Don’t buy a washing machine or dryer before reading these expert tips
Consider these 5 expert pieces of advice before hitting that purchase button.
Choosing white goods for your laundry can be a tricky undertaking - especially when you're buying online, sight unseen.
From determining the best loader type to understanding water efficiency ratings, there is a lot to consider.
We spoke to Matt Jaber, who oversees Westinghouse's fabric and dish care division for Australia and New Zealand. This puts him at the pointy end of consumer feedback, particularly when it comes to recurring pain points.
We asked Jaber to share his top tips to help you make the right buying decision.
1. Choosing the right washing machine: Front loader or top loader?
The first step in purchasing a washing machine is deciding if a front-loader or top-loader is best suited to you, as there are varied benefits to each.
Front-loader machines tend to be slightly kinder on clothes due to the fact that gravity does half of the work in moving the washing around the drum.
Another advantage is that they ugenerally produce a greater clean in terms of stain removal compared to an equivalently priced top loader.
Top-loader washing machines do have some advantages though. You usually get a larger drum which makes washing bulky items like quilts easier.
They also have quicker wash cycles, which can be a great advantage for busy households.
Additionally, the user-friendly design is perfect for those who want a more traditional appliance.
2. Consider laundry space
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a washing machine is the size of your laundry room and the amount of washing you do on a day-to-day basis.
For example, is there space for a top-loading lid to open?
Or, if you prefer front-load washing machines, do you have enough space to swing the door open fully? Don't forget about having your dryer next to it as well.
These may feel like obvious considerations, but you'd be surprised how many customers run into space issues after having their new laundry appliances delivered.
- Top tip: Wash your clothes at 30° or less, this will help protect your fabrics, but also reduce your energy consumption because you're not heating water every time you wash.
3. Water Efficiency
I always recommend to only wash full loads, as this means that you're not only using less water than if you're washing all the time but it will also reduce your electricity usage and give you more time to do the things you want.
Front-load washing machines are more water-efficient and energy-efficient than top loaders. This is because you need less water to fill the drum, and they often have more advanced technology to help out with energy consumption.
Before purchasing, remember to check the WELS and energy rating of each machine.
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme is an Australian government initiative that educates shoppers on the ways their whitegoods use water through labels that tell us important information.
While the Energy Rating Label, is regulated by the Australia government for over 30 years and is used to compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different appliances.
For example, the more stars, the better energy and water efficiency. These labels will also list the product's rate of water consumption, which on a washing machine correlates with the litres of water used per wash, and the load capacity of the machine.
Top tip: Wash your clothes at 30° or less, this will help protect your fabrics, but also reduce your energy consumption because you're not heating water every time you wash.
4. Selecting the Perfect Dryer
Similar to washing machines, there is not just one type of dryer to choose from. When it comes to dryers, there are three main types you can opt for: vented, condenser, and heat pump.
Vented: A vented dryer works by using external air, drawn in over a heating coil, to dry laundry very quickly, expelling hot, moist air back out again (also known as an open system).
The benefits of this type of dryer are they are generally cheaper to purchase upfront and dry clothes quickly.
However, you need to ensure you have plenty of ventilation in your laundry room to avoid moisture build-up, which can lead to mould.
Condenser: Next up is the condenser dryer. This dryer operates by blowing air over the heating coil into the tumble drum (also known as a closed system).
Hot, moist air is then blown into the condenser chamber, at which point the moisture from the air is drawn out and stored in a removable water container, and the remaining air is blown back into the dryer to begin the process again. Hence, these types of dryers are great for smaller spaces with a lack of ventilation.
Heat Pump: Finally, the last type is the heat pump dryer. This model is like the condenser dryer, except that it doesn't use a heat coil.
Instead, it operates in much the same way as an air conditioning unit or fridge, compressing air via heat exchanger technology and utilizing refrigerant, a working fluid that aids in the heating and extraction of hot air and water in your dryer.
Like a condenser, it deposits water into a removable container, removing it from your clothes.
Due to this technology, heat pump dryers are the most energy-efficient of the lot but are often the most expensive upfront; however, they are much cheaper to run in the long-term, plus they are the most advanced dryers on the market.
5. Understanding Your Dryer's Features
With the advancements of technology, dryers come with a wide range of innovative features to ensure your clothes are cleaned just the way you need them to be.
For example, Westinghouse SensorDry technology detects when your load is dry enough and ends the cycle instead of just running on a set time.
Not only do they turn off when your clothes are dry, but they also have a reverse tumbling action, so every now and then, the dryer switches direction, so your load dries quicker and more evenly, even those pesky socks that get stuck in sleeves.
Some dryers also have a reverse tumbling action, so every now and then the dryer switches direction. This helps your load to dry quicker and more evenly (it can also dislodge pesky socks that get stuck in sleeves.)
If you need further help in selecting the right washing machine, dryer, or any major household appliance, Westinghouse has created a range of buying guides with helpful information to make your life easier.
Matt Jaber is Westinghouse's product manager for Fabric and Dish Care in ANZ. Matt is an expert in bringing to life practical innovations in laundry and dishwasher appliances that Australian and New Zealand families can benefit from in the home.