Canstar Blue’s 2020 front load washing machine review has seen Miele, Bosch, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Simpson, Samsung, Electrolux and LG compared on their performance and reliability, design, value for money, quietness, additional functionality and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
No matter how many times a week you do your laundry, your washing machine plays an integral role in keeping your family home moving. It’s the appliance that many of us simply can’t do without (unless you prefer to wash your clothes by hand!). There would be no clean school uniforms, work shirts or bed sheets, so finding the right washing machine for your household’s needs is important. Whether you’re looking for the cheapest washing machine available, or one with all the bells and whistles, you’ve come to the right place for guidance!
Each year, Canstar Blue surveys hundreds of households across Australia, to find out how they rate their front loader washing machine based on important factors such as performance, design and the value for money they think it represents. Washing machines aren’t the easiest appliance to replace, so it really does pay to do your research, and finding out what other consumers just like you think about all the major brands is a great place to start.
For the sixth year running, Miele has earned the top spot in our customer satisfaction ratings for front load washing machines. The German appliance powerhouse clearly knows how to keep Aussies happy in the laundry room, receiving five stars for overall satisfaction, in addition to most other research categories.
Here are the best front load washing machines in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Miele once again topped our ratings for front loaders, after earning five-star reviews for performance and reliability, quietness, design, additional functionality and overall satisfaction. However, Aussies rated the German brand only three stars for value for money. It was Haier and Simpson which consumers thought offered the best bang for your buck, with both brands receiving full marks for value and four stars for overall customer satisfaction.
Meanwhile, runner-up Bosch joined Miele in the five-star club for quietness while operating and ended on four stars overall, along with third place winner Fisher & Paykel. Samsung, Electrolux and LG landed on a moderate three stars for overall customer satisfaction.
To help you decide which brand may be the best fit for your needs and budget, here is a guide to the eight brands in our latest review and what they currently have to offer Aussie households.
Miele is known as a high-end appliance brand, but evidently consumers look at more than just price alone, instead appreciating proven quality. Miele is a German manufacturer, with many of its products still made in Europe. Miele is an innovative brand, but doesn’t lose sight of the basics. It seems to excel in terms of ease of use, reliability and performance, with many of its washers featuring the intelligent ‘TwinDos’ detergent system which ensures the optimum level of detergent is used to achieve the best cleaning results possible. In addition, Miele washers are boasted for their honeycomb drum, claimed to provide gentle garment care.
Miele has various front loader models on offer, with prices set as low as $1,399 and as high as almost $4,500. Their high energy-efficiency ratings, however, should help to get some of that back in the form of reduced power bills over time. Sizes include 7kg, 8kg and 9kg models, but with no extra-large options available. However, for the average household, 7-8kg should suffice.
Miele was rated best for overall satisfaction and in most other research categories, except value for money where it got three stars.
Miele’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Bosch is another high-end German manufacturer, well-known for making feature-rich front loaders and numerous other household appliances. Some of its front loaders are still made in Germany, with many models boasting WELS water efficiency ratings of four stars or higher. Some consume as little as around 60L per cycle, which is around half the consumption of a typical top loader.
The Bosch range also includes the ‘iDos’ water and detergent saver, sensing and using the required amount of detergent and water. The drum detects the load weight, fabric type and degree of soiling, and adjusts the levels accordingly. Most Bosch models cost well over $1,000, with the full range sitting between $999 and $2,799. Sizes include 7.5kg models as well as 8kg, 9kg and 10kg.
Bosch was a solid performer in this year’s review, earning five stars for quietness and a solid four stars for overall satisfaction and everywhere else.
Bosch’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Fisher & Paykel is a New Zealand-based appliance brand, and while much of its manufacturing is now offshore, the Kiwi company is still known for making innovative, feature-rich and efficient front load washing machines. Its models hover around the middle-end of the capacity range, 7.5kg to 8.5kg, but it also has family-sized options of 10kg and 12kg.
The range can generally be broken into four categories – WashSmart, FabricSmart, QuickSmart and ActiveIntelligence. The names are suggestive, with WashSmart models offering the ability to pause the wash cycle to allow you to insert forgotten items. Few brands boast this feature and Fisher & Paykel does it with water efficiency in mind, with many models having 4.5-star WELS ratings or even better. ActiveIntelligence is aimed to take the ‘guesswork’ out of washing by adjusting the wash time and detergent to suit your load automatically. A few washers can be found for less than $1,000, with the most expensive model priced at around $2,199, so quality doesn’t always mean high costs.
Fisher & Paykel was rated a solid four stars across the board in our 2020 review and remains a solid runner-up for top loaders as well.
Fisher & Paykel’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Haier claims to be the number one brand of major appliances in the world in volume sales, thanks in part to its extensive range spanning across dishwashers, microwaves, fridges, freezers and more. In the laundry space however, Haier offers a moderately small selection of both top and front-loading washing machines for single-person households to large families, with load capacities ranging from 4kg to 12kg. Prices for high-end models don’t exceed $2,000 (excluding TwinTasker model), which is good value in comparison to other brands, although the range is limited.
The brand offers Direct Motion washers which feature direct drive motor technology, eliminating the drive belt in traditional washing machines, to allow the motor to directly drive the drum. This effectively reduces the vibration from the machine and helps reduce energy consumption. Haier also peddles a ‘TwinTasker’ machine with independent wash cycles, to wash each load separately or at the same time!
Haier was rated best bang for your buck in our 2020 ratings and four stars in most categories, except additional functionality where it landed three stars.
Haier’s range of front-loading washing machines includes (but is not limited to):
Simpson is reputed in the Australian market for ‘keeping it simple’ with a simple range of washers and dryers boasted for their reliability and efficiency. All Simpson top and front-loading washing machines come with a 10-year parts warranty. The brand’s ‘EZI Set’ range is claimed to have been designed to help busy families take the fuss out of doing the laundry. Simpson has been around for about 150 years, but its range hasn’t evolved much beyond its small, original offering.
Simpson was awarded five stars for value for money and four stars for performance and reliability, design and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for additional functionality and quietness.
Simpson’s range includes (at the time of writing) only two front-loading models:
South Korean tech and appliance giant Samsung offers various front loader washing machines with sleek appearances and different finish types to suit any laundry room. Perhaps you’re into the black appliance trend – well, Samsung has you covered in that department. Capacities are on the large side, with many models exceeding 10kg. There is also a massive 16kg model (pictured).
Samsung is one of the few brands to boast pause-cycle functions to add in more clothes – Samsung calls it ‘AddWash’. With large capacities and AddWash features, Samsung’s motto is ‘less loads – more life’, and with some models featuring cycle times of as short as 15 minutes, it’s easy to see why. Samsung’s front loaders average around 4-4.5 stars for energy and water efficiency ratings. Samsung washers can be found for under $1,500, while the largest ones are over $2,000.
Samsung got four stars for performance, design, additional functionality and value for money. It finished on three stars for quietness and overall satisfaction.
Samsung’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Electrolux is a Swedish brand, with a focus on innovative laundry appliances. Most of its front loader washing machines skew to the middle end of the capacity spectrum – from 7.5kg to 10kg capacities – however you can also find a 14kg model. Electrolux front loaders are known for their efficiency, with many of its models featuring five-star energy ratings and 4.5-star or better WELS ratings. Its 10kg model (EWF1041ZDWA), for example, uses just 86L per cycle, which seems quite an achievement given the capacity.
Many models feature more than 10 washing programs – including quick washes – and with the ability to save your favourite program. Electrolux front loaders start at the retail price tag of $949 and max out at $1,499 for the 10kg washer.
In our 2020 washing machine review, Electrolux was rated four stars for performance, design and quietness. It got three stars for value for money and overall.
Electrolux’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Another South Korean electronics giant, LG boasts a fairly large range of front load washing machines. Models range between 7kg and 15kg in load capacity, so you’re likely to find one for every household size. Dearer and larger models also have fairly large feature lists, with functions such as the ‘TurboClean’ and ‘TrueSteam’ to help take much of the fuss out of washing clothes. TurboClean apparently helps cut rinse cycles by up to 30 minutes, with water usage cut by up to 45%. Meanwhile TrueSteam is a feature that uses ultra-high temperatures to steam the water and enable tough stains to be removed.
To get a complement of features, you’ll generally have to be willing to spend at least $1,000, while its larger models can cost close to $2,000. Basic models can be found for around $800. Expect energy and water efficiency ratings of between 3.5 and 4.5 stars out of six.
LG was rated four stars for performance and three stars in the remaining categories.
LG’s front load washing machine range includes (but is not limited to):
Aside from the eight brands featured in our 2020 washing machine ratings, there are some other leading names in the world of front load washing machines that may be worth a look into. Such brands include:
While these brands didn’t garner enough survey responses to be included in our ratings, they may still have plenty to offer. Some brands come relatively cheap, while others are feature-rich, with intelligent detergent dispensers, load sensors and high energy and water efficiency ratings.
A front load washing machine works by tumbling your clothes – it picks clothes up and drops them into water in a circular motion. It doesn’t use an agitator or impeller as a top load washing machine would. Instead, it relies on gravity for its tumble action in the drum. This helps to reduce the amount of water used per load as you don’t need clothes to be completely submerged in water. You can still expect a gentle wash despite its tumble action.
One of the main benefits of front loaders is that they are typically more energy and water efficient than top loaders. With higher star ratings in these areas, you could be saving money on electricity and water bills over time. In addition, you typically have a larger range of cycle options, temperature settings and spin speeds. These units are also boasted for quiet noise levels and create minimal lint from washing clothes. You can also use the top surface as a workbench or stick a dryer on top to save on floor space.
Depending on the model, one of the main differentiating factors between front and top loaders is that you typically can’t stop a front loader when mid-cycle to add in clothes you may have missed. They also have generally longer wash times and smaller capacity levels than top loaders. However, there are plenty of new front load models that cater to large households in the laundry department. In addition, expect to pay higher prices upfront compared to top loaders.
There are plenty of pros and cons to buying a front load washing machine, but in general they will be suited to small households or those living in a small to average-sized home. However, there are also options for larger households, with some brands boasting 10kg load capacities and up. If space is at a premium at your place, you could feasibly stack your front loader on top of – or below – your clothes dryer. You can’t do that with a top loader washing machine. Below we list some specific factors to think about before buying a front loader.
The capacity of washing machines is measured in kilograms (i.e. the kg weight of your clothes). Front load washing machines come in a wide range of sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect fit for your laundry room. Front loaders can be quite small – around 5-6kg in capacity – but you’ll also find plenty of larger washers around 10-11kg in capacity with 7kg units being considered to be an accommodating size for many Aussies. Electrolux, LG and Samsung are some of the biggest names to offer large front loaders, while most major brands have small models. You can find some front loaders as big as 16kg in size!
But when it comes to capacity, bigger is not always better. Unless you like using more electricity and water than you need to, it’s important to pick the right size washer for your family’s needs. The table below gives a general idea of what size you’ll need. As you’d expect, the bigger the washing machine, the higher the purchase price in general.
|Washing Machine Capacity||Household Size|
|5.5kg – 8kg||3-4 people|
Source: Appliances Online
In addition to various fancy features, the price of washing machines is largely dictated by their water and energy efficient ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the washer will be, and the more you’ll stand to save in ongoing energy costs. However, the most energy-efficient front load washing machines come with higher price tags, so you’ll need to consider whether or not the extra upfront cost is worth it.
You’ll generally find more interesting features with front loader washing machines than their top load cousins. In addition to the obligatory range of various delayed start and cycle times, some of the most impressive front load washer features currently available allow you to:
There are lots of things to consider when buying a new washing machine, but perhaps for many, it will come down to the budget and how much you’re willing to spend on one of these bad boys. On average, consumers spend $771 on new front loaders, our latest survey found.
You can have a washing machine with all the most expensive features, but that’s no use if you’re not going to use them. In addition to this year’s star ratings, our research also identified the key purchase decision factors for consumers who have recently purchased a new front loader:
As you can see, it’s all about finding a good balance between efficiency and value for money. Miele and Bosch continuously perform well on efficiency in our ratings, but this year it was Haier and Simpson which were rated best on value.
The average life expectancy for washing machines is around nine years, our survey shows, which suggests that buying a new washer is a long-term investment that involves some serious thought. If you’re preparing to splash the cash on a new front load washing machine, we hope our ratings report proves helpful.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Photo Credits: Evgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock.com, Zivica Kerkez/shutterstock.com, Corepics VOF/shutterstock
*Prices taken from retailer websites, correct as of August 2020.
Here is a full list of washing machine brands available to buy in Australia:
Our latest customer satisfaction research on washing machines saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
There are plenty of retailers that sell washing machines either in-store or online. These include:
Each brand offers a number of models within its range. We’ve taken a comparative model from each brand in regards to capacity to help you compare price, plus each model’s energy and water efficiency ratings:
Source: Respective retailers and Appliances Online, August 2020.
|Model||RRP||Energy Rating||Water Efficiency (WELS) Rating|
|Miele 7kg Front Load Washing Machine (WDB030)||$1,399||4||4|
|Simpson Ezi Set 7kg Front Load Washing Machine (SWF7025EQWA)||$599||3.5||4.5|
|Bosch 7.5kg Serie 4 Front Load Washing Machine (WAN22120AU)||$1,399||4||4.5|
|Fisher & Paykel 7.5kg WashSmart Front Load Washing Machine (WH7560P2)||$949||4||4.5|
|Samsung 7.5kg AddWash Steam Front Load Washing Machine (WW75K54E0UW)||$849||4||4.5|
|Electrolux 7.5kg JetSystem Front Load Washing Machine (EWF7524CDWA)||$799||4||4.5|
|Whirlpool 7kg FreshCare Front Load Washing Machine (FDLR70210)||$929||4||4|
Top load washing machines have a vertically aligned drum where clothes are loaded and unloaded via the door on top of the unit. Clothes are generally moved by an agitator or impeller. However, newer models are designed without an agitator to reduce tangling and instead use an alternative impeller system to move clothes.
With top loaders, you can expect much faster cycle times compared to front loaders. Top loaders typically run cycles in 15-30 minutes, whereas front loaders usually take up to an hour. This is because the load is constantly immersed in water, unlike in a front loader. However, newer top loaders now also boast quick wash cycles.
Top Loaders are also said to respond better when fabric softener is added. In addition, all top loaders allow you to pause and add clothes mid-cycle whereas this feature is limited in front loaders.
There are also several disadvantages to front loaders that are to be noted. One downfall is that they can create significant amounts of lint due to the friction of clothes during the wash. They also use considerably more water and detergent as well as generate more noise than front loaders.
Front loaders may have an edge on top loaders from an energy and water consumption perspective, but it’s also important to look at the initial purchase price. Front loaders and generally more expensive than top loaders of similar capacity. However, the higher upfront cost of the washer may in fact negate the savings you’re making on your water and power bills in the long run. On Appliances Online, top loaders cost between $300 and $2,900 while the price for a front loader ranges from $350 to $4,500, which is a significant difference.
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a front loader washing machine in the last three years – in this case, 873 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here are the past winners from Canstar Blue’s front load washing machine ratings:
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*Prices correct as of publication date.