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
Life's too short for a lousy washing machine. Unfortunately, our lab testers have seen quite a few. Poor performers can do a rubbish job of getting your clothes clean, and use more water and power doing it, so it's a lose-lose situation every time.
These low-scoring top loaders and front loaders can 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.
Please note: front loaders typically perform better than top loaders, which explains the big difference in scores below.
Lowest-scoring front loaders
1. Haier HWX8040DW1
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
- RRP: $2499
It may look like the creation of a crackpot inventor, but this Haier machine gives you the ability to run two loads of washing at once. So you can keep your whites and darks separate, but smash your laundry out in half the time.
While you do get two different-sized washing machines (a 4kg and an 8kg) as part of the $2499 purchase price, neither of them do a very good job.
"This double washing machine validates the adage that just because you can, doesn't mean you should," says CHOICE laundry expert Ashley Iredale.
"This appliance leaves us scratching our heads though, because for the price of two washing machines, you get two washing machines, in a single box… the size of two washing machines.
This one misses the mark by about as much as it misses those stains on your clothesAshley Iredale, CHOICE laundry expert
"So full points to Haier for trying something new, but for double the price and dismal performance compared with a regular washer, this one misses the mark by about as much as it misses those stains on your clothes."
Scoring just 55% for dirt removal, this Haier washer will leave your pockets lighter but your clothes not much cleaner. It's relatively gentle on clothes, but that may be in part because it doesn't have great spin efficiency – which means your clothes will take longer to dry, too.
Read our full review of the Haier HWX8040DW1.
2. LG TWIN171216T
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
- RRP: $3999
Costing an eye-watering $3999, you'd expect better performance from this odd Frankenstein's monster of a machine. It features a washer/dryer up top, and a tiny 2.5kg washer below that only does cold, specialty washes.
It didn't perform completely abominably, scoring 71% overall, but it delivers poor spin efficiency and water efficiency, using a shocking 97 litres of water for a cycle. There are far better performers on the market for a fraction of the price.
"This larger-than-life washer actually gives you three appliances for your four thousand dollars – a large front loader, a dryer and a compact top loader – but unfortunately you'll only get lacklustre performance from this laundry leviathan and get much better performance from a less pricey purchase," says Ashley.
"It offers cavernous capacity, but at a cost of high water consumption. And those star rating labels? They're only for the main washer – the 2.5kg mini washer isn't included in the star rating, so your energy and water consumption may be higher if you're running both."
3. Haier HWF10DW1
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
- RRP: $1099
"There's nothing really wrong with this washing machine, it's just not fantastic," says Ashley.
"It's a solid middle-of-the-road performer, but one that highlights how boring whitegoods can be – do you need a bandage for all that blandage? It'll do the job, but you can get a better wash for the same money, or even less."
This washer performed pretty well overall, but was let down by its spin efficiency, gentleness and dirt removal. On the upside, it does offer very good water efficiency and is relatively quiet.
Read the full Haier HWF10DW1 review.
To find out which brands CHOICE experts and members recommend, check out the best brand washing machines (results are for members only).
Top loaders to avoid
1. Speed Queen AWNA62SN305AW01
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 54%
- RRP: $2695
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 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.
2. Samsung WA85N675BV
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
- RRP: $1049
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 the driest inhabited continent on the planet!
"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 one percent on that front," says Ashley. "In fact, it's only one litre of water away from scoring zero."
3. Fisher & Paykel WA7060G2
- CHOICE Expert Rating: 60%
- RRP: $989
This Fisher & Paykel machine is excellent at rinsing but not much else, receiving a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 60%. It's pretty darn terrible on the water efficiency front, scoring a dismal 21% and using a massive 163 litres of water per cycle.
It's also relatively expensive to run – it'll set you back about $1295 in running costs alone over 10 years. (We work this out by calculating how much it costs to do one 'normal' cycle every day for 10 years, based on 30c/kWh for electricity and $2/1000 litres of water. This doesn't include detergent, which can be up to a third of your washing machine's running costs.)
Washing machine buying tips
Ashley says you should avoid making impulse buys 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.