Need to know
- Poor-performing washing machines can cost you over time
- Brand is no indicator of performance – we've found big variations between models
- It pays to do your research before jumping on a discounted machine
Making a big new purchase can be exciting, but most of us don't really enjoy handing over a hefty chunk of cash for a humdrum appliance like a washing machine. While you may be planning to grab a heavily discounted model in the sales and hope for the best, it's worth doing your research first.
We've tested plenty of expensive washers that won't do a good job at cleaning your clothes, and cheap machines that are so inefficient they actually end up costing a fortune.
These three low-scoring top loaders will leave you saddled with high running costs and low performance, according to our expert testers. To save you time and money, our experts recommend you check our reviews before you buy.
Speed Queen AWNA62SN305AW01
Not only does the Speed Queen have a relatively high ticket price of $2695, it'll also end up costing you a lot more over time, with a 10-year running cost of approximately $1549 (more than twice that of many of our recommended models).
It's the lowest rated model for dirt removal, scoring just 44%, and 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 and a notable lack 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.
This Samsung top-loader has taken out the dubious title of being one of the least water-efficient washing machines we've ever tested. It used 199 litres of water for just one load of washing – just the thing for a country that's in the grip of a terrible drought!
"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."
This $999 machine is excellent at rinsing but not much else, receiving a CHOICE Expert Score of 57%. It's the lowest rated model for dirt removal, scoring just 52% for that, and it also performs poorly for spin efficiency, meaning your clothes will take longer to dry after a wash.
To make matters worse, this poor performance comes at a high running cost, and you'll also find this machine uses a lot more water than other models.
Washing machine buying tips
Ashley says you should avoid making impulse purchases on an important appliance like 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.