A washing machine is a must-have home appliance. It helps wash all kinds of clothes, bedsheets, pillow covers, jackets etc. The physical strain of scrubbing and squeezing clothes, which is quite tiring and time-consuming, can be avoided with the help of a washing machine. While the washing machine does its job, you can relax or carry on with other tasks. With the advancement of technology, we have the newest generations of washing machines that are more efficient, faster, more effective at washing clothes and have more options.
In the market, there are plenty of washing machine models from different manufacturers, each offering its own set of features and benefits.
Here is a guide to choosing the right washing machine that suits your family.
Types of Washing Machines
Top loading washing machines
In this widely preferred and affordable type of washing machine, the clothes are loaded from the top. It is easy to handle and needs less maintenance. It is of two types:
Semi-automatic washing machines
Two separate tubs are used, one for washing clothes and another for drying. There are two separate timers to enable the washing and drying time settings. After washing the clothes, either you can dry them in the sun or put them in the dryer vessel to partially dry them.
Fully-automatic washing machines
These only have one tub that serves as a washer, rinser, and drier. The machine automatically uses the right amount of detergent and water, and also sets the timer for washing and drying, depending on the weight and number of clothes you put on. You just have to pour the detergent into the storage space and provide the water connection.
Front loading washing machines
In this type, the clothes are loaded from the front. Though a bit more expensive, they offer higher efficiency levels and top-of-the-line features. They are equipped with lots of advanced features like a timer for when to start and stop the machine, soaking the clothes, a hot water supply, more than 30 wash programs and an advanced child lock. Also, they consume less power, detergent, and water.
Which ones are better and why?
Fully-automatic front load washing machines offer numerous advantages over the others. Performance-wise, they are more energy-efficient, less noisy and require less detergent. They offer better wash quality as they come with lots of functions and different wash modes. Front-loading washing machines are also more popular as they have 100 per cent drying efficiency.
What else do you need to consider?
Build quality and aesthetics
The entry-level washing machines are made from thin plastic while the higher-end ones are made from a strong and sturdy polycarbonate body. As regards aesthetics, a lot of options are available to match the surrounding decor and your taste, like plain design, premium metallic colours, and floral designs.
Material of the drum/tub
The tub is made of different materials like stainless steel, porcelain-enamel or plastic. Plastic tubs have a longer life than enamel that can chip and rust. However, stainless steel tubs are the best as they can withstand high spin speeds and are the most long-lasting.
The load capacity of a washing machine is denoted in kilograms. The larger the drum, the more clothes you can wash at a time. The load capacity ranges from 5kg to 12kg to suit every household size.
This feature aids in the drying of clothes and is determined as rotations per minute. A washing machine has a spinning speed ranging from 800 rpm to 1600 rpm or more. Higher the spin speed, the better the drying. For thicker materials like jeans and jackets, the spin speed is 1000 rpm and for frail clothes, it is 300-500 rpm.
There are many washing modes in a washing machine, of which the main ones are a wool wash, hand wash, quick wash, gentle wash, silk wash and anti-crease. The others are extra rinse, pre-wash, intensive wash, economy wash etc. Some washing machines come with water level alternatives. You can customize and save the favourite settings, which can be adjusted through a touchpad, touch screen, or rotary controls.
In this programme, the built-in sensors select the appropriate settings and the best washing conditions automatically, depending on the quality of the clothes you are washing.
Controls and ease of use
You should also look for the type of controls when looking for a washing machine. A semi-automatic washing machine has knobs to set the timer for the washer and rinser, while the fully-automatic one has push buttons for functions and timer settings. In a higher-end front loading washing machine, along with push buttons, there is a small LCD panel, which shows information about the timer, wash mode selected, etc.
This feature helps you regulate the temperature of the water if there is an in-built heater in your washing machine. This is very useful during winter. Apart from that, hot water cleans clothes better than cold water.
You can load your washing machine to start it afterwards, with the help of this feature. It helps you shun noise at particular times. The pre-soak feature allows you to soak your clothes for a certain period before the wash cycle begins automatically. It helps remove tough stains.
Price range and brands of washing machines
All the leading brands including LG, Samsung, IFB, Bosch, Panasonic, and Whirlpool manufacture washing machines. The price ranges from Rs.9,500 to Rs.65,000.