It’s not just the initial cost of a washing machine that has an impact on your bank balance. The energy your washing machine uses will contribute to your electricity bill and so this is an additional cost to account for over the lifetime of your machine.
The cost of running a washing machine over its lifetime really adds up. Your washing machine uses electricity to heat water and turn the drum every time you use it. However, some machines are cheaper to run that others, especially if you’re cleaning several loads a week and using higher temperatures. Choose a cheaper-to-run machine which is more energy efficient and your electricity bills will be lower.
While there’s not a huge difference between the annual running costs of different washing machines, some cheap models can cost more than their initial purchase price to run over 10 years. An energy saving washing machine will typically cost around £15-£20 per year to run, compared with some that will add around £35 to your annual energy bill.
How washing machines compare on efficiency
Washing machine energy efficiency has improved in recent years, but some washing machines remain more energy efficient than others. All appliances, including washing machines, are awarded an official EU energy efficiency rating. The ratings span from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), and so you can use these ratings to help you find the machines that are cheapest to run.
The efficiency of washing machines has improved rapidly in recent years, so you’ll find most washing machines on sale today are rated at the top end of the scale. In recent years, as technology has developed, more labels have been added to help differentiate between the most energy efficient models. So, although A used to be the most efficient rating, you can now find scores of up to A+++ on some appliances. With these ‘beyond A’ ratings of A+, A++ and A+++, the more plusses, the more energy efficient the appliance is.
The EU energy labelling scheme can help you choose a greener washing machine, but be aware that its washing machine labelling test is based on a 60ºC cotton cycle. Because of this, you may find the energy label ratings on washing machines don’t quite match your usage.
The average washing machine uses 9.5 litres of water for every kilogram of cotton clothes it washes. Water usage does vary between models though, ranging from an 8kg machine that can use just 5.5 litres of water per kilogram to a 6kg washer that consumes 22.7 litres of water per kilogram.
While the better performing washing machines use 44 litres of water at maximum capacity, the less water efficient models – with a smaller capacity – can use up to 136.2 litres.
To put those figures into perspective, if you always washed at max capacity and did the average three 40ºC cotton washes a week for a year, the good machine would save you 4,203 litres less water – more than 52 baths of water!
Washing machine efficiency tips
- Wash a full load: 40ºC cotton washes are designed to take a full drum’s worth of laundry, so always try to wash the maximum amount in each load to get the most value from the water and energy you’re using.
- Avoid using extra rinse: If you have very sensitive skin, you may find it necessary to use the extra-rinse function on your washing machine to remove more detergent from laundered clothes. Try not to use this function unless it’s absolutely necessary, though – it’s another water waster. Using a non-bio detergent designed for sensitive skin is a better way to go. Using a non-bio detergent designed for sensitive skin is a better way to go.
- Switch to 30ºC: Washing at 30ºC instead of 40ºC can save you around £9 a year. Good quality laundry detergents designed for low temperatures during a 30ºC programme are good, and help use an average of 40% less electricity per wash.
Our Top 5 Most Energy Efficient Washing Machine Picks
The LG FH4G1BCS2 is a highly energy efficient A+++ washing machine that also boasts a Which? Best Buy recommendation. This 12kg 1400rpm Direct Drive TrueSteam washing machine is packed with features, including wi-fi connectivity for remote control. LG’s 3-in-1 TrueSteam technology removes up to 99.9% of allergens from clothes. The steam refresh programme freshens up clothes in just 20 minutes and the TurboWash technology can cut down a regular wash programme to a swift 49 minutes. With all these great features on top of being very energy efficient, you can see why it’s rated one of our best washing machines by our customers!
The AEG L6FBI842N is an Appliance City top pick, benefitting from both an excellent A+++ energy efficient rating and a very reasonable price. The L6FBI842N has plenty of clever features to make sure your clothes are taken care of, such as the ProTex drum, which is gentle on your laundry. Pro Sense technology weighs every load and tailors the run time accordingly, saving both energy and water without compromising on cleaning. The machine is also powered by a brushless inverter motor which is designed for a quieter, more efficient and reliable performance.
The Hotpoint WMHG81484 integrated washing machine has an excellent A+++ energy rating. With a load capacity of 8kg and a 1400rpm variable spin speed, it’s a versatile machine perfect for families and couples. With 16 different wash programmes, variable temperatures and a handy delay timer, this Hotpoint model has everything you need for a thorough and efficient wash. As an integrated washing machine, the WMHG81484 doesn’t sacrifice style for energy efficiency. Designed to easily fit it behind a cabinet door, you can preserve the style of your kitchen by keeping your washing machine out of sight.
The Samsung WW90T554DAE has the top energy efficiency rating of A+++. Offering a 9kg capacity, you’ll have more than enough room for everyday loads and more specialist washes. With the Ecobubble technology, air, water and detergent are combined to create bubbles which penetrate your clothes quicker, allowing you a superior clean at cooler temperatures. As an AddWash model, the WW90T554DAE offers supreme convenience, allowing you open the door to quickly pop in any forgotten items.
The AEG L8FC8432BI rounds out our top 5, boasting another A+++ efficiency rating for optimum energy performance. This is a fully integrated model, meaning it can slot right into your kitchen or utility room, neatly tucking away behind a cabinet door. It has an 8kg load capacity and an impressive 14 wash programmes, including delicates and sportswear. A Stain Action option adds an extra wash for really dirty clothes. For those times when you only need a light wash, there is a rapid 3kg 20 minute wash.
For more information about energy efficient washing machines, or any of our other appliances, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at Appliance City.