MAIN IMAGE: Samsung’s WW8800 QuickDrive washing machine features the brand’s ecobubble cool wash technology that allows you to wash clothes at cooler temperature, saving on energy usage. A super handy function is theAddWash door, where you can pop anything extra to the load that was missed – so now that sock that dropped on the floor can still be added to the wash. Not only that, this model is able to be controlled via the Samsung Connect app, available on Android and iOS. CAPACITY 10kg Price £1,629

It may not be the most glamorous of kitchen appliances but we couldn’t do without our humble washing machines. Whether yours runs on a daily cycle of sportswear and school uniforms or you just use it for a weekly wash, upgrading to one of the latest models is sure to save you time, money and energy, too. ‘The modern family is busy and time-poor,’ confirms Sara Bazeley, brand manager for Indesit, ‘and we are seeing consumers opting for appliances that can get the job done in the fastest time, with the best possible results. The Indesit MyTime washing machine, for instance, can complete six of the most frequently used wash programmes in under an hour.’

While washing machines are often a distress purchase when the old one breaks down, it’s important to take time to carefully consider the various features and functions so that you buy a machine that suits your family and lifestyle. ‘There are always functions that require a little bit of explanation to see the benefit,’ explains Ros Collins, category manager for laundry at BSH. ‘Look at manufacturers’ websites and talk to your retailer to find out just what these special programmes do. Sensor technology for example, has transformed the way we wash, weighing the size of the load and allocating the optimum amount of time, water and energy needed to wash it thoroughly.’

For enhanced performance, AEG’s L8WEC166R ÖKOMix washer dryer pre-mixes detergents and softener separately in water before they enter the drum. This ensures that every fibre is covered and protected, retaining the shape, texture and colour of clothes. It can wash and dry 5kg in four hours with the One Go programme and has Woolmark Blue certification in both the wool wash and dry cycles.CAPACITY 10kg washer/6kg dryer price £899

If you need a quick turnaround on laundry day, look for fast wash programmes – some models offer cycles that can simply refresh clothes with a 15-minute warm spin or injection of steam rather than having to do a full wash. According to Whirlpool, research has found that 70% of us don’t unload our washing machine immediately after the cycle has finished, which is why it has introduced its FreshCare+ system to keep clothes smelling fresh, up to six hours after the programme has finished.

Smart technology has also moved into the laundry game, with washing machines that can be operated and monitored via an app on your smartphone or tablet. So now you can pop a wash on as you travel home from work ready for when you get in. ‘Connected laundry appliances give consumers the chance to reduce energy consumption, maximise the appliance’s potential, simplify processes, achieve the very best out of specific wash programmes and effortlessly control their appliances remotely,’ says Catherine Balderson, brand manager at Whirlpool. ‘Always being connected gives you peace of mind that leaves you free to focus on whatever else you wish.’ Another innovation found on many models is an auto dose feature, which delivers the exact amount of detergent and softener needed for every wash. It’s said to save up to 12 litres of detergent a year.

Perfect for larger households, Smeg’s WHT1114LSUK washer in white and silver has a large capacity and 16 wash programmes including special cycles for hand wash items, curtains and wool. With child lock, electronic display and delay timer, it’s the ideal family friendly model. CAPACITY 11kg PRICE £669

Stain removal is another key factor and one that is at the heart of Hotpoint’s Ultima S-Line washing machines. Its Direct Injection technology removes more than 100 stains, including coffee and grass, at 20°C for effective results while keeping colours and fabrics safe. ‘It pre-mixes the detergent and water before it enters the drum to create a cleaning foam,’ explains Jennifer Taylor, Hotpoint head of brand, ‘which is injected directly into the wash, activating the detergent’s enzymes quicker. By penetrating the fibres faster, cleaning power is increased by up to 60% for deep cleaning results at a lower temperature.’

As well as updating to an efficient new washer, it may be time to consider a new tumble dryer, too. Nothing beats pegging clothes out to dry on a sunny or windy day, but a dryer is a must for rainy afternoons and cold, frosty winters. Look for heat pump technology to keep energy efficiency high and added benefits such as special programmes for woollens, anti-wrinkle options and sensor drying that won’t over-dry your clothes.

Beko’s premium WY104PB44TW 1400rpm washing machine features AirTherapy warm air circulation technology, a 30-minute cycle that pumps warm air into the drum to eliminate odours, which is perfect for when clothes only need a light refresh. An AntiCrease programme also starts automatically after cycles have finished if items are left in the machine. Specially designed for small loads, it also boasts a quick, 14-minute cycle that can wash up to 2kg of laundry as well as a DrumClean+ option to tackle any bacteria built up inside the drum. CAPACITY 10kg Price £529

Q&A with Jamie Carboni, laundry category manager at Miele

Where is the best place to start?
Researching online can be a good place to start, browsing in the comfort of your own home, but still being fully informed. There
is a wide variety of information available from technical specifications, as well as individual features, dimensions, installation recommendations and previous customer reviews. Try to visit a showroom if possible as you get to experience the appliance in action and also ask important questions about design, performance and installation. 

And what about dryers?
Heat pump technology has now become the ‘norm’ across tumble dryers due to its efficiency and environmental benefits, saving up to 46% compared to a condenser tumble dryer. With this type of technology on board, dryers can also can be placed almost anywhere within the home. Look out for dryers that offer specialist programmes, allowing a wide variety of fabrics to be dried including denim, wool, delicates, outerwear and silks as well as express, favourite and freshen up cycles, but always make sure you check the labels inside clothes to ensure that they can be put in a tumble dryer.

Does size matter?
Invest in a machine that can look after your washing needs, taking into consideration the drum size and the type of garments that you have to wash. Bigger isn’t always better or necessary as 7kg is suitable for the average household and can wash 35 men’s shirts or a double duvet. For a larger family, 8kg can be a good
option as this can wash a kingsize duvet.

What are the latest technological innovations?
Automatic dispensing systems continue to grow in popularity with customers appreciating the convenience and professional wash results they provide. Miele TwinDos is a great example of this, using a two-phase detergent system, which releases Miele’s specially formulated detergent (Ultraphase 1) and detergent enhancer (Ultraphase 2), or the customer’s own choice of liquid detergent and fabric conditioner at the most appropriate point for the best results, saving up to 30% on detergent consumption. The market for smart appliances is also growing and the capabilities offered by these appliances are increasing. We have introduced AppControl on selected models, allowing customers to control their machines remotely. It offers a helpful WashAssistant, determining the best programme for every wash and also works with our TwinDos technology, reminding users when the detergent containers are running low and also giving the option to easily order more when required.

In this utility area by Humphrey Munson, a sink and tap is added between the two appliances to help with heavy duty cleaning. Butler sinks are popular due to their large bowl design, which is ideal for soaking hand wash items. Prices for utility rooms start at £10,000. CAPACITY WDD030 washing machine, 8kg, and TDD130WP heat-pump tumble dryer, 8kg, both Miele Price WDD030, £999, and TDD130WP, £874

Article by: Hayley Gilbert