Automatic Front-Loading Washing Machines: Go for the best!
Washing machines are a big deal in most households, making it easy to wash everyone’s clothes. They’re used several times a week, so it’s important to have one that can handle all that use and won’t break down.
Nowadays, there are different varieties available in the market which gives everyone an opportunity to buy one within their price range. There are different semi-automatic and fully automatic varieties with a varied price range. The following article will guide you on the best automatic front-loading washing machine to buy, ticking off its pros and cons and other parameters that you may want to evaluate.
Here is a compilation of the things you should know before making the final purchase decision.
Automatic or semi-automatic?
Automatic machines do everything themselves: after you choose the wash programme, the machine will fill water itself, go through the wash cycle, rinse, drain the water, and then do the spin cycle to remove all the excess moisture all in the same drum.
The semi-automatic model needs to be manually filled with water before the wash begins (and then drained and filled with water again for the rinse cycle). You will also have to transfer your clothes from the wash drum to the spin compartment. In this way, you have more control over the washing process, but it is also more labour-intensive. These machines tend to have fewer special features and cycles than automatic washing machines, which is why they are also more affordable.
Front-loading washing machines work by gently turning your washing over and over in a tumbling action, picking it up and repeatedly dropping it into the wash water. While it sounds harsh, they are actually quite gentle on clothes. It also makes them better at handling unbalanced loads. Because they use less water, the wash cycle often takes longer than a top loader, though many front loaders have ‘fast wash’ cycles.
Top loading or front loading?
If you have continuous water supply (hot and normal), you may prefer going for one of the front-loading models as the wash quality is better and they are relatively more energy- and water-efficient. Although about 10 to 20 per cent costlier, they are worth considering. Avoid going for machines loaded with complex features and selections as these may only end up complicating the washing. Four to six selections are adequate for satisfactory washing. For better cleaning of heavily soiled clothes, prefer to use soak mode during prewash.
If you want to conserve water and electricity, you should know that front loaders use less water than traditional top loaders, which have to fill up entirely for the wash and rinse cycles. The best front loaders clean better and are gentler than the top-loading washing machines while using less water. Front loaders take longer than top loaders but spin faster, extracting more water and trimming dryer time.
Pros of a front-loading washing machine
• Gentler on clothes
• Generally use less water
• Generally more energy-efficient when washing in warm water
• Use less detergent
• More programmes and higher tempera- ture options
• Cheaper to run
• Higher spin speeds, which means fast- er drying
• Best for small spaces Cons
• Longer wash cycles
• Difficult to retrieve keys, phones or other items left in pockets mid-cycle
• Generally more expensive to buy
• You often can’t add to the wash load after the cycle has started
• Heavy to move
• Some need special brackets if placed on a wooden floor
• Tend to have louder spin cycles
• Some may rinse poorly due to their low water usage
Home-use washing machines in India have a range of 5 kg to 10 kg. For a family of two or those living alone, a 5 kg machine is more than sufficient. A bigger family will need a higher-capacity machine. Even a family of four, especially with small children, will require a high-capacity washing machine.
Washing machines may carry energy-efficiency star ratings based on key performance parameters covering washing efficiency, water consumption, energy consumption, etc. Participation in the energy-rating labelling programme is voluntary at present. Manufacturers declare motor rating in watts, although actual energy consumption will depend on wash load.
Features you may consider
• Material of the drum/tub: The tub can be made of plastic, porcelain-enamel or stainless steel. The first two are cheaper. Plastic tubs are more durable than enamel ones, which can chip and rust. Stainless-steel tubs are the best as they are the most durable and can withstand high spin speeds.
• Wash settings: Most machines have preset wash programmes, such as ‘gentle wash’ for delicate clothes, and water-level options. You can customise and save favourite settings. These can be adjusted through rotary controls, a touchpad, or a touchscreen. The first type is the cheapest.
• Temperature control: If the washer has an inbuilt heater, this feature will help adjust the temperature of the water. This can prove useful in winter. Besides, hot water cleans clothes better. Some of the machines have steam setting, which helps fight dirt and stains well.
• Time delay and pre-soak: Time delay allows you to load the washing machine and start it later. This is useful if you want to avoid the noise at certain times.
Do you want your washing machine to have these?
It restarts the machine from the point where the cycle was interrupted.
This feature is quite common in automatic machines.
A self-explanatory feature, this helps in keeping the washing machine safe from children’s activities.
High-end washing machines come with the hot-wash option.
It enables the machine to detect load volume and fabric type, and adapt the washing process. The load sensor also controls the amount of water used to match the load size.
Enhance your energy quotient
• Use cold water – almost 90 per cent of the energy consumed by washing machines goes into heating the water. Set the washing machine temperature to cold or warm and the rinse tem- perature to cold as often as possible.
• Each wash cycle uses up to 60 to 90 litres of water. Use the washing machine on full load and plan washing periodically to save on water too.
• Adding too much detergent actually hampers effective washing action and may require more
energy in the form of extra rinses.
• Wash only full loads of clothing, but do not overload the machine. Sort laundry load and schedule washes so that a complete job can be done with a few cycles of the machine carrying its full capacity, rather than a greater number of cycles with light loads.
• Soak or pre-wash clothes for effective cleaning.
- It is always better to use high-efficiency (HE) laundry detergent, and that too in the right Front-loading machines use less water than the top-loading ones. If you use more detergent, it can cause unnecessary build-up of the same and cause servicing problems. It also increases the odours and affects performance.
- Leave the front door open when the machine is not in This way you avoid the formation of moulds and mildew and keep the machine smelling fresh all the time.
- These machines have a rubber coating on the doors to ensure there is no water One should wash them at regular intervals to prevent mould formation.
Comparison at a Glance: Of Fully Automatic Front-Loading Washing Machines (6 kg–8 kg capacity)
|Brand||Model||Price, Rs.||Ca- pacity (kg)||Net Weight (kg)||Warranty (year) compre hensive+ Motor||Annual Energy Consump- tion (KWH)||Energy Efficiency ( star rat- ing )||Number of Wash
|Noise level, (Washing/ Spinning) dB|
|3||IFB||Diva Aqua SX,||23090||6||59.5||4+10||200||5||8||54/68|
|8||IFB||Elena SX 6510||24990||6.5||65||4+10||5||8||48|
|12||IFB||Diva Aqua SX,||28990||7||72||4+10||230||5||10||56/70|
|17||IFB||Senator WSS Stea||38060||8||75||4+10||5||14||48|
Note: Price may vary from retailer to retailer. Before buying compare the models and price at amazon.in or flipkart.com
These Are Mistakes
Today’s washing machines are bigger than ever. Even large-capacity machines have their limits. When they’re too full, water and detergent won’t reach everything; dirt gets trapped; and clothes don’t get clean. Plus, overloading causes unnecessary wear on your washer, and excess fabric wrinkling.
Guessing how much detergent to use
To get the best clean, it’s important to follow your detergent’s usage directions and measure it. Forgo measuring and you decrease cleaning performance, whether you add too little or too much. That said, it is all right to use a bit more for very dirty loads, or if you’re washing in hard water.
Sticking to the same cycles and settings
One cycle just doesn’t fit all. You probably use the ‘regular’ or ‘delicate’ cycles most often, but other settings and options are worth exploring, too. They offer extra rinses for bulky items, hotter water for better stain removal and whitening, and even slower agitation for less wrinkling.
Forgetting to flush out the dispensers
Your machine probably has at least one dispenser for fabric softener, detergent, or both, and it needs cleaning. Remove and rinse them often, and at the end of the cycle, leave the detergent drawer open so any residual water evaporates (otherwise it could stink).
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