8 of the best washing machines 

Person putting clothes in a washing machine
Doing the washing doesn't have to be a chore with the right washing machine

It’s a household task that there’s no escaping, so choosing the right washing machine is an investment worth making. An efficient machine can make doing the washing a lot less of a chore, saving both time and money - and keep your clothes fresh, clean and looking good as new. The new wave of smart washing machines which connect to Wi-Fi could even help you to organise your washing remotely, and make sure you never run out of detergent.

But first, you’ll need to consider what size drum to get. Consider the quantities of clothes, bedding and towels you’ll be turning around - a large household might require an 8kg capacity machine (which could hold a double duvet, or up to 35 men’s shirts). However, if you’re single or only have a small family, a 5 or 6kg washing machine is more than sufficient, and will easily hold a single duvet and the equivalent of 25 or so T-shirts. "Invest in a washing machine that can look after your washing needs, taking into consideration the drum size and the type of garments that you have to wash. Bigger isn’t always better or necessary,” advises Richard Trefler, laundry category manager at Miele.

Vic Sinclair, large electricals buyer at John Lewis, agrees. "The main things to consider when buying a washing machine are the types of clothes and fabrics you're washing, how many loads are you washing on a daily or weekly basis and whether you need to opt for a larger capacity machine, and timing. How quickly do you need your clothes washed?" 

Trefler also highly recommends a machine with automatic dispensing. "Automatic detergent dispensing is becoming much more prevalent and is the best way to help save both time and money,” he says. “Using this feature means you no longer have to worry about getting the dosage right, as the machine will calculate the precise amount required for each individual wash load and dose it at the optimum point in the cycle, for the smartest, most caring clean."

The display is important too - be sure to choose a machine you find easy to use. Trefler is full of tips for those who are stretched for time for domestic chores, and points to the efficiency of pre-ironing programmes. “If you have a busy lifestyle consider a model with quick or PowerWash cycles, offering a thorough wash in less than an hour.  More customers are also liking the benefits that pre-ironing programmes can offer, helping to take the hassle out of this chore by injecting bursts of steam at the end of the cycle to smooth clothes, for easier ironing."

As with fridges and televisions, the washing machine can increasingly be integrated into a modern smart home. "The market for smart appliances is growing and the capabilities offered by these appliances are increasing. We have introduced AppControl on selected models. It allowing customers to control their machines remotely, enabling them to take care of their laundry when they are elsewhere.  It offers a helpful WashAssistant, determining the best programme for every wash. Meanwhile, our TwinDos technology reminds users when the detergent containers are running low, with the option to easily order more when required."

According to Trefler, it also pays to do your research. “Online can be a good place to start, browsing in the comfort of your own home, but still being fully informed,” he suggests. “There is a wide variety of information available from technical specifications, as well as individual features, dimensions, installation recommendations and previous customer reviews."

Generally, we'd suggest that for home use, you'll be after a front-loading washing machine rather than a top-load washing machine, which uses more water and detergent, and are gentler on fabrics. We've largely featured freestanding washing machines here, but if you would like to go for an integrated in-built washing machine, there's a number of options available at Currys, John Lewis and Amazon. Other brands to look out for include Hotpoint, Beki, Indesit and Zanussi. 

Here, we recommend the best washing machines to buy from top brands including Bosch, Miele, AEG and John Lewis. 

1. Bosch 9kg WAT28371GB freestanding washing machine

£479, AO.com

This machine is gigantic, with a 1400 rpm spin. It would be well suited to large families with huge amounts of washing to get done. However, it also boasts VarioPerfect technology, which allows you to choose between saving time or saving energy. If you’re in a hurry, select SpeedPerfect and wash a full load of laundry in just one hour - or opt for EcoPerfect to conserve energy. A two-year guarantee is included and it measures 84.8cm high, 59.8cm wide and 59cm deep. 

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2. AEG L7FEE865R 8kg freestanding washing machine

£649.99, John Lewis

This machine has an impressive 1600rpm spin paired with a "gentle" drum. "For anyone who hates ironing, these AEG washing machines use steam as a quick and easy way to refresh creased clothes," says electricals buyer Vic Sinclair. "The short and gentle steam programme safely removes odours and reduces creases in dry fabrics. You can also finish your wash cycle with a gentle steam, so clothes need little to no ironing."

It has SoftPlus technology to care for garments, and a five-year guarantee is included. It has also been accredited with the Woolmark certification thanks to its wool programme, designed for minimal agitation of delicate woollen fibres. It measures 85cm high, 60cm wide and 60.1cm deep. It's not too noisy either, which means you can use it late at night without disturbing the rest of the house. 

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3. John Lewis JLWM1407 7kg freestanding washing machine

£349, John Lewis

"The ideal solution for time short customers, this freestanding washing machine boasts a rapid 14 programme which can wash 15 shirts in just 15 minutes, making it the perfect for last-minute loads," recommends Sinclair. 

This smart machine also has an AutoSensing feature which adapts the programme to suit the size of the load and deliver a tailored wash." With a three-year guarantee included, it's good value for the price, and has a decent green energy rating too. It has a spin of 1400rpm and is 85cm high, 60cm wide and 57cm deep. 

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4. Miele WEA025 Freestanding Washing Machine

£629, John Lewis

Durability and long life make for a sound investment, and the A+++ energy-rated Miele WEA025 can certainly be praised for both. Miele machines are known to last for around 20 years, regardless of each model's additional features. "[Miele washing machines are] not only energy-efficient but also boast very high-performance standards," says Sinclair.

It has a 7kg load, twelve different wash programmes (including a super-fast Quick Wash mode and brilliant Hand Wash and Wool cycles), plus a two-year guarantee. It's renowned for gentle care of clothes, and won't pile or ladder them.

The time delay function means you can set the wash programme to start at a time that fits in with your daily schedule, too, while 'AddLoad' lets you add forgotten items (like those pesky dropped socks) while a cycle is running. All in all, this Miele washing machine is high-tech, low-cost and expertly cares for your clothes.

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5. John Lewis JLWM1437 8kg freestanding washing machine

£529, John Lewis

This washing machine is quiet, yet powerful, and the 1600rpm spin speed reduces drying times and keeps fabric creasing to a minimum. It also boasts an anti-allergy feature - the Sanitise allergen removal programme provides peace of mind for allergy sufferers, while the Auto Sensing program that adapts to suit the size of the load.

It has a three-year guarantee and is 85cm high, 60cm wide and 57cm wide. You can opt for five years added care for your home appliance for £80. 

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6. Whirlpool FWG71484W 7kg 1400rpm Freestanding Washing Machine

£306.97, Appliances Direct

This medium-capacity washing machine from Whirlpool means business.

This model hosts a wide range specialist wash programmes and intuitive '6th Sense' sensors within the drum. These assess how dirty your laundry is, saving up to 50 per cent on energy, water and time, as well as reducing detergent wastage. The A+++ energy-efficient Quick Wash can handle daily cleans brilliantly, and only takes thirty minutes. 

As a 1400rpm machine, you'll be pleased to find it can also tackle 7kg washes without making tonnes of noise.  The average noise level is 51dB, making it a great choice for open-plan or smaller homes. Its Soft Move' technology customises the drum movements to the material being washed, so silks and wools are treated with extra gentle care.

With 16 different programmes to cater to your needs (everything from Big Items/Duvet washes to synthetics cold washes), you couldn't really ask for more. And its two-year warranty will offer extra peace of mind.

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7. Samsung "Ecobubble" WW90J5456FX 9kg washing machine

£399, Currys

Samsung's Ecobubble range of washing machines is renowned for getting rid of stubborn stains at low temperatures, which is good for both the environment and your bills. The Ecobubble technology involves mixing your detergent with water and air to create a bubbly mixture that removes dirt easily.

The design of the drum prevents the snagging of clothes and the quick wash function allows you to wash 2kg in just 15 minutes. It has 14 different wash programmes. We rather like the stylish slate-black hue of this particular model, which makes a welcome change from stark white machines.

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8. Samsung AddWash WW70K5410WW/EU 7 kg 1400

£479.97, Appliances Direct

For an even snazzier Samsung machine, we also highly recommend the 1400rpm Samsung AddWash WW70K5410WW/EU freestanding washing machine.

It boasts an innovative door which lets you drop extras into the wash at any time, whether that's extra softener or a stray sock. It haseverything going for it - it's quiet, has the best possible energy rating, a super eco wash setting (among many others) and it even plays rather jaunty tune at the end of each cycle. 

With Smart Check, it can also detect and diagnose problems at an early stage, providing quick and easy solutions using via smartphone app (read: no unnecessary engineer callouts).

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Our conclusion

"In terms of best sellers, John Lewis own brand washing machines have seen great demand as they boast energy efficiency, clothes care, large capacity drums as well as a three year guarantee," emphasises John Lewis large electricals buyer Vic Sinclair. "Customers looking for a quick wash facility are opting for Samsung models which also boast AddWash, enabling customers to add to the wash, during the wash for anyone who occasionally finds the odd dirty sock after they've put the washing on. "

For a smart washing machine with all the bells and whistles you could wish for we recommend the Samsung AddWash washing machine (£497.97, Appliances Direct) as the best buy. If you're on a budget and looking for a small washing machine, but don't want to compromise on quality, we point you in the direction of the John Lewis JLWM1407 7kg freestanding washing machine (£349, John Lewis). If you're fan of Bosch appliances, we'd say go for the Bosch 9kg WAT28371GB freestanding washing machine (£479, John Lewis).