Recently my wife went through a stage of wanting our kitchen re-fitted, spending money quicker than we earned it at some points, so we had to go out and buy several new kitchen items. This was mainly due to the fact that my lovely wife had decided she wanted to step away from the white goods scenery to a stainless steel look, which led to a deeper dent in our bank balance.
One of the many new kitchen items we, or more she, bought, apart from a new cooker, hob and a rather dashing upright fridge freezer, which all had to be in the new look stainless steel colour, was a brand new washing machine.
I did put up a bit of a fight regarding this new purchase, stating that our 'white' washing machine was not too old and still worked well enough to get our clothes clean, she insisted that a new stainless steel one was needed, so I lost yet another budget saving discussion, forcing our bank manager to cringe once again.
(Luckily, as our 'old' washing machine was still in perfect working order we did manage to get a few quid back from it so this went towards the cost of the new one, but only a little).
Anyway, on one of her, what now seems to be a rather, regular hunt for a bargain in the kitchen area, she came across a very nice looking washing machine which came in the stainless steel finish she craved. The washing machine we, or should I say she, had chosen was from a company I instantly associate with power tools, although we did purchase a rather nice microwave oven from the same company. That company is the well known company called Bosch, this machines full name being the Bosch WAE 24366GB, and once again, to be honest, she has picked yet another good looking and well built machine, but don't tell the wife I said that or she'll spend even more money.
* Free standing
* 'A' energy grade
* 1.02 kwh
* 600-1200 spin speed
* 45 litre water consumption
* 59 dB noise level for washing- 78 dB for spinning
* Size is 847mm high x 600mm wide x 590mm deep
* 6 KG capacity
* 300 mm door opening gap
* Touch control system
* 15 wash settings including Quick wash and pre-wash
* Special settings include 'reduce ironing', 'rinse hold', 'Aqua plus' and 'spin speed reduction'
** OTHER FEATURES...
* Safeguard monitoring system
* Foam detection system
* Reload facility
* 'Aquatronic' wash system
* Child lock
** MY OPINION...
As I said before, this machine is a rather splendid looking unit without looking out of place in any kitchen, if like my wife you're into the stainless steel look, although they do sell this in the normal white colour which is nearly £100 cheaper than the one we bought.
It is so simple to use, especially if you have owned a washing machine before as the controls are the same as many other machines of its kind on the market.
The controls themselves, which run along the top front of the machine, which are self explanatory, having just 6 touch buttons and a dial to deal with.
The four buttons on the left are for the special features, them being the 'Eco perfect', 'reduced ironing', 'Aqua plus', and 'speed perfect'. Then there is a single button which gives you full control of the five speed settings, these range from 600 rpm to 1200 rpm, with the option of a rinse hold.
In the centre of the control section there is a lovely timer which gives you a count down to the end of what ever cycle you are running, this is display in a digital format.
Next to the digital display is the very important on/off button, again this is a touch control.
Then, on the right, there is the single dial control which gives you the many wash options to choose from, including 'mixed wash', 'delicate/silk', 'wool' and others. This dial turns clockwise running along heat setting from 30° to 90°, depending on your particular clothing choice.
The powder/liquid tray, which is on the left of the control panel, is split into three section, one for the powder, one for the liquid and one for the softener. All these partitions have lovely little symbols on them to let you know what goes where.
The door, or port hole as the instruction manual calls it, is a good size, being 300mm in circumference, so that you can get a good handful of clothing through the gap instead of putting in a few bits at a time. The door itself is made of a strong glass, which, like all other washing machines, will feel hot during certain heat settings, and the handle of the door feels solid and is again a good size.
Finally, right at the bottom right of the machine, there is a semi-camouflaged little 'doorway' which hides an 'unscrewable' dial, when this is unscrewed it releases a small 'tray' from inside the machine. This tray manages to catch certain things from what was left inside your washing pile, such as coins from your trousers and even a necklace or two, (you'll be amazed what this tray actually catches.
But be warned, some water will leak from this section when unscrewed so do not unscrew it when the machine is in use as the water WILL pour out of the hole.
One of the good things I like about this machine is what they call the 'reload system', this system, unlike many washing machines I have owned before, actually lets you add that 'standard' forgotten item into the washing machine when it is in use, so long as the water level is low enough. This is really useful as I know I am not the only one that ends up with a couple of spare socks or the like after I have started the machine.
Also, I rather like the express wash option which reduces the time taken to do a full cycle and then there's the 'Aqua wash' system which pumps in water from the sides of the drum so that the water level is higher, thus rinsing the cloths that bit better.
And there's something called a 'safeguard monitoring system', which distributes the load around the drum to give better cleaning performance... apparently, but how this actually works I don't know.
As for the noise levels, they are quite good indeed, although it does get a little noisier when it is in full spin, but even this is not annoyingly deafening
Then there's the parts that keep the health and safety inspectors happy, that is the child lock which will stop any accidents involving the little ones.
What more can I say about this washing machine? Well, it not only looks clean and tidy it manages to get my washing clean without the need to use the higher temperature settings which, in this time of financial hardship, is a good thing all round.
As for the price, well, the white one sells for just over £300 from any good retailer, and the stainless steel one, the type my wife bought from a well known shop who also have a bank, comes in at just under £400, although with a part ex for our old one she managed to get another £50 knocked off the price, which wasn't too bad.
Recently our Hotpoint washing machine went to the great laundry in the sky and we began the long boring process of looking for a new one (my husband is always determined to be thorough about these things and it's the first time we have had to buy one). After lots of research we discovered from a washing machine mechanic that it is the brand that is determines the quality of the machine, so for example the cheapest and most basic Bosch machine is the same quality as the most expensive machine from a mid range brand e.g. Hotpoint or Whirlpool. Once you have chosen the brand, the basic machine is all the same but you are paying more for functions such as larger capacity/higher spin speeds and other extras. Our maximum budget was £450 as we wanted a machine that would last at least five years with the regular pounding that our family (two adults and two under fives) would give it. Miele were out of our price range and so we opted for this Bosch machine, a midrange machine from a premium brand.
The Bosch WAE24366GB is also known as the Advantixx 6 VarioPerfect. Bosch makes four different types of machine; the Classixx is the basic model, then the Advantixx model which has a digital display and more settings, then the Exxcel which has an improved digital display and even more settings and finally the Logixx which has all of the above plus more settings, an 8 kg capacity and special technology which makes it much quieter. Each machine is correspondingly more expensive e.g we paid £419 for the Advantixx, but could have bought a Classix for £100 less or a Logixx for £200 more. Admittedly we did pay a premium for buying with John Lewis, but we wanted a stress free transaction and were prepared to pay more for this (plus we got a free Bosch iron).
Bosch as a manufacturer have one several prestigious awards including 'Best Domestic Appliance 2009' from Which and an international design award from the International Forum (2009), all of which increased our confidence in the brand. The machine comes with a two year guarantee.
The instructions that came with the machine were very clear and easy to understand, and had it not been for the fact that our fill pipes run behind the dishwasher in limited space then without a doubt this is a machine that I could have plumbed in alone. However my anatomy meant that I couldn't squeeze myself into the space and my husband did it alone, no doubt in half the time it would have taken me. Just two pipes needed to be connected, the cold fill and the waste pipe and they quickly and easily connected to our existing pipes. The machine was plugged in and we were ready to slide it under the counter. The adjustable legs meant that this was a doddle and we could adjust it easily to our slightly uneven floors.
**Ease of use**
Simplicity is what we were after in a machine and this is certainly very simple! There is a sturdy dial to set the wash cycle, a start/stop button, a timer button to delay start, a button to adjust the spin speed and four buttons to choose extra settings:
Speed Perfect- Up to 60% quicker wash time
Eco Perfect- Longer wash but more water efficient
Reduced Ironing- Speaks for itself
Aqua Plus- Adds more water to the rinse cycle.
Speed Perfect and Eco Perfect are the Varioperfect system which allows you to vary 'speed or energy efficiency with perfect wash performance every time'
All of the buttons are touch sensitive and have a small light next to them that indicates when they have been selected. My five year old has already worked out how to use them and can put on a wash herself as the whole system is so simple.
The machine comes with an instruction booklet explaining the settings and functions and how much laundry you can put in with each setting. Only one 'set' of settings enable you to put the full 6kg in at a time; and as a serial overloader of washing machines it was very useful to have the weight limits clearly laid out for each setting.
My previous machine had the function to choose the temperature and spin speed of each wash, but that would have cost more with the Bosch brand so we have a range of spins up to 1200 and a rinse hold setting, plus a set range of temperatures. The settings are clearly laid out around the dial:
Cottons - 30, 40, 40 prewash, 60 and 90 degrees
Mixed Load - 40 degrees
Superquick 15 - 30 degrees
Easy Care - 30, 40, 60 degrees
Delicates- 30 degrees
Hand wash - cold
Wool - 30 degrees
Drain (to drain the machine if you need to)
I have reached the ripe old age of 28 but I still couldn't tell you the difference really between some of these and generally use the Cottons setting. I am disappointed the 60 degree cycle doesn't have the prewash option, the only time I prefer to use this setting is with a heavily soiled load of baby clothes to make sure things are extra clean, so I usually opt for the Aqua Plus setting to send more water through the clothes. Most cycles take about 2 to 3 hours, longer by about 30 minutes if you choose the Eco perfect button. However by pressing the Speed Perfect button you can do a proper 60 degree wash in 1 hour and 6 minutes - I havent noticed any cleaning difference between this and a longer cycle for medium to lightly soiled clothes.
I like the addition of a 15 minute cycle, which enables to me to freshen up clothes that have been stored away or have got dusty etc quickly and without having to run a whole cycle on the machine. The spin cycle seems to be very efficient, with the majority of the water spun out during this process. Although it is quieter than my old machine you are still aware that it is there and working away, especially during the spin cycle which may be a problem for people who have a more open plan living space, whereas we can simply shut the door between the kitchen and the lounge when it gets to that portion of the cycle.
However, it has one function that I absolutely love and has made my life so much easier - you can stop the machine during the wash part of the cycle to add in forgotten laundry. I was forever loading my old machine, starting it off and turning around to see one lone sock sitting forlornly on the sofa or on the stairs. Now I can just press the Start button once and the display flashes NO and then YES before releasing the door lock so I can add that lost item to the load.
The machine also seems to very efficiently deposit any foreign objects and 'gunk' into the door seal to be easily removed, and here again the ability to access the machine during the wash comes into its own when you hear that ominous clunk that suggests one of your little darlings has placed a toy/mobile phone/remote control/handful of stones into the machine unnoticed. When once a handful of grass was added helpfully to my wash I was able to open it up, clear out the wads of grass that had collected on the glass and in the seal before continuing with the washload. I also removed a disintegrating tissue before it contaminated the whole wash when I spotted a flash of white appearing amongst my washing. This has made my life so much easier.
Sadly there are negatives to this machine that I have discovered over the last three months. The soap drawer feels quite cheap and plasticy compared to the obvious superior build of the rest of the machine, it rattles a little as you pull it out. The touch sensitive buttons have the obvious disadvantage of altering things as you brush past them (or if an inquisitive toddler discovers the delightful 'BEEEEP' you get whenever you press one). There is a childlock, you just have to hold the Start button down for a few seconds after you have started the wash. However you have to remember to turn it off again at the end of the cycle, as whilst you can open the door once the cycle has finished you can't use any of the buttons. It adds an extra few seconds to the whole process which is annoying when you are in a rush. Also all the buttons still make the 'BEEEP' sound when pressed even when the child locks are on, so whilst you child cannot change any of the settings they can still be fascinated - which leads to endless beeping coming out of the kitchen.
The machine also emits a series of beeps at the end of a cycle to notify you that the cycle has finished. Not just one set of beeps however, no no no, but four with a several minute gap between each set.. This is incredibly irritating and luckily generally I have an eager five year old who is dispatched into the kitchen to turn the machine off ASAP, but if we are having a glass of wine in front of the TV its an annoying disturbance. The manual does give instructions to turn it off but its complicated and neither of us have managed it yet.
As I mentioned we paid £419 for this machine (which included delivery) and overall I am very happy with our purchase. The machine feels very solid and well made (apart from the soap drawer) and I think we are going to have a very happy machine-owner relationship with minimal swearing!
**Technical stuff (from the Bosch website)**
- A energy, A wash and B spin class
- Energy efficiency class: A - 10%: 10% more
energy efficient than energy class A
- Energy 1.02 kwh, Water 45 litres
- 6 kg washing capacity
- Drum volume: 53 litres
- Spin speed selection 1400 to 600 rpm
- Noise level washing (dB): 57
Noise level spinning (dB): 77
Key features - VarioPerfect: speed or energy efficiency
with perfect wash performance every time
- AquaSpa wash system
- Reload facility
- Safeguard monitoring system adjusts load
distribution and programme settings to
Dimensions (H X W X D): 84.7 x 60 x 59 cm
I note this machine is currently available at around £350.
The Bosch WAE24366GB Washing Machine provides a thorough and efficient wash. It's 6 kilorgram wash capacity means you can add more garments to each load, reducing the about of loads needed and saving you time and money. This model also achieves 1200 revolutions per minute making for a quicker wash. The WAE24366GB also comes with an Eco Perfect button adds to the environmentally friendly capabilities of this model and helps it uphold it's excellent class A energy efficiency rating.