Irish Independent Report on what you need to know before you buy a Washing Machine


Very few of us would claim to be experts in washing machines but what do you need to know to make sure you’re getting the best washing machine for you?

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, you’re probably buying your first machine or replacing a machine that no longer serves your needs. The question now is what you want – and what you need – from a new machine. Make the right investment at this stage and you won’t have to worry about buying another washing machine for a very long time. The flipside is that buying the wrong machine can lead to a pang of regret every time you do a wash. If you have a young family, that could be a lot of regret over the next few years!

This handy guide will break down things to consider, sizes and features to help you work out which is the best washing machine for you.

What are the main factors to consider before I buy a washing machine?

Think about how often you do your laundry every week. If you have a big family, you might want a larger machine that can handle bigger loads. If you regularly wash heavily-soiled clothes like work wear or sports gear, you might want a machine that offers pre-soak cycles or extra-long washes. Or do you need a machine that can handle delicate fabrics?

If it’s a long-term investment, should you spend more to future proof your new machine? Energy efficiency might be a consideration, either from an environmental or economical point of view. It might seem obvious but make sure the machine will fit in the space available. Measure the space, check the fitting requirements and double check the machine specifications before you buy.

What capacity should my washing machine be?

This depends on your needs but washing machine drum sizes are usually between 5kg and 12kg. A medium-sized washing machine with a capacity of 8kg could can wash up to 40 shirts in a single wash and would cater for a family of four. A 5kg machine can handle around 25 shirts while a 12kg machine can wash up to 60 shirts in one go.

Don’t just plan for today. If you intend to grow your family, choose a larger machine than you currently need to save you having to upgrade at a later date. On the other hand, larger capacity machines cost more to run so bigger isn’t necessarily better if you prefer to wash often in smaller loads.

What programmes does my washing machine need?

New washing machines come packed with programmatic options to suit your individual needs so see what ones make sense for you. For instance, selectable spin speed can let you choose higher speeds for quicker drying or lower speeds for delicate items. Extra short wash programmes are great for freshening up delicates or ideal if you like to pre-wash new clothes. Anti-crease functions prevent clothes left in the machine from getting heavy creases, which is handy if you like to do washes while at work or in off-peak hours. Do some research and work out what you want from your machine.

What is a smart washing machine?

Smart technology is becoming more and more common on top-rated washing machines. Machines with remote connectivity can be turned on or accessed via an app while cutting edge tech is being used to reinvent the way we wash our clothes.

Examples of this evolving tech include an ActiveOxygen programme that lets you hygienically wash delicate items at low temperatures, protecting them while still eliminating bacteria, germs or contaminants. An AllergyPlus programme can reduce allergenic residue such as pollen, animal hair, and dust mites at the touch of a button, which is perfect if any of your family suffer with allergies.

You can also get ActiveWater programmes that sense the load type and automatically calculate the amount of energy and water required to deliver more economical, environmentally-friendly washes. This ultimately saves you money and energy and you’ll reap the benefits in the long term.

What energy rating should my washing machine be?

Washing machines are rated for their energy efficiency from A+++ (best) to D (worst). Most modern machines will be rated from A+++ down to A+, which is calculated on how much water and energy they use for a wash. You could end up paying around €90 more a year if you buy one of the least efficient models.


You can also choose models that are ultra-efficient if your priority is long-term savings and doing your bit for the environment. For example, the Bosch Series 8 comes with an outstanding energy rating of A+++ -30pc. It’s designed to be 30pc more efficient than the best efficiency class and it also incorporates features like the ultra-efficient EcoSilence Drive, a consumption indication that shows your energy and water consumption, VarioPerfect to reduce the time and energy required for washes, and ActiveWater Plus.

How much should I spend on a washing machine?

How much you spend really depends on your budget and your needs. Cheaper models may not offer the same energy efficiency, fancy features or range of programmes. Still, they can probably do everything you need and be a decent option if you choose a reliable brand.

If you have specific needs or want to buy a top washing machine that’s future-proofed for years to come, it’s worth splashing out on a more expensive model. You might want a machine with smart connectivity that can be remotely activated via an app, or one that automatically calculates the water and detergent needed for a wash. If so, it pays to spend a bit more to get the machine you want.

What warranty should I get on my washing machine?

Before splashing out on a new washing machine, it pays to find out what the manufacturer’s warranty is. If you’re spending your hard-earned money on a new washing machine, it’s good to know that you’re covered in the worst case scenario. Reliable brands like Bosch offer a two-year manufacturer’s warranty with the option to extend this further on certain models. That sort of commitment will give you peace of mind.

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