Washing Machines & Tumble Dryers – A Complete Buying Guide

Whether you have a separate utility room or your appliances are situated in your kitchen space, there’s no doubt that your washing machine and tumble dryer are amongst some of the most hardworking appliances in your home.

If you are planning to invest in a new laundry system, it can be difficult to find the perfect match for your kitchen. From combined washing machines with dryers to appliances with enhanced functionality, there is a wide range of different models to choose from. This guide is designed to help you find the best washing machine and tumble dryer to suit the requirements of your lifestyle, as well as the aesthetics of your kitchen design.

Considering space and capacity

Before you purchase your new appliances, it is important to think about both the size of your space and the capacity of your chosen models.

Measuring the space for your appliances

Most washing machines and tumble dryers have a standard height and width, meaning they should always fit perfectly beneath your kitchen worktops. However, it’s important to measure the depth of your space before you invest in your new machine. Larger capacity machines tend to be deeper to allow for the extra space in the drum, which could impact how well they sit in your space. If you are limited in space, many brands offer compact or smaller versions of washing machines and dryers.

Even though washing machine and dryer sizes tend to be standardised, it’s always worth double-checking your measurements before you invest to ensure your new appliance fits.

Choosing the capacity of your washing machine and dryer

In terms of capacity, there are a variety of options to choose from for both your washing machine and your dryer. Capacity is usually measured in kilograms, which refers to the amount of weight your machine can hold. In washing machines and tumble dryers, this usually measured as dry weight.

Capacity usually ranges from 6kg-12kg, with the larger sizes most suited to busier households. Some appliances are also available in compact sizes, which are usually the best washing machines and dryers for small homes.

Types of machines available

Once you’ve decided on the size of your washing machine and dryer, it’s important to also think about the type of appliance you want in your home.

Washing machines

The most common type of washing machine is freestanding, which means it can be placed wherever there is a plug socket and plumbing. As these tend to be the most popular choice, there are a variety of different sizes, designs and features available.
You can also choose an integrated washing machine, which is built into your cabinets. These provide a seamless look to your space and can reduce noise too.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of washing machines are front-loading in the United Kingdom. Front-loading machines tend to give a better clean and can be more convenient compared with top loader models, making them the best washing machine choice.

Washer dryers

The ideal choice for space-saving, washer dryers are integrated systems that combine the washing and drying processes. You can choose from both freestanding and integrated washing machines with dryers, meaning you should find the perfect match for your kitchen.

It’s worth bearing in mind that most washer dryers don’t have vent hoses or condenser trays; they simply remove the water using the washing machine drainage system.

Tumble dryers

There are a wide variety of tumble dryer types to choose from, and some are better suited to certain homes than others.

Vented tumble dryers

Vented tumble dryers tend to be the most common. With this dryer type, your appliance pumps the hot air outside through a vent, which is either fixed into your wall or temporarily placed out of a window or door.

Condenser tumble dryers

Condenser models are ideal if you can’t fix a vent to your exterior wall or don’t want the inconvenience. With these dryers, steam is converted to water and stored in a removable tray. When the tray is full, you can simply dispose of the collected water and replace.

Gas tumble dryers

While somewhat less common than other dryer types, these tumble dryers use gas as a fuel source instead of electricity. They tend to be cheaper to run but will need a certified engineer to install safely.

Performance programmes for material types

Modern washing machines and dryers come with a range of different programmes to ensure your clothes are washed and dried to perfection. Before you choose your machine, it’s useful to think about the type of clothes you regularly launder. This will help you select the functions that meet your requirements.

Washing machines

Washing machines typically come with a variety of functions to suit different fabric types. The most common include wash cycles that suit cotton, synthetics, silks and woollen garments. You may also find cycles to suit sportswear, bedding, or other specialist fabrics.

Tumble dryers

While budget-friendly tumble dryers keep their functionality limited to temperature, many models have different cycles suited to different fabric types. For example, you may be able to choose from cycles that dry delicate or synthetic fabrics safely.

Considering functionality and features

In addition to functionality based on fabric type, you may also want to think about additional features to help make doing your laundry a simple process. Many washing machines, dryers or washer dryers have a variety of different options to do just that, so think about what your requirements may be before you buy.

Washing machines

Quick wash

For a fast clothing refresh, the quick wash function allows you to choose a short cycle (anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes).

Economy option

The eco setting on your washing machine uses less energy over the cycle, which should save you money on your monthly bills.

Hand wash

For delicates or items that need to be washed by hand, the hand wash setting is a great option. This uses low temperatures and minimal rotations to ensure your clothes are protected.

Extra rinse

If you have little ones in the household or suffer from allergies, the extra rinse setting works to remove excess detergent to ensure your clothes are clean and kind to sensitive skin.

Spin speed

It’s worth considering your spin speed, particularly if you intend to choose a washing machine with dryer. The higher the spin speed, the more excess water is removed from your items.

Delay timer

If you don’t want your washing sat in the machine for too long, the delay timer setting is an ideal choice. With this functionality, you can set your machine to start or finish exactly when you need it to.

Add to wash

Some washing machine manufacturers incorporate an ‘add to wash’ feature, which allows you to add items to your cycle once the wash has already begun (great for forgotten socks!).

Smart technology

Smart technology offers the pinnacle of innovation for your washing machine. Appliances that incorporate this technology allow you to control your machine from your phone or using your voice.

Tumble dryers

Sensor technology

Many tumble dryer models include sensor technology, which helps to tailor your drying cycle to your laundry load.

Delay timers

Like with washing machines, delay timers are designed to give you control over when your drying cycle begins or ends.

Crease care

If you are not able to remove your items from the dryer immediately, the crease care function helps to keep creases at bay by giving your garments an intermittent tumble.

Iron dry

For shirts or other items that need to be ironed, the iron dry setting is a useful feature. Your dryer will leave your clothes ever so slightly damp, which makes them easier to iron.

Anti-tangling

If you find that your clothes or items often become tangled in the dryer, appliances with anti-tangling functionality may be right for you. These have the added advantage of improving drying time too.

Choosing a machine to complement your kitchen

Whether you have a traditional kitchen or prefer contemporary design, it’s important to complement your overall aesthetics with your appliance choices. This is especially true if you don’t choose an integrated washing machine or dryer.

Design

From sleek designs suited to modern kitchens to appliances suited to more classic styling, there are choices you can make that will enhance your kitchen design. Think about the look and feel you want to create and go from there. If you can’t find the best washing machine to suit your style, consider choosing an integrated washing machine that fits seamlessly behind your cabinets.

Placement

Whether you choose an integrated washing machine and dryer or plan to have your appliances on display, it’s important to think about where you are going to put your machines. Bear in mind that you may be limited by electricity outlets and plumbing, particularly if you don’t intend to do a full kitchen renovation.

Colour

White is the most commonly chosen colour for both washing machines and dryers. While this blank canvas works well with many colour palettes, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are other options available too.

For contemporary spaces, consider choosing a black washing machine or silver washing machine to compliment your style. These look sleek and work particularly well with cabinets in a similar colour.

As some of the most-used appliances in your home, it’s essential to do your research before investing in a new washing machine or dryer. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of options available to suit every lifestyle requirement. Whether you have a large household with daily laundry requirements or need an appliance with specialist functionality, you’re sure to find the best washing machine or dryer for you and your kitchen.

Inspired? Browse our range of washing machines, dryers and combination appliances to discover a model that works for you.