Their cost is the main disadvantage for most people. A higher quality washing machine needs more financial investment to purchase. They cost a lot more up front but they are supposed to be cheaper over the long run by lasting longer and breaking down less.
However, although a Miele should be far less likely to need repairs, repairs are relatively expensive. Major parts can be very expensive indeed. If buying a Miele try to find one with a long guarantee. Typically they are guaranteed for 2, 5 or 10 years.
Repairs & Servicing
Like all premium brands Miele have a protective attitude towards their appliances and image. They strongly believe that only themselves and their dealers should repair their appliances to ensure the high standard of service they deserve. This is pretty normal amongst all niche high quality products, but it means there are very few independent washing machine repairers who repair them.
There is a small percentage of independent repairers who may be willing to have a look at one depending on the fault. But most independents do not repair Miele appliances. They don’t have the computer laptop and diagnostic software, or access to technical information so they might be unable to diagnose or even calibrate the machine.
You will need to use Miele engineers or dealers for repairs
I used to take great issue with this. I still think it can be counter productive in various ways, not least by causing Miele repairs to be more expensive due to lack of competition. But Miele do make a uniquely exceptional quality washing machine compared to the rest. In today’s economic climate in particular this is extremely brave – and thank goodness someone still does.
Most manufacturers make massive compromises on the quality of their appliances in order to sell to the masses. Miele aren’t immune from the necessity to keep costs under control, and the inevitable compromises that can dictate. But they generally plough a solitary path down the “forever better” ethos. Like all high quality niche manufacturers they have to adopt certain ways of surviving and maintaining their brand image.
It has to be said also that most appliance manufacturers are now making their appliances more unrepairable by design, or by ludicrous spare parts prices, and by restricting technical information to independent repairers. So across the board appliances have become substantially less repairable than in the past. A counter point to this is that they are also generally very much cheaper to buy in real terms.
However, some of Miele spare parts can seem insanely expensive. A good example is I just bought a new Miele oven and we wanted an extra wire shelf. Miele wanted to charge £90 for it. I could buy an entire (albeit inferior quality) oven for just £119. I ended up buying a Neff wire shelf for just £23 which was more than good enough.
My advice would be that if investing in a Miele washing machine, you need to be prepared to use Miele engineers or dealers for any future repairs. It’s little different to how if you bought a Mercedes car you would expect servicing costs to be higher than for a Fiat. Most people shouldn’t encounter any serious breakdowns though, and Miele quality still can’t be beaten.
The minimum guarantee on a Miele appliance is 2 years, but many models have 5 year guarantees and some are guaranteed for 10 years. I have a Miele W3740 washing machine. I hasn’t given any trouble at all in over 11 years and still sounds like new to me. I would expect most people’s experience to be similar. Even high quality appliances can still break down, but if you buy a Miele model with a long guarantee you can get extra piece of mind.
Designed for equivalent of 20 years life
Miele have long since advertised their washing machines as designed to last 20 years. In relatively recent years they’ve had to amend it to, “tested for the equivalent of 20 years’ use”. They currently word it as follows –
During these tests appliances have to wash for 10,000 hours. This involves running approximately 5000 wash programmes. In terms of daily laundry this equates to about 5 programmes per week with an average run time of 2 hours for 20 years. ”
Anyone washing more than 7 times a week could use up the 20 year lifespan several years short. Miele engineers can tell how many wash cycles their washing machines have done by plugging in their laptops. Ultimately, their designed for slogan does not guarantee it will last 20 years.
Sadly, I’ve had so many reports of dissatisfied Miele owners whose Miele appliance has not lasted anywhere near 20 years that I feel it’s no longer safe to assume one will last like they used to, although it’s still possible. Sadly, the quality – although still superior to most others – appears to have dropped. Coupled with extremely high repair costs it seems there is much more risk involved in investing in a Miele appliance these days.
Unsurprisingly not too many retailers sell Miele appliances, and some only stock a small selection. This is partially because most retailers follow the same path as manufacturers in that they just want to sell appliances in vast quantities – which you can’t do with Miele.
I’ve recently realised that a lot of the parts are in fact of a very similar – if not same – build quality as ordinary washing machines. I discovered this when I was part of a Which? Investigation, and we completely stripped down 12 brand-new washing machines of different brands. We found parts like the pump, water valves, belt and others looked no different to any other brand. However, the motor, drum and bearings, casing, and some other parts are clearly still of higher build quality.
Miele build quality review
Having said all that, I believe Miele are still the best quality washing machine. I have another article looking at the build quality of Miele washing machines
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