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I have owned my Hotpoint Aquarius WF 320 for almost 2 years now and I couldn't be happier. I purchased hotpoint as it is a trusted brand and I have no reason to feel I made a bad choice. Available in a selection of colours, I chose white. The machine cost me little over £200 when I purchased it and came with a 1 year full warrenty, which I never needed to use. The machine itself is VERY user friendly with a wide range of programmes available. As well as 12 pre set programmes there is also a temperature dial so you can select, for example, a Super wash which is pre set at 60 degrees but using the themperature dial you can cool this down all the way to 30 degrees, which if nothing else can save money as the water is not being heated as high. I make use of the wool / hand wash programme a lot - where I have had problems inthe past with woolen pieces being shrunk or mis-shapen in a machine wash I have had no problems as of yet ( 2 years ) The drum is a good size and the door is big which makes loading and unloading very easy. There is also a 'mini load' option which i find very useful if I only have a few bits that need washing, as this can be selected and less power and water is used making me feel I am doing my bit! The machine isn't too noisy although on the final spin mine does rattle around a bit.
I've had the washing machine now for 3 days and all seems fine.
My reason for purchasing this machine was that it offered a range of washing options, in particular 3 different 60 degree washes (ranging from 1 hour (fast wash) to 2 hours 20 mins an intensive clean.) The 40 degree options range from a handwash wool cycle of 40 mins upto an intensive wash lasting 1 hr 40mins. There are also prewash, 95, 30, silk, wool, handwash options aswell. (Also the cycles I've used do seem to take the time stated in the book.)
There is no separate 50 degree wash but if you select, for example a 60 degree wash you can turn the variable temperature dial to 50 degrees and it will wash at that temperature. The fast wash lasts just 30 mins so is ideal for a "freshen up" wash.
Before purchasing the machine I needed to know it would fit in my allotted slot. It states that the depth is 60cm. This does INCLUDE room at the back for the waste and cold pipes. The actual depth of the machine excluding this is approx 55cm.
The drum is large (holds up to 6kg) and the door definitely opens wide enough to access inside.
The powder/conditioner drawer is a little stiff but when opened is easy to pull completely out if you need to wash it out at all.
One downside I've noticed is that it is not very quiet. In fact it's as loud as our old washing machine. When the pump is pumping the water out it's very noticeable but to me the noise is a very minor issue and would certainly not stop me from recommending the item.
The dials are easy to understand though the first couple of days I consulted the handy programme guide that comes with the machine to ensure I'm selecting the right 60 degree or 40 degree programme. There is a cancel button, which is great if you happen to select the wrong programme.
The machine runs on a cold fill only system. This is apparently more energy efficient though living in a hard water area I do wonder whether it will cause more limescale (though we had no problems with our old machine.) It also has a no water detection system so "the machine will automatically detect if it cannot take in water and will notify you by flashing the prewash light." (from the Hotpoint programme guide booklet.)
My partner plumbed in my machine, which he said, was very easy to plumb in and it came with the cold pipes. The levelling wheels are at the front of the machine and were easy to turn to ensure the machine sat level.
Initially, after plumbing in, you have to set the machine going on a 95 degree wash with no laundry or detergent. This took 2 hrs 30 mins to complete but does at least show if a) there are any problems and b) rinses the machine before you put in your clothes.
Also Hotpoint offer not only a full 1 years parts and labour guarantee but a further 4 years parts guarantee (as long as you have them fitted by one of their engineers. A callout fee I was told was approx £90 though!)
Finally I wanted to say please shop around. I purchased the machine from a local independent retailer - Oldrids. My reasons - a) they were a fraction cheaper (to my surprise) than the large electrical superstores, but b) offered to remove and dispose of my old machine for just £10 c) delivered for free and d) on request they took off and disposed of the machine packaging and removed the transit bolts! They also offer great customer service and sent me 2 vouchers to purchase 2 free cups of tea/coffee in any of their stores! (every little helps!)
Front Load Washer, Efficiency: AAB, Colors: White / The Hotpoint WF320 Front Load Washer wash programs available: Delicates, Hand Wash, Wool, Wrinkle-Free, Soaking / Short name: Hotpoint WF320