When you have weighed up the brands and decided which would best suit you, you still need settle on a design. There are four main types of washing machine, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When you have read these descriptions you will be in a position to judge which design is best for you.
Twin tub washing machines are not especially common and are sometimes seen as slightly ‘retro’. In the age of combined washer/dryers, some people are also put off by the idea of having to physically lift their washing out of the ‘wash’ tub, and put it into the other one for drying. That said, twin tub machines do have certain advantages over either the front-loading machine or the top loader. The twin tub washing machine has separate drums for washing and drying clothes in. The first advantage of the twin tub machine is that it saves water. More environmentally conscious customers might be attracted by the fact that the washing tub can retain its water after a wash. This means that after a relatively light wash, perfectly good washing water need not be poured away before turning to a more robust wash of more soiled items. Similarly, a standard single tub front-loading washer/dryer obviously has to spin away more residual water when it moves to its drying cycle. The twin tub washing machine does not have this problem, and customers often argue that drying their clothes in a twin tub machine often leaves them substantially more dry.
Integrated washing machines are designed to leave your kitchen or utility space looking sleek and tidy. Instead of obtrusively disrupting the smooth flow of your kitchen cupboards, cabinets and sideboards, an integrated washing machine is fitted tidily into a matching cavity, and can even be disguised behind a matching cupboard door. If you know you intend to stay in your current home for a long time, an integrated washing machine may be for you.
Those with large families or a high turnover of washing to do will save time, money and energy if they invest in a large washing machine. However, if you live alone or are pressed for space, you would do better to acquire a compact or ‘slimline’ machine. Not only are these often cheaper and better adapted to a small living space, they are also less likely to waste water and energy on a smaller washing load.
Top-loading washing machines are the most popular type in North and South America and in Australia, but are comparatively unusual in Europe. Top-loaders typically use more water and energy, and in regions where front-loading machines are the norm, they can even be more expensive. That said, top-loaders do have gravity on their side. They are less prone to leaks simply because they do not have the same pressure of water against their door, and do not need complicated sealing systems as do the front-loaders. Front-loaders are effectively at the mercy of the seal and lock system on their door, which if it is allowed to weaken, is likely to break than that of a top-loading machine. In a bigger drum, or in a lower quality machine that uses a lot of water, this can obviously be very damaging to your other property. Being physically simpler, top-loading machine need less regular cleaning. Most front-loaders require periodic empty cycles to keep their mechanism fresh, as well as careful cleaning of the seal to remove built-up fragments of fabric and dirt: the top-loader on the other hand can be left significantly longer with no such maintenance.