Washer dryer buying guide

Washer dryers serve two really important roles, so choosing the right one can take time.

With so many brands, drum sizes, programmes and features available, it can seem a little daunting, particularly since it is a significant purchase for the home. If you have the time and space, you may also want to have a quick read of our washing machine and tumble dryer buying guides.

Washer dryers have two functions. Firstly, to wash your laundry and secondly, to dry it. Because of this, they have two different capacities for washing and drying. As a general rule of thumb, 1kg capacity equates to around five adult-sized t-shirts.

Drying capacities are typically several kilograms lower than the washing capacity so you may have to remove some of the laundry if you’ve done a large washing load. Some washer dryers can automatically switch from a wash cycle to a drying cycle, so you can base your washing load on the maximum drying capacity..

The spin speed of a washing machine (shown in revolutions per minute and abbreviated to RPM) drives how effectively water is removed meaning that less time is needed on the line or in the dryer. A lower spin speed is used for washing delicate items and to reduce the degree of creasing generally caused to clothes during the spin cycle. Most washing machines have variable spin speed settings.

All electrical appliances have to display an EU energy rating label. This allows you to easily compare machines based on their efficiency and helps you save money on bills while also reducing your carbon footprint. Spanning from an A rating (the most energy efficient) to G (the least energy efficient), this scale was redesigned in 2021 to help adapt the labels to the industry standards that are now much more environmentally friendly than in previous years. Look for machines that use less energy by running for longer and check the average water consumption per wash cycle to keep running costs low.

The noise output from a washer dryer is measured in decibels and shown as dB, allowing you to compare the average noise output from different machines. The higher the dB, the louder the operating noise. Levels below 50 dB are very quiet, and manufacturers continue to make huge advances in minimising noise with new technology like anti-vibration systems and brushless motors.

The key feature of a washer dryer is that, in essence, they perform the role of two machines. That said, you still need to ensure you choose the right machine.

  • Integrated - these are built-in and help you retain a sleek, minimalist look in your kitchen by housing appliances behind a cupboard door. To make sure they fit the existing space, integrated washer dryers tend to have a slightly smaller capacity than a freestanding washer dryer.

  • Freestanding - simply slot under a standard height worktop. Washer dryers don’t need to be vented. They are condenser dryers, collecting the water (via evaporation) from the load being dried and removing it via the waste water pipe.

When considering where to house a washer dryer, you need to calculate the standard size of a freestanding washer dryer as 850 x 600 x 600 mm (H x W x D). You also need to allow space for the hoses at the rear of the appliance and for the door to open on the front of the dryer, as well as ensuring there is a cold water feed, an electrical socket and a waste connection within 1.5 metres.

  • Timer/Delay - A timer can help you plan when your washing load will start and end. This is useful for planning your day and also making use of any reduced tariffs for electricity use.

  • Quick Wash – Quick wash programmes allow you to do a reduced load in a fraction of the time needed for a full load. This is ideal for freshening up clothes.

  • Programs – Many washer dryer appliances offer specialist programs to allow you to deal with everything from sports kits to delicate woollen garments.

  • Money Saving Ideas – Choose a machine with an eco wash cycle. Eco wash cycles can use up to 60% less energy by running a very energy efficient programme for longer. Be sure to look at the average water consumption per wash cycle as this will help reduce the water usage which directly affects your household bills. Look for a washer dryer that has internal sensors; these will detect when clothes are dry and automatically switch off the appliance to save electricity as well as reduce the risk of damage to your clothing.

Did you know that many of our products are also available for rental? Enjoy the latest tech with low, monthly payments and regular opportunities to upgrade, find out more about Hughes Rental here.