Washers & Dryers Buying Guide

Washers & Dryers Buying Guide

Washing machines and Tumble dryers have come a long way in the last 5 years so you should take your time before you commit, and make sure you're getting the right appliance for you. It shouldn't be, and probably isn't, something you buy regularly (or you'd be wasting your money!). But it is a day to day essential you'd struggle without so a few minutes invested now into what's on offer will pay you back in the long run. The main changes to look out for are the increases in capacity, the reduction in the noise levels and the array of colours now available. Energy performance has come on in leaps and bounds which means that if you pick a better rated machine you will pay less in running costs and be able to do your bit for the environment too!

Just click on the area you are interested in below

Freestanding, Built In or Integrated washing machine?

When you come to fit your new washing machine, it's important to remember that it must be placed within reach of a water supply and a waste water pipe, which can usually be found under your sink. Most washing machines are cold fill, so only need connecting to a cold water supply.


Freestanding washing machines are ideal if you are happy to have it on display in your kitchen. Easy to install, they can just be slotted into place. The average kitchen top is 85-90cm high and perfect for placing a washing machine underneath, but make sure you measure the height of your kitchen surface before buying.


Built-in/ integrated washing machines are designed to be disguised behind furniture doors to keep a streamlined look and feel to your kitchen. They have a flat front, as well as space to attach door hinges, so they can be completely hidden from view and won't draw attention away from your kitchen design.

Spin Speeds

Spin speeds determine how fast the final spin is at the end of the washing cycle. The faster your spin speed, the more water will be extracted from your washing, which can save drying time. Most machines have variable spin speeds which can be selected to suit various fabrics. Spin speed is one of the most important choices to make when buying a washing machine. As a general rule the faster the spin speed the more water is extracted from your wash. If you regularly use a tumble dryer, it is worthwhile investing in a high spin speed as it is more economical to spin water out than to tumble dry.

It is important to ensure you choose the correct spin speed; it is better to stick with the speed recommended by the manufacturer to prevent damage to the fabrics. The amount of laundry a washing machine can handle in one go is dependent on its drum size. The larger the drum size, the more clothes you can wash at once. It can work out cheaper, in terms of how much water and electricity are used, to do a couple of big washes a week, rather than doing a little wash every day. However, small wash loads can be quicker and better suited to particular types of fabric.

Drum Capacity

Which wash load size is right for you? You can see from our helpful table what the drum sizes mean in real terms. Obviously, you won't always be washing just t-shirts or duvets, but if you think about how big a pile of 30 t-shirts would be, or how big a single duvet is, you will get a rough idea about how much washing can be done at a time.

For most households, a machine with a drum capacity of 7kg - 8kg will be plenty. This medium sized washer will have enough space to handle large wash loads, but may also include programmes tailored to smaller wash loads. Machines in this size can be cheaper than some of the larger models.

Washing machines with larger drum sizes often have special programmes designed to allow you to wash big, bulky items such as 'bed & bath or duvet cycle' (please note your washing machine must have a duvet or bedding cycle in order to clean your bed linen efficiently).

These programmes use more water, more rinses and give a long spin cycle. This makes them better suited to washing bulky loads of bedding and towels efficiently, as these require more water to soak the load, and more spinning to help dry the load. All washing machines are now rated by the EU to let people know how much energy is needed to run them. A machine with a high energy rating will save you money on your energy bills.

How would you like to reduce the number of washes you do in a week? Or maybe you would like to wash big items like your duvet at home? Measured in kilograms of dry clothes, our washing machines capacities now range from 5kg up to 10kg. The table below indicates how much you can wash in each load capacity:

Drum Capacity

Energy Rating

The energy ratings go from A to G, with A being the best. For their benchmark tests, the EU look at how much energy is consumed using a 60 degree cotton wash.

Select manufacturers have designed some of their top of the range washing machines to be even more energy efficient than the standard A rated machines. This helps you make your contribution to a safer and more stable environment as well as keeping your energy costs down. Manufacturers label these models as:

'A+' energy rated - these models will save you money by achieving up to 10% reduction in energy consumption, compared with 'A' energy rated models.

'A++' energy rated - these models are designed to help you save up to 20% more on your energy bills than 'A' rated models.

'A+++' energy rated - these models are 30% more energy efficient than 'A' rated models.

'A+++++' energy rated - these models are a huge 50% more energy efficient than an 'A' rated model.

The majority of tumble dryers are 'B' or 'C' rated. If you are willing to spend more on your appliance then a few 'A' rated models are available. These will save you electricity and money on your energy bills.

All our washing machines are issued with a performance class rating for Energy, Wash & Spin. Each of these are graded from 'A - G', with 'A' being the best. Look for the energy saving recommended label if you want the most energy efficient appliances for your home.

Energy Table:

Energy Efficiency Energy Efficiency

Performance is measured on a scale from A (more efficent) to G (less efficient).

An energy efficient washing machine uses a third less energy than an old, inefficient model and cuts water consumption considerably.

Energy Saving Tips

Save Energy & Money by following these simple steps:

If you need to wash smaller loads use 'half load' or 'economy' setting.

Use lower temperature washes - many detergents work best at lower temperatures, typically 40-55 degrees, with some designed to work at 30 degrees.

Use short wash cycles when clothes are only lightly soiled.

Use higher spin speeds or a spin dryer to extract more water before using a tumble dryer.

Dry washing outdoors whenever possible.

Use a "set & forget" tumble dryer which automatically senses when clothes are dry and switches to cool tumble to save energy.

Look out for the energy saving recommended logo on laundry & dishwashers.

Washing Machine Features

The amount of time it takes to finish a complete cycle varies from model to model, and these times can vary even more depending on which programme is used. Most models feature a quick wash programme, which is designed to get smaller wash loads cleaned as fast as possible. These programmes will usually last between 15-40 minutes. Some washers have a mixed load function which is a fast wash that allows different fabrics and colours to be safely washed together. This saves time as clothes do not need separating into different colours.

Several models offer a delay start/time delay option, so you can pre-set your machine to start at a time which suits you. This can be up to 24 hours, so you could even set your washing machine to run overnight to make the most of cheaper electricity rates.

Many models now have either an LCD display, LED display, or an audible chime to let you know when the wash cycle is finished or indicate how long the wash has left to run.

Useful Programmes Other Features

Tumble Dryer - Vented or Condenser?

Tumble dryers are available as either vented or condenser models and the type you choose will depend on what will be best suited to your kitchen layout and which offers you the greatest convenience.

Vented tumble dryers Use a hose placed out of a window or through an outside wall to expel damp air while drying. These are more difficult to install as they need to be positioned adjacent to an exterior wall, but are easier to run, as water does not need to be emptied.

Condenser tumble dryer models on the other hand will fit anywhere in the home as the moisture is collected inside the appliance ready to be emptied after the cycle. These models are easier to install and can be moved even after they have been installed, but you do need to regularly empty the water container. Moisture from your clothes collects in a water reservoir that you can take out and empty, so there is no need for venting, or holes in the wall, or open windows in the middle of winter!

Tumble Dryer Features

Whichever style of tumble dryer you choose, you need to make sure you regularly clean the fluff filter. Lint that inevitably gathers in your tumble dryer over time gets trapped in the filter and if not cleaned, can slow down drying cycles and decrease the energy efficiency.

Tumble dryers can help you save time when doing the ironing by leaving clothes less creased. The following programmes and options are something to look out for if you want to save time when doing the laundry.

Reverse tumble - moves the drum in both directions helping to prevent your laundry from creasing. It stops garments from tangling and also loosens the clothing as it dries.

Easy iron - this programme keeps the laundry moving to stop garments from tangling as they dry.

Sensor drying - a controlled method of drying which monitors the moisture and temperature levels inside the drum and detects when the load is dry. This is not only convenient, but ensures maximum energy efficiency, by stopping the dryer when the clothes reach the drying level selected.

Time delay - allows you to pre-set a drying cycle to start later, at a time which is convenient, so you are not waiting around for the laundry to be finished. It's perfect if you want to set the dryer to start when you're out of the house.

End of cycle alarm - alerts you when your cycle has finished.

*Please note that performance from your tumble dryer can decline over time because the filter becomes clogged up with lint, which means water cannot be extracted efficiently. A tumble dryer with a clogged filter will take longer, and use more energy to dry clothes, so it is important to regularly clean your filter. When buying a high investment item such as a tumble dryer, it is important to evaluate how much it will cost to run. All models are now rated by the EU to let you know how much energy is used when running them. The energy ratings go from 'A' to 'G', with 'A' being the best.

Water Reservoir - Top/Bottom (Condenser Dryers) If you plan to place your condenser dryer below worktop height look for a model with a top-mounted water reservoir. If you plan to place your condenser dryer above worktop height, look for a model with a bottom-mounted water reservoir for easy emptying. (If using a tumble dryer above worktop height, please ensure that it is safely secured).

Washer Dryers

Washer dryers are designed to take the strain out of doing the laundry, by combining cleaning and drying in one machine. They come with drum capacities ranging from 5kg-8kg and spin speeds between 1000rpm-1600rpm. They are particularly useful for smaller households that don't have enough space, or do enough laundry, to justify a separate washing machine and tumble dryer.

Buying a large appliance such as a washer dryer can be a big investment, so you want your appliance to be as efficient as possible when it comes to running costs.

A washer dryer with a high energy rating will save you water, electricity and will save money on your energy bills. To allow you to see which the best models are at a glance, most white goods sold across Europe now have an EU Energy label. This includes a rating of how energy efficient a machine is and also gives a rating from A-G (with A being the best).

The majority of washer dryers are 'B' rated, 'A' rated models are also available and will cost slightly more to purchase but less to run. Some manufacturers offer 'A+' rated models which are 10% more energy efficient than 'A' rated models.

The amount of laundry you can do in one load depends on the drum size of your washer dryer, the larger the drum size the more laundry the machine will be able to handle effectively.

Drum size is measured by the weight it can handle, for example a 5kg drum can handle 5kg of washing. However with washer dryers the total load capacity for washing and drying is different, washer dryers can wash more clothes at once than they can dry. Therefore, to get the best drying results the load size must be reduced, this is because to best wash clothes they should be close together. To best dry clothes they need room to allow them to move through the warm air. Also when clothing has room to move when drying it can help reduce creases.

Washer dryers can be used three ways; washing only, drying only and washing and drying as a whole cycle without a break in-between.

With a washer dryer you can wash and dry a small load in one go, so the drying cycle starts as soon as the wash cycle has finished. This means you only need to load and unload once.

A great benefit of washer dryers is that there is no need to vent them, or empty any water containers. All of the water that's expelled during the drying process is simply disposed of through the waste water pipe.

Service Guarantee

If it can't be fixed we'll replace it fast!

If the thought of expensive repairs brings you out in a cold sweat, our Service Guarantee may be the answer! We can repair or replace your washing machine or dryer quickly and easily... plus you can spread the cost of protection with your Very Account.

+ If your purchase breaks down and can't be fixed, it'll be replaced.

+ Simple claims service and no callout fee.

+ Protection available for up to 5 years.with renewal available for appliances up to 8 years old.

Click here to tell me more about Service Guarantee >

Terms & Conditions apply. Service Guarantee does not include some situations, for example: accidental damage, and wilful act or neglect. It is not an insurance product. Service Guarantee starts after the expiry date of the manufacturers guarantee period.

Service Guarantee is offered by Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited. Provided by The Warranty Group Services (Isle of Man) Limited, St George's Court, Upper Church Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1EE.

Very Account

You can buy now pay nothing for up to 12 months on all washers and dryers with Buy Now Pay Later, exclusive to the Very Account

Just follow the following simple steps;

1) Shop Washers & Dryers and add to your basket or call us with your order

2) At the checkout, just select BNPL or enter the appropriate code in the promotions box.

3) Pay nothing for up to 12 months- pay the cash price in full before the end of the payment-free period and there'll be no interest to pay. Result! (Don't worry - we'll remind you before hand on your statement).

4) With the help of a Very Account you can get affordable ways to spread the cost.

Click here to find out more >