Best Washing Machines: A Full Guide

Need a new washer in your life? Canstar is here to help you find the best washing machine. We break down what to look for in a washing machine, why some work more effectively than others, and what to check for before you buy.

No matter how many times a week you do your laundry, your washing machine plays an integral role in keeping any home moving. It’s the appliance that many of us simply can’t do without (unless you prefer to wash your clothes by hand!). There would be no clean school uniforms, work shirts or bed sheets, so finding the best washing machine for your household’s needs is key. Whether you’re looking for the cheapest washing machine available, or one with all the bells and whistles, you’ve come to the right place for guidance.

Best Washing Machines: A Full Guide. In this article we cover:

What kinds of washing machines are there?

Top loaders and front loaders are the two main types of washing machines. Your other option is a combination dryer and washing machine, but these are less common.

Top loader washing machines

Top loaders wash clothes in two ways:

An agitator: clothes are moved around by a central pole (agitator) in the middle of the drum.

An impeller: this whips up the water to move clothes using a propeller-like device at the bottom of the machine.

Top loader pros

      • Lower buying price
      • Faster wash cycles
      • Larger capacity
      • Can generally open the washer mid-cycle to add clothes

Top loader cons

      • Can be tougher on your clothes
      • Use more water
      • Usually consume more energy on a warm/hot wash

Front loader washing machines

A front load washing machine works by tumbling your clothes: it picks clothes up and drops them into water in a circular motion. It doesn’t use an agitator or impeller, like a top load washing machine. Instead, it relies on gravity for its tumble action in the drum. This helps to reduce the amount of water used per load, as you don’t need clothes to be completely submerged in water.

Front loader pros

      • More energy efficient
      • Larger range of cycle options, like spin speeds and temp settings
      • Quieter noise levels
      • Minimal lint washing clothes
      • Can put a dryer above and save space

Front loader cons

      • You typically can’t stop a front loader when mid-cycle to add clothes
      • Generally longer wash times and smaller capacity levels than top loaders
      • Expect to pay higher prices compared to top loaders

What size/capacity should I get?

There are plenty of options when it comes to picking a washing machine. A key starting point is to match the size of a machine to the size of your family. Typically, a larger capacity machine costs more upfront. But it is more suited towards larger families, so will save time, energy and money in the long run.

The capacity of washing machines is measured in kilograms (i.e. the kg weight of your clothes). Front load washing machines come in a wide range of sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect fit for your laundry. Front loaders can be quite small, around 5-6kg in capacity. But you’ll also find plenty of larger washers, around 10-11kg in capacity. For average families, 7kg machines are regarded as an accommodating size.

As a general rule:

      • 1-2 people = <6kgs
      • 3-4 people = 6-8kgs
      • 5+ people = >8.5kgs

What additional features can I look for?

  • Wool or delicate cycles, which mean your machine will automatically adjust temperature and spin cycles to perfectly wash your clothes
  • Self-cleaning cycles that wash the drum at an extremely high temperature to kill bugs and mould
  • Spin speeds between 400 to 1800. These give you more customised options for different materials. A quicker spin speed means more water is drained, so drying times are faster
  • Delay functions allow you to wash clothes in time for you to get home
  • Auto-balancing, which automatically adjusts the load to consistently wash and spin
  • Wi-fi or apps. This gives you the freedom to start and stop your washing when it suits you
  • Cold-only washing machines. These are more energy efficient as they heat the cold water as it comes into the washing machine, meaning you don’t have to use your own hot water supply. This saves power in the long run!

Water and energy ratings

In addition to various fancy features and size, the price of a washing machine is largely dictated by its water and energy efficient ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the washer will be, and the more you’ll stand to save in ongoing energy costs. However, the most energy-efficient washing machines come with higher price tags, so you’ll need to consider whether or not the extra upfront cost is worth it.

Washing machines can burn through power, especially on hot washes. And where electricity use is concerned, it always pays to check whether you’re getting the best deal. If you can switch to using your washing machine at a certain time of the day, why not swap to a provider that offers a free hour of power each day? Your savings could be considerable. To make choosing the best electricity provider easier, Canstar compares them on value and service.

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.

See Our Ratings Methodology

Compare electricity providers

Best models to consider

Front loading:

Panasonic 8.5kg Front Load Washing Machine: $1599*

This washing machine is a front loader with a 4.5 Star Energy Rating, 1400 rpm spin speed, allergy cycle, inverter control, 3D sensor wash and quiet operation. Features include:

          • 8.5kg capacity
          • Inverter
          • Active speed wash (38min)
          • Manufacturer warranty: 24 months



Fisher & Paykel 12kg WashSmart Front Load Washing Machine: $2929*

WashSmart Washers offer 13 specific wash cycles and hands-on control to select exactly how you want to wash each load. They are designed for those who like fingertip control, without getting their hands dirty. Features include:

      • 13 fabric care cycles to cater for every type of load
      • Vortex wash delivers a 30 minute quick cycle
      • Wrinkle free
      • Add a garment feature
      • Extra large 12kg capacity within the standard 600mm space


Bosch 7.5kg Series 4 Front Load Washing Machine: $1399*

Anti-vibration side walls provide more stability and reduce vibration. The enhanced insulation also regulates noise levels, making it extremely quiet even during spin cycle. Features include:

            • 4 Star Energy Rating, 4.5 Water Star Rating
            • 7.5kg capacity
            • 15 Wash programs including super 15 and 30 minute wash and drum clean, 5 wash options including speed/ecoperfect
            • 1100 RPM spin speed

Top loading:

LG 9kg Top Load Washing Machine with Direct-Drive Motor: $1749*

Can accommodate small and large loads, which makes it the perfect pick for any household. Nine different wash programs, Turbo Clean 3D, no agitator. LG’s unique 6 Motion wash technology ensures that your clothes receive a thorough clean, but it’s gentle on your fabrics at the same time. Features include:

      • Stainless steel tub with tub clean wash cycle to remove detergent build-up and other residue to maintain a hygienic wash
      • Pre-Wash and cotton cycle provides extra cleaning time to help remove stubborn stains
      • Manufacturer warranty: 12 months


Panasonic 7kg Top Loading Washing Machine: $798*

This washer uses an ActiveFoam system and StainMaster technology to ensure every wash is great quality. It has a wider shallower bowl, so it’s much easier to unload. Features include:

            • ActiveFoam system – lifts stains away with fine foam
            • StainMaster – intensive stain removal
            • Capacity 7kg




Samsung 8.5kg Top Load Washing Machine: $1299*

Featuring Samsung’s Digital Inverter technology, this washer will consume less energy and operate more quietly. It features a deep softener option, maximising the effect of softener by optimising the rinsing algorithm. Features include:

      • Deep softener
      • Magic dispenser
      • Diamond drum
      • Manufacturer warranty: 24 months



*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.

Check out Canstar’s full review of washing machines by hitting the button below!

Read details of our award for Most Satisfied Customers | Washing Machines here!

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