Washing Machine Reviews

Whether you’re looking for a front loader or top loader, use Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings to help you find a quality washing machine brand to tackle those laundry loads.

* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order. Canstar Blue research finalised in August 2016 and published in September 2016.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2016 Award for Washing machines

Most Satisfied Customers | Samsung

This year’s research saw Samsung as the only brand to rate five stars in overall satisfaction, taking out the 2016 award for Most Satisfied Customers – Washing Machines.

Samsung washes up nicely in NZ homes

A washing machine is a quintessential appliance for any household, though unfortunately, it’s an expensive one too. According to our research, the average amount spent on a new washing machine came in at $904! The good news is that most machines should last you up to 10 years, depending on the quality and how well it’s cared for. Being that washing machines are one of those expensive blue moon purchases, you’ll want to make sure you get it right.

That’s why, as part of Canstar Blue’s commitment to helping consumers make better purchasing decisions, we annually commission research into washing machine satisfaction – this year canvassing the opinions of over 800 New Zealanders to find out how they rate their washer across seven key criteria: performance and reliability, value for money, design, ease of use, warranty and service, quietness, and most importantly, overall satisfaction.

This year’s research saw Samsung as the only brand to rate five stars in overall satisfaction, taking out the 2016 award for Most Satisfied Customers – Washing Machines. This result is made even more impressive in that Samsung is the first brand to beat Bosch who had previously won the award for this category every year since our inaugural 2012 star ratings. With that said, Bosch still performed impressively across the board this year with five-star ratings in quietness, design and performance and reliability, which remains the key driver of overall satisfaction.

What’s better: Top or front loaders?

Of the respondents we surveyed, 34% said they own a front loader washing machine, while nearly double (66%) said they have a top loader. While these results show a clear preference by Kiwis for top loader machines, are they truly any better than the front loader alternative? Both types of machine have their pros and cons as demonstrated in the table below.

  Top loaders Front loaders
Pros
  • Larger capacity than front loaders of similar price
  • Faster spin times of typically 15-30 minutes
  • Generally more energy efficient with cold water washes
  • Can add clothes mid-cycle
  • More energy efficient for most washes (including warm water)
  • Use less water (as much as 50% less)
  • Quieter than top loaders
  • Dryer clothes at end of cycle due to high spin speeds
  • Usually more features
Cons
  • Use a lot more detergent and water
  • Produce a lot of lint due to friction
  • Less energy efficient on most washes
  • Louder than front loaders
  • Longer cycle times
  • Usually more expensive to purchase
  • Usually smaller capacity than top loaders
  • Cannot add clothes mid-cycle

What we want from our washing machines

Canstar Blue investigated the drivers of satisfaction which consumers consider most important once they’ve started using their machine. We found the following:

  • Performance and reliability 46%
  • Value for money 24%
  • Design 13%
  • Ease of use 11%
  • Warranty and service 4%
  • Quietness 1%

No one likes having to rerun loads of washing, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that performance and reliability is the greatest driver of satisfaction. In fact, it takes considerable precedence over value for money, which suggests Kiwis are happy to pay a reasonable amount, as long as they get what they were promised.

What should you know before buying?

Washing machines last for years, so you want to make sure you’re getting the right appliance to suit your needs. Washing machines are not a ‘one size fits all’ appliance, so keep the following in mind when shopping around.

Capacity

Top loaders generally have greater capacity than front loaders of a similar price. Getting the size right is important: too small and you will find yourself doing extra loads; too large and you will unnecessarily add to your energy and water bill. As a rule of thumb, 6kg–8kg capacity machines are suitable for families of four people, while couples and singles should need a capacity no greater than 5kg. Remember, your machine will last a while, so plan ahead.

Water and energy ratings

An important, yet easy to overlook consideration is the washing machine’s efficiency star ratings. Generally speaking, machines with a lower rating are cheaper upfront than more efficient models. With that said, an energy and water efficient washing machine can save you money in the long term on your bills. Remember, the more stars it has, the more efficient it is. You can find a list of ‘super energy efficient’ washing machines on the energywise website.

Features

There are a myriad of features to look out for on both top loader and front loader washing machines. A few key ones to keep an eye out for include:

  • Delayed timer: A delayed timer is a function that allows you to pre-set a start time for your washing machine. It can be used before bed to set the washing machine to operate during off-peak tariff periods.
  • Wash settings: Certain washing machines have access to a range of washing options. Some notable ones include fast wash, hand wash, anti-crease, cold wash, warm wash, hot wash and heavy wash.
  • Adjustable spin speeds: This function lets you change how fast your clothes are spun. Faster speeds result in dryer clothes at the end of the cycle, while lower speeds can be used to protect delicates.
  • Stainless steel barrels: Cheaper washing machines will use porcelain coated steel, which can chip over time. Stainless steel barrels will usually last well beyond the rest of the washing machine.

What washing machine cycles should you be using?

Washing clothes is easy – simply dump your clothes in the machine, add some detergent and press the start button, right? Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that if you want to properly look after your clothes. Certain fabrics and colours require different treatment, and failing to wash them properly runs the risk of your clothes becoming stretched, shrunk or degraded. Washing different colours of clothing on the wrong setting may also lead to the dye running and the colours mixing –15% of have ruined clothing by mixing colours and whites in the wash, our research shows.

Information on how to care for your clothes is printed on the care label that’s usually found on the back. However, according to our research, nearly one-quarter (24%) of us ignore these recommendations and wash everything on the same setting. More than half (51%) say they always use the cold wash setting to save money, while another 19% said they opt for the hot wash for hygiene purposes.

We strongly recommend following the washing instructions on the label, though for a general reference, here’s how you should wash certain fabrics.

What should you wash in hot water?

Hot water is the most effective solution for killing germs and dealing with extremely dirty or hard to clean fabrics. Hot water settings should be used sparingly, as it is not only harsh, but potentially costly to your electricity bill. Hot water causes clothes dyes to bleed, so avoid mixing colours at all costs. If you’re unsure if hot water is necessary or safe, play it careful and try a warm-water setting first.

Hot water is ideal for:

  • Whites
  • Tough fabrics (e.g. nylon, polyester and other manmade fibres or thick blends)

What should you wash in warm water?

Warm water washes are the ‘middle of the road’ option, great for any reasonably sturdy materials or light coloured clothes.

Warm water is ideal for:

  • Light coloured clothes
  • Jeans
  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Most non-delicate fabrics

What should you wash in cold water?

A cold water wash is one of the least effective settings for removing dirt or stains, though it is much gentler and energy efficient. Cold water is a better option for delicate clothes or items that might be subject to shrinking or bleeding in warmer temperatures. This includes heavily dyed shirts and natural fibre items.

Cold water is ideal for:

  • Bright or dark coloured clothes
  • Natural fibres such as cotton and wool

How to care for your washing machine

Keep it level: Regardless of whether you have a top loader or front loader washing machine, if it is not level, the barrel will be spinning at an angle. This can result in loud rattling or possibly the barrel dislodging.

Clean your washing machine: 23% of respondents we surveyed say they didn’t realise that the inside of their washing machine needs cleaning. Unfortunately, it does. But don’t worry, this is relatively easy – simply add baking soda and vinegar in lieu of detergent to your washing machine and start a full cycle with no clothes.

Reduce mildew growth: Certain washing machines and detergents do little to prevent the growth of thin layers of mould or mildew. Though this is easily dealt with by cleaning your machine on a monthly basis, growth can be slowed by ensuring you don’t leave wet clothes in the machine or by leaving the machine door open to allow air circulation.

Frequently asked questions

The washing machine is a staple in the home, cleaning hundreds of garments every year and dealing with grass stains, spilled coffee and everything in between. As such an important appliance, knowing what to look for and the best brands is crucial.

The washing machine is made of wires, gear boxes and tubs, which combine the right rotating pressure to wash a pile of detergent filled clothes. Its gear is composed of a motorised spinner to agitate the tumble of fabrics.

An outer tub is attached to the main tub so the latter will have enough room to move around in its casing. The electricity operated solenoid valve also distributes hot and cold water so the machine can be operated on specific temperature cycles.

A standard washing machine wouldn’t be complete without a drain system. This usually includes a hose which can be taken down to let dirty water out of the appliance.

Varieties include top and front loaders with different functions, sizes and capacities.

The washing machine went through three main stages of change towards what it is known as today. The first washing machine was created in Rome where households went to the nearest rivers to take out dirt and grime of their clothes with the use of homemade soaps and rocks. Over the years, improvements included:

Hand-powered phase

During the mid-19th century, James King invented the early roots of the tub format which was made of a drum. It enabled a homeowner to manually spin the detergent water-filled vessel so the clothes were agitated enough to remove stains.

Mechanised phase

Towards the 20th century, the Thor was invented by an engineer named Alva J. Fisher of the Hurley Electric Laundry Equipment Company. It was the first electricity operated, mass produced machine on the market. This showed some promise for the appliance to become a common appliance in the home.

Influx of mass production

The year 1911 marked further appliance developments led by Maytag and Whirlpool Corporations. Tweaks were progressively made starting from the motors, water extractors and spinning mechanisms, resulting in the modern washing machine.

Washing machines have a typical lifespan of 5 to 10 years. If you’re planning to buy a new appliance, gauge your laundry requirements so you’ll know which unit may fit your household. For starters, you may consider the following questions:

  • What is your typical bulk of laundry (in kg)?
  • How many times do you need to wash your clothes in a week?
  • What types of fabric do you normally have to wash?
  • How much space do you have and how conducive is your home for drying off clothes?

Check out our findings on these two main types of washers:

Front loaders

More households are now opting for the energy efficiency of these washers because of these three main factors:

  • Requires lesser energy as the agitator rotates using gravity’s downward, spiralling motion.
  • Most units require minimal water and detergent since its interior mechanism is easier to manoeuvre.
  • Some units double up as dryers which can be space-saving.

Homeowners with cramped spaces, but with extra budget to spare may want to invest in a front loader. Around $700 will get you an efficient machine that can handle roughly 7kg of soiled laundry.

For the best of the best, be ready with at least $1,500 with a 10kg capacity. This unit should be able to wash over a dozen types of fabrics and is helpful for larger households and commercial establishments.

Top loaders

For those on a budget, this style offers a wider range of affordable units to choose from. Being the more traditional type of appliance, homeowners can rely on these time tested features:

  • Efficient spinning functions of agitators
  • If you’d like to add more clothes, they’re easier to open from the top without spills
  • Traditional: simpler to operate

For households on a budget, there are washers for as little as $250 available in the market which can wash the laundry of two to three people. For something more energy efficient and high quality, expect to pay over $800 with a capacity of 8kg or more, which is good for four or more people’s clothes.

Choosing a washing machine is as much about budget as it is about what you need out of the appliance. By considering the above points and taking a look at some of the top brands, it should be easy to find the right one for you.

Washing machines have a typical lifespan of 5 to 10 years. If you’re planning to buy a new appliance, gauge your laundry requirements so you’ll know which unit may fit your household. For starters, you may consider the following questions:

  • What is your typical bulk of laundry (in kg)?
  • How many times do you need to wash your clothes in a week?
  • What types of fabric do you normally have to wash?
  • How much space do you have and how conducive is your home for drying off clothes?

Check out our findings on these two main types of washers:

Front loaders

More households are now opting for the energy efficiency of these washers because of these three main factors:

  • Requires less energy as the agitator rotates using gravity’s downward, spiralling motion
  • Most units require minimal water and detergent since its interior mechanism is easier to manoeuvre
  • Some units double up as dryers which can be space-saving

Homeowners with cramped spaces, but with extra budget to spare may want to invest in a front loader. Around $700 will get you an efficient machine that can handle roughly 7kg of soiled laundry.

For the best of the best, be ready with at least $1,500 for a 10kg capacity. This unit should be able to wash over a dozen types of fabrics and is helpful for larger households and commercial establishments.

Top loaders

For those on a budget, this style offers a wider range of affordable units to choose from. Being the more traditional type of appliance, homeowners can rely on these time tested features:

  • Efficient spinning functions of agitators
  • If you’d like to add more clothes, they’re easier to open from the top without spills
  • Traditional, simpler to operate

For households on a budget, there are washers for as little as $250 available in the market which can wash the laundry of two to three people. For something more energy efficient and high quality, expect to pay over $800 for a capacity of 8kg or more, which is good for four or more people’s clothes.

Choosing a washing machine is as much about budget as it is about what you need out of the appliance. By considering the above points and taking a look at some of the top brands, it should be easy to find the right one for you.

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