Are there any downsides to Miele washing machines?

Pros-and-cons 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

Authorised-Dealers 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.


Longer guarantees

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.

Extended Warranties 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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41 thoughts on “Are there any downsides to Miele washing machines?”

  1. Hi Andy, he didn’t check the reason for the leak (it was coming out of the detergent drawer) but said the bearings had gone as well and it was too expensive to fix.

    I received confirmation this morning that the payment has now been received. Now awaiting communication regarding purchase of new appliance but have discovered the same model is more expensive on the Ireland site than the UK site. Regretting the whole thing.

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Was the washing machine very noisy? If bearings had “gone”, the washing machine should be very noisy on spin. A leak from the soap drawer is usually not serious and normally easily repairable – especially for £300! (washing machine leaking from soap dispenser drawer).

    Your problem highlights the dead-end Miele seemed to have found themselves on. They can no longer repair their own washing machines at reasonable prices, and have taken to writing them off as uneconomical to repair when they are well within the designed-for 20 years lifespan.

  3. My washer and dryer are still going strong after twenty years. The washing machine did require a new pump a year ago. I just can’t imagine owning a different brand. On the other hand, the broiling element of my oven of the same age has gone out. The $225 part was discontinued some ten years ago and is not to be found. The solution if I want to broil? A new oven…

  4. We are having to replace our Miele Washing machine. Not completely broken down but unable select more than one program. It was 25 years old in March of this year. Buying another Miele of course!

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Thanks for your contribution, Martin. That’s a great experience and exactly what we should expect from a Miele washing machine. I still believe that you will not get a better quality washing machine than Miele, but it seems like they have a problem in being able to keep repairing their appliances at a reasonable cost – especially once they get past 10 years old. The only way a washing machine can last for 25 years is if it either never breaks down, or when it does break down it can be repaired at a reasonable price. If it can’t be repaired at a reasonable cost then it doesn’t matter how well it’s made it will just get scrapped the same as budget washing machines. I know for a fact that some people have had Miele washing machines that are eight or nine years old, and Miele engineers have told them that it is beyond economical repair. This is insane for a brand that you pay a premium price for in exchange for security that it will last a long time.

      I’m pretty sure that most people’s experience of a Miele washing machine is still likely to be a very good one. Problems will only arise if a major fault occurs such as on the PCB, the motor, or the drum bearings. And hopefully this is still quite rare in a Miele washing machine.

      My own Miele washing machine is probably about 17 years old and still running okay. However, I am pretty sure that if one of the parts I mention above fails it will not be worth repairing. But at 17 years I would not be too upset about that.

      1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

        Out of curiosity, I’ve just looked for spare parts for my Miele washing machine, which is a W3740. I cannot find any spare parts for it at all, even on Miele’s own website. So despite being an appliance engineer, it looks like I would be unable to repair it. It’s also worth noting that despite being sold as designed to last 20 years, my W3740 is only 16 years old and I can find no spare parts to fix it with!

        Looking at Miele’s website they charge £160 plus parts. I currently need to replace the door seal, which is perished. So my estimation is that (and this is assuming that they even have any parts for it available) it will cost me over £210+ to have a new door seal fitted.

        So would it be worth spending £210 on a 16 year old washing machine? I think not. The problem is that you are only likely to get 20 to 25 years from one now if it doesn’t break down after 10 years. If it does, then it’s likely to be extremely expensive, and in many cases simply not worth repairing.

        I can say for a fact that your 25-year-old Miele washing machine will have been built to a far higher standard than a new Miele washing machine will be. I know this because I have participated in a Which? Investigation where we completely stripped down 12 different brands of washing machine and laid out all their parts side-by-side. I was very surprised to find that many of the Miele parts looked no different in quality to most of the other much cheaper brands. If we had done this same investigation 20 years ago, I am very confident that virtually every Miele part would have looked better quality than any of the “normal brands”. The problem for Miele is that if they had kept up this quality, they may be having to charge £1200-£1500 just for their basic washing machine. No manufacturer is immune from having to constantly keep their prices competitive, and this usually means slowly reducing quality in the end.

        So there’s no doubt a new one will not be as well-made as yours, or mine. However, are they still likely to be better quality than most of the other brands? I would say definitely yes, but only in certain areas such as the build quality of the drum and bearings, the casing and paint used and a few other areas. I didn’t find any difference in quality of parts like the drive belt, the pump, the water valves, the heating element, door seal and even the motor.

      2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

        During my search to try to find out how much a new motor for my Miele W3740 would cost, I eventually found a spares site that had the following statement, which explains why I can find no parts for my washing machine –

        “Miele have unfortunately changed their sales policy in UK and Europe. This applies to all online spare parts retailers. We can only sell Genuine Miele spare parts to repair engineers and not directly to the public. Unfortunately we have had to remove thousands of parts from your view. Hopefully Miele will change their sales policy again in the future.”

        Even if you go to Miele’s own website, there are no spare parts for sale even directly from them, other than a handful of accessories or very simple parts like a new filter etc.

        So the only option open to anyone with a Miele washing machine is to always pay a minimum of £160 plus parts (which is obviously going to keep going up) and have a Miele engineer fit them. This would be for even the most simple of repairs.

  5. Hi Andy and everybody,

    Which models Miele were made in Germany?
    That is to say, which models were the most dependable?

    Thanks in advance,
    William

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello William. I honestly don’t know, I would imagine that the most expensive models, and the ones with five or 10 year guarantees may still be made in Germany. And the cheaper or more basic models may be made somewhere else. There is no reason why a Miele washing machine made in an alternative country would be of any lower quality per se. Not unless Miele had consciously decided to do that, which they may well have.

      The only reason most manufacturers would transfer manufacture to a different country is to save on labour costs. If it was just to make them of lower quality, anyone can make lower quality. So theoretically the ones made in other countries would be made just as well (as long as that’s what the manufacturer wanted). Obviously they would totally oversee all of the production and would specify the exact standards and quality that they want. However, it is reasonable to suspect that there may well also be some reduction in the quality as well – being as the overriding reason is to be able to sell them cheaper.

      There is a similar issue with Fender guitars (I am a musician as well). They have two types of guitar, one made in America, and another made in Spain. The ones made in Spain are much cheaper and considered of lower quality. I remember reading somewhere that they use cheaper pickups and cheaper tuning keys. However, at the end of the day these products are still Fender, and still Miele, so they are unlikely to be rubbish. But I honestly do not know the extent to which Miele appliances made in other countries than Germany have been also reduced in quality.

  6. Hi, I have been offered a second hand Miele W 5740. Have read there are issues with drainage on that model Don’t know that exact year of manufacture – have asked for the serial number to check. Know this model is no longer sold through retailers. But wondering if you know potentially the oldest it could be? And with the drainage issue – how likely is this to occur so would it be worth taking the machine on?

  7. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Eva. I don’t know about any drainage problems. I have a W3740 which is about 20 years old. Presumably the 5740 is around the same time but maybe not as old.

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