Washing Machine

Buying Guide

Purchasing a new washing machine warrants careful consideration, as it directly impacts the efficiency of your laundry routine and the longevity of your clothing. Lots of factors will need to be taken into consideration when shopping for a new washing machine: budget, size of household, laundry needs, efficiency, washing cycles/programmes and brand reputation.

This comprehensive washing machine buying guide aims to provide you with the knowledge needed to make a well-informed decision.

Essential Features to Look For in a Washing Machine

Washing Machine Capacity

Consider the size of your household and how often you need to put on a laundry load. A larger drum capacity is more suitable for families, while singles or couples might find a smaller capacity sufficient.

Water and Energy Efficiency

Prioritise models with the Energy Star label and assess the energy efficiency rating. Higher ratings indicate lower energy consumption and a more eco-friendly operation. Given New Zealand's focus on water conservation, opt for machines with high WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme) ratings to reduce water usage.

Spin Speed

Evaluate the spin speed, as it directly influences water extraction and, consequently, drying times. Strike a balance between speed and the potential impact on clothing fibres as a higher spin cycle is tougher on fabrics, particularly delicate ones.


Most people err on the side of putting too much detergent in their machines. This innovative feature ensures precise detergent dispensing for each load, optimising cleaning performance while minimising waste and saving money.

Noise Levels

Think about the noise levels, especially if your laundry area is adjacent to living spaces or bedrooms. Look for machines with low decibel ratings for a quieter operation.

Special Wash Cycles

Check for specialised cycles catering to specific fabrics, stain types, or load sizes. These features enhance the versatility of your machine, accommodating a variety of laundry needs.

Smart Features

Consider models with smart features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, for remote control and monitoring. While not imperative, these features contribute to a more convenient and connected laundry experience.

Additional Considerations for Buying a Washing Machine

Brand Reputation

Prioritise washing machine brands known for reliability, durability, and responsive customer service. Look for brands that offer good manufacturer’s warranties and have good product reviews. A good reference source is https://www.consumer.org.nz for recommendations and insights.

Warranty and After-Sales Service

Examine warranty terms and after-sales service. A robust warranty reflects the washing machine manufacturer's confidence in the product's durability, providing you with peace of mind.

Dimensions and Space

Ensure the selected washing machine fits seamlessly into your designated space. Consider door clearances and accessibility for routine maintenance.

Price vs. Long-Term Savings

While budget constraints are a factor, view the washing machine you’re purchasing as a long-term investment. Energy-efficient models may have a higher initial cost but can yield substantial savings over the appliance's lifespan.

Exploring Different Types of Washing Machines

Top-Loading Machines

Top-loader washing machines are as they say, a washing machine where the drum is loaded from the top. They have a vertically oriented drum that agitates the clothes by moving them through the pulsator at the bottom of the drum, or around a central agitator. Although the central agitator is less common in new top-loader models.

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Features and Benefits

Easy Loading and Unloading

The top-loading design makes it convenient to load and unload clothes without the need to bend down, which is especially beneficial for individuals with back problems or mobility issues.

Quick Wash Cycles

Many top-loaders come with quick wash cycles that can efficiently clean lightly soiled clothes in a shorter amount of time, providing a time-saving option for busy individuals. This is ideal for sweaty gym clothes or salty beach towels.

Large Capacities

Top-loaders often come with large drum capacities – up to 14kg, making them suitable for washing bulky items like duvets, blankets, and large loads of laundry. This is advantageous for bigger families or individuals with substantial laundry needs.

Water Efficiency

Some modern top-loaders are designed with features that enhance water efficiency. High-efficiency models use less water, which is not only environmentally friendly but can also lead to cost savings on water bills.

Advanced Agitation Technology

Many top-loaders feature advanced agitation technology, such as dual-action or impeller agitators. These innovations aim to provide thorough cleaning while being gentler on clothes, ensuring effective stain removal without causing excessive wear and tear.

Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient models are available, helping to reduce electricity consumption during each laundry cycle. Look for machines with Energy Star certification for optimal energy savings.

Top-Loader Washing Machine Innovations

Smart Technology

Some top-loaders are equipped with smart technology, allowing users to control and monitor the washing process remotely using a smartphone app. This feature enhances convenience and provides flexibility in managing laundry tasks. This means you can load your machine before you go out and then, by using the app, start the wash to coincide with when you get home and can unload the machine.

Built-In Water Heaters

To improve stain removal and sanitise laundry, certain top-loaders come with built-in water heaters. This feature is particularly useful for washing items that require higher water temperatures.

Automatic Detergent Dispensers

Innovations include automatic detergent dispensers or auto-dose options that release the right amount of detergent for each load. This not only ensures proper cleaning but also helps in preventing detergent wastage.

Vibration Reduction Technology

To minimise noise and vibration during the spin cycle, some top-loaders incorporate advanced vibration reduction technology. This is especially beneficial for households where the laundry room is located near living spaces.

Key Advantages of Top-Loader Washing Machines

Generally more budget-friendly, making them accessible to a wide range of consumers.Larger load capacities make them ideal for bigger families or flat-share groups.

Convenient for those who often need to add forgotten items after the cycle has started.

Typically they boast faster wash cycles, saving you valuable time.

Downsides of Top-Loader Washing Machines

Historically, top-loaders have been associated with higher water consumption.

The presence of an agitator is less gentle on clothes, however there are many more models nowadays without central agitators. The top-loading option means you cannot stack a dryer above which can be difficult in situations where laundry space is limited.

To sum up, top-loader washing machines offer a user-friendly design, large capacities, and a variety of features and innovations that cater to diverse laundry needs. From improving water and energy efficiency to adding smart technology, these appliances continue to evolve to meet the demands of modern households.

Front-Loading Machines

Front-loader washing machines are a popular and efficient choice for modern households, They have a range of features and benefits that provide more options for a wide range of laundry requirements.

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Features and Benefits of Front-Loading Washing Machines

Space Savers

The front-opening door of these machines allows for easy stacking with a dryer, making them ideal for homes with limited laundry space. Even if you don’t need to stack a dryer on top, this still provides a flat surface space on top to place a washing basket or other items.

Water and Energy Efficiency

Front-loader washing machines are known for their efficiency in water and energy usage. They generally use less water when compared to top-loaders, as the drum doesn't need to be filled completely. This not only helps to conserve water, but also reduces energy consumption, contributing to cost savings over time.

Gentle on Clothes

The horizontal drum and the tumbling action of front-loaders are gentle on clothes. Fabrics experience less friction and stress during washing, preserving the quality and longevity of your garments, especially delicate items.

Advanced Cleaning Performance

Front-loaders are equipped with advanced washing mechanisms that contribute to superior cleaning performance. The tumbling action, combined with varying spin speeds, effectively removes dirt and stains, ensuring a thorough wash.

High Spin Speeds

Front-loaders typically have higher spin speeds compared to top-loaders. This means that clothes come out of the washer with less water, reducing drying time and energy consumption if you use a separate dryer.

Front-loader Washine Machine Innovations

Steam Cleaning

Some front-loaders offer steam cleaning features. Steam can help to loosen and remove tough stains, and it also has a sanitising effect, making it beneficial for items like bedding and baby clothes.

Smart Technology

Many modern front-loaders are equipped with smart features. You can control and monitor your washing machine remotely through smartphone apps, allowing you to start or stop cycles, customise settings, and receive notifications.

Inverter Motors

Front-loader washing machines often feature inverter motors, which are quieter and more energy-efficient than traditional motors.

Specialised Cycles

Front-loaders come with a variety of wash cycles to accommodate different types of fabrics and soil levels. Some machines have specialised cycles for quick washing, allergen and pet hair removal, outdoor items or even a sanitise cycle for extra hygiene.


Front-loaders typically have varying drum capacities, ranging from 7.5kg to 12kg loads. This means you can select a machine that is appropriate for you and your typical laundry loads, whether you are a single, couple or larger family with a high laundry volume.

Reduced Detergent Usage

Due to their design and efficient use of water, front-loaders usually require less detergent than top-loaders. This not only saves money on detergent but also contributes to environmental sustainability.

Auto-Dose Detergent

The auto-dose feature eliminates the need for users to measure and add detergent manually for each load. This ensures that the right amount of detergent is dispensed based on the load size and soil level, preventing both wastage and insufficient cleaning.

Reduced Environmental Impact

With precise detergent dispensing and water-efficient washing cycles, front-loading machines with auto-dose features contribute to reduced environmental impact. The lower water and energy consumption align with the growing awareness of sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

In addition, some brands are starting to add microfilters or offer them as an add-on option. These filters trap the microplastics that slough off everyday clothing items like fleeces in the wash cycle. Other brands are also using recycled plastics in the manufacture of their drums, so do look out for these brands.

Key Advantages of Front-Loader Washing Machines

Renowned for being more energy-efficient, potentially resulting in long-term cost savings.

A wide range of cycles and gentler on clothes, ideal for delicate fabrics. They are more space-efficient allowing for stacking of a dryer on top. The superior water extraction capabilities of a front-loader washing machine may also reduce overall drying time.

Downsides of Front-Loader Washing Machines

Front loader washing machines typically come with a higher initial price tag than top-loaders, but this is changing and there is a wide range to suit every budget. The wash cycles may be longer in general too, although some brands have introduced quick cycle technology to their products.

In conclusion, front-loader washing machines offer a comprehensive laundry solution with a focus on efficiency, performance, and innovation. Whether you are looking to save space, conserve resources, or benefit from advanced features, front-loaders provide a versatile and effective laundry solution for modern homes.

Combination Washer-Dryer

Washer-dryer combo machines are fantastic laundry appliances that seamlessly integrate the functions of a washing machine and a dryer into a single unit. They are particularly advantageous for individuals or families with limited space or those looking for a convenient, all-in-one laundry solution.

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Features and Benefits of Combination Washer-Dryer

Space Efficiency

One of the standout features is obviously their space-saving design, making them ideal for apartments, small homes, or laundry closets. They eliminate the need for separate appliances, maximizing the use of available space.

All-in-One Convenience

These machines offer the convenience of washing and drying within the same unit, reducing the need for manual intervention and eliminating the hassle of transferring wet clothes between appliances.

Water and Energy Efficiency

Many models are designed with a focus on energy and water efficiency, using advanced technologies to minimise resource consumption. This not only benefits the environment but also results in lower utility bills for users.

Versatile Washing and Drying Cycles

Washer-dryer combos typically come with a range of washing and drying cycles, catering to various fabrics and laundry loads. This versatility ensures that clothes are treated appropriately, resulting in effective cleaning and drying. Very useful for apartment dwellers who often don’t have access to outdoor drying space.


The ability to transition seamlessly from washing to drying significantly reduces overall laundry time. This is especially beneficial for busy households where efficiency is key.

Programmable Settings

Users often have the flexibility to customise settings such as water temperature, spin speed, and drying time according to their specific laundry preferences.

Combination Washer-Dryer Innovations

Smart Technology

Many modern washer-dryer combos come with smart technology, enabling users to control and monitor the appliance remotely using smartphones or other smart devices. This includes features like delayed start, cycle monitoring, and notifications.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is a notable innovation in some models, leveraging steam to remove stains and wrinkles from clothes. This feature enhances the cleaning process and is particularly useful for refreshing garments.

Sensor Technology

Advanced sensors that detect moisture levels in clothes and adjust drying times accordingly contribute to more efficient and precise drying, preventing over-drying and saving energy.

Noise Reduction

Manufacturers are actively working on reducing the noise levels of these machines during operation, contributing to a quieter and more pleasant laundry experience.

Energy Efficiency

Many washer-dryer combos are designed to meet or exceed energy efficiency standards, with certifications indicating their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Key Advantages of Combination Washer-Dryers

Space Saving with the best of both worlds in one appliance. A wide range of wash programmes designed to seamlessly integrate with the corresponding drying programme makes light work of the laundry chore. Ideal for limited space scenarios and where outdoor drying options are not available.

Downsides of Washer-Dryers

Compared to standalone machines, washer-dryer combos typically have a smaller capacity and the dryer capacity is generally less than the washing machine capacity. The all-in-one nature of these machines means that a single cycle, including both washing and drying, can take longer compared to separate appliances and obviously there is an inability to wash and dry at the same time.

In summary, washer-dryer combo machines offer a blend of convenience and efficiency, with innovations continually enhancing their performance. While they have some limitations, the benefits and ongoing improvements in technology make them an excellent choice for many households, especially those with space constraints.