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Overview

A washing machine as become a necessity in this day an age. Every second house has a washing machine and why not? It is easy and effective and cheaper than the local laundry.

Washing machines, off late, come with many features and functions. To help you select a suitable washing machine for your home we break down the types of washing machines available in the market and their functions.

Types of Functionality and Loading Options

Semi-automatic

These machines are partly automatic but require manual intervention. They have twin tubs; one is for washing and the other is a dryer. You need to fill the washer with water manually and change it again for another spin. The advantage of a semi-automatic is that it requires less water and electricity to get the work done. You can also set the washer time and speed which reduces the power consumption. Most of these models are designed with impeller washing system which creates a tossing movement for cleaning the clothes. Given the fact that it comes with fewer features and functionalities, this makes it cheaper than its counterparts. It is also ecofriendly since you can monitor the water consumption. (extra line added)

In India, their price ranges between Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 12,000/- and majority of reputed companies sell semi-automatic machines.

Fully-automatic

As the name suggests, this machine does everything itself. All you need to do is put in your dirty laundry, add some detergent and press a button. Fully automatic machines are equipped with many functions and hence they are more expensive than semi-automatic. It automatically drains out the dirty water and even starts the air blower, after washing the clothes. The result is better than that from semi-automatic.   Most of the fully automatic machines come with an inbuilt heating system that takes care of hot wash option and drying. Modern ergonomic design principles are used while creating these machines hence they occupy less space in your home.

Fully-automatic machines are of two types

  • Top Loading

A top-loading machine is the oldest and traditional model. It consists of a tub which is placed vertically in the machine and has a lid on top. Once the round of spinning is done, a top-loader will drain the water, refill itself with fresh water and start spinning again. They are generally low-end machines with few functions compared to front-loader, making them easy to use and as it has fewer functions. Fewer features and functions make it cheaper compared to front loading machines. They are ergonomically designed to be compact and light and hence are movable. Also, if you have some dirty laundry lying around and want to add it to the washer, top loader lets you add it while the machine is at work. Since it’s a traditional one, you can use any detergent but have to be careful not to use strong chemicals that are harsh on your clothes. Some top-loading machines also come with pulsator wash system. Top loading machines are low priced, costing between Rs. 8000/- to Rs. 36,000/-

  • Front Loading

Front loading machine consists of a horizontally placed tub that needs to be from the front lid. A front-loader uses less amount of water compared to top-loader and is more efficient. These machines do not require agitator, instead, they use gravitational force for spinning and rinsing. Their system has long wash cycles which help them to wash clothes efficiently and with better quality. They also have options like hot wash and in-built heater. The innovative technology in front-loaders, takes care of the fabric and can be used for washing delicates as well. It has faster mechanism of 1000rpm, therefore all the water is used up and clothes dry faster.

Given the fact, they are high-end machines, their price is always on the higher side like between Rs. 20,000/- to Rs. 80,000/-

Mini Washing Machines

A mini washing machine is suitable for washing a small load of laundry or for people who do not have enough space for a bulky machine. It doesn’t require installation as it needs only a faucet or tap to fill the water in the tub. Works really well for 5-6 clothes per load, it is not suitable for fabrics like denim.

Capacity Options

This is one of the most important things to consider before buying a washing machine. Many times, people buy cheaper machines because they offer less capacity, but later on, regret buying them because they have to wash and dry clothes in multiple cycles. Washing machines are expensive appliances so you need to consider all the factors like the amount of clothes that need to be washed per cycle and the expected wash quality. Here, is a breakdown that will help you to buy a machine appropriate for your family.

  • Size: 1-2 family members | Capacity: 5-6 Kg.
  • Size: 3 family members | Capacity: 6-7 Kg.
  • Size: 4 family members | Capacity: 7-8 Kg.
  • Size: 5 or more | Capacity: 8 Kg or more.

Washing capacity also depends on how many times you wash your clothes. If you have more than 8 members and the wash frequency is once a week then you should opt for a larger capacity machine. Whereas, those with a small family that washes clothes every day, should buy a smaller capacity machine. It is important not to overload the machine with clothes, it will affect the overall performance and wash quality.

Other Important Features to Look Out for

  1. Washing Programs/Options: There are three general functions – normal, heavy and permanent. Fully-automatic machines have many wash programs like silk, cotton, dry wash, hot wash, sports , wool, intensive duvet, rinse spin, rinse hold and many other features.
  2. Auto Select: This feature automatically selects the optimum-washing program, which it deiced based on the load quantity. It auto detects the weight of the load, sets wash cycle time, adds detergent powder and fills water required for the washing In a literal sense, it makes washing clothes fuss-free for those who do not want to handle fancy features.
  3. Child Lock: This is an important feature, especially for those who have kids at home. It shuts down the operational buttons of the machine so that kids cannot press anything that hinders with the washing program.
  4. Quick/Smart Wash: It is one of the most common features that is now present in every washing machine. It is usually used with smaller loads for running wash cycle about 15-18 minutes for 1 to 1.5kg of laundry. Some machines have 30 to 40 minutes cycles because of larger capacity.
  5. Hot Wash: Majority of washers, nowadays, have heaters that provide temperature control options to hot wash clothes. It is extremely useful for people in colder region because it helps to dry off the clothes quickly.

It is recommend that you do thorough research and follow these guidelines before buying a washing machine since it is a one time investment.

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