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 simply grab a heavily discounted model in the Boxing Day 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.
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
CHOICE resident washing machine expert Ashley Iredale 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.