21 April 2013 by Nishant Soni
Buying a washing machine can easily be a daunting task simply because of the number of choices available. Investing in the right washing machine for your laundry can make your life that much easier while a wrong machine can make your life that much worse. We've detailed some of the important points to contemplate before you begin searching for a washing machine that fits your budget as well as lifestyle.
How large a machine?
The answer to this boils down to two factors:
Space: This is one of the most important features you need to consider when buying a washing machine. Washing machines come in a wide range of styles and shapes. So you need to be sure of the amount of space you can set aside for a washing machine in your house. A washer/dryer combo can be very good for houses with limited space.
Loading capacity: Consider the headcount of your family and how much laundry piles up in a day. The capacity today's washers is often given in cu ft or cubic feet rather than pounds or kgs which is sometimes confusing, so we've broken that down to two broad guidelines: For a 4 to 5 member household a 4 cubic ft washer capacity capable of 12 to 16 pounds is sufficient. If your needs go higher you could opt for a larger one with a 4.5 cubic ft capacity which can hold about 20 pounds.
How significant is spin speed?
The spin speed of your washer directly affects how dry or wet your laundry is when its done and is measured as rotations per minute (rpm). The highest spin speed of your washer can fall anywhere between 600 rpm and 1800 rpm depending on the model and its price tag. Choosing the right spin speed while washing and while buying is quite perplexing to most of us but ultimately comes down to personal preference.
A high spin speed of 1800 rpm is a tad harsh on delicate fabrics on which it's best to use not more than 600 to 800 rpm.
However some users opine that a high spin speed means less energy consumed during the tumble dry process. So balancing this out is really up to you. At 600 rpm to 1200 rpm your laundry is still going to have about 40% to 70% dampness but it's fine if you intend to run it through a dry cycle or hang it out to dry. The ideal procedure to maintain the texture of your fabric is to use lower spin and either tumble dry or hang them out. If you intend to hang your clothes inside the house however, its best to have a washer that can do around 1200 rpm, after which an hour on the clothesline would do.
A wash cycle is essentially a preset program that takes into account the kind of material you've put in and instructs your machine accordingly. The wash time, amount of agitation and spin speed are all dependent on the program you choose which can either keep your delicate fabric intact or give your jeans a thorough cleaning. The best washers today come with anywhere between 4 and 9 wash cycles depending on their price.
While 9 programs are not really necessary, make sure you have specific wash cycles for cotton, wool and delicates.
Furthermore, the most prominent difference among washing machines is the type of loading and your options include front loading and top loading washing machines. Both the types offer a many advantages and disadvantages over each other. A front loading washing machine is an ideal option to conserve space while the top load is more stable but occupies more space.
In addition to these, you might want to take a look at some of the other factors such as the energy efficiency and the noise. Energy efficiency is very important especially if you wash clothes at regular intervals. Some washing machines have a tendency to escalate your electricity and water bills and at high spin speeds many washers tend to rumble a bit.