I get quite a few emails asking what I think of Panasonic washing machines. It’s a good question because Panasonic have a very respected reputation for brown goods. So people are naturally interested in their washing machines and wonder if they are just as good. I’m a fan of the Panasonic brown goods brand. I currently have three of their products (a TV, a hard drive recorder, and a Blue-ray home cinema unit). I’ve also previously owned several of their VCR’s and cameras in the past and never had a single problem with any of them.
However, in the UK their washing machines were only launched in 2009, so there’s not much of a track record on white goods yet compared to other brands that have been making washing machines here since the 50s. It’s highly likely they will be striving to carve an equally good reputation for white goods but white goods are completely different from brown goods.
Any new brand of washing machine has an uphill struggle to become established in an overcrowded market especially against names that have been producing white goods in the UK for many decades. I can’t help feeling there are already too many washing machine brands to chose from (even though many are owned by the same handful of manufacturers) but I suppose there is always room for genuine innovation or better quality if that proves to be what’s on offer.
Panasonic seem to be pitched in the mid price range competing with the likes of LG or AEG so I would judge their washing machines against those brands and ask, what’s different about them? What are Panasonic offering that AEG and LG aren’t?
Which? have a lot of information about Panasonic washing machines which you should check out before buying.
Panasonic do have an excellent reputation on brown goods products so it would be crazy of them to produce sub standard white goods to sully their name. On the other hand, can we afford to just assume anything they make will be excellent? Washing machines are very different to a TV, reliability is much harder to achieve because they are far more mechanical and have many moving parts.
If I turn it around and imagine what I’d think if AEG or Hoover started making TV’s it would seem pretty strange. LG made the transition well before Panasonic and sell both brown and white goods in the UK. However, even after several years they are still very much a newcomer in white goods, and haven’t taken too much of the market from the old established white goods manufacturers. At the end of the day moving to a completely new field of products such as moving from brown to white goods may take a good few years to get right.
After-sales service is important
An important aspect of selling white goods is a good supply of spare parts and technical information to the trade as well as a good quality after-sales network to cover the guarantee period. White goods, particularly washing machines break down much more often and need a lot more spare parts. Newcomers can take a long time to get these right, especially from a background of brown goods, and my sources tell me spares and technical information can be difficult to get for these brands.
Only time will tell, but after-sales is a vital consideration when buying appliances likely to require some repairs in the future unless you are happy to just get as long as you can out of something (with fingers crossed) and throw it away when it breaks down. My personal preference is to buy washing machines where the manufacturer have their own engineers in this country to repair them under guarantee. Panasonic are like all the brown goods brands in that they do not have their own engineers. They instead use third-party networks of repairers and this in my opinion is far less satisfactory.