How to choose a washing machine: we help you determine the criteria
Choosing a washing machine for your home is a relatively simple task (compared to many other types of household and computer equipment), but there are some nuances here. Therefore, it is best to determine the main criteria in advance, which will minimize the number of specific models among which you will need to make a final choice. Let's list these parameters and see what they affect.
Type and size of washing machine
The simplest and most obvious parameter is the size of your future washing machine and the type of Laundry loading (front or vertical).
You should also decide whether you need a built-in or stand-alone machine. Built-in washing machines are usually installed in the kitchen. I must say that embedded cars are not very popular in Russia. A more common option is with a free — standing washing machine, which is installed in the bathroom (in small apartments, machines of a reduced size are often installed – “under the sink”).
Most washing machines are 81-85 cm high. For compact models that are installed under the sink, the height does not exceed 65-70 cm. Built-in machines are equipped with legs that allow you to change the height so that the machine fits the height of the kitchen set. Let's add that if you prefer the model with vertical loading, then you will need to add several tens of centimeters to the height of the car for the opening lid. The same is true for the model with horizontal loading: it is better to check in advance how convenient it will be to open the hatch during daily operation.
Keep in mind that models with vertical loading have two significant advantages. The first is universal: they allow you to add Laundry to the Laundry after starting the program without canceling it (who has never found a t-shirt accidentally forgotten outside half a minute after pressing the start button?). The second is sure to be appreciated by the elderly: in order to load and remove the Laundry, you almost do not have to bend down or squat. If you are planning to buy a washing machine for an elderly person, vertical loading can be safely put in the list of the most important priorities. But there are no “verticals” in the built-in version (after all, it would need a special rising table top), and it will not be possible to use it as an additional shelf in the bathroom.
However, in fairness, it should be noted that washing machines with front loading, allowing adding something to the tank during the washing process, still exist. They have recently started to be released by Samsung. in its terminology, this is called the “AddWash” function. It is implemented quite simply.
The maximum amount of Laundry that can be loaded into the washing machine depends on the depth of the washing machine. In case of lack of free space, you can limit yourself to a small machine with a depth of 30-40 centimeters, which will allow you to wash from 3 to 5 kg of Laundry — this is enough for one or two people. Machines with a depth of up to 50 centimeters allow you to wash up to 6-7 kg at a time. Increasing the depth to 60 centimeters will increase the maximum amount of linen to 8-10 kg, which is best suited for a large family.
More popular front-loading machines will require about 50 centimeters of free space in front of the machine in order to fully open the loading hatch. By the way: one of the modern trends that can only be welcomed is to make loading hatches of washing machines with front loading of the largest possible diameter. This really simplifies and facilitates the process of loading Laundry.
Note that in addition to traditional drum washing machines, there are also activator-type machines. In an activator-type machine, Laundry is loaded from above into a stationary tank, and the contents of the tank are mixed due to the operation of the activator — a rotating shaft with blades. I must say that such machines are not too common. Primarily due to the fact that most of them do not connect to the water supply and require the user to pour and drain water manually (using a special hose). Spin in such machines, if present, then, as a rule, in the form of a separate drum-centrifuge. Models in which washing and pressing are performed in the same tank are not very common. But these machines can be used where there is no running water. For example, in the country.
The most common scheme is that the washing machine is equipped with a drawer with three compartments: under the washing agent for pre-washing, the washing agent for the main wash and the rinse aid. The first two compartments again traditionally and in the vast majority of cases involve the use of powder detergents, the rinse aid, on the contrary, is assumed to be liquid.
This scheme suits almost everyone, except for those who use the gel, but do not want to completely abandon pre-washing: in all other cases, the gel can be poured directly into the drum, but after pre-washing, the drain will be made, and the main one will take place simply without a washing agent. In this case, you should look for a model in which the box is equipped with an additional partition that prevents the gel from pouring out: this partition is removed when using the powder and installed if you use the gel.
There are washing machines with automatic supply of detergent: in special containers in the machine, the washing gel and conditioner-rinse are filled, after which you can simply load the Laundry and choose the washing program — the machine will add the necessary amount of funds at the appropriate stages itself. The main thing is not to forget to add funds to the tanks in time: in some models, control over their availability is completely transferred to the user.
Not so long ago, washing machines with an inverter motor appeared on the market, the design of which does not imply the use of brushes, and therefore, such an engine will have reduced wear. The key feature of such a motor is the presence of a frequency Converter that changes the speed and speed of the drum, converting current from DC to AC. This allows you to more accurately control the operation of the mechanism.
In comparison with traditional inverter motors, they operate almost noiselessly, and their efficiency is higher by an average of 20%. In addition, inverter machines are able to wring out Laundry at high speed.
Despite all the above, we can not say unequivocally that buying a washing machine with an inverter motor is certainly a rational decision in terms of price-quality ratio. The price of such engines is high, and the cost of repair will also be high if it fails.
Quality of the wash and spin
The next point that usually interests a person who chooses a washing machine is the quality of washing and pressing clothes. The first parameter determines how clean your Laundry will be after washing. From the second — how dry it will be.
The washing class is a rather difficult parameter to understand, invented more than 20 years ago and calculated based on the washing of “reference” dirty Laundry in various machines. To date, this parameter is almost meaningless: almost all modern washing machines have a class A or higher (A+, A++, A+++), and it is unlikely to notice the difference between these classes with the naked eye.
But the spin class is quite understandable and adequate characteristic, by which you can understand how dry (or Vice versa — how wet) the Laundry that you get out of the washing machine will be.
A (less than 45% humidity)
B (45%-54% humidity)
C (54%-63% humidity)
D (63%-72% humidity)
E (72%-81% humidity)
F (81%-90% humidity)
G (more than 90%)
At the same time, models in the range from A to E are widely represented on the market, and therefore this parameter is very important when choosing.
The spin quality can also be determined by the maximum available spin speed. For most home washing machines, it is usually in the range of 800 to 1200 rpm. For most household tasks, 1000 rpm is sufficient, and higher values usually mean that the machine will have a large load (for example, it is supposed to wash a lot of Laundry for a large family).
Energy class and water consumption
Since we are talking about different classes, it is not superfluous to mention the energy consumption class. The same scale is used here — from A+++ to G. Calculations are made for washing 1 kilogram of cotton linen at a water temperature of 60 °C.
Class A models, which were previously the most economical, use less than 0.19 kWh/kg. Class A+ corresponds to a consumption of less than 0.17 kWh/kg, A++ — less than 0.15 kWh/kg, and A+++ — less than 0.13 kWh/kg. In addition, the standard water consumption per wash is specified for each machine. On average, this parameter ranges from 36 to 60 liters, although you can also find models that require more than 100 liters. It is clear that if there is a water meter, this water consumption can significantly affect the amount of the monthly bill.
The Laundry drying function is quite a useful feature that allows you to use freshly laundered Laundry immediately after the machine is finished (of course, you will have to iron it again). In addition, the linen will not have to be hung, and therefore, it is possible to save free space in the apartment. If you decide to opt for a washing machine with a drying function, it will not be superfluous to check a few nuances.First, it is the number of drying programs. Different drying modes are suitable for different types of fabrics, so it is better that your machine is universal and can dry synthetic fabrics, cotton, wool, etc.
Secondly, we must not forget that the maximum amount of Laundry that the machine can dry will be about half as much as the maximum amount of Laundry that it can wash.
Third, we note that simple models simply dry the Laundry for a certain time, and more advanced ones measure the humidity in the tank, thus allowing not only to save electricity, but also, for example, to get slightly wet Laundry, which is best suited for Ironing.
The noise level is a simple and clear parameter from which you can determine whether your machine is suitable for installation in the immediate vicinity of, for example, a bedroom or in a combined kitchen-living room. For most standard situations, a car with a noise level of no more than 55 dB is quite suitable.
Almost all modern washing machines (with the exception of activator ones) have an electronic control system. However, the appearance of the control panel, as well as the overall usability, may differ significantly. Some machines are equipped with a special display that shows what stage of program execution the machine is currently at. It can also display hints and error codes in case something goes wrong.
In activator machines, you can still find a mechanical control system, in which the user sets all the necessary parameters manually — using knobs and buttons.
Availability of additional programs
Depending on the needs of different users, it may be important to have certain special programs and additional features. Let's mention the most important ones. The name of many of them speaks for itself:Bio-phase — preheating water to 40 °C for 10-15 minutes, which allows the action of bio-additives that affect organic pollutants
Foam level control — draining the water and then removing the foam after a certain cycle is completed
Night mode — a special mode in which the machine does not switch to “noisy” modes (for example, it does not wring out the Laundry after washing)
Pre-wash or soaking
Special programs for outerwear, delicate fabrics, children's items, jeans, downy items, mixed fabrics, sports shoes, sportswear, black items, silk, wool, etc.
All these functions only make sense if you really plan to use at least some of them. From our point of view, the minimum required set of programs looks like this:
pre – wash
neat (“gentle”, “manual») wash
the ability to disable the spin cycle
This set, in combination with manual temperature control, is 99% likely to be enough for all occasions, and it is present in almost all modern washing machines.
After talking about programs, it's time to mention such a fashionable combination as Fuzzy Logic or “intelligent Laundry management”. A washing machine with this function has a set of sensors that monitor the weight of the Laundry, its degree of contamination, water hardness, and so on.
Based on the data received from these sensors, the Central processor automatically determines the required washing time, the amount of water and the appropriate mode.
For example, an optical sensor will determine the degree of contamination of Laundry by water transparency, and the nature of contamination will be determined by the rate of water contamination with microparticles.
It is clear that such machines will cost significantly more, and some users may even be deterred by such “interference of technology” in the usual area. After all, there may be surprises: for example, you decided that your underwear will be ready in an hour, and the machine considered that it needs at least two hours. However, judging by user reviews, most of them are inclined to trust automation and evaluate this innovation positively. After all, automation will avoid overspending of washing powder and eliminate situations when the machine spends time on additional washing of already clean Laundry.
Protection from leaks
Finally, the last, but important point for many is protection against leaks. After all, the washing machine interacts with water every day, and therefore, if any part fails, a flood may occur. The most vulnerable places in this case are the water supply and discharge hoses, as well as the body of the machine itself.
The machine body is traditionally protected by a pallet and float: if water gets into the pallet, the float rises and shuts off the system. The hoses are protected by nested “double” hoses and solenoid valves. If water enters the “external” hose, the protection system is activated and the water supply is stopped. By the way, such a hose can be installed separately — they are suitable for almost all washing machines. Full protection allows you not to worry about potential accidents and safely turn on the Laundry, even if you are not at home (using the delayed start function).
In fact, almost any modern washing machine is 99% likely to cope with the tasks that you put in front of it. Therefore, the most important selection criteria are purely geometric parameters: whether it can fit into the room that you plan for it. Everything else is an option, not so essential. One of the most important is the capacity: how much linen the machine can stretch at a time. Obviously, this amount should not “strain “you — that is, the amount of Laundry washed should be more than used to provide the necessary stock: at least one set should remain “clean” at all times.