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Last updated: 12 December 2018

A washing machine is a big investment, so it pays to do your homework before you buy. The good news is, we've done the hard work for you!

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Through rigorous testing in the CHOICE labs, we find the models that:

  • are best for dirt removal
  • are best at rinsing out detergents
  • use less water and energy than others
  • have the fastest cycle
  • have the best member-rated reliability scores.

We also tell you how much each model will cost you to run over 10 years, and our Recommended list will help you quickly identify the best washing machines we tested.

This review includes a number of washers that are now discontinued but may still be available second-hand. To include them in your search, select 'Discontinued' under 'Related products'. 

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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The manufacturer's recommended retail price. Prices are generally flexible, so shop around both online and in bricks-and-mortar shops for options.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 329 and 3999

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Type

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In Australia the main types of washing machines are front loader and top loader. Twin tubs exist but have a tiny market share.

Capacity (kg)

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This is the claimed capacity. We find people rarely fill their washer to full, so base your decision on how heavy your common load is. Weigh it on your scales.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 4 and 16

Dirt removal score

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We measure dirt removal with a spectrophotometer, a machine that's more accurate than the human eye and can detect differences of about 6%.

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Costs

Running costs

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This is an estimate of how much it will cost over 10 years for water and electricity if you wash a daily equivalent of one load on a 'normal' cycle. Costs are based on 30c/kWh for electricity and $2 per 1000L for water. Cost doesn't include detergent which can make up a third of the running cost. A washer generally makes up around 0.53% of annual household energy usage. Look for the smallest number in this column so you aren't paying as much in the long run.

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Features

Gentle or delicates program

Fast program

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Designed for lightly soiled and small loads, a fast-wash option reduces the length of the selected program or is a faster cycle in itself. How fast is fast varies from machine to machine – as does the terminology. You might see it referred to as "fast", "quick", "rapid" or something else. Some machines also offer temperature variations in conjunction with faster washes. If this is a feature you're likely to use, be sure to clarify with sales staff how fast is fast – and what it's called.

Time remaining display

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Time remaining display will give you a rough estimation of how long the load will take to wash. This can often fluctuate wildly as some washers use sensors to detect how dirty your wash is, the type of load you've put in and how much you've put in, then adjust the timing.

Delay time

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'Delay time' or 'time delay' is a feature that lets you program the wash to start at a specific time in the future. If you're on off-peak energy, you can take advantage of this feature.

Selectable spin speed

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You can change the spin speed on some programs. A higher spin speed will result in drier clothes, but you might want a lower speed for delicates or easily creased fabrics. The higher the spin speed, the more likely your clothes will be stiff when they come out of the wash.

Specifications

Tap connection

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Some machines need both hot and cold water to operate; others can connect to cold water only and might need a special connector or sealing cap for the hot water inlet. A machine with a heater (front loaders only) can be particularly useful if you connect to cold only, as it still gives you the option of a warm wash occasionally. Check the maximum temperature recommended for the hot water inlet. Many manufacturers recommend a lower temperature than most hot water systems deliver – particularly solar hot water systems. You may need a tempering valve to reduce the temperature.

Test results

Cycle time (minutes)

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The amount of time the program cycle we selected took – this can range from under an hour to over three hours.

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Rinse performance score

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We measure how well the machines keep the dirt suspended in the water rather than depositing it back on the clothes, and how well they rinse out the detergent. We test this by adding a marker chemical to the wash and at the end, we take a sample of the water remaining in the clothes to determine the amount of chemical that's left – the less there is, the better the rinse.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Gentleness score

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This score measures how long your clothes are going to last compared to other machines using the program we test on. To check for fabric wear, we attach swatches of easily frayed fabric to the garments in each load. The area of the swatch is measured before and after the wash – the less fraying, the gentler the machine is assessed to be and the higher the score it's given.

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Reliability

Brand reliability score

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These are taken straight from our brand reliability survey, but do not add to the overall score. These scores refer to the brand only, not that particular model. If you see "Not available" as the outcome, that's because we not enough people who own the brand have replied with their findings – we need at least 50 responses to make the outcome statistically significant.

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Energy and water ratings

Energy - stars

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Energy star rating based on a formula that incorporates the energy used per wash and the claimed capacity of the machine in kg.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 1 and 5

Water - stars

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Manufacturers must declare how many litres of water are used per wash cycle of a dishwasher or washing machine, drying cycle of a washer/dryer or condenser dryer, per minute for a tap, or per full and half flush for a toilet. A WELS water star rating is derived from this. The water use and the star rating are displayed on the product's WELS label.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 2.5 and 5

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Running costs
  • Dirt removal score
  • Rinse performance score
  • Gentleness score
  • Water efficiency score
  • Spin efficiency score
  • Water used (L)
  • Energy used (kWh)
  • Cycle time (minutes)
  • Noise (dBA)
  • Brand reliability score
  • Satisfaction score
  • Service score
  • Purchase price + running costs (10yrs)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Tester comments
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Availability
  • Model
  • Type
  • Capacity (kg)
  • Program tested
  • Coldest wash for normal program
  • Fast program
  • Gentle or delicates program
  • Auto sensing water level
  • Out of balance correction
  • Selectable spin speed
  • Machine washable woollens
  • Handwash only woollens
  • Extra rinse
  • Lint filter
  • Delay time
  • Time remaining display
  • Favourite or memory option
  • Child lock door
  • Child lock control
  • Water save option
  • Internal light
  • Detergent auto dose
  • Auto open door
  • Add items after start
  • Other features
  • Energy label - program
  • Energy label - energy (kWh/yr)
  • Energy - stars
  • Water label - water (L)
  • Water - stars
  • Claimed program time (min)
  • Tap connection
  • Minimum water pressure (kPa)
  • Maximum hot water inlet temp (C)
  • Maximum speed (rpm)
  • Drum type
  • Dimensions (H x W x D, cm)
  • Similar models
  • Differences
  • Warranty (yrs)
  • Origin
  • Contact
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