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The complete guide to buying the best washing machine

Everything you’ll ever need to know about buying a washing machine

If there’s one modern convenience we couldn’t live without, it’s got to be a washing machine. Gone are the days of metal washboards and hard bars of soap paired with buckets of hot water. And, good riddance too. But buying the washing machine that’s right for you is no easy task. The stress that comes with making such an expensive purchase and the pressure to make sure it’s perfect is enough to drive anyone a bit crazy. Well, you can relax as we’ve done the research so that you don’t have to.


How to decide which washing machine would work for your needs

With an ever expanding market for washing machines, it can be overwhelming simply trying to figure out where to start looking. In order to determine which is best suited to your lifestyle, you’ll need to ask yourself a few important questions:

  • How often do you do laundry?
  • How many people are in your household?
  • Are you considering a combi?

There are several things that you’ll need to consider before purchasing the washing machine that’s perfectly suited to your lifestyle. We’ll take you through all of the primary decisions and make some of the best recommendations out there to help you decide!


Best washing machine for...

Washing machines are designed differently for different lifestyles. Size, brand and settings are all important factors that need to be considered before choosing your washing machine. So, let’s explore the best washing machines the market offers for different scenarios.

On the market

The best washing machine brand for both customer satisfaction and reliability is Miele. If you’re going to buy a washing machine, you’ll be considering it an investment and thus reliability is key, so we’d definitely recommend opting for a Miele washer. Miele has a range of different washing machines that would be suited to different people; the size of your usual washing load would affect which one would be suited to you. A great choice would be the Miele WKR 770 WPS 8kg Washing Machine W1. This front-loading washing machine features an 8kg Soft Steam drum, SteamCare, TwinDos, PowerWash and Cap Dosing technology that is said to revolutionise cleanliness and results in 50% less ironing. Bonus.

  • The Quick Power Wash setting offers not only an unbeatably speedy wash, but it also really works hard, which can be a bonus if you have children with their tendencies to come home caked in mud, food and other unidentifiable smudges.
  • TwinDos offers a liquid detergent system at the push of a button.
  • The SteamCare feature means that you’ll have 50% less ironing to do, saving you time and cutting down on those ever mounting household chores.
  • It also has a 4.5-star energy rating.
  • It has a 4.5-star WELS water rating.
  • 8kg per load, which means you can fit more into one wash.

For under $1,000

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You won’t find a Miele washing machine for under $1,000, but a close second brand that’s hard to beat on customer satisfaction and reliability is Bosch. That said, we’d recommend the Bosch Series 4, 7kg Front Load Washing Machine that comes in at just $880. It’s got plenty of handy features that make this an excellent choice:

  • Its Super Quick 15 feature conveniently freshens up laundry in just 15 minutes.
  • It has an Active Water pressure sensor that detects half-loads and cuts water intake in half.
  • Its Speed Perfect feature gets your laundry done by up to 65% quicker.
  • Its Vario Drum is a breakthrough wave-droplet design that ensures a thorough yet gentle clean for your delicates too.
  • It has a 4-star energy rating.
  • It has a 4-star WELS water rating.
  • 7kg per load, which means you can fit more than average into one wash.

For families

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“Families” tends to mean more washing, and thus the bigger the load allowance the better. That is why we’d recommend the Miele WMV 960 WPS 9KG Washing Machine. This front-loading washing machine features a 9kg Soft Steam drum and offers brilliant cleaning performance every time with TwinDos, PowerWash and Cap Dosing features, as well as LED drum lighting and an enormous 26 wash programs to suit all levels of soiling – perfect for families with little ones as they tend to magnetise dirt.

  • Its intuitive operation is thanks to convenient touch displays.
  • The Quick Power Wash setting offers not only an unbeatably speedy wash, but actually works.
  • TwinDos offers a liquid detergent system at the push of a button.
  • Ironing is made easier with the Soft Steam honeycomb drum and SteamCare.
  • CapDosing offers the perfect supplement for specific applications.
  • It boasts a 5-star WELS water rating.
  • It has a 5-star energy rating.
  • Its Profi Eco Motor is economical and powerful.
  • It features a stains wash option, and the machine adjusts the wash program and gives you handy tips in the display.
  • It can handle 9kg per load, which makes a big difference when you have a big family.


For pet hair

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Pesky pet hair can be the bane of a pet owner's existence. It gets everywhere, especially on clothes, which can be a pain when it comes to washing machines. If you’re looking for a washing machine that can perform where pet hair is concerned, we’d recommend the Miele 8kg Front Load Washing Machine as it’s been tried and tested by pet owners who are very pleased with its performance.

Its features include:

  • The Quick Power Wash setting offers an unbeatably speedy wash that actually works.
  • Ironing is made easier with the Soft Steam honeycomb drum and Pre-Ironing.
  • It boasts a 4.5-star energy rating.
  • It has a 4.5-star WELS water rating.
  • 8kg per load, which means you can fit more into one wash.

Another handy tip for pet owners is to add a half-cup of white vinegar to the machine's rinse cycle as vinegar is a natural fabric softener that helps relax fabric and loosen the pet hair.


Combies (washing machine & dryer)

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If you’re considering purchasing a combi as a space saving solution then Miele has got you covered. WT 2780 WPM Washer-Dryer is a washer-dryer with a stains option that offers optimum results and maximum convenience. This machine includes 18 wash and drying programs, and also features steam care and Thermo spin to save time and cut back on electricity.

  • Save time and electricity when drying with Thermospin Wash and bask in the peace and quiet with its extra quiet function.
  • Experience gentle laundry care thanks to the Miele signature honeycomb drum.
  • It has a 4-star energy rating on both washing and drying functions.
  • It has a 4-star WELS water rating.
  • It has a 5.5kg washing and 2.5kg drying capacity.

Top loader

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For top loading washing machines, we’ll turn to Fisher & Paykel. It ranks closely in third place when it comes to overall customer satisfaction and reliability, so if you’re looking for a top loader, then it’s the best option. Fisher & Paykel FabricSmart 8.5kg Top Load Washing Machine is a great choice. It’s a generous 8.5kg washer that focuses on fabric care. There’s a choice of 12 cycles and a SmartTouch control dial for ease of use. It also uses Eco-Active Wash Technology to ensure energy efficiency.

  • Its Eco-Active Wash Technology is proven to boost soil removal, be more effective at killing bacteria and save on power bills.
  • Its SmartTouch Control Dial accesses SmartDrive technology through 12 specifically designed cycles.
  • The self-levelling feet system makes installation easy and ensures the washer stays level which minimises noise.
  • It has a 4-star energy rating.
  • It has a 3.5-star WELS water rating.
  • It can handle 8.5kg per load, which means you can fit a lot more than average into one wash.


For under $500

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For under $500, there’s not much on the market, but we have found one washing machine that we can recommend. The Samsung WA65F5S2URW 6.5kg Top Load Washing Machine comes in at just $419. Samsung isn’t at the top of the customer satisfaction and reliability tables, but it’s nowhere near the bottom either. This Samsung washing machine is a top-seller with most customers giving it a five-star review and it's very affordably priced.

  • It has AC motor technology that has been engineered to last.
  • Its diamond drum provides a powerful yet gentle washing performance.
  • It features small water holes to help prevent fabrics from snagging and being damaged during wash cycles.
  • It’s top loading and features an LED display.
  • It has a 2-star energy rating.
  • It has a 4-star WELS water rating.
  • It can handle 6.5kg per load.

Which washing machine brands to avoid

Whilst we’ve covered the best brands, we haven’t yet advised which ones to be wary of. LG is said to score averagely on both reliability and owner satisfaction; however, its after-sales service is poor at best, so if you have any issues regarding warranty this could present a problem. Asko is regarded the worst brand for reliability, and if there’s one thing you need a washing machine to be, it’s reliable, so we’d recommend avoiding purchasing one of its machines.

Common complaints

Unfortunately, there are some common complaints with washing machines that we should address.

Washing machines can become unbalanced, which can cause it to shake or bounce during cycles. You can balance the load of clothes by opening the lid, and checking whether there is a lot more on one side than the other, and if this is the problem, move them around, close the lid, restart the spin cycle and check the results. If the machine is brand new and started behaving this way from its first use, then it could be that the shipping bolts have not been removed from the back of the machine. You can check this by opening the door on the front-loader washing machine and pushing down on the drum. If the shipping bolts are still fixed to the machine, the drum will not move vertically at all. If they have been removed then the drum should sink slightly under the pressure of your hand and then spring back up when released. Another thing causing the wobble could be the adjustment screws on the machine's base. They may not be set correctly, or if you have an older machine, the threads may be stripped which would cause them to fail.

If your washing machine has problems filling or draining water, it could be an indication that something has become stuck in the drain pump, so check the filter. And don't panic if the washing machine is full of water and refuses to drain. The hardest part is getting the machine into a position where you can drain it. The easiest way to drain a washing machine that’s full of water is to pull it out and then drop the drain hose into a basin, and allow gravity to do the rest. Seek manufacturer advice as (providing your machine is still under warranty) this should be covered.

Leaking is another common complaint with washing machines. Don’t worry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run out and buy another one. Leaks can develop in numerous locations, but the most common source of under-the-washer leaks is in the pump. If you find that this is the source of your leak, it is important to replace the pump before you use your washing machine again in order to prevent water from leaking onto the motor, which would mean you’d need to rush out and replace the entire machine.

Spin problems are common too. There are a number of things that can cause this. Worn brushes, belt problem, faulty motor or faulty motor controller could be an issue and that will take a further investigation to determine. If your washing machine is still under warranty, call your manufacturer on this one.

Sometimes washing machines make excessive or strange noises and usually this is caused by one of three factors:

  • Something could be stuck in the drum, such as a bra wire, or a coin is causing a rattling sound when the machine is on. Some machines do have removable drum paddles to allow you access to remove things that become caught but, if yours doesn’t, you can access the item through the heater hole or the sump hose hole. These would need to be removed to gain access.
  • The bearings could have failed or be failing. If you turn the drum by hand and there is a “rumbling noise” or any play in the drum up and down then it's likely that the bearings are the issue.
  • It could simply be that something has become caught in the drain pump, so check the filter.

Another annoyance could be that your machine stops mid-cycle or does not complete cycles. Ordinarily this would indicate the failure of a component. This means that the best thing to do would be to contact your machine’s manufacturer and let the professional diagnose the problem.

Price and specifications comparison

ModelPriceLoad typeWELS water ratingEnergy ratingCapacity
Miele WKR 770 WPS 8kg Washing Machine W1$3,499Front load4.54.58kg
Bosch Series 4, 7kg Front Load Washing Machine$880Front load447kg
Miele WMV 960 WPS 9KG Washing Machine$4,499Front load559kg
Miele 8kg Front Load Washing Machine$2,599Front load4.54.58kg
WT 2780 WPM Washer-Dryer$3,699Front load445.5kg
Fisher & Paykel FabricSmart 8.5kg Top Load Washing Machine$990Top load3.548.5kg
Samsung WA65F5S2URW Washing Machine$419Top load426.5kg
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