Washing Machine Buying Guide – How to choose the best?

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: November 23, 2022

large variety of washing machines to choose from.
Different varieties of washing machines displayed in a showroom.

Before buying a washing machine, making some advanced planning is the first step you need to consider. As an example, how long does it take to do your laundry? Is your family large and requires daily laundry, or are you a single person or a couple without children? Since no two households have the same laundry needs, choosing a washing machine according to your needs may seem a challenging task.

With so many washing machines and different programs available in India, choosing the right one can be quite challenging. It is possible to find several energy-efficient models and options if you are concerned about your carbon footprint. Considering this fact, your budget also plays a role in your choice. Let us help you simplify your search for the best washing machine with our detailed washing machine buying guide.

1 Types of Washing machines

Semi-Automatic washing machine

A semi-automatic washing machine consists of two drums, one for washing and another for drying the clothes. Compared to a fully-automatic washing machine, semi-automatic washing machines consume less water and are much cheaper. This is the reason why you will find them in most Indian houses including that they also consume less electricity.

In addition to performing basic tasks automatically, semi-automatic washing machines also require manual input. Including, filling the tub up with water, emptying it later, removing clothing from the wash tub, placing it into the drying tub, etc.

a semi-automatic washing machine
A white colored semi-automatic washing machine with the lid open for dryer.

Fully-Automatic washing machine

Fully-automatic washing machines, in contrast to semi-automatic ones, are truly automatic. It only takes a few minutes to put all your clothes in the machine and then remove them after the washing is finished. The machine takes care of everything from filling up the water to washing the clothes and later on drying them out. Fully automatic washing machines have a single tub that can be used for both drying and washing. Adding water or switching compartments is no longer necessary.

There are, however, several disadvantages to fully automatic machines, such as their cost and weight. Along with consuming more electricity, they also require a constant and sufficient supply of water. But looking on the good side, they are easy to use and also result in effective results at the end of each cycle.

Fully automatic washing machines are further classified into two categories, top load washing machines, and front load washing machines.

a white colored fully-automatic front-load washing machine
A white colored fully-automatic front-load washing machine with different mode settings and LED Display.

Top-Loading washing machine

Top-loading washing machines are fully automated machines for washing clothes that can be loaded from the top. The upward-facing drum allows you to easily put in the clothes for washing and remove it after the wash cycle is completed.

Top-load washing machines are less energy-intensive and lighter in weight. These washing machines use a specific detergent, which can be either in liquid or powder form. The advantage of top-loading washers is that you don’t have to bend over to put your clothes in and you can also add additional clothes in between the wash cycle.

The top load washing machine has a single tub that is used for washing and drying. In comparison to front-load machines, they offer fewer wash programs, making them a cheaper option.

A white colored top-loading washing machine
A white colored top-loading washing machine with an opened washing detergent tray and different controls.

Front-Loading washing machine

A front-load washing machine offers an extensive range of wash programs along with being strong and heavy. In comparison with other washing machines, they are less noisy and provide better wash quality.

To wash clothes in a front load washing machine, you need to put your clothes from the front. You only need to put the clothes in and add detergent; everything else happens automatically, including supplying water, rinsing after washing, and so on. Washing and drying are handled by a single tub.

When compared with the other two machines on the list, front-loaders provide excellent wash quality. If you are on a tight budget, a front load might not be the perfect washing machine for you. Also, front-load washing machines tend to cost more to repair and maintain.

A white colored front load washing machine
A white colored front-loading washing machine with digital display and controls.

2 Features to look in a washing machine

Fuzzy Logic

Having a fuzzy logic or auto-select feature can reduce your effort of figuring out the perfect wash cycle up to a greater extent. With this feature, the machine automatically selects the most appropriate washing program depending on the amount of load. Moreover, it automatically detects the weight, selects the washing cycle time, detergent, and water required, and starts washing within no time.

Delay Timer

If you are a working couple with a busy work schedule or do not often have time to monitor the wash cycle, this feature is just for you! With this flexible feature, you can plan your washing ahead of your schedule and also delay your washing cycle for up to 0 to 24 hours.

This advanced feature is very useful while you’re out or asleep. The washing machine will automatically start the washing cycle on its own without any human interaction.

delay timer feature for washing machine
A washing machine display indicating the delay timer feature.

Temperature Control

With the temperature control feature, you can clean tough stains even at high temperatures. If your washing machine has an inbuilt heater, you get the flexibility to control the water. This feature becomes very fruitful during winter. The other advantage of using hot water is that it cleans your clothes better as compared to cold water.

temperature control feature in a washing machine
A person adjusting the temperature on a washing machine with the temperature control knob.

LED Display

Nowadays, washing machines have large displays that can make it easier for the user to read and identify which specific operation is being performed. The display can also feature a few other important parameters, such as washing, spinning, drying, timer, type of clothes, and temperature setting. On the other hand, it is absent in almost every semi-automatic washing machine.

led display of a washing machine
LED Display displaying the different features, modes and controls in a washing machine.

Bubble Wash

The bubbles produced by this feature penetrate deeper into the fabric and provide better wash results. The key principle here is to convert the detergent particle into a bubble that inflates around the soaked clothes and penetrates the fabric to remove dirt rooted in the fabric.

bubble wash mode for wash cycle
Bubble wash to convert the detergent particle into a bubble for removing dirt from the fabric.

Steam Wash

A unique and advanced feature among all others, you get to enjoy this functionality only with washing machines in the expensive category. You can remove tough stains and keep your clothes smelling fresh with a stream wash. With the help of steam, heat, and humidity, a force is transmitted onto the clothes which leaves them clean and new forever!

3 Things to look for when choosing a washing machine

Washing machine capacity

Washing machines are chosen based on their load capacity, which is measured in kilograms and relates to the number of family members. To get the best wash quality, it is advisable to only fill the drum one-third full.

The drum material

Plastic, porcelain enamel, or stainless steel are the most common materials used in washing machine drums. The durability of plastic tubs is greater than that of enamel tubs, which chip and rust easily. Tubs made of stainless steel are the most durable, last longer, and can sustain high spin speeds.

stainless steel washing machine drum
A washing machine drum made of stainless steel.

Spin Cycle

After washing the clothes, spin cycles are used to dry them. In other words, this factor determines the time that a machine will take to dry clothes.

In comparison to machines with lower (RPM) revolutions per minute, those with higher revolutions per minute have better drying capacity and take less time to dry.

spin cycles in a washing machine.
Different types of spin cycles for washing various types of clothes based on the type of fabric.

Quick Wash

This is a great feature when you need to wash clothes quickly before going somewhere. Compared to the usual wash cycle, it takes only 30-36 minutes to wash 2 to 3 kg of clothing. However, the time needed by the wash cycle is dependent entirely on the amount of load.

Pre-Soak

To wash your clothes automatically, you must soak them for a certain period before starting the cycle. The stains come loose and are easier to remove after presoaking. Put your clothes in the washing machine, bucket, or tub, then add your detergent.

clothes soaked in a bucket.
A bucket with pre-soaked clothes indicating pre-soak feature of a washing machine.

Detergent Dispenser

As a consumer, you should look forward to this aspect if you’re not sure what detergent is appropriate for your washing cycle. If you use less detergent, it can lead to discoloration and unpleasant odors, affecting the quality of cleaning. Similarly, if you use more quantity of detergent, you will require more water for rinsing off the detergent and your detergent stock may also drain out sooner.

Therefore, choosing an automatic detergent dispenser washer is a smart choice since it can automatically calculate the required quantity of detergent depending on the load of clothes you need to wash.

detergent dispenser for washing the clothes
A woman adding detergent in a detergent dispenser for better wash in a washing machine.

Hard Water Compatibility

Throughout India, hard water is a very common problem, and detergents have a very difficult time dissolving in it. As a result, salt deposits accumulate around the drum and supply pipes, eventually choking and clogging them.

Looking into this problem, many manufacturers have integrated hard water treatment technology into their newer models which can convert hard water into soft water for an enhanced washing experience.

difference between semi-automatic and fully-automatic washing machine
Comparison table for Semi-Automatic vs Fully-Automatic washing machine.

4 Tips for purchasing a washing machine

washing machine capacity comparison guide
A picture with table indicating different washing machine capacities and relevant wash load for clothes and family size.

FAQ's about Washing Machines

Which type of washing machine is best for home use?

Washing machines with stainless steel drums are ideal for domestic use as they are the most durable and can withstand high spin speeds. For a small family we recommend you to buy a semi automatic washing machine.

As per the reviews from our team of experts, Samsung, LG, and Whirlpool are India’s most reliable brands for washing machines. In a study, the Yale Appliance Company found that less than 7% of the units they sold needed maintenance. Also, as per customer satisfaction surveys, Samsung and LG lead the way.

Generally, washing machines last between 10 and 13 years, although some brands produce more durable machines.

Here are some indicators for you to know that your washing machine needs to be replaced and you should start saving money for a new washing machine.

  • Even though the machine still works, the water hasn’t been drained.
  • Your family’s washing needs are not been fulfilled or the washing machine is now small for your family.
  • The noise levels are on higher now than they should be.
  • As soon as the cycle is complete, the drum does not spin.

Washing machines may require frequent repairs if they aren’t used carefully. Without precautions, you may even have to replace it with a newer model. Here are some steps you can follow to make you machine last longer.

  • Be careful not to overload your washing machine.
  • Invest in good quality detergent.
  • Avoid using liquid fabric softeners.
  • Make sure to perform regular maintenance practices.
  • Ensure that the washer is balanced.
  • Make sure all lint is removed.

In most cases, if the cost of repairing the washing machine exceeds 50% of the cost of a new machine, it is better to replace it. If you need to replace or repair your washing machine, it’s a good idea to check the warranty. In the case that your appliance is still under warranty, you might be able to save significantly on your repair costs.

While using a washing machine for over a long period, likely, your washing machine may not function properly as a new one. Some of the common problems which you may face include,

  • Improper or slow draining of water.
  • The machine not performing perfect spin cycles.
  • Ripped clothes.
  • Making a lot of noise issues during the wash cycle.
  • The lid not functioning properly.
  • Foul smell from the washing machine.

Since front-load washers use less water even if their cycle times are slightly longer, they are generally more efficient. Even though top-load washers can wash faster than front-load washers, they consume more water. There is no doubt that front-loading washing machines provide a better wash quality than top-loading washing machines.

It is best to choose a small washer for 1-2 people or an average load of 5 – 6 Kg of laundry. For families with 2-4 people and 7-9 Kg of laundry, medium washers are perfect. Those with five or more people and 9-12 Kg of laundry per load should use large machines.

No, an older washing machine isn’t as efficient as one that is newer. In comparison to old washing machines, the new Energy Star-certified washing machines use around 45 percent less water and 25 percent less energy. Generally, older models do not regulate the amount of water versus the number of clothes in the drum to conserve water.

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Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: November 23, 2022
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