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Washing machines to avoid buying

We reveal the models that rated lowest in our lab test. 

front loading washing machine sad face emoji
Last updated: 01 July 2021

Need to know

  • Our laundry experts tested more than 55 current models to find the best and worst washers
  • We evaluate key factors including dirt removal, gentleness, rinsing, noise, energy and water use
  • Become a CHOICE member to access our full reviews and ratings

Life's too short for a lousy washing machine and, unfortunately, our experts have seen plenty in our lab tests.

"A poorly performing machine can be a double blow for your washing and your wallet," warns our resident laundry expert, Ashley Iredale. "Not only do they do a bad job of cleaning your clothes, they often use more water and power to do it, which means even bigger costs in the long run."

To help you avoid these lose-lose type situations, Ashley and our experienced team meticulously test machines from popular brands including Fisher & Paykel, LG, Bosch, Miele, Samsung, Simpson and plenty more. 

Ashley Iredale testing washing machines

Our laundry expert Ashley Iredale does a LOT of washing.

Using identically stained fabric swatches and special frey swatches for every model, our testers evaluate key criteria such as dirt removal, gentleness, rinsing, water and spin efficiency (learn more about how we test).

"We've reviewed machines ranging from $500 to $4000 and often find a bigger price tag doesn't always mean better performance – sometimes, far from it!" warns Ashley.

We don't want you to end up with an average washer, so here are the ones that scored lowest in our lab tests. Consider becoming a CHOICE member to see the best performers. 

Lowest-scoring top loaders

1. Speed Queen AWNA62SN305AW01

speed queen awna62sn305aw01
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 54%
  • Dirt removal score: 44%
  • Capacity: 8.5kg
  • Price: $2695

Not only does the Speed Queen have a hefty high ticket price, it'll also end up costing you a lot more over time, with a 10-year running cost of roughly $1549 (more than twice that of many of our Recommended models). 

It's the lowest rated model for dirt removal, scoring just 44%. It also performs poorly for spin efficiency, meaning your clothes will take longer to dry after a wash.

In return for your hard-earned cash, you'll get a good rinse cycle, but very poor water efficiency. It also lacks a range of wash options and features, with no fast wash or woollens wash setting, and no auto-sense water level, delay timer or time-remaining display. Read our full Speed Queen AWNA62SM305AW1 review

2. Samsung WA85N675BV

samsung wa85n6750bv
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
  • Dirt removal score: 60%
  • Capacity: 8.5kg
  • RRP: $859

Sadly, this Samsung top loader doesn't tick many boxes at all. It rated just OK for all-important dirt removal and borderline for gentleness and spin efficiency in our specific tests. 

However, that pales in comparison to its jaw-dropping water efficiency score of just one percent. Top loaders are well known for their thirst when it comes to water, but this one guzzled a whopping 199 litres per load – more than four times as much as similar-capacity front loaders. That's wasteful for the environment and your water bills. 

"Top loaders do need to use more water than front loaders because they need your clothes to be able to float freely, but this amount is just excessive," says Ashley. Read our full Samsung WA85N6750BV review

3. Samsung WA13M8700GV

samsung wa13m8700gv
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 58%
  • Dirt removal score: 63%
  • Capacity: 13kg
  • Price: $1899

Not to be outdone by the previous Samsung, this bigger model scored an unbelievable zero percent for water efficiency, guzzling an appalling 214 litres of water for a wash cycle. Ouch!

"When other comparable washers have proven you can do a better job with much less water, why does such an abomination exist – particularly in a dry country like Australia where every drop counts?" says Ashley.

On the upside, it scores slightly better for dirt removal, gentleness and spin efficiency than other models here, but that's not saying much. By comparison, our experts found similarly sized and priced models that performed far better so definitely seek them out instead. Read our full Samsung WA13M8700GV review.

Lowest-scoring front loaders

First things first: front loaders perform a lot better than top loaders, which you'll see reflected in the higher scores below. To be fair, these models all rated well enough. That said, they still ranked lowest for front loaders tested and our experts found better performing ones for a similar price or cheaper.  

1. Haier HWX8040DW1

haier hwf10dw1
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
  • Dirt removal score: 70%
  • Capacity: 10kg
  • Price: $1149

As the lowest scoring front loader in our test, this machine isn't actually bad – it's just not as good as other models we reviewed.

"It's a solid middle-of-the-road performer," explains Ashley. "It'll do the job, but you can get a better wash for the same money, or even less."

This washer rated solidly for dirt removal and very good for rinsing and water efficiency. But it was let down by its ordinary gentleness and spin efficiency. You can do better. Read our full Haier HWF10DW1 review

2. Fisher & Paykel WH1060P1

fisher paykel wh1060p1
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 74%
  • Dirt removal score: 77%
  • Capacity: 10kg
  • Price: $1149

This Fisher & Paykel cleaned well and rinsed even better, but fell down in our clothes gentleness test with a lowly 49% score. So if you care a lot about your clothes or wash a lot of delicates, you might want to avoid this model's rough tumble. 

Our experts also found it's not as water efficient as the other front loaders listed here and also used notably more power. That's probably because its wash cycle time clocked in at 108 minutes, compared with the 70-ish minute mark for the other models on this list. Read our full Fisher & Paykel WH1060P1 review

3. Asko W2084CW

asko w2084cw
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 74%
  • Dirt removal score: 72%
  • Capacity: 8kg
  • Price: $1399

This middling model revealed another mixed bag of test results. It did fare better for gentleness and spin efficiency than the Fisher & Paykel, but didn't clean or rinse as well.

On the upside, it did rate very well for water efficiency, scoring 89% and outperforming all other similarly-sized machines on this stat. On the downside, our tests found it quite loud and a lot noisier than other models mentioned here. Read our full Haier HWF10DW1 review

Washing machine buying tips

Ashley says you should avoid making impulse buys on an important appliance such as a washing machine, no matter how much of a discount is on offer.

"Don't be tempted by discounts on more expensive, feature-rich machines if you're not going to use those features," he says.

He also advises looking for deals with free delivery and avoiding poor-quality extended warranties: "They can eat up any sales savings and aren't worth the paper they're printed on."

For more top tips, visit our washing machine buying guide.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE