This is an updated and revised review. My original review was written right at the beginning of the creation of the ISE brand but a lot of things have changed since then. I wrote optimistically about the ISE concept which I felt was desperately needed and inspiring.
Quotes from my original review
What is the ISE washing machine, and why is it different to other washing machines
The ISE brand was created by the independent engineers group UK Whitegoods with experienced engineers behind it working hard to provide a modern washing machine with a future. One that should last a respectable amount of time and not be a throwaway washing machine like many have become. The difference on offer here, is in who you buy it from (local independents – not the high street), the standard of service you receive, the quality of the aftercare service and the ability to buy spares, get technical information and get it repaired at a reasonable cost when it's several years old.
ISE (Independent Service Engineering) aimed to provide an answer to the frustrations and problems associated with many new washing machines.
I highlighted all their aims and aspirations as well as pointing out the situation at the time (which has only got worse) in that washing machines were becoming less and less repairable and having shorter lives. This was what the ISE brand wanted to change. Most manufacturers either withhold or restrict technical information, error codes etc and are making many parts unrepairable (eg. completely welded shut tubs and drums which cannot be stripped down). As an experienced engineer who trained on washing machines in the 70s I had seen how things had slowly deteriorated, and welcomed the ISE concept.
Quotes from my original review
What's the answer then – Is it the ISE?
I can't say the ISE is the answer, and that everyone should only consider this washing machine above all others, but it seems to me like the beginning of the answer. It offers a chance for consumers to go back to the days when you didn't throw away washing machines that had many years of service left in them. The idea is that your local repairman, can fix this washing machine at a reasonable price, and keep it running for a respectable amount of time if that's what you prefer. He'll also have access to free technical support by the dedicated UK Whitegoods group and he can post his experiences, even criticisms, and his customer's feedback on the UK Whitegoods site where they will be seen and taken seriously. No other washing machine to my knowledge is subject to such essential feedback from independent repairers and their customers. As ISE themselves say, "Local businesses care more". Local businesses now have a chance to supply and look after a new washing machine for you their customer, from the day they install it, to the day you decide to replace it.
ISE have achieved a lot, and currently sell washing machines and a tumble dryer of way above average build quality, but there’s no denying that some of what they tried to achieve has not come to pass. In the early days they sold what I would class as “ordinary” appliances, which as I said in my reviews (as did ISE in their promotions) were on a par with rivals in the same price range build-wise. What was different was more to do with the idea that they would be more easily and cheaply repairable, with technical information freely available, and should therefore last longer. That was the main selling point. Sadly, for a few this has not been the reality because of circumstances beyond the control of ISE such as how the insurance company they used has behaved and the odd part becoming obsolete beyond their control.
Spare parts and repairs have, and will continue to be, cheaper than rivals for most ISE owners. It seems that most customers have been happy with their purchase, and had just as much if not more value for money than if they’d have bought another brand in the same price range. If not I would have expected to hear a lot more than just a handful of complaints, especially as my reviews had praised them so much over the years and have been very prominent. As it is, I’ve heard of a few cases where the machines have not lasted, or have not been repairable and as that’s completely contrary to the entire concept, and reason for me supporting them I needed to update my review.
The current situation
ISE have decided to focus on just the higher quality ISE10 appliances, which means far less sales due to the costs, but far more achievable ideals. They no longer insure their machines for the extended guarantee periods with the insurance company which has forcibly scrapped some of their older machines so this should no longer be an issue
The ISE10 appliances
The ISE appliances sold under the ISE10 models have always been very different from the normal machines sold at much cheaper prices which are no longer being sold. For a start they cost at least £1000 and have 10 year guarantees. These are the models I’ve been recommending for the last few years made by the highly respected Swedish manufacturer Asko, and now free from the restrictions of the original insurance company cover set up in good faith in the early days.
If you purchase an ISE washing machine, dishwasher, drying cabinet or tumble dryer or any models ISE introduce from Septemeber 2010 your ten year parts and labour warranty (or three year light commercial cover) will be underwritten by a provision through a trust fund which lives out with ISE is administered by independent trustees and annually audited to ensure sufficient funds are available to cover the liability from the guarantees. (Details of fund provision)