How to choose an automatic washing machine

A washing machine is purchased, as a rule, for a long period of time (for years or even decades), therefore such a purchase is a serious and responsible business. You should clearly define your needs, study the capabilities of modern machines and take into account all the basic nuances.

Loading type
The range of front-loading machines is much larger, which is why many people think that they are better. But it is not so.

Front-facing advantages:

Wide range of sizes and options.
You can see the washing process and the contents of the drum – you can react if something went wrong.
The cover can be used as a shelf (if the machine is not built under the worktop).

Disadvantages of “front-facing”:

The axle holds the drum only on one side, the loads on it are high, all together this leads to the fact that most often the breakdown is connected precisely with the drum attachment unit – either the axle is bent, or the bearing has crumbled.
There should be a free space in front of the machine to open the door.
You have to sit down or lean back to load things into the car.
It is possible to add items to the drum after the start of washing only on models with the “add laundry” option .

Top -loading machines are more compact. The drum of the machine is fixed on both sides, so there are fewer problems with it. Loading into such a machine is more convenient, but it is much more difficult to get small things and accumulated debris from the bottom of the drum. Another disadvantage is the impossibility of embedding and the increased cost.
As a rule, a washing machine is bought with an eye to installation in a specific place – under the sink, in the closet, in the gap between the wall and the bathroom, etc. In this case, it is important not to be mistaken with the dimensions of the car, especially since they can vary quite a lot from model to model.

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Most machines have a front-loading width 59,5-60 cm. And then there are some specimens with a width of 65 cm. The compact machines with front-loading can be 49-55 cm wide. Top-loading machines are narrow: most are 40 cm wide.

The average height of most machines is 85 cm. But there are both miniature “washers” less than 70 cm high, and “giants” a meter or even more – for example, with a double drum.

The depth of the washing machine varies from 30 to 65 cm, and you can choose a model for your size, but you need to understand that the depth of the machine is directly related to the volume of the drum, and, accordingly, the load of laundry.

Particular attention should be paid to the depth and height when fully or partially integrating the machine into a set or under a sink. The standard height of 85 cm in this case may be too big. And when calculating the depth, you can easily make a mistake, forgetting about the hoses and water pipes protruding from the rear, and after installation, the machine will be unpleasant for the eye to protrude 3-5 cm.

Always look at depth with respect to protruding elements.

Efficiency and functionality
The washing class , as conceived by the manufacturers, should determine the cleanliness of the laundry after washing. It is divided into 7 grades – from “A” to “G”, “A” is the highest class, “G” is the lowest. The idea is good, but there is no real benefit from this parameter: 99% of cars are class “A”. And this is not far from the truth – all machines wash about the same. Quality improvements in washing can be achieved with additional functional features or characteristics:

Steam treatment effectively removes stains even without the use of special stain removers.

Steam washing refreshes the laundry and gently cleanses delicate items. Unfortunately, powerful steam generators that are used “to the fullest” and really improve the quality of washing, greatly increase the price of the machine. The “steam function” on inexpensive machines often only allows you to slightly freshen dry laundry before ironing.

A large number of programs does not directly affect the quality of washing, but it makes it possible to choose the right one for each type of laundry.
Compliance with the desired temperature, washing and spinning modes will ensure effective washing of clothes without wear.

If there are small children in the family, it will be useful to have a “ baby things ” program. Athletes will certainly be interested in the “shoes” program, and fashionistas in the “ delicate wash ” program, and so on.

Models with a system for detecting the type of fabric are able to automatically set the desired program depending on what items you load into the drum.
Autodosing of detergents optimizes washing by automatically adjusting the amount of detergent in accordance with the selected program.

Wrinkle removal increases washing efficiency due to special drum rotation modes designed to evenly distribute the laundry in the drum, removing wrinkles. This not only simplifies the removal of dirt, but improves the balance of the drum and reduces the load on the components of the washing machine.
In a machine with a bubble system , compressed air is supplied through the holes in the bottom of the drum, forming jets of bubbles that rise up through the laundry, additionally rinsing it. This allows you to noticeably improve the quality of the wash.

The spin class also has gradations from A to G, but, unlike the washing class, it quite definitely characterizes the degree of drying of the laundry during spinning and is associated with another parameter – the maximum spin speed.

Class Moisture in the laundry after washing Maximum spin speed (rpm)

A Class A spin machine can be a budget alternative to a tumble dryer or washer-dryer. However, this level of spin is achieved only at a speed of 1600 and above, and this mode is not permissible for all types of linen. In addition, clothes wrung out at high speeds often turn out to be very wrinkled and they need to be additionally steamed before ironing (especially if they have had time to dry completely). Therefore, you should not chase the maximum spin speed (and its maximum class), class C – D is usually quite enough.

Drying function . The laundry must be taken out of the washing machine and hung on the dryer, which must be placed somewhere else – and a considerable area is required for it. You can buy a drying machine, but it also takes up space (albeit less), and it costs money. But the washer-dryer solves this problem in the most efficient way by combining two machines.

But keep in mind that drying in the machine has its own characteristics and is not suitable for everyone:

Drying (especially large loads) takes several hours and consumes a lot of energy.
Some fabrics will need to be steamed after drying, otherwise they will be wrinkled and difficult to iron. This mainly applies to cotton and linen fabrics.
Some washer-dryers generate a lot of heat during the drying process.
The load for drying is usually smaller than the load for washing – if the load is full, some of the laundry will need to be removed before drying.
Inverter motor and direct drive
There are many myths about inverter motors : that they have some kind of revolutionary design, that they provide incredible reliability and quietness of the washing machine and that they are very economical. Which of this is true and which is fiction?

In a conventional washing machine, a collector synchronous motor is installed, the speed of which is maintained at the desired level using a tachometer and a thyristor regulator – this is a fairly simple, but not the most energy efficient way of maintaining engine speed.

An asynchronous motor is installed in a machine with an inverter motor , the speed of which is set by a frequency converter (inverter). This method is expensive, but its efficiency is higher. Using an inverter motor actually gives about 20% savings over a conventional motor.

When it comes to reliability, many in-store consultants are reminded of the wear-prone brushes of the brushed motor. There are no brushes in asynchronous motors, this is so. But, firstly, brushes in a commutator motor do not wear out so quickly – usually a set of brushes lasts for 5–7 years of active operation. Secondly, any home craftsman can easily cope with replacing brushes, spending a minimum of time and money. Thirdly, it cannot be said that asynchronous motors with an inverter are themselves more reliable than collector motors with a thyristor regulator. But it is a fact that the repair of the former will cost several times more.

Another advantage of the inverter motor is that it maintains the set speed much more accurately. This is true, but why does a washing machine need a high accuracy of maintaining the speed? Consultants usually have difficulty answering this question.

Otherwise, there is not much difference between an inverter and a conventional motor. Another thing is that special design inverter motors are often used in direct drive machines – when the drum and rotor of the motor are actually a single whole.

There are advantages to this solution – the absence of a belt drive reduces the level of vibration and noise. Reliability seems to also increase – by reducing the number of rubbing parts. But the most frequently breaking part of the “washing machine” is not the engine and not the belt drive, but the drum mounting unit. And if in a conventional car such a breakdown entails the replacement of the bearing and / or drum, then in a car with a direct drive, you will most likely have to change the engine as well, which will increase the repair cost significantly.

Activator
Most of the activator “washers” belong to semi-automatic washing machines, but even among the “automatic machines” such ones often come across. Therefore, it is worthwhile to understand a little what an activator is , so as not to be surprised later.

In an activator washing machine, the drum is not located horizontally, but vertically, and in some models it rotates only for spinning, and during washing, the water is stirred by an activator – an impeller located at the bottom of the drum.

Activator machines are top-loaded, inexpensive and quiet. However, a rotating activator can quickly wear out things, and if its design is flatter, the washing efficiency is reduced. Therefore, when using a “safe” flat activator, various methods are used to increase the washing efficiency – they increase the water consumption and the duration of the wash, add water jets or air bubbles that hit under pressure from the activator.

Protection
Leakage protection will save you a lot of nerves and money in the event of a breakdown of the water intake system of the machine.

There is partial protection : a float or a sensor in the pan that turns off the machine when water appears, or a safety valve on the hose that cuts off the water supply in an emergency. The valve can be mechanical or electromagnetic.

Full protection includes a sensor in the pan and a hose with a solenoid valve. Also, with full protection, the machine has a special emergency mode – when one of the protection elements is triggered, the water supply to the machine stops and forced pumping starts.

Protection against power surges will “save” the electronic stuffing of your machine in the event of a sharp increase in the supply voltage. If you live in a rural area and do not plan to connect the car through a stabilizer , this option will be useful.

In childhood, various buttons and “twists” in many arouse curiosity and a desire to immediately press and twist them. When the washing machine is running, this can easily lead to a program malfunction, damage to the laundry, and in the worst case, the failure of the machine’s electronics. If you have small children, take care of the presence of protection from children – then the panel will simply lock after a while after starting.

The noise level of the machines during spinning is on average 60 to 85 dB. If you have a small apartment, there are small children or elderly people whose sleep is quite light, it is better to choose a model with a characteristic within 70 dB – this level is considered the most comfortable for perception.

Choice options
For a small family of 1-2 people, a compact car with a load of 3-4 kg will suffice . Fans of unusual design can pay attention to wall-mounted machines – they take up little space and are able to organically integrate into a modern interior.

If you have very little free space, and you need a decent load, pay attention to top-loading machines – they themselves take up less space and do not require free space in front of the machine.

The washing machine is one of the noisiest household appliances around. If you do not have several walls between the bedroom and the installation site of the car, then you should choose a quieter car , or you will not be able to start it overnight.

If economy and energy efficiency are not empty words for you, then choose among machines with an inverter motor . In addition, they tend to be quieter and vibrate less.

The washer-dryer combines two household appliances and can greatly simplify the washing process, while saving not only your family budget, but also the area of ​​the apartment.

If you don’t have a water supply at your dacha, but you still want an automatic washing machine, choose a model with a water tank – the machine will take the previously filled water from it, and not from the water supply.