After suffering from "cheap" laundry products for a couple of years from the likes of Zanussi and Hotpoint, we wanted a machine that would last more than 12 months. I spent ages searching for a machine and stumbled upon the Panasonic range. The icing on the cake being a 6 year warranty from Panasonic making the £600 outlay an absolute steal.
The machine itself is solidly built (read: very heavy) and if weight were an indication of quality you'd know straight off the bat that this was a top notch machine. The styling is very nice and will look great in any modern kitchen.
It is a cold-feed machine (as most modern machines are) so will need connecting to a cold inlet valve as well as the waste outlet. Fitting is very easy, any competent DIY-er will be able to fit it within an hour. Although it is a "standard" size - it is very tight. We have an integrated kitchen and the machine took a while to coerce into the gap.
The drum in this machine is angled downwards which Panasonic claim reduces water consumption - one practical use of an angled drum is that you can stop the cycle and open the door quite late into the programme as the drum wont be full of water.
There is the usual array of wash options, and in particular a 15 minute quick was for lightly soiled loads and a 1 hour wash when you have a couple of towels etc.
The 8KG drum capacity will take a decent amount of washing and still give you great wash results and the 1600 spin speed ensures that clothes are not left dripping wet when they are taken out.
Before starting the machine weighs the load and gives you an estimated finish time and ensures you haven't overloaded the drum for the selected programme - if you have it will not start and alert you to remove some washing.
In use, the machine is fairly quiet, an almost ghostly whir when it is running but with lighter loads it can be noisy as they can unbalance the machine.
Overall we are very satisfied with this machine, it has coped over the last 18 months with almost daily use, and having dogs the load is often quite havily soiled.
Freestanding / Panasonic 8kg Freestanding Washing Machine 1600rpm / Short name: Pana NA-168VX3WGB