Difference between energy ratings A and A+

Save-energy Since writing this article, the cost of electricity has dramatically risen, and the best energy ratings have moved from A, to A+ and then A++ and then A+++.

Theoretically, the best washing machine to buy would be one with the best energy rating, which is currently A+++

But the main thrust of this article is to say, don’t just assume a lower rating is best. You can easily end up buying an appliance with a better energy rating that is likely to cost you more in the long run.

A poor quality brand with a higher energy rating is not a better buy than a higher quality, and potentially much longer lasting washing machine, with a lower energy rating.

The energy rating labels are still unhelpful in places. They are good for a quick comparison between washing machines with the same sized drum and the same top spin speed. But if you see that one has a better energy rating, it could be because it has a bigger drum or faster spin.

Also, comparing the cost of electricity in monetary terms is unhelpful. The cost of electricity is changing all the time, and everyone is on different tariffs, so they don’t necessarily reflect the costs you will face.

They also only reflect costs for 4 wash loads a week. But if you do more, or less, and use different wash cycles the costs will be different.

They are usually also only referring to costs on specific wash cycles, typically eco-mode. So only use them to compare the same spec washing machines, and not as a guide to your actual costs.

A perfect example of my point can be found through my experience of recently ordering double glazing. I ordered £8000 worth of double glazing and doors, but when the official order came through I noticed they were only rated with an energy rating of C. I was very disappointed and quickly took to the Internet. I found a different supplier with energy ratings of A and seriously considered cancelling and going with them.

I then decided to check what the potential difference in savings between these two energy ratings were, and was shocked to discover that the difference in energy saving projections from C rated double glazing and A rated windows was just around £40 a year, and not worth worrying about at all. Especially when it was going to cost over £1000 extra.

Related article: Reduce the energy costs of running your white goods appliances

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4 thoughts on “Difference between energy ratings A and A+”

  1. Nice article. Wish you had done this for an electric oven too!
    We bought a showroom kitchen which came with an over rated at “A”.
    I would have liked to know the difference in consumption between this and one that is rated “A+++”.

  2. The good old days when electricity costs were 9.6p per KWh. With prices to hit around 70p per KWh in Jan 2023 I wonder how much it’s worth worrying about appliance energy ratings now.

    The point is still valid, don’t just assume that an A+++ appliance is going to save you lots. However with families possibly having to spend 20% of their disposable income on energy, every little difference across all our appliances could now amount to a significant difference.

  3. It matters not what the price of electricity you are paying the difference between a C grade and a A××× grade they should be marked as :-
    A××× 50%
    A×× 60%
    A× 70%
    A 80%
    B 90%
    C 100%
    with lower % being better. So an A××× only costs 50% of what a C costs to run over a 5 year period

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Thanks for your thoughts. Percentage figures without context are not helpful, though. For example, to determine whether it is worth paying £100 more for an A+++ appliance you need to know how much that 50% less energy is going to equate to. And therefore how long it will take to recoup the extra purchasing costs.

      Things are changing at the moment with the ludicrously high electricity costs. When I first wrote this article for example, 50% less electricity may have only equated to 4 or 5p.

      50% may or may not be significant. As a percentage figure, it is significant in the sense that it is half, but of course the problem is, half of what?. I would say that the price of electricity makes a massive difference in what these percentages mean in real terms.

      For example, I remember seeing advertisements on TV for detergent that you can wash with at 30 degrees, which they claimed would, “Save on average an astounding 41% on energy consumption “.

      I did the maths for an article about washing at low temperatures, and at the time of writing, that 41% equated to 2p, which is a long way from astounding. So I honestly believe that any percentage figures are totally useless without proper context.

      This is why in my article I try to steer people away from getting too obsessed about these labels. Another point would be, what if one washing machine used 50% less energy, but it was a budget brand with a very poor reputation and lasted on average 2 to 4 years? What if one that used 50% more energy was a high quality brand, with an excellent reputation for reliability and longevity? My thoughts are that the 2nd one could easily prove to be a much better buy than the first.

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