Miele Washing Machines

A review of Miele and their washing machines

Miele This review examines the ethos of the washing machine manufacturer Miele, and why they are a lot more expensive than most other washing machines. As an engineer with over 30 years experience I think Miele make the best quality washing machines, and in most cases by miles.

The company motto at Miele is, "forever better". They are one of the very small minority of washing machine manufacturers who decided to build the best appliances they were capable of, even though to achieve this standard their product would be amongst the most expensive in the business and the majority of people would be put off by the price. That’s what I respect about companies like Miele.

About Miele washing machines

Miele washing machines seem very expensive, ranging from over £600 to well over £1000, and some high end ones costing over twice that. To be fair though, there is a good argument that in the long run, a Miele washing machine is actually cheaper to own than the cheapest washing machine. Many people will get through several washing machines before an average Miele would have worn out – see my poll on how long should a washing machine last? (nearly 20% reporting their washing machine lasted only 3 years or less, and over 40% reporting it lasted 5 or less).

There’s an old saying that springs to mind, "buy cheap, buy twice". If something costs twice as much to buy, but lasts more than twice as long, it's actually cheaper isn’t it? It’s just the up-front costs that are higher.

Will a Miele washing machine last over twice as long as a cheap one? Almost certainly, some of them are even guaranteed for 10 years. Most should last considerably longer than a normal machine. Miele themselves boast that their washing machines are design and tested to last 20 years. I’ve had a few reports that not all do these days due to occasional high repair costs on older machines, but the vast majority are going to be a very good investment. They are also a lot quieter, more sophisticated and a pleasure to use. My own Miele (W3740) is at least 8 years old and hasn’t faulted once yet. It sounds just as quiet as the first time we used it and I genuinely expect it to last at least another 8.

What’s wrong with cheap washing machines?

Cheap-v-Expensive The trouble with many washing machines these days, is that their design and reliability is dictated almost entirely by costs. The majority of washing machine manufacturers are fighting out a long running price war, which will probably end up with them all being taken over by large global companies until there are just one or two companies making washing machines worldwide. Already, many apparently competing washing machines are actually owned by the same companies and there are surprisingly few actual manufacturers. (Who owns who? Who really makes your washing machine)

Are Miele uniquely better at making appliances?

Unique I don’t think for a minute that someone like Hoover or Indesit couldn’t make a washing machine to rival Miele. It would take them a long time to get right, and Miele have a hell of a head start, but Miele make exceptionally high quality appliances and the others don’t because they all make, exactly what they want to make. Most appliance manufacturers simply do not want to make high quality products, they want to sell multi-millions and go for the mass market.

In an ideal world, companies making a product should make it as well as they possibly can, and then sell it at what it costs, plus the profit margin. Unfortunately this results in a product costing a lot more than the average person is prepared to pay. So manufacturers usually do it the other way round. They find out or guess what most people will pay and build the product to sell at that price. This results in a lot of compromises, and many corners being cut. Then, because most other manufacturers follow the same path competition is fierce. These products then tend to get lower and lower in quality until they become rubbish – but most people still buy them because they won’t pay for a "proper" one.

People usually get what they pay for. If you’ve had nothing but trouble for many years with your washing machines and think they are rubbish, it’s probably because you haven’t been buying the genuinely well built ones. To be fair though, most people just don’t think of it like this, or aren’t even aware that high quality washing machines are available and what the real difference is. (If you’re thinking, what does he mean, I paid a lot of money for my last washing machine? Read this – If I buy a more expensive washing machine do I actually get a better one?)

Miele have always strived to be the best, which is why they are. It comes at a cost (see right column) but if we want to see manufacturers stubbornly refuse to dumb down their products and take the difficult path of excellence they need support.

Buy Miele appliances

Buy Miele washing machines Click the link to go John Lewis, the biggest Miele dealer, or use the specific appliance links on the right column.

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  1. avatarjohn says

    Firstly, this is a very helpful site – how refreshing not to have to search for sane comments amongst thousands of rants.

    Since nobody else has commented on your post yet, I thought I would be the first.

    My only Miele failure so far has been with a fridge/freezer (KFN12924SD*), but it did show deficiencies in Miele service, at least in the case of their UK subsidiary.

    In short, it took ages to get repair guy and when he came it was clear he had limited knowledge of the product (despite being middle-aged) since he had to phone for advice. The fault (which meant the FF was unrepairable after 2.5 years) was a well known one on internet forums (icing up in the back) but Miele seemed disinclined to admit this. Fortunately I had a 10 year extended warranty, but Miele attempted to suggest that the wording would not cover total replacement – until I faxed them a copy of the original warranty leaflet, which did just that). The replacement FF was a newer, revised model and there were mods to the rear which suggested that the original fault issue had been noted and required changes made). One point – Miele FF’s are apparently rebadged Liebherr’s, so are a little unlike their washing machines which are all built ‘in-house’.

    By this point I had already bought a WT2780 washer dryer and a dishwasher from Miele, but had my FF experienced happened before, I would frankly have thought twice about buying.

    My WT2780 has been fine so far (though I do spend out for all the various Miele maintenance potions and use regularly) but I am very conscious that the servicing options seem limited if it does go belly-up i.e. few companies will repair them, and the parts are very, very expensive.

    I’ve watched the You Tube vids on the Miele build experience, and they are very reassuring – however, as so often happens, that is not a guarantee that the UK service experience will be as positive.

    Thanks again for providing a useful forum.

    * unfortunately the Which? forums aren’t as reliable as you might think – there were lots of comments echoing my experience with the FF (despite Which? having praised Miele FFs to the skies) then suddenly they were all removed. When I enquired, I was told that it was because the models had been replaced (not true, other manufacturers’ old model reviews remained) but when another person enquired they were told that Which policy was to remove model pages if there were too many negative reviews…

  2. avatar says

    I have a 4 and a half year old Miele W562 Washing machine which has developed a pressure switch fault – without even starting cycle drain pump runs continuously despite it being empty, then soak/pre-wash light starts flashing. I’ve checked pressure vessel and hose and thery are both clear, so I can only assume the fault is with the pressure switch itself.
    Of course the pressure switch is located on the main PCB which means its a €400 part to replace it. Unless the engineer knows some trick that I don’t but I’d have to pay Miele €120 to find out and somehow I’d doubt it.
    Unfortunately in Ireland the warranty is 2 years. This leaves me in the dilemma of what to do.
    The build quality of the machine is plain to see when you open it up but this sort of pricing means its uneconomic to repair.
    I think the advice I’d give to anyone is DON’T buy a miele washing machine unless you can get a LONG extended warranty or your obsessed with getting the best possible machine regardless of cost.

  3. avatarMichael says

    Over a period of about ten years I have had two Miele washer/dryers, both purchased from Peter Jones, a branch of John Lewis. I have experienced the same fault with each machine, that the dryer function stops working. I have had many engineers come and go, sometimes covered by warranty but not always. There is obviously a fault with the dryer design but nobody will admit it. The engineers sometimes say that I have been trying to dry too heavy a load, etc. but this is not the case. I am now (March 2014) in the same position once more, the dryer is not working, but I will never buy Miele again. Overpriced and problematic. It’s the emperor’s new clothes syndrome. Mercedes price with Fiat quality.

  4. avatar says

    Hi Michael, there’s no doubt that Miele are considerably higher quality than all the rest. Compared with something like a Beko, Indesit, Hoover or Hotpoint they are indeed like a Mercedes compared with a Fiat. Sadly they aren’t perfect, and presumably like everything else they aren’t as well made as they used to be say 20 years ago but no amount of problems can change the fact they are by far the best available. They’ve just been awarded Which? Best brand and most reliable appliance 2014 in washing machines, upright vacuum cleaners, cylinder cleaners, freezers, washer dryers, tumble dryers, dishwashers and built in ovens. They share the award on freezers and cleaners (with Bosh and Sebo) but not with washers, dryers and dishwashers.

    They routinely win these accolades so it’s not really fair to say they are not good because of personal experiences. I totally understand why anyone would feel like this though, I’m sure I would. I think it’s fair to say that Miele aren’t perfect, and you can still have faults, even recurring faults with them and if out of guarantee that can be very expensive. However, as Miele present themselves as the best, and an extremely high quality product then if they let you down you should have some redress. Paying a lot of money for a high quality product brings higher expectations. So if for example a washing machine suffers an expensive breakdown after just a few years – even if it’s out of guarantee you may be able to claim a free repair under the sale of goods act from the retailer. You may have an even stronger case if it is indeed the exact same issue with a second one.

    Check out my article here – Out of guarantee – even by a long time doesn’t always mean you should pay