Various types of washing machines and their different programs, coupled with the fact that there are so many brands in India, means that the task of choosing the right one is quite difficult. Plus, your choice is also dependant on your budget. With this buyer’s guide, we’ll try to make that job easier for you. In this article, we’ll be explaining the pros and cons of the different types of washing machines, and explain the various features they offer.
Types of washing machines
Semi-automatic washing machines
These are basic washing machines that contain two drums, with one reserved for washing and the other for drying. These are the cheapest washing machines available out there, because they require you to perform most tasks manually. These include filling the tub with water, emptying it later, removing clothes from the washing tub and placing them in the drying tub, etc. Semi-automatic machines do have some advantages though – they consume less power, let you control the amount of water needed and allow you to add or remove clothes in the middle of a wash cycle.
Fully-automatic washing machines
There are two types in this category – top-load and front-load – which we’ll be talking about next. What you need to know is that fully-automatic machines keep human intervention to a bare minimum. This way, they allow you to sit back and relax while they wash your clothes for you. There’s no need to pour water manually or switch compartments for drying. These washing machines are also the beneficiaries of the latest technologies developed by manufacturers. Fully-automatic machines however are more expensive and heavy. They also consume more electricity and require a continuous supply of water.
Top-load washing machines
As the name suggests, these machines are fed clothes from the top. They are connected to a continuous water supply, and use water as and when required in the cycle. They have a single tub for washing as well as drying. They are pretty inexpensive compared to front-load machines, since they offer fewer wash programs. With top-load washing machines, you don’t need to bend down when putting in your clothes. You can also add clothes in the middle of a wash cycle.
Front-load washing machines
These washing machines are strong and hefty in nature and offer a large number of wash programs. They are less noisy, and offer the best wash quality among all washing machine types. As you may have guessed, they need to be loaded and unloaded from the front. These machines have a single tub for washing and drying. They consume less water and electricity than top-load machines. Their disadvantages include a hefty weight that makes them difficult to move around, inability to remove clothes once the wash program has started (available only on select machines) and expensive prices.
To decide upon the capacity of your new washing machine, you will need to consider the number of people in your family/home, and the frequency with which you’ll be washing clothes. Basic washing machines take 5kg or 6kg of clothes. This is suitable for families of two, since it can approximately take two shirts, two trousers, one bedsheet, two towels and two pillowcases. Then again, if the frequency with which you’ll be washing your clothes is higher, you can even purchase the 5kg or 6kg models for families of three or four.
The ideal size for a three or four-member family is 7kgs. It can approximately take three shirts, three trousers, one bedsheet, two towels and two pillowcases at once. For a family of five or six members, an 8kg machine is suitable, while a larger family warrants the purchase of a washing machine with a capacity of 10kg or more. This will allow you to fit in three shirts, three trousers, two bedsheets, six towels and six pillowcases at once. Do note that higher capacity machines are heavier, utilise more space and consume more water and power.
Now that you’ve learnt about the types of washing machines, let us delve into the kind of washing programs they have on offer. The programs are decided based on the type and capacity of clothes being washed. Not all machines will have all the programs mentioned below, but these are the most common ones:
These programs are present on almost all fully-automatic machines. They are meant to wash your clothes thoroughly in a shorter amount of time. They will usually wash and dry your clothes in 15 to 30 minutes, but these programs almost always limit the number of clothes they can take.
This program is meant for washing regular clothing and undergarments. It’s a simple program that uses less time and water for items that you wash daily.
This one’s meant for heavily soiled clothes. Once you’ve set your washing machine on this program, it will first soak and agitate the clothes thoroughly before starting the normal wash cycle.
Woollens / Delicate
Your woollens and delicate clothes can suffer damage if put through the regular modes, which is why a special mode for washing them exists. This mode utilises low temperatures with minimum drum rotation to keep them safe from wear and tear.
There’s usually a special program meant for washing cottons. It uses hot water in order to thoroughly wash cotton clothes.
Synthetics / Easy Care
This program is meant for non-cotton garments like polyester and viscose that need a slightly more delicate wash. Most machines don’t have this program, in which case you can wash your synthetics on the Delicate program.
Let us now talk about some of the additional features washing machines offer. Think of these as an added bonus if you find them on a machine that fits your budget.
RPM means ‘revolutions per minute’, and is basically the speed at which the drum can spin. The higher that number, the better your washing machine is at squeezing water out of your clothes. Some washing machines allow you to adjust the RPM based on the clothes you’re washing – for example, you can use 600 RPM for delicates, and ramp that up to 1200 RPM for sheets or towels.
Machines that let you adjust the temperature are useful if you prefer a cold water wash to save energy. Alternatively, you can increase the temperature for soiled clothes. Higher temperatures allow the detergent to work better, thus removing stains easily. Cottons for example are usually washed at high temperatures.
Think of Fuzzy Logic as artificial intelligence for washing machines. Using various sensors and depending on the weight of the clothes you put in, it is able to control the water intake, amount of detergent to be used, duration of the cycle and other factors. It’s hence a very useful mode. Most machines which feature Fuzzy Logic may not brand it as such – on LG machines for instance it’s just called ‘Program’, while on Whirlpool machines it’s labelled ‘6th Sense’. Other brands that offer Fuzzy Logic machines include Samsung, Godrej and Haier.
This mode is convenient if you’ve loaded your washing machine, but want to delay starting the wash cycle until you’re ready to take out the laundry. For example, you might prefer to load the machine at night, but have the laundry ready when you wake up in the morning.
Having an LED display is convenient to view detailed information on the wash program, as well as time remaining for the cycle to end. Some machines even offer touchscreen displays, although these tend to be more expensive.
Having a bubble wash mode on your machine is always useful since it produces tiny bubbles to go deeper into the fabric and clean your laundry thoroughly. Different brands have different terms for this mode, for example, Samsung calls it ‘Eco Bubble’, while Panasonic markets it as ‘Active Foam’.
Available only on select machines, this feature dries your clothes completely after the wash cycle, so that they are ready to wear when you take them out.
Brands, availability, pricing
Semi-automatic washing machines can cost anywhere between Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 in India. They get the job done and are ideal for those on a tight budget. A top-load machine on the other hand costs anything between Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000. These machines offer the most value for your money – they are fully-automatic machines, yet are lower-priced compared to front-load machines. Speaking of which, front-load machines start at around Rs 25,000 and can go up to Rs 50,000. They offer the best wash quality and convenience, and hence come with higher price tags.
Most major washing machine brands are now available in India. LG, Whirpool and Godrej are great choices for top-load machines, while companies like Bosch, Haier, Siemens, Samsung and IFB and others have good options in the front-loading segment. You can purchase these online as well as offline. The former may make you wary, but delivery companies take all kinds of precautions while delivering washing machines, and send technicians to check and install these for you as well.
We hope this guide helped you choose the correct washing machine for your requirements. Stay tuned to Pricebaba for more buying guides on gadgets and home appliances.