Washing machines have bought so much convenience to our life. It is one of the essential appliances in every home nowadays. With more and more families turning into micro families, the washing machine is now a “Must Have” appliance.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the proper knowledge of how a washing machine works, what are the different types of washing machines and what are the thing that we should consider while buying a washing machine.
Without proper knowledge, we often buy the wrong washing machine.
In this article, we have tried solve these problem with a detailed Washing Machine Buying Guide so that you can make an informed purchase decision.
What Is A Washing Machine?
A washing machine is a machine that wash clothes for you without any manual interference. It can be a semi automatic or an automatic washing machine. Sometime washing machines are hooked up with a dryer, although in India, it is a rare combination.
Types Of Washing Machines
Washing machines are categorized based on how you load clothes in your machine and whether the machine can dry your cloth in a single drum or not.
Based on how you load clothes in the washing machine.
- Front load washing machine
- Top load washing machine
Based on whether the dryer is integrated or not.
- Semi-automatic washing machine
- Fully Automatic washing machine
Please note that, Fully automatic washing machines can not completely dry your clothes. However, it can remove almost 90% of water from clothes.
Front Loading Washing Machine
As the name suggests, you need to load clothes from the front in the Front Loading Washing machines. You need to bend down a bit to load clothes. The pulsator of the front loading washing machine rotates horizontally.
All front Loading Washing machines are fully automatic machines, which means a single drum for washing and drying. The drum is usually made of stainless steel.
Front-load washing machines take less amount of water and consume less energy. These machines are less noisy and offer better wash quality.
These machines are a bit heavy due to their complex design. When the tub is rotating the center of gravity should be at the center. If not there will be wobbling.
Controlling the center of gravity of a horizontally rotating pulsator is difficult compared to a vertically rotating pulsator or agitator. That is why front Loading Washing machine design is a bit complex.
Also, the counterweight design in the front Loading Washing machine is complex due to the gravity acting vertically down.
The maintenance cost is high compared to top-loading machines. For example, if the washing machine lid/door gasket is damaged, you can’t use the machine as there will be a leak.
But in the case of a top-loading machine, even if the door is loose you can still use the machine. Like this, there are numerous small issues for which you need to call a service person.
Overall, front Loading machines are expensive and premium too. These are great machines for wash quality and come with a wide range of features and options.
Advantages Of Front Loading Washing Machines
- It uses less water and consumes less energy
- Better wash performance
- A wide range of features and wash cycles are available
- Premium design
Disadvantages Of Front Loading Washing Machines
- Very costly compared to top-loading machines
- Maintenance cost is high
- Chances of frequent breakdowns due to leaks.
- Not possible to add clothes in between the wash cycle.
Top-loading washing machine
In the case of top-loading washing machines, you need to put clothes from the top. So no need to bend down to load cloths. That’s one of the key advantages of top Loading Washing machines.
Top-loading washing machines can be semi-automatic or fully automatic. In semi-automatic machines, there will be a separate tub for drying clothes, and you need to take out clothes from the washer tub to the dryer tub.
The tub material is made of plastic ( Fiber) for low-end models and stainless steel for high-end models.
These machines are simple in design and come with fewer features and options. That is why these are cheaper too. Since the tub is rotating vertically, these machines are more stable. The weight balancing mechanism is also straightforward. Often these machines use concrete blocks for weight balancing.
Comparatively, top-loading machines consume more water and energy. If you are concerned about water shortage or power bills, top-loading machines may not be a good choice.
Due to the simple design and vertically rotating tub, maintenance is not required frequently, and even if it is needed, it’s cheaper.
So if you are looking for a simple washing machine that can do your day-to-day wash and is more affordable too, then top-loading washing machines are the ones you should go for.
Advantages Of Top Loading Washing Machines
- Cheaper than front-loading washing machines
- Less maintenance cost
- You can load clothes in between the washing cycle
- You don’t need to bend down to load clothes. Ideal for elderly people
- Better stability
Disadvantages Of Top Loading Washing Machines
- Consumes more water and energy
- Relatively fewer features and wash cycles
- Low-end models come with a plastic tub
- No premium design
Semi Automatic Washing Machine
We all know that a washing machine can do washing as well as drying. Right? In the case of semi-automatic washing machines, it has a separate tub for drying.
Once the wash cycle is completed, you need to take out the clothes from the washtub and put them into the dryer tub to run the dryer cycle.
Many semi-automatic washing machines need you to fill the water manually, which is again a big problem. However, new machines come with automatic water filling.
These machines are simple in design and relatively cheaper too. They consume less water and electricity. You also have the option to skip drying so that you can save some energy.
Semi-automatic washing machines are usually top-loading machines, so you can always add clothes in between the cycle.
Advantages Of Semi Automatic Washing Machine
- Very cheap to own
- A separate drying tub is available
- Very low maintenance cost
- Consume less water and electricity
Disadvantages Of Semi Automatic Washing Machine
- You need to take out clothes from the washer and put them into the dryer
- You may need to pour water manually into the washtub
- Sometimes comes with a plastic tub which is not durable.
Fully Automatic Washing Machine
As the name suggests, these machines are fully automatic. That means that once you put clothes into the washing machine, forget about it, and you can take out your cloth once they dried up.
After putting your clothes in the machine, you need to select the desired wash cycle, and the machine will do the job automatically. Since there is no manual effort involved, it is called a fully automatic machine.
Fully automatic washing machines are available in top loading and front loading configurations. The design is a bit complex, and there are many electronic components involved to make the machine automatic.
These machines are a bit heavy and consume more electricity compare to semi-automatic washing machines. They also consume more water. Usually, these machines are very costly but come with a wide range of features and technologies.
Advantages Of Fully Automatic Washing Machines
- No manual effort is required
- A wide range of features and technologies are available
- Better wash performance
- Better drying performance
Disadvantages Of Fully Automatic Washing Machine
- Very costly
- Maintenance cost is very high
- Consume more water and electricity
Washing Machine Capacity And Family Size
Every washing machine has its capacity for clothes that it can take. We should see our family size and then choose an appropriate capacity machine. If not, you need to run the washing machines multiple times to wash all your clothes.
Please keep in mind that you should not load more clothes than its designed capacity. If you do so, you will have poor washing performance, and your machine may break down soon.
Here is a simple chart to show how you can choose your washing machine capacity based on different family sizes.
|Washing Machine Capacity
|4 Pairs shirts and trousers, 2 Towel and One bedsheet
|7 Pairs of shirts and trousers, 5-6 towels, 2-3 bedsheets
|More than 8 Kgs
|More than 4 members
|9-10 pairs of shirts and trousers, 5-6 towels, 4-5 bedsheets.
Different Wash Cycles or Wash Program In A Washing Machine
Here are a few of the basic cycles of a washing machine.
Soak: Soaking is good for clothes that are too much dirty. During soaking, clothes are properly tumbled into the washer so that extra dirt or soil is loosened. This is like how we soak clothes in a bucket of water.
Prewash: After soaking, prewash starts so that extra dirt or soiled can be rinsed off. Please make a note that prewashing is not always necessary.
Wash: This is the main cycle of a washing machine. During this cycle, washing machine detergent is mixed with the hot or cold water. Due to the chemical and thermal reaction between dirt and soap, clothes get cleaned, and dirty water is drained.
You may need to set a timer for wash cycles. Usually, one cycle of washing is not sufficient. So if you set a longer wash cycle, the machine can wash your cloth multiple times.
Rinse: After every wash cycle, the rinse cycle removes the water, and after that, again refill the tub with fresh water for the next wash cycle. The rinse cycle does not drain all the water from cloths
Drain: During the drain cycle, dirty water is drained off the machine. The washing machine will drain off water multiple times during a complete wash cycle.
Spin: During the spin, extra water from clothes is drained away. After rinsing, your clothes will be almost water-free, and you will feel like an almost dried cloth.
Dry: During the dry cycle, the machine sprays hot air to dry clothes. It can be done by a fan or a heater depending on the machine. Please make a note that not all machines come with dryers. If any washing machine has an inbuilt dryer, then it is going to consume more electricity.
Features Of Washing Machine
Here are a few of the key features of washing machines. Out of these few are ” Must Have” features and a few are ” Good To Have” features. You should never compromise on must-have features while buying a washing machine.
Pulsator Vs Agitator
Many consumers don’t consider this key feature of a washing machine and often choose the wrong machine.
Did you notice that there is a big part at the center of the drum that rotates in every washing machine? That is called a pulsator or agitator depending upon what is the design of that part.
Agitator: Agitator looks like more of a tower at the center of the drum with a few turns of spirals around it. It rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise to move your cloth up and down in the tub.
Cloth does not really rub against each other and basically rubs against the agitator. The washing happens due to the friction between the clothes and the agitator.
The agitator is only found in a top-loading washing machine and is very good for cleaning extremely dirty cloth. But it has one big drawback.
Since clothes are getting attached to the agitator spiral during washing, there are chances that clothes may get damaged. Delicate clothes should not be washed in a machine with an agitator.
Pulsator: Pulsator is used in all front-loading machines and a few top-end top-loading machines. The pulsator does not have a tower-like agitator.
Instead, it has a small protruded wheel that spins clockwise and anti-clockwise. Clothes are washed due to the friction between other clothes.
Since there is no spiral tower, there is no chance of clothes getting damaged. But the wash performance of the pulsator-based washing machine is not so good. It is only good for delicate fabrics which are less dirty.
If you want to buy a front-loading machine, then you have no option except a pulsator, but if you want to buy a top-loading machine, an agitator is a preferred choice.
Spin speed is an essential aspect of a washing machine. It is the rotation speed of the tub. It is measured as revolutions per minute ( RPM). The higher the value of RPM, the quicker will be the wash cycle duration.
You can also get the option of setting the spin speed of washing machines. For less dirty cloth, it is preferable to select a low spin speed so that your clothes do not get damaged.
Having an inbuilt heater is a must if you want to get a good wash performance. Washing is good only when there is a chemical and thermal reaction between cloth, water, and dirt. Without a heater, the thermal reaction is not possible. If you plan to wash filthy cloth, buy a washing machine with an inbuilt heater.
Soak And Prewash
This feature is required only when you plan to wash very dirty clothes. This will ensure that heavy dirt is already removed before the actual wash cycle starts.
Remaining Time Display
Well, This is good to have but an essential feature. This ensures a timer in the machine shows how much time is left for your washing to be completed.
Personally, I hate LED displays as there are more chances of malfunctioning. But the world is going digital and LED displays are in the demand.
No more boring dials or buttons. Everything is now displayed on a LED screen and often it is a touch screen. But keep in mind that washing machines with LED displays will cost too high.
Unless you are fascinated by the LED display, you can live with a boring dial-based washing machine ( If you want to show off, then it’s a different story)
Washing machines are smart nowadays. Just dump your dirty cloth and select a wash program like wool, delicate clothes, cotton, baby cloth, etc.
The machine will automatically select the duration, temperature, water, and number of cycles. This wash program cuts off all the hassles of manual intervention.
This is a useful feature if you want to clean your tub. During tub cleaning, you can not put on any clothes. Just select the tub clean cycle, and the machine will automatically run a different cycle to clean the tub.
It is advisable to clean tubs once every month, especially if you use hard water a lot. This cycle also disinfects every corner of the tub.
Plastic Vs Metal Tub
Some washing machine comes with a plastic tub and some with stainless steel tub. Always go for a stainless steel tub as those are better for the long run. Don’t go for a plastic tub or any coated metal tub. Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant metal and will give you more value in the long run.
Technologies Used In Washing Machines
Here are some of the key technologies used in Washing Machines.
Direct Drive Technology
Traditional washing machines use a belt drive mechanism. In the belt drive mechanism, the motor shaft and tub shaft are connected using a belt.
The power is transferred from one shaft to another. When there is a power transfer, there will be a power loss. Power loss means efficiency loss. That is why belt drive washing machines are less efficient.
One more issue with the belt drive is that belts get worn out after some years of use as it is made of rubber. In that case, you need to change the belt and for that, you need to completely open the machine.
Direct Drive machines use a motor right below the tub and the power of the motor is directly transferred to the tub. Since there is no power loss, these machines are more efficient.
The rotation speed of the direct drive washing machine is also more. There are fewer moving parts, thus producing less sound. Also, fewer moving parts means less chance of breakdown.
The washing performance of direct drive washing machines are better than traditional washing machines. Since the motor is located at the center, it is more stable than belt drive machines.
We should not get confused by the term ” Inverter Technology“. Inverter technology does not mean that your washing machine has inverter and it will run during a power cut.
Inverter technology in washing machine means that the machine uses a variable speed motor that adjust the speed based on the wash load and thus saves power.
Traditional washing machines use single-speed motors with belt drive technology. The motor will run at constant speed irrespective of the wash load.
So whether you wash more cloth at a time or fewer cloth, the motor will run at a constant speed and will waste a lot of energy.
But with inverter technology, washing machines use a variable speed motor and direct drive mechanism. What that means is that the motor speed will vary based on your wash load. The motor may run at a slow speed if you wash fewer clothes.
Eco bubble and O2 technology
Eco bubble creates power foam when detergent mixes with water. Eco bubble technology reduces the surface tension of water, thus allowing detergent to mix with water better. It creates a powerful yet gentle foam that can penetrate fabric easily.
This technology can clean your clothes even if the water is not that hot. In fact, it can wash clothes at 15°C which is simply impossible without eco-bubble technology.
A normal washing machine can not handle or wash delicate clothes properly as there are always a chance of damaging clothes due to hot water. But with eco-bubble technology delicate clothes can be washed at a very low temperature.
This technology was first introduced by Samsung and later similar technology was developed by IFB under the name O2 technology.
Flexwash and Twinwash
We know that front Loading Washing machines have some advantages and top-loading washing machines also have some advantages. Right?
How about having the benefit of both front Loading and top-loading in a single machine? That is called Flexwash, which Samsung first introduced.
Basically, Flexwash technology has a bigger front Loading tub for heavy loads and a small top-loading tub for smaller loads. You will get the benefit of both front Loading and top-loading functions in a single machine.
LG introduced similar technology called Twinwash where you will get two tubs like Samsung Flexwash.
6 Motion Direct Drive Technology
Different cloth requires a different motion type for optimum washing. Washing machines are smart enough to detect cloth types, and based on that, they can choose different motion technology.
LG has recently come up with 6 motion direct drive Technology that offers different motion technologies like stepping, swing, tumble, scrubbing, rolling, and filtration.
With preset motion type, wash performance will be improved and clothes also won’t be damaged.
Different companies adopt similar technology with different names, but the basic working principle is the same.
6th Sense Soft Move Technology
Whirlpool introduced this technology. The 6th Sense Soft Move Technology can detect cloth types, and based on that, it can select different programs. This technology is similar to 6 motion Direct drive technology developed by LG.
6th Sense Soft Move Technology comes with different wash programs like a soft cradle, energy wash, slow motion, Power shower, color bath, and asymmetric motion.
Innovative Drum Technologies
The drum is the heart of a washing machine. A washing machine can wash clothes as the drum rotates. Manufacturers are innovating different drum technologies in washing machines to increase the efficiency and wash performance.
Bosch has come up with VarioDrum technology that can wash different types of clothes in different drum rotational positions. When the drum rotates in one direction, the flat side of a paddle attached to the drum cleans delicate clothes, in the opposite direction, the steep side cleans heavy dirty clothes.
Samsung has a different technology called Diamond Drum Technology, where the holes are 25% smaller and cut into the tip of diamond-shaped embosses. Due to that, there are fewer chances for clothes to stick outside the drum and damage them.
BubbleSoak And SuperSoak Technology
It is proven that the better the soaking capability a washing machine has, the better cleaning performance it will offer. Off late, there are different new technologies in the market with different soaking technology.
Samsung has introduced Bubblesoak technology that can remove stubborn strain with the touch of a button. Basically, in bubble soak technology, the washing machine creates foams that can penetrate better in the clothes and quickly remove strain.
The key benefit of bubble soak is that you can wash very delicate clothes at low temperatures, and thus there is no chance of damaging the clothes.
Whirlpool has its own technology called SuperSoak which can also remove tough strain with the touch of a button by an incessant soaking scrubbing mechanism.
Vibration Reduction Technology
Washing machines have many moving parts. So there are more vibration, and more vibration means more noise. Trust me, the noise of washing machines are very annoying.
This is one of the grey areas where every manufacturer is trying to come up with something innovative.
Samsung has a technology called Vibration Reduction Technology that can reduce the vibration drastically when it is above the acceptable limit.
It uses special sensors that can sense the vibration level and accordingly adjust the tub rotation speed. With this technology, your washing machine will always be under a balanced load, and the vibration and noise will be very less.
Auto Dispensing Technology
We always make the mistake of putting the wrong amount of detergent powder/ liquid during washing. That is why many times, washing machines can not wash our clothes efficiently.
Please make a note that either you put more detergent or less detergent, both are harmful. You need to put in the right amount of detergent as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Many washing machines nowadays are coming with auto-dispensing technology that can detect the size of load and type of cycle and, based on that, dispense the detergent, fabric softener, etc.
With Auto Dispensing Technology, you will always get the perfect amount of detergent, which will make sure that you have a perfect wash. Whirlpool has a similar technology called auto-detergent dosage technology.
Aqua Energie Technology
Hard water is one of the main enemies of washing machines. It affects the wash performance drastically due to the fact that hard water does not dissolve into the detergent properly.
On top of that, it can also damage the drum by salt deposition. In India, we mostly used hard water. So this concern is more severe for us.
IFB had a technology called Aqua Energie that can convert hard water into soft water by breaking the bicarbonates into fine crystals. Those fine crystals can quickly be drained away, and you will get soft water
The world is edging toward the ” Connected Home” concept with the evolution of digitization. What that means is that you can control all your home Appliances, kitchen Appliances, and other electronic devices with the press of a button on a remote device.
Washing machines are coming with ” Smart Diagnosis” that can detect any issue in the machine and display it on your smartphone with the help of NFC ( Near Field Communication)
Few washing machines in developed countries like the USA have a special electronic device that can start the machine with a command from your smartphone.
Just think that you are not at home, but still, you can wash your clothes remotely. This is so fascinating. Is it not?
Best Washing Machine Brand In India
There are numerous brands in India that sell washing machines. Here are few of the brands.
LG: Trust Me, They make great washing machines with unique technologies. Their washing machines are priced reasonably compared to the features they offer. The after-sales support is good compared to other vendors.
Bosch: Bosch is known for reliability, and their washing machines are excellent and reliable. You may not find fancy features in Bosch washing machines. However, if you are looking for a solid washing machine, they you can go with Bosch.
IFB: Off late, this brand became very popular in the home appliances arena. No doubt they make great washing machines and constantly innovate new technologies. But unless the after-sales support is improved, betting on an IFB washing machine is still a risk.
Samsung: How can we forget about the No#1 electronic giant? Their offerings are excellent, and they make some good washing machines.
But I feel that Samsung should see what others are offering in a certain price range and try to match the same to gain more market share.
For example, A Samsung washing machine with a Rs 30000 price tag does not offer direct drive technology, but LG offers that for under Rs 25000 machine.
Whirlpool: Being the No#1 home appliance company in the USA, I can blindly bet on Whirlpool. Their low-cost top-loading washing machines are great. But when it comes to a high-end premium washing machines, they are way behind LG
Washing Machine Care And Maintenance
Here are few of the tips that you may follow to keep your washing machine in a good condition for a longer period of time.
- Always try to use soft water
- Never overload your washing machine.
- Use only the company-recommended detergent powder or liquid
- Don’t use too much or too little detergent. Use what manufacturers recommend.
- Never put clothes with coins in them. If the coin is stuck in the tub, then it’s a costly repair.
- Never install a washing machine in a bathroom.
- Always install the washing machine on a flat surface
- Never keep your washing machine under the sun.
- Run tub clean cycle at least once a month
- Never try to open the door or lid when the machine is running.
- Always connect to a port where good grounding is possible.
- Never try to service your washing machine by yourself unless you are an expert.
Conclusion: Washing Machine Buying Guide
That’s it. We are done with this article. I hope I could able to offer you enough knowledge to make an informed decision before buying your favorite washing machine.
Still, if you have any questions or queries, then I am just a comment away. Just pen down your query in the comment section and you will get a resolution.
FAQ | Washing Machine Buying Guide
Front Load Vs Top Load washer. Which is better?
It purely depends on your requirement. Both are good in their respective areas. The front-loading washing machine is good if you are concerned about water and electricity but comes with a high price tag. Top-load washing machines consume more water and electricity, but they are cheap compared to front-load washing machines.
Shall I use detergent powder or detergent liquid?
Determent liquid is preferred as it can easily dissolve into water
Can I use any detergent liquid or I should use company-recommended detergent liquid only?
It is the best bet to use company-recommended detergent liquid only to get the best wash performance.
Can I use the same detergent liquid for the top-loading washing and front-loading washing machine?
No. You are not supposed to use the same type of detergent power in both machines. The reason is, that in top-loading machines, you need more foam, and in front-loading washing machines, you need less foam. Decide accordingly, but again the best suggestion would be to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Why front load washers are costlier than top load washers?
Stabilizing a top-loading washing machine is very easy due to gravity. But stabilizing a front-loading washing machine needs many parts and mechanisms. Since there are more parts and complex mechanisms, front-loading machines are costly.