1. What drum size do I need?
This will depend on how many people you live with and how many washes you do a week. If you’re only washing small pieces, towels and work clothes, a 5-7kg drum is big enough for light loads.
If you’re regularly up to your neck in a mountain of grubby school uniforms, bed sheets and dirty gym kits, you’re better off going for a bigger, family-size 8-10kg drum.
A wide range of washing programmes can help you to manage different materials and temperature requirements. The Hoover DXOA610AHFN has 16 programmes, including an All-in-One setting that lets you wash whites and brights at the same time without the risk of colours running.
With its large 10kg drum, you can wash up to 40 shirts or eight large bath towels in one go. It has an A+++ energy efficiency rating so you needn't worry about water waste, and you can control it with your smartphone in case you're busy doing other jobs around the house.
What size drum suits your lifestyle? Find out with our washing machine capacity guide
2. Can I have a fast spin cycle without waking the little ones?
No one wants a washing machine that sounds like a helicopter taking off. Especially if you’ve just put the kids to bed.
Our washing machines range from 45 to 61 decibels during a wash cycle. Anything under 50 decibels is about the same as a refrigerator humming, so this really can make a difference in your home.
The Miele PowerWash XL has an extra quiet function and delay timer of up to 24 hours, so you can put on a night-time wash without worrying about it waking the little ones. And if anyone in your family has sensitive skin, the AllergoWash setting removes every last bit of detergent residue from clothes.
3. I want serious stain-busting – can I get it at low temperatures?
As winter approaches, energy bills start soaring. Did you know that washing at 30º or 40º uses around 40% less energy than a 60º wash? But can a cool wash bust grime and get your clothes properly clean?
The tech boffins have been busy coming up with better-performing machines that mean eco-washing has the same power as hot washes. Great for your clothes, the environment and your wallet.
Hotpoint’s Direct Injection technology and Samsung’s ecobubble both boost cleaning power by premixing water and detergent. This means the detergent meets your clothes ready-frothed, soaking into the fibres much faster and easily shifting stubborn stains. The wonders of science…
Look out for the Hotpoint Eco Tech icon on washing machines. This is given to energy-efficient machines with an A+ energy rating and Eco Cycles or Eco Wash functions.
4. What if my wardrobe is full of designer delicates?
Cashmere sweaters, silk scarves and chiffon dresses require a lot of TLC. Laundering your woollens and delicates shouldn’t wear them out. Your favourite sweater should look as good as the day you bought it, whether you wash it once or 50 times.
AEG SoftWater™ Technology gets rid of harsh minerals from your mains water before entering the drum, so the water is much purer. In tests, a little black dress washed 50 times saw no colour fading or wear. See it for yourself with the AEG SoftWater L9FSC949RG.
Keep your woolly jumpers in tip-top condition this winter by choosing a machine with Woolmark approval. Washing machines sporting the Woolmark Platinum Care mark have a special programme so you can machine wash your handwash-only items.
5. What’s the latest washing machine tech?
Like phones and lighting, you can now buy ‘smart’ washing machines. They’re not able to load and unload themselves just yet, but you can control them from anywhere through an app on your smartphone.
For example, if you’re going to be late home, you can check how much time’s left on a wash and pause the cycle if need be. The app will also reveal how much energy you’ve used and help with troubleshooting problems.
The Samsung QuickDrive speeds through a full load in just 39 minutes. You’ll also love the handy second door that can be opened to add items mid-cycle – perfect for the stray sock that got away.
Now you know what’s what, check out our full laundry range
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