Washing machines to avoid

We all want to avoid buying a poor quality washing machine. One that may be unreliable, or one that doesn’t last very long. But believe it or not there are washing machines for sale that don’t even fulfil their primary purpose. According to independent tests and reviews they can’t even wash and/or rinse properly.

Whilst it’s easy to understand how a manufacturer might make washing machines that are poor quality, badly designed and unreliable, it’s extremely hard to understand how they could make one that couldn’t actually wash laundry properly. I genuinely think it would be quite difficult. All washing machines just fill up with water and detergent, heat it to 40 degrees, and swish the laundry around until clean – then rinse and spin. There can’t be anything remotely hard about that.

And yet according to consumer group Which? some of the washing machines they test are so poor at performing their basic function that they specifically warn us not to buy them. Which? Best Buy awards are long established for many products, but they’ve sadly found a need for Don’t Buy awards too. The worst example I’ve seen is where they awarded one washing machine a remarkably low 25% and said –

It’s the worst machine we’ve seen in years. It does a terrible job of cleaning cottons and the rinse is so awful you may find traces of detergent on your clothes afterwards

They also recently similarly dismissed another with only 30% marks (Best Buy’s typically get over 80%) saying –

The main cotton program removes around 30% less soiling than an equivalent Best Buy machine and the rinse is so poor…

Do some research

Don't Buy So it’s clear that buying the wrong washing machine or any other white goods could be disastrous. Not only if it’s unreliable or doesn’t last long, but it might simply be rubbish at doing the job it’s supposed to do as well. Carrying out a fundamental core function reasonably well is an absolute must.

If a product can’t do that then anyone dissatisfied with one should be entitled to their money back. It’s like buying a radio that can’t tune into radio stations properly, or an umbrella that can’t keep the rain off us. Needless to say, if you don’t want to buy something which independent experts have warned us not to buy – and that goes for all products and services – consider taking up a Which? trial offer.

Forbes Rentals Forbes rent appliances and specialise in renting Bosch appliances so they know them inside out. They also rent other brands and many other products – more details at Forbes


Since writing this article I’ve seen another set of DON’T BUYS by Which? This time it’s 3 Washer Dryer’s that failed to function properly in their tests. One was “terrible” at cleaning cottons, another “did a poor job” at cleaning synthetics, and the other was found to be poor at rinsing synthetics. Don’t forget these “Don’t Buy” warnings cover all other appliances and many other products.

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4 thoughts on “Washing machines to avoid”

  1. Frank Marshall

    Hello there,

    I just heard about your website on Radio 4 (12pm 12thMay2014) so I thought I’d have a look. The first thing I notice is that your recommending ‘Which’. Which has always been a great idea but like ‘Checkatrades’ and latterly ‘Rate it’ they appear to be in the business to make money more than provide genuinely good information.
    I guess that reading Which is better than nothing IF you have absolutely no knowledge of the specific items BUT take it with a large pinch of salt as I remember reading something in a Which magazine, about which I was quite knowledgeable. What I read was absolute rubbish and nonsense…..so beware; all these groups are obviously in the business to make money. They are NOT altruistic groups and have other agendas.

    PS ‘Other opinions are available’

  2. Hi Frank. Thanks for having a look. Yes I’m an affiliate of Which? and recommend them a lot though ultimately some articles may be written by people who essentially research like journalists do rather than by people who have a lot of direct experience in the subject. That’s why I hope my site offers something different but equally valid because I write from direct experience.

    I too have disagreed with some of the stuff which I have great knowledge about and various other things, but ultimately there is a lot of extremely useful advice and resources there and no one has more respect than Which?

    I think the big (and important) difference between the ones you mention and Which? is that Which? is a registered charity and a not for profit organisation. I don’t think most people realise this and I only realised myself relatively recently. Profits are ploughed back into consumer interests and services for members. As such they are one of the most trustworthy sources of consumer information because they are completely independent. There are no shareholders or owners behind them focusing on profits and the only people they have to please are their members. However, they do still need to make profits to survive.

    I agree totally that any scheme recommending traders where the traders pay to join is fatally flawed, but Which?’s Find a local repairman service is completely free for members to use and traders pay nothing. A trader can only be listed if a member personally recommends them. So as far as I can see it beats any other such service because there’s no vested interest other than to offer a good service for members.

    Likewise even their switch energy suppliers system is the best because despite having some financial agreements in place with many of the energy companies they return the cheapest supplier for members even if they have no financial arrangement whereas as far as I know all the other switch services only tell you about the ones they get commission for.

    They won’t be perfect but I do have high confidence in them :)

  3. Years ago I worked for a UK laptop manufacturer (well, assembly plant -everything is made in China to begin with) and asked the MD why we didn’t send them to magazines to review. He said they tried it once, and the magazine compared it against a HP-badged laptop of the same chassis (both made by Arima in Taiwan, both identical model numbers but badged either for us or for HP), yet in all the subjective (i.e. not measurable and verifiable) areas the HP came out on top. Things like it “having a much more pleasant keyboard to type on” despite the fact this chassis only came with one type of keyboard and only the key layout changed depending on the language of the intended market (the UK keyboard in the HP would have been exactly the same as the one in ours because Arima simply didn’t offer any other styles or types to buy). He concluded that the HP won, not because it was a better machine, but because HP pay for full-page adverts in the magazine and we didn’t. As the cover price of a magazine nowhere near covers the true cost of an issue (most of their income is from advertising) and quite sensibly the magazine didn’t want to risk the ire of a large source of that – biting the hand that feeds as it would have been – they awarded the HP version the higher score even though in reality they were identical machines.

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    I found a similar issue with washing machines Sector-9. I’ve seen badged washing machines that are identical apart from name and cosmetics get very different reviews in Which?

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