Finding a particularly small or slim washing machine is a tough task. If you are looking for a new washing machine with reduced height there are ways round it. But if you want one that is significantly less deep or wide you may have a problem. This article contains tips and advice for anyone looking at buying a new washing machine, especially if you are looking for one that is smaller than normal.
Washing machines vary in size but not much
Reducing the width or depth of a washing machine usually impacts drum size. There just isn’t not enough demand for such small washing machines, so there are hardly any about. Over the years I’ve seen many “slimline” washing machines produced, but then discontinued.
Most washing machines are a very similar size. But they do vary by up to several millimetres. So if you don’t have a 60 x 60cm space you can get caught out. Even 1 mm too big is enough to prevent one fitting in place. So always double check the technical specifications for measurements before buying a new one unless you have more than enough space.
Some extra large capacity washing machines have slightly bigger than normal dimensions. But the majority of UK front-loading washing machines are roughly 850mm height, and 595 to 600mm wide . They are designed to fit into a standard size kitchen width space of 600 mm x 600mm (60 x 60cm).
Washing machine width
The most common size problem seems to be when the washing machine is too wide to fit in the standard 600 cm wide kitchen space. In the UK we have many small kitchens. So compromises are often made on the space.
There are very few washers with much smaller widths than other brands. Top loading washing machines, or rare compact washing machines with very small drums will be significantly less wide. But they are unsuitable for most people. Plus a top loader can’t have a worktop above it.
In my random check of 33 examples of washing machine sizes and dimensions 32 were between 59 and 60 cm wide. Only one was less wide at 52 cm. However, it also had an large 8Kg drum. So I’m sceptical. Mistakes sometimes happen with quoted measurements. If you find one significantly different – make sure it isn’t a mistake. Check with the manufacturer.
My checks were casual. There could be other washing machines with different measurements that I didn’t come across. If desperate, you will need to search online.
Washing machine height
Washing machine height is the same on virtually all washing machines. Out of the 33 washing machines I checked only 3 were less than 85 cm high. And they were only fractionally lower. They were 84, 84.5 and 84.8 cm. If you need one to be quite a bit lower you may be able to get around it.
Height reduction kit
Many manufacturers make what’s called a height reduction kit. This involves removing the lid and replacing it with a very thin flat one. This alone can reduce the height of a washing machine by 20mm or so. This is usually more than enough to let it fit under a lower than normal kitchen worktop.
It also usually involves removing the feet, and fitting smaller studs. However, you shouldn’t just remove the lid yourself. There are some safety issues to bear in mind as discussed in my reducing height of washing machine article.
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Washing machine depth
Again, washing machines are all mostly the same depth, but there is more variation in depth than any other dimension. Ironically this is often the least critical measurement. A washing machine that's deeper than average can usually still fit in the space. It will just stick out a bit more. This might just look less than ideal for many people, but it rarely prevents one from being fitted. However, there are some potential pitfalls to having a washing machine that is to deep.
Will anything catch on washing machine?
Watch out for the depth of a washing machine if you have kitchen drawers, cupboard doors or even main doors opening across it. I recently installed a washing machine for my daughter and was reminded how we need to remember to take into account how modern washing machines (and matching tumble dryers) have a tendency to bulge out at the front, or have large doors that stick out quite a way.
After installing the washing machine in my daughter’s kitchen my heart sank as I realised that their back door, which opens across it, was going to catch on the washing machine.
Very tight fit
Fortunately I was able to force the washer back another few millimetres and the back door cleared the washing machine – literally by a millimetre! You couldn’t pass a credit card between them at the point where both doors almost touch.
Tips for finding smaller washing machine
Comparison sites let you filter results by height, width and depth. So use them, but DO NOT TRUST the measurements quoted on web sites. If a web site says a washing machine is the smaller size you are looking for – double check the stats on the specifications page. Check it on multiple websites. Bookmark or copy the page. Print it out. You can use this as evidence if it turns up and is bigger than the specifications said so you can reject it. I’ve seen several cases where quoted measurements were wrong
If you do find a washing machine smaller than standard dimensions and the size requirement is critical, make sure you double check what drum capacity it is. Reduced dimensions often means reduced drum size. Some might be the size you need but have very small drum capacities (eg 3.5 Kg)
Always check out the measurements of a new appliance when replacing an old one even if you currently have an old washing machine in there as they may be small but critical differences and modern washing machines are often wider and deeper than ever. Dimensions are usually available in the “specs”, product info, or “specifications” section describing the appliance being sold, either in the brochure or on a web page.
The depth of a washing machine quoted by the manufacturer should in theory take into account the whole depth, but does it include the way the front may bulge out as well as the door? If critical, double check.
More on washing machine depth
If a washing machine measurement states that it is 60cm deep, does this mean that all the piping and electrical wiring at the back will fit under a worktop of 60cm depth? – Washing machine depth specifications
My research into sizes
I’ve published a table of different washing machine measurements (not models or brands) that I found when checking 33 random washing machines. Anyone looking for a smaller than normal washing machine should find it useful to see how the average washing machine varies in size – or not. Check out the 33 examples of washing machine sizes and dimensions