentleness score: 53%
- Water efficiency score: 1%
On appearance, this is a slick machine with a few pretty impressive features that might entice you to buy – it comes in sleek black with 12 programs and a built-in pre-treatment sink where you can put heavily soiled clothes for stain removal.
But it's also a shameful water waster, using up a whopping 199 litres during the default cycle. By comparison, if you choose a water efficient front-loading machine, you'd be looking at around 60 litres of water used per load.
And, it's not only water efficiency this Samsung machine does poorly on – it's also relatively expensive to run, and it came second-last in our tests with a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 57%.
Top-loaders typically use more water than front-loaders, but this Haier model was the best of the top-loading bunch for water efficiency.
What's the most water-efficient top loader?
There are no top-loading washing machines that score highly enough in our testing to be recommended. This is mainly due to their high water use and tendency to not wash quite as well. But if you really want a top loader and saving water is important to you, this model that scored the highest on water efficiency:
Haier 7kg top-loader HWT60AW1
- Price: $599
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
- Dirt removal score: 72%
- Rinse performance score: 78%
- Gentleness score: 39%
- Water efficiency score: 72%
5 ways to save water while doing the washing
Along with checking our washing machine reviews for water efficiency scores and water use, you can also follow these tips.
- Choose a front loader – they use less water than top loaders.
- Automatic load-sensing or reduced-load functions can help save water. Or run a cycle only when you have a full load.
- Reuse the wash and/or last rinse water on your garden.
- Use the 'eco setting' or water-saving option and pre-treat heavily soiled items so you don't have to wash twice.
- If you use a greywater system to recycle water for use in your garden, make sure you use a garden-safe laundry detergent. See our laundry detergent reviews for your best options.