The short answer is that some models seem to be, but according to Which? at least one is not. Samsung have created a new technology for washing machines called EcoBubble, which they claim, “improves wash performance, reduces energy consumption and saves money”.
How does it work and what are the main claims? In plain language, they mix air bubbles in with the water and detergent which they say gets detergent into the fabric 40% faster allowing lower temperatures to achieve good results using 70% less energy (at 40 degrees).
It sounds impressive, and clearly any figures quoted will be provable in some way, but I’m always sceptical of percentages without context. So when I see percentages quoted like this I immediately think, 70% less energy than what? And what does the 70% equate to in actual money? We all know 70% is very impressive, but 70% of a pound is nothing to get giddy about. Potentially, the implication most people may take is that it uses 70% less energy than all other washing machines, but does it?
Comparing a Samsung 7kg ecobubble with a normal Bosh 7Kg washing machine
The Bosh claims to cost only £21 a year in energy to run. So being 70% cheaper than that makes it £6.30 a year – which can’t be right, no washing machine costs anywhere near as little as £6 a year to run. According to the specs on the Ecobubble 7Kg washing machine, it costs £25 a year to run – which is more! So 70% less energy consumption doesn’t look so impressive when I can already see a rival washing machine without the ecobubble which costs even less to run – and it was the first one I looked at. No doubt there are some tests which will back up the 70% claim but it clearly doesn’t equate to being 70% cheaper to run per se.
Also, what does 40% faster mean in real terms? 40% faster could mean just over half a second instead of 1 second for example, which isn’t remotely significant. The point is, percentage figures are meaningless without context but they are always used to impress in adverts, so be careful what you assume from impressive looking percentages.
The ecobubble washing machine I’m currently looking at does wash 10 minutes faster than the same Bosh WAE24490GB washing machine, which is quicker, but not significantly quicker to me. However, the ecobubble takes 20 minutes longer to wash on the Time Easy Care cycle than the Bosh, so it’s only faster under specific circumstances, or maybe on just a few programmes.
Putting aside the percentage claims
Out of the 5 ecobubble washing machines reviewed by Which? so far some of them are reportedly very good at cleaning but one model was found to be so poor at cleaning that they gave it a Don’t Buy icon. To be fair it’s probably an older model, possibly one of the first.
Ultimately most of the reviews say they wash well and relatively quickly, how much of that is down to the bubbles is unclear because many washing machines without ecobubble also have fantastic cleaning results and are Best Buys, so the bubbles aren’t necessarily some new discovery set to revolutionise washing machines.
It does seem that there is something in the bubble system. The best advice is to check out Which? reviews on any model you are interested in. I suspect the Ecobubble may mainly be useful at reducing wash times on low temperature washes so if you are into washing at really cool temperatures it is worth looking into, but choose your model carefully.
Samsung EcoBubble reviews
Which? have so far reviewed the following EcoBubble models –
- WF80F5E5U4W Ecobubble
- WF0704W7W Ecobubble
- WF1124XAC Ecobubble
Read their reviews
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