Kitting out your kitchen is a time-consuming and expensive business, but while there are times when it's worth splashing out on a bit of luxury, there are also moments when keeping track of the pennies makes sense. When it comes to washing machines, we've been really surprised to see just how good a product you can get your hands on without spending a fortune. And the fact that these machines don't look like they're all under £300 is another big bonus.
Gone are the days when you had to spend a fortune to be able to wash big loads, or have the luxury of eco-friendly settings and different pre-set programmes. Here's our pick of the top 5 budget-friendly machines which will do the job you need them to do, and leave your bank balance feeling a little healthier. Perfect!
1. Hoover H Wash 300, currently £249
Hoover H Wash 300, £249, AO.com
This attractive-looking washing machine does not look like it only cost £249. With a sleek display and minimalist selection wheel, it looks as modern as many of the much more expensive machines on the market.
It takes 9kg of washing - so perfect for a busy family, and has an array of pre-set functions that allow an emergency wash to be done in as little as 14 minutes! The MIXED wash is the one we used most - quite speedy at under 2 hours and surprisingly quiet, which is a boon in these days of kitchen-table working.
It even has fancy functionalities like the ability to turn on and off using a smart phone app. And it's not just us who loved it; this machine has an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars on AO's review section and over 1000 people have taken the time to review it. Most of these reviews highlight its 9kg capacity, its quietness and the fact that the quick function washes are very effective.
2. Hotpoint Core NSWR, currently £269
Hotpoint Core NSWR, £269, Currys
This is an 8kg washer which again, with its sleek design and minimalist front panel, is not going to give away its cost to any visitors to your home. But while it looks the part, does it work?
It seems, yes! This machine gets a very positive review from people who have bought one, with writers liking the size of the drum and singling out the quick-wash cycles as particularly useful (the half hour and hour both got the thumbs up). It's also quiet and this was one of the best features for many Hotpoint Core owners. One criticism that did crop up time and again was that it was difficult to understand how to use it at first - a criticism of the instructions, rather than the usability of the machine.
The anti-allergy steam setting is also something some users are raving about.
Hisense WFQY1014EVJM, currently £289
Hisense, £289, AO.com
This is a really big machine with an impressive 10kg drum - meaning a large family can cut a lot of washes out of their weekly routine. There are other great features - such as the allergy setting and the quick washes for emergencies. And it's really quiet - it uses frictionless magnets rather than noisy brushes to spin, so it's not going to keep anyone awake who shouldn't be.
Reviewers back up the quiet wash claims, with contributors confirming conference calls in the kitchen are not impacted at all, and one going as far as to call it 'silent'. The sleek look and easy-to-use functionality gets a lot of praise too.
Beko WTL84131W, £239
Beko WTL84131W, £239, John Lewis
This is a super-affordable, modern-looking machine with an 8kg drum and the ability to wash a full load in just 28 minutes. It's easy to install due to a very slim depth and easy to use once it's installed too.
Reviewers were generally positive, though a few did say they felt they'd got what they'd paid for in terms of the sound volume of the spin. While some were quite happy with its spin noise levels, others stated it couldn't be used at night without bothering the neighbours.
5. Zanussi ZWF825B4PW, £279
Zanussi ZWF825B4PW, £279, John Lewis
This modern-looking machine is attractive and spacious, with an 8kg drum. It has a host of programmes to deal with all your different laundry needs, but one thing to note is a max 1200 spin, which could impact drying time somewhat (although we should note that none of the reviewers complained that it did). The array of mid-week spruce up washes (14 minute, 30 minute and 60 minute cycles) are popular with buyers, allowing washing to become a quick and easy occupation.
The flexitime function is also useful - you can adapt the length of a pre-programmed cycle if you need to speed it up a touch.
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