2016 Front Loader Washing Machine Reviews
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Canstar Blue compares leading front loader washing machine brands and provides customer satisfaction ratings. We compared Miele, Bosch, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, LG, Samsung and Simpson washing machine brands. These were reviewed for performance & reliability, value for money, ease of use, quietness and design.
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Canstar Blue research finalised in May 2016, published in May 2016.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Most Satisfied Customers | Miele
Miele out in front (for front loaders)
A washing machine is one of the most important and most used appliances in any household. We count on them to keep our clothes nice and fresh, so we need quality that we can rely on. As a matter of preference, many Australians believe front load washers are the way to go, with generally greater energy efficiency a handy bonus. In fact, two-thirds of Aussies who own a front loader (66%) believe they’re easier to use than top-loaders, while 61% wouldn’t even consider purchasing a top loader.
Buying a new washing machine can be a stressful process. After all, it’s an expensive appliance that you’re likely to keep for several years – so you’ll want to make the right decision. You’ll need a washing machine that is reliable, easy to operate, backed up by a good warranty, and represents good value for money. That’s why Canstar Blue annually reviews front loader washing machines by surveying hundreds of Aussies who have recently bought one, asking them to rate their washer on all of the important factors.
Our ratings for front loader washing machines have produced a consistent result in the last two years, with Miele leading the way in terms of performance and reliability, ease of use, quietness, warranty and service, design, value for money and overall customer satisfaction. Perhaps the secret to Miele’s success is that it has remained at the forefront of washing machine technology. Earlier this year, Miele received a Canstar Blue Innovation Award for its TwinDos washing system – an integrated feature which automatically dispenses two powerful detergents into the washing machine at the most appropriate times and volumes, ensuring the most effective and efficient results.
You probably won’t need us to tell you that Miele is a premium brand of household appliances, so its washing machines are not the cheapest. However, they are deemed to be quality and worth the money, if you are prepared to make the initial upfront investment. If not, there are plenty of other front loaders to choose from.
Why choose a front loader?
Australians are divided between those who love front loader washing machines and those who think top loaders can’t be beaten. Our survey found that many households have switched preferences, with more than three-quarters (78%) of front loader owners saying they have previously owned a top loader. But if you need a little more convincing that a front load washer is the best bet for you and your family, compare these pros and cons:
|Front Loader: Pros||Front Loader Cons|
What to consider when buying a front loader
If you’ve decided that a front loader is right for you, then it’s time to consider exactly what you’ll need. While all front loaders operate on the same set of mechanics, different models will still vary in features and capacity. Before you start looking for a new washer, first consider how much space you have available, how many people live in your home, and if anything might change in the future.
Front loader capacity is generally less than that of a top loader of a similar value, ranging anywhere from 5 to 10kg (the weight of clothes it can wash). When it comes to capacity, bigger isn’t always better – if your machine is too large, you will waste money on energy and water in the long run. It’s a matter of finding the right balance. As a quick guide, singles and couples with a front loader should not need a capacity any greater than 5kg or so, while a standard family of four will probably be best off with a 6 to 8kg front loader. If you have a big family or go through a lot of clothes, then you might need a 9kg+ washing machine.
Water and energy ratings
Consumers often make the mistake of overlooking energy and water ratings, not realising just how significant they can be in helping to minimise running costs over time. After crunching the numbers, Canstar Blue found that energy efficient washing machines can save you hundreds of dollars off your energy bills. However, more efficient models are also generally more expensive so consider whether you want to save now, or in the future.
Front loader washing machines usually have access to more features than top loaders, so there’s plenty to look out for. Here are a few.
- Cycle times: Front load washers have long was cycles. However, a lot of front loaders these days incorporate adjustable cycle times to adjust for shorter or longer washes.
- Delayed timer: A delayed timer is a function that lets you set your washing machine to operate at a certain time. It’s often used before bed to set the washing machine to operate during off-peak electricity tariff periods.
- Automatic lock: Nearly all quality front loaders have this feature, but it’s important enough to double check. An automatic lock will stop you from opening the washing machine while it’s operating. It’s a pretty much a must-have if you have young children.
How much does a front loader cost?
Aussies who own a front loader washing machine paid an average of $879, our latest survey found. That compares to an average of $680 spent by households with a top loader. The price of front loaders can range considerably, and is a reflection of a number of criteria including their features, material quality and, most importantly, capacity. Below is a guide of what you can expect to pay for certain front loader capacities, based on advertised prices from Appliances Online.
- 5 to 6kg – $408 to $459
- 7kg – $449 to $1,499
- 8kg – $549 to $2,155
- 9kg+ – $1,089 to $2,499
We want it all
We all expect our washing machine to live up to its basic promise of cleaning our clothes effectively. But after we’ve decided which one we want to buy, get it home and start using it, what actually drives customer satisfaction? We found:
- Performance and reliability: 25%
- Value for money: 19%
- Warranty and service: 19%
- Ease of use: 18%
- Design: 9%
- Quietness: 9%
These results show that a quality front loader has to tick a number of boxes in order to truly satisfy, with outstanding performance and reliability an absolute must. Aussies don’t mind paying a decent price for a good washing machine, as long as they get what they paid for. If you’re looking to compare front load washers, we hope our customer ratings prove helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a brand new front loader washing machine in the last three years – in this case, 572 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 alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.