THE best washing machines are way more than just an everyday appliance; they're the life-saving gadget that will rescue your favourite top or pair of jeans and the clever machine that can breathe new life into old fabrics.
These days washing machines are more high-tech than ever, with a whole array of different wash programmes, energy-saving functions, quiet modes and some models that can be turned on using a smartphone from the comfort of your sofa.
The best washing machines are reliable, efficient, able to clean clothes really well, and boast a wealth of different functions to save energy and money.
Over 100 years on from when it was first invented (can you even imagine washing all your clothes by hand now?), the electric washing machine has come a long way.
And each new year brings with it a revamped set of models that push the market further with more technical abilities and functions.
Here's our round-up of the 12 best washing machines to buy in 2022 - with a range of features and to suit every budget.
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1. AEG ProSense L6FBJ842P 8 kg 1400 Spin washing machine
AEG ProSense L6FBJ842P 8 kg 1400 Spin Washing Machine, £699.99 at Currys - buy here
This highly-rated AEG model has a range of clever functions to make it the kind of high-tech washing machine we all crave.
The machine's technology weighs your washing so it knows exactly how much water, time and energy is needed for each cycle. Its smart sensors also detect how much fabric conditioner and softener is required and they are automatically dispensed during the wash. And if all that isn't enough, the washer's SoftPlus feature uses more water to keep your clothes in the best condition.
The brand's care app is another good extra that gives you all the laundry advice you could need.
It has a quick wash programme that can be combined with an eco mode to save you time, money and energy.It's rated as very energy efficient anyway with an A+++ certificate.
With a durable motor, this sturdy machine should last you a long time – great news for such a helpful, easy-to-use appliance.
Capacity: 8kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: B Hand wash cycle: Yes
2. Haier i-Pro Series 7 washing machine
- Haier i-Pro Series 7 HW120-B14979 12kg Washing Machine, £849 from AO.com - buy here
From the get-go, this Haier washing machine feels impressive; the design is sleek and modern, the LED display is intuitive and seamless to use and its 12kg drum is vast (and illuminated with its own drum light - a slick touch).
Even with all tech aside, this model still wows with its pure cleaning power - our whites were whiter and our colours were brighter than ever.
There are 14 programmes that cover all bases and they can each be customised exactly to your preferences. The steam function adds on 20 minutes, but is well worth flicking on as it relaxes fibres, expertly removes dirt and clothes come out a lot less creased.
The machine's innovative Direct Motion Motor uses less moving parts making it truly one of the quietest washing machines on the market.
An automatic cleaning system is activated at the end of each wash and the detergent draw and door seal have an anti-bacterial treatment applied to them, which prevents mould building up and results in more hygienic washing over time.
For anyone who's struggled with a noisy, mouldy machine, this Haier model is a major game changer that more than earns its price tag. We're sold.
Capacity:12kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: A Hand wash cycle: Yes
3. Hoover H Wash 10kg washing machine
- Hoover H Wash 10kg H3W4102DE Washing Machine, £359 from AO - buy here
Packing in a whole host of features that defy its excellent-value price tag, this Hoover washing machine offers the efficiency and functionality of models twice its price.
Its 10kg drum capacity has plenty of room for a big wash and you can choose between its quick wash cycles of 14, 30 and 60 minutes.
Like other pricier machines, it weighs your laundry to determine the correct length of cycle, which saves money and energy in the long run.
You can even monitor your washing with the Hoover smartphone app, so you know how long your latest cycle has left.
Capacity:10kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: E Hand wash cycle: Yes
4. Samsung Series 5 9kg Ecobubble Washing Machine
- Samsung Ecobubble WW90T4540AE 9kg Washing Machine, £469 from Samsung - buy now
This machine's Ecobubble technology is designed to make the most of your detergent, so it'll wash better and more economically.
The diamond shaped holes in the drum protect clothes from damage, and its Bubble Soak feature will help loosen really stubborn stains - it's definitely not a one trick pony.
Its Hygiene Steam mode banishes 99.9% of bacteria and allergens, so you can be rest assured your clothes are getting a deep clean.
One of its best features is how quiet it is.
Whether you want to do a late night wash without disturbing neighbours, or your house is open plan, it'll keep noise to a minimum.
Capacity:9kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: D Hand wash cycle: Yes
5. Hotpoint Freestanding Top Loading washing machine
- Hotpoint 7kg 1200rpm Freestanding Top Loading Washing Machine - White WMTF722UUKN, £419.97 at Appliances Direct - buy here
Top loading washing machines are becoming harder and harder to find, so those in search of one will be pleased to come across this popular Hotpoint model.
It's well-priced, energy efficient and the slimline silhouette means it's easy to integrate into your home - plus it can handle a 7kg wash, while taking up a fraction of the space of a front-loading machine.
Fans also love the 15 minute wash feature, the fact it's not overly noisy and the convenience of not having to bend down to get the washing in and out.
Capacity:7kg Max spin speed: 1200 rpmEnergy rating: E Hand wash cycle: No
6. Beko WTK74011W 7kg washing machine
- Beko WTK74011W 7kg Washing Machine, £289.99 from Currys - buy here
Coming in at under £300, this Beko model is another well-priced washing machine in our round-up.
It has a chunky dial and an LCD display, and all the standard cycles you’d expect, including a 28-minute quick wash, a delicate cycle and an eco programme.
Its handy DrumClean programme helps remove bacteria from the washer and keep your clothes looking good.
Scoring excellent user reviews for its inexpensive price tag and ease of use, this Beko washing machine is just the ticket for anyone on a budget.
Capacity:7kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: DHand wash cycle: Yes
7. Bosch Serie 6 WAU28T64GB 9kg washing machine
- Bosch Serie 6 WAU28T64GB 9kg Washing Machine, £480 from Currys - buy here
Need to get through constant piles of dirty washing? This marvellous Bosch machine will be your BFF in no time at all.
Bosch has designed this piece with a brushless motor which makes it not just quieter, but more efficient too, using less energy than other machines.
Its quickest wash will have your clothes looking lovely and clean in just 15 minutes.
Or, if you're not in a hurry, it also offers an eco program, which takes its time and uses less power.
The DrumClean reminder will even tell you when it's time to run the machine's cleaning program, to ensure your washing stays spotless and bacteria-free.
Capacity:9kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: CHand wash cycle: Yes
8. LG FH4G1BCS2 Spin washing machine
- LG FH4G1BCS2 Spin 12kg Washing Machine, £899, from John Lewis - buy now
With a 12kg maximum load, this efficient, reliable machine is just the ticket for big families or anyone with a lot of washing to get through.
Despite its size and relative bulk, it's remarkably quiet during a wash and its cleaning ability is hard to beat – it can tackle even the hardest-to-remove stains.
Unlike most conventional machines it doesn't have a dial, and it is uses LCD touch controls on its digital display.
Like many newer models, it can also be linked to your smartphone and WiFi, so you can check the progress of a wash and diagnose any problems.
It has various steam functions, which are great for getting clothes squeaky clean, reducing wrinkles and the need for ironing, which gets a thumbs up from us.
Capacity:12kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: AHand wash cycle: Yes
9. Indesit EcoTime IWC71252W 7KG washing machine
Indesit EcoTime IWC71252W 7KG Washing Machine - White, £220 from Appliances Direct - buy now
This fuss-free washing machineis a great value option that gives you major cleaning bang for your buck.
Its design and controls are simple via an LED interface and its price tag very reasonable, but don't let that fool you into thinking this Indesit machine is basic: it has 16 different wash programmes, an eco-cycle, a delayed timer option and a super-quick 20 minute wash for when you're in a rush.
Most importantly of all, it's very good at what it's designed to do – get clothes sparkling. If you're after a purse-friendly washing machine that's no-frills yet gets the job done, you can't go far wrong.
Capacity:7kg Max spin speed: 1200 rpmEnergy rating: EHand wash cycle: No
10. Samsung Series 5 WW80TA046AE Freestanding ecobubble™ washing machine
Samsung Series 5 WW80TA046AE Freestanding ecobubble™ Washing Machine, £399 from Samsung - buy here
There's a lot to love about this washing machine, from its speedy wash to its low running costs.
ecobubble technology mixes air, water and detergent to create bubbles that wash your clothes at cooler temperatures and bringing down your energy bills.
The machine drum is also kept clean with a combination of soaking, pulsating and spinning removing bacteria build-up and the drawer is cleaned too with targeted jets of water to get rid of left-over powder.
It's also super quiet, so if you want to put a wash on overnight, it won't disturb your beauty sleep.
Capacity:8kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: BHand wash cycle:Yes
11. Miele WEG365 9kg washing machine
- Miele WEG365 9kg Washing Machine, £1,199 at John Lewis - buy here
Miele's brand is associated with excellence in household appliances and this WEG365 is no exception.
It's A+++ rated for efficiency and has Wi-Fi connectivity which allows you to keep an eye on your cycle when you're on the go.
This model handles loads up to 9kg and is beloved by customers who like the fact that it's quiet and the powerful cleaning it provides.
Capacity:9kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: AHand wash cycle:Yes
12. Hotpoint NM11 945 WC A UK 9kg washing machine
- Hotpoint NM11 945 WC A UK 9kg Washing Machine, £439 from Marks Electrical - buy here
When it comes to stain-busting, this very competitively-priced 9kg Hotpoint machine is a powerhouse.
Its clever Active Mousse technology mixes the detergent with water before it even touches your laundry and the result is clothes that are squeaky clean from the inside out.
It has every program you'd expect from a top-end washing machine and one of our favourites is the Steam Hygiene cycle, which uses steam to remove 99.9% of the most common bacteria from your wash load.
Despite its superior cleaning, it's also energy efficient and constantly monitors the amount water used and the length of cycle. The Rapid Green option lets you customise each program to reduce energy consumption.
Another nifty extra is the Final Care program, which keeps your wash fresh for up to six hours after a cycle has ended if you don't have time to unload right away.
For a washing machine with major cleaning power and an excellent-value price tag, it doesn't get much better than the Hotpoint NM11 945.
Capacity:9kg Max spin speed: 1400 rpmEnergy rating: BHand wash cycle:Yes
How do I choose a washing machine?
Capacity / drum size:
Consider the size of your household and how many loads of washing you do to choose a capacity to suit your needs.
Capacities tend to range between 5kg and 12kg but you likely won't need the upper end of that scale unless you're washing for a very large family.
Energy ratings are also important: most home appliances in the UK will be rated A+ or above, but you can still aim for A+++ (the highest rating) if you want to cut down on your electricity bill.
Since March 2021, this system has had an overhaul and new models are also being rated on a simple scale from A to G.
Features, programmes and spin speed:
Ensure the machine you choose suits your needs in terms of the programmes you usually use - such as hand wash or quick wash programmes - and the spin speeds you'd ideally like.
Also, look out for special features that might make your life easier such as Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to monitor your cycles from your phone.
Types of washing machines explained
Freestanding washing machines
Freestanding washing machines aren't integrated or incorporated into an in-built kitchen.
A freestanding machine usually just sits under a kitchen worktop or against a wall.
Integrated washing machines
An integrated washing machine will be completely hidden in the kitchen - it will have a kitchen cupboard door on the front so it's not visible at all.
To achieve this, integrated washing machines are designed differently from conventional freestanding machines.
Semi-integrated washing machines
A semi-integrated washing machine also has the cupboard door on the front but you can still see the control panel at the top of the machine.
A washer-dryer is a washing machine and a tumble dryer in one.
Although it seems like a no-brainer to combine these two machines into one, studies have shown that washer dryers are often less reliable than traditional separate washing machines and tumble dryers.
Washing machine programmes and features explained
Quick wash:Many machines offer a quick wash programme that takes less than 30 minutes.
Economy:An economy cycle lowers the washing temperature to help reduce energy consumption.
Hand wash: A gentle programme at a low temperature and minimum spin speed to avoid damage to delicate items.
Hot wash:Usually at 60 degrees or higher for clothes with tough stains that often have higher levels of bacteria.
Extra rinse: This will addanother rinse cycle to ensure as much dirt and detergent is rinsed out of your clothes as possible, which can be particularly useful if your skin is sensitive to laundry detergent.
Delay start: If you wish to set your washing machine to start later you can 'delay start' - for example if you don't want it to be noisy while you have a baby napping in the daytime.
Smart control:Smart washing machines can be connected to WiFi and you can then control your machine from your phone or home technology such as Alexa or Google Home.
Sensor technology: Some new washing machines have load sensors so the amount of water and cycle time can be adjusted based on the weight of the laundry in the drum.
What brand of a washing machine is the most reliable?
Which? Magazine has a reliability survey for washing machines and found that Miele, Samsung, LG, Bosch and Siemens came out on top for dependability.
However, you should expect a machine that works properly whichever brand you buy. In most cases, you're entitled to a minimum two-year manufacturer warranty when you purchase a new washing machine.
Some brands will offer extended warranties when you buy for further peace of mind.
How to wash trainers in a washing machine
Forget smelly trainers caked in mud, a quick soapy spin in the washing machine will get your shoes looking brand new again, but it's best to follow these rules: firstly, get your trainers prepped by removing laces and any loose insoles.
Scrub away any surface dirt with a brush and some cold water, pop your trainers and laces into a wash bag and put them in the machine.
To avoid your trainers banging against the drum and damaging your machine (and making a major racket at the same time), put some towels into the machine as well.
To prevent colours fading, go for a cold cycle – the coldest one you can find.
Once washed, don't dry trainers on the radiator or in a tumble dryer as the heat can damage them.
Instead, pop them out in the sun to air dry.
How long do washing machines last?
According to the Whitegoods Trade Association (WTA), the average lifespan of a machine has dropped from over 10 years to just under seven years.
Sadly, it's now not unusual for cheaper appliances to last only a few years.
To make sure your machine lasts longer, get one that is adapted for your needs.
For example, if you're buying a machine for a family of five and you need to do a wash every day, it's better to spend a little more and opt for one that will have more Mean Time Til Failure (MTF).
The lowest grade of washing machine will have an MTF of 600 hours while the highest will easily exceed 10,000 hours of use.
How do you clean a smelly washing machine?
There are a few things you can do to clean your machine if it starts to pong.
According to consumer group Which?, to stop odours building up in the drum you should run a service wash - a very hot wash without any clothes - every month.
Make sure you also give your seal a quick wipe clean with a damp cloth if dirt starts to build up, as it can turn into mould.
Don't forget to also wash out the detergent drawer. In order to do this, you'll need to remove the drawer after a wash and wipe clean its entirety, including its housing.
Lastly, clean the filter regularly. It can usually be found at the front of the machine on the bottom right-hand side.
All you'll need to do is drain any excess water using the hose and use a shallow tray to catch the water.
How to disconnect a washing machine
Whether you're moving house or getting rid of an old washing machine before a new one turns up, chances are you'll need to know how to disconnect a washing machine at some point.
Firstly, pull the machine out so you can access the back connections.
Turn off the hot and cold water valves that supply the machine – these are usually located on the wall and are coloured red and blue.
Unplug the washing machine to disconnect power then place a bucket under the hose connections.
Remove the hot and cold water hoses from the back of the machine and from the wall, then disconnect the drain hose.
Your washing machine is now ready to be moved.