A washing machine is an indispensable appliance that has made the most tedious job of washing and drying clothes easy. It eliminates the physical strain and time spent on washing clothes manually.
With a plethora of options available in the market today with a variety of features, capacities, and functions, it may be difficult to choose the one that best suits your needs. So, here are the important aspects to consider.
Types of washing machines available
Based on the range of functions and the amount of manual labour involved, washing machines can be classified into two types:
- Semi-automatic washing machines: These machines have two tubs, one for washing and the other for drying clothes. Some amount of manual work is involved in semi-automatic machines. You have to first wash clothes in the washing tub and then transfer them to the drying tub. But if your budget is limited, you can go for a semi-automatic machine that is much cheaper compared to a fully-automatic one.
- Fully-automatic washing machines: These machines make the washing procedure simple with only a minimum amount of manual work. There is only a single tub for both washing and drying. You only have to load the clothes in the machine and then start the cycle. You do not have to pour water for washing or rinsing separately or transfer the clothes from one tub to another.
Fully automatic machines are classified again into two types based on where the clothes are loaded – from top or front:
- Top-Loading Washing Machine: In these machines, you load clothes from the top since the drum is placed vertically. Both washing and drying take place in a single tub, thus doing away with the need to transfer clothes from one tub to another. These machines have a water inlet tap attached and regulate the amount of water by stopping the flow after the water level reaches a certain mark. They have lesser wash programs compared to top-loading machines, but they are user-friendly and economically priced
- Front-Loading Washing Machines: The drum is placed horizontally in these machines, and so, the clothes are loaded from the front. These machines are in huge demand these days since they have several advanced features like many wash programs, hot water supply, and a timer to stop and start the wash cycle
When you compare both these types of washing machines, it can be said that front-loading machines provide many wash programs, while top-loading machines offer fewer programs at a lower price. Front-loading machines are better in terms of cleaning efficiency and consumes lesser energy and water. But they cost more.
Buying the right size
With different family size, comes different laundry requirements. A washing machine comes in different capacities for washing clothes. So, you need to buy a machine based on the number of your members and how many clothes you give for a wash on daily basis. If you have many people in your family and wash all the clothes together, then it would be sensible to buy a bigger-sized machine with more than 8 Kg capacity. If you are a small-sized family and wash clothes daily then a medium-sized machine is more suitable. You could also buy a small one, but you would have to wash clothes in multiple cycles.
In addition to the above, you need to study and compare the features available in different washing machines before buying one for your home.
The main features you need to consider before buying a washing machine
Some features are common in all washing machines. Let us study some of the main ones you need to consider:
- No of wash settings: Look for the number of available wash settings when buying your appliance. Today, washing machines come with options for selecting different water levels and wash programs, such as gentle wash for fragile clothes, along with cotton, synthetic, and many more. You can save your favourite settings for any of these wash programs using a touch screen or other rotary controls.
- Check the drum or tub material: Tubs can be made of plastic, porcelain–enamel, or stainless steel. Ideally, you should go for stainless steel tubs since they are very durable and can withstand high spin speeds. Enamel tubs could chip and rust and do not last as much as plastic ones, which are also rust-proof
- The dryer’s spin cycle: Drying is the best feature in a washing machine and is very useful, especially during the rainy season. The spin cycles used for drying are determined by the number of Rotations Per Minute (RPM). The more the RPM, the better will be the drying effect. Frail clothes may need only about 300 to 500 RPM, while for tougher clothes, it should be around 1000 RPM.
- Water temperature control: With this setting, you can adjust your water temperature based on the type of clothes being washed. Washing machines that have this feature enable you to clean your clothes better. There are also appliances available today with steam settings that help remove stubborn stains or dirt.
- Fuzzy logic: Washing machines with this feature are more popular among buyers. There are sensors that monitor the conditions inside the machines and adjust the operations to get optimum results. Fuzzy logic estimates the weight of clothes inside the tub and determines the amount of water, detergent, and time needed to wash the load. This eliminates the need for you to select the settings for your washing.
- Time delay feature: This property enables you to wash your clothes at your chosen time. You can load your clothes and set it to start the wash cycle at a later time. There is also the pre-soak feature that lets you soak your clothes in detergent for a specific time before starting the wash program
Considering these aspects will help you choose the right washing machine for your home. Being an appliance that you use for at least a decade, it is advisable to carefully consider these aspects before you make a decision.