Washing Machine Buyer’s Guide (July, 2016)

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Washing machine is one of the most important household piece of technology. Yet, as opposed to buying a smartphone, we barely do any research when buying washer. I know, it is boring to read about home appliances. Hence, here’s quick pointers you need to know before making a purchase:

Top Load Vs Front Load?
The obvious difference between the two is the tub’s position. In top loading machine, the tub is placed vertically, whereas it sits horizontally in the front-loading type.

Washing machine buyer's guide

Top Load
Top washers feature an agitator that sits in the middle of the tub. Agitator plays an important part in cleaning. It tuns the clothes around it over and over again. However, this process, does leave clothes incredibly entangled. I remember spending at least 4-5 minutes separating my full sleeve shirts off my top load machine. Similar machines with impellers and pulsators don’t fair too well either. Despite not so good wash quality, top load machines are popular because of its relatively lower (upfront) cost and easy repairability.

Top loading machines are further categorised into semi-automatic and fully automatic ones. Just toss your clothes with detergent in the latter, and it will do the laundry for you in about an hour. Fully automatic machines perform washing and drying in a single tub. The semi automatic ones, on the other hand, have separate tubs for washing and drying. This means that the user have to transfer the clothes manually.

Front Load
Front load machines work sans agitator. During the drum rotation, its paddles carry the clothes against the gravity before dropping them in soapy water. The process is gentle yet highly efficient. It cleans the clothes without any sign of a tangle. Front loaders require less than half the water and detergent compared to the top washers. So while the upfront cost is relatively more, you do end up saving in a long run. All in all, if you get a choice, go for the front loading machine.

Now that you are clear about the basics, lets check out the best possible options in different price brackets:

Under Rs 10,000

Whirlpool Semi Automatic Top Load (6.5 kg)
Price: Rs 8500 (Flipkart.com)
For those restricted by a 10k budget, this semi automatic machine offers good value. Not that it has got fancy features, but it has at least got auto restart feature that saves the program state in case of a power cut. The Whirlpool SUPERWASH I-65 has in-built scrubber and lint filter. The impeller-based machine offers two wash programs.

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Under Rs 20,000

Sharp Front Load (5.5 kg)
Price: Rs 14,000 (Flipkart.com)
If you think that you have no option but to stick to the top loaders at this price point, you are wrong. Sharp offers a fully automatic front load machine for an unbelievable price of Rs 14,000. The Sharp ES FL55MD has a 5.5 kg capacity ideal for a couple. Well, you can use it for four people, if you don’t mind doing two loads. It has 13 wash programs and multiple temperature settings.

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Electrolux Front Load (6 kg)
Price: 18,000 (Flipkart.com)
If you don’t mind spending a little extra, Electrolux EF60ERWH comes with 6 kg capacity. The no-nonsense machine has an old-school rotary dial that doesn’t look fancy, but gets the work done. Like most front loaders, the the Swedish brand’s product offers multiple programs and temperature controls.

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Under Rs 30,000

Bosch Front Load (6 kg)
Price: Rs 22,000 (Flipkart.com)
People swear by German engineering, and thankfully brands such as Bosch live up to the expectations. The Bosch 16160IN is a robust machine with many modern features including auto load adjustment and foam detection. The latter detects the excess foam and adjusts the rinse cycle to ensure no detergent residue. It makes less noise compared to the similarly priced models from other manufacturers.

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Bosch Front Load (7 kg)
Price: Rs 28,300 (Flipkart.com)
Those with heavy laundry requirements should consider this 7 kg loader. The Bosch WAK20060IN has been designed to minimise vibrations. Other features include foam and unbalance load detection. Just keep in mind that high capacity machines require 1 bar water pressure.

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Chandrakant 'CK' Isi

Technology editor, movie buff, and wannabe space explorer.