Direct Drive vs Belt Drive Washing Machine: Which One Is Better?

If you were shopping around for a washing machine, you might have heard about the term named Direct Drive Technology.

Why there is so much hype about this technology? Is that worth the hype? Let’s figure out more about Direct Drive Technology and the Difference Between Direct Drive Vs Belt Drive Washing Machines in this article.

Every washing machine needs a drive system to rotate the drum. The heart of a drive system is the motor. Transferring the rotational power from the motor to the drum shaft can be done either through a belt or by directly connecting the motor shaft to the drum shaft.

So basically there are two types of drive systems available in washing machines.

  • Belt drive system
  • Direct drive system

Let’s learn about the basics of both drive systems so that we can differentiate them in a better way.

What Is Belt Drive System?

All traditional washing machines use a belt drive system. In the Belt drive system, the motor is located away from the drum axis.

The power is transmitted using a belt. Since the power has to travel a distance, there is always a power loss. That is one of the main reasons why traditional washing machines consume more power.

Direct drive vs belt drive washing machines

Belt drive systems use more mechanical parts. Those parts are responsible for rotating the washing machine drum in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.

More mechanical parts mean more chances of failure. You need to change the belt after a couple of years of use as this can easily get damaged.

The belt drive system also produces more sound as there are more moving parts. More moving parts lead to more friction and more friction means more noise.

Since the motor is located away from the drum axis, balancing the washing machine is a big pain due to the shift in the center of gravity. Manufacturers have to use a weight-balancing mechanism to solve the weight distribution problem.

Advantages Of Belt Drive System

  • Repair and maintenance of the belt is very easy as you don’t need to open the motor
  • The drive system design is not complex
  • The unit cost is way less than direct drive-based washing machines

Disadvantages Of Belt Drive System

  • Produces a lot of noise
  • Power loss due to transfer of power through belt
  • Need to replace the belt after every 2-3 years
  • Weight balancing problem due to the motor mount location
  • Consume more power

What Is a Direct Drive System?

The direct drive system eliminates the belt from the drive system. The motor is directly mounted underneath the washing machine drum. No more power loss as the motor shaft is directly connected to the drum shaft.

A direct drive system uses brushless motors that do not make much noise. And since there are fewer mechanical parts in the direct drive system, the chances of mechanical failures are less. Fewer mechanical parts mean low noise too.

Direct Drive In Washing Machine

The drive motor is located at the center of the washing machine. So the weight distribution is good. Machines won’t slide automatically during the operation as in the case of belt drive washing machines.

One problem with a direct drive system is the cost of repair if something goes bad. Since it’s a complex system with a lot of sensors, you need to pay a hefty amount if you ask a technician to repair your washing machine.

The cost of a direct drive washing machine is way higher than belt drive washing machines. But since a direct drive washing machine consumes less power and water, the running cost will be low.

Direct-drive washing machines often come with many other advanced technologies like inverter motors that can save your electricity bill by up to 40 %.

Advantages Of Direct Drive System

  • Produces very little noise
  • Few moving mechanical parts. So fewer chances of failure
  • Better weight balancing due to the motor mounted at the center
  • Consume less electricity as there is hardly any power loss
  • No need for frequent maintenance
  • Direct drive motors can handle higher spindle speed
  • A large size drum can be connected to the direct drum motor
  • Often comes with an inverter motor to save more power
  • Consumes less amount of water
  • Faster wash cycle due to high spindle speed
  • Use a brushless motor for reduced noise

Disadvantages Of Direct Drive System

  • The initial investment will be more
  • The repair cost is more
  • Chances of motor damage if there is water leakage in the drum

Conclusion: Direct Drive Vs Belt Drive Washing Machine

Direct drive is better in terms of noise, wash performance, and power consumption. Although the initial cost is high, if you keep the washing machine for a couple of years then the extra cost can be recovered easily.

But if you are tight on budget then a belt drive washing machine is the only option.

Do you still have any questions on belt drive vs direct drive washing machines? If yes, please write in the comment section and I will be happy to answer.

FAQ | Direct Drive Vs Belt Drive Washing Machine

Is Direct Drive Washing Machine Better?

Direct drive washing machine is better in terms of low noise, wash performance, and power consumption. Although the initial cost is high, if you keep the washing machine for a couple of years then the extra cost can be recovered easily.

Do All Inverter Washing Machines Use A Direct Drive System?

Necessarily not. Direct drive or belt drive system is for transferring the power. It has nothing to do with how the rotation power is generated.

The inverter mechanism is a feature of the motor that controls the speed of the motor based on the wash load.

That is why inverter-based washing machines consume less amount of power. The inverter mechanism has nothing to do with the belt drive or direct drive.

But the fact is most of the direct drive washing machines come with an inverter motor. When you buy a washing machine with a direct drive system and an inverter motor, the cost will be too high.

Rajib Is The Founder And The Key Brain Behind RiansDeal. A NIT 2004 Graduate In Mechanical Engineering With Close To Two Decades Of Experience In Designing Large Appliances And Consumer Electronics Products.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Buying Guide

Latest Articles