My dad swears by top loading washing machines and his last one was only a five years younger than I am which made it 21 years old! His old one was a big old cumbersome machine and was the one my parents bought together when they had a small family. Now my dad lives alone he wanted a smaller more compact machine but still wanted a top loader.
With top loader washing machines there is less stress on the bearings because the drum is attached at both sides. This apparently helps their life span and they often outlive their front loading relatives by a number of years.
*Price and availability*
We paid £390 pounds for the washing machine from Curry's. I did manage to find him a better deal online from Appliances online at £361, but my dad wanted to just pick it up from a store and not have to worry about it. It is worth shopping around for the best price.
The washing machine comes in white or silver. The one we chose was a white one as this fitted in with the rest of his kitchen appliances. This particular machine is really slim and I was surprised just how small it was. It fitted into my dad's farmhouse pantry so now he has more room in his main kitchen. The dimensions are 90 cm x 40 cm x 60 cm. Due to the size; the drum is significantly reduced and is only a 5KG one. This is sufficient for my Dad as a single occupant; however I would not want anything less than 7kg in my home. When my boyfriend and I dog sat at my dad's house, we really struggled with the size of the machine and noticed a significant reduction in the amount of clothes it could accommodate. Nevertheless the machine was my dad's and for his purpose it was fine.
There is no fancy LCD display on the machine and at the back of the machine behind the loading lid is the dial where you control what setting you want and there is the start button along with a couple of buttons for Eco wash and changing the spin speed.
The lid to load the washing machine opens nice and wide to 90 degrees so there is plenty of room to put your clothes in. As you open the lid you will find the compartments for your softener and detergents.
I find top loaders easier to load as you literally throw the clothes in the hole but getting them out is a little more difficult. When you open the lid sometimes you have to spin the drum to find the door and this can be awkward as the drum is heavy when full of wet washing. There is nothing to grab hold of to assist you in doing this and leaning over into the machine can be quite uncomfortable. Once you find the little door to the drum after rummaging around for a while, you will feel a small clip that secures the drum. This is really flimsy and my main concern would be just how long this would last. You need to be quite careful with it.
You can't open the drum whilst the machine is in use. My father's old machine was great and you could open it mid cycle and throw more things in or take things out. Once this machine is on, it's on for duration!
The machine comes with a one year warranty. Whirlpool is a popular household name and I would have thought that at least a two year warranty would be more appropriate. When you are paying nearly 400 pounds for a machine, I would like a little bit more reassurance that nothing will go wrong.
Whirlpool measure the noise at 76 dB. I personally find the machine is relatively quiet and due to how the drum is attached. As the drum is attached at both sides, this gives it stability when in use. When I was stood in the kitchen, I could not hear it humming away in the utility room.
However, when the machine is spinning at top speed it does sound quite whinny and makes a high pitched squealing noise. This does not go on for too long though and it doesn't bother my dad. He was used to machine that sounded like it was about to take off whenever it was turned on!
The washing machine only has 1000 RPM spin, which is not great considering how much the machine cost. I put a couple of towels in there and they came out much wetter than if I was to use my own machine with a 1200 spin. When I washed my clothes, I can't say I noticed much difference in the quantity of residual water, however with bedding and towels, I certainly did.
There are 14 choose from so there is plenty of choice and these are really easy to set. The quick wash washes in 30 minutes which is fantastic but the normal wash cycle takes 90 minutes so this could be a little faster. A quick wash is perfect for freshening up work clothes or quickly washing items of clothing that have only been worn once.
The longest cycle available is the boiling wash programme, which is 2hrs 20 minutes long and is designed to tackle tough stains. This is great for stained jeans or for keeping white towels white.
The economy wash uses less energy and the half load function use less water and energy.
Hand wash/wool cycle; I have used this on a wool jumper. I was a little nervous when it came out but it was in perfect clean condition.
The other cycles include a pre wash one and a variable spin. There is also the option for extra rinse. Now I have tried this on some towels as I was not happy with how wet they were after the initial spin and to be honest, it did not do much. They were just as wet after the extra rinse than then normal cycle.
*How much does it cost to run*
The machine uses 55 L of water which is quite a lot for only a 5KG drum. My machine has an 8KG drum and only uses 56 L. My dad is on a water meter so the less water the better.
The energy consumption is 1.56 KHz per cycle which is rated A, this is not bad compared to some machines but is not the most economical on the market. However it is a little bit less on my dad's carbon footprint as his last machine used over 1.9KwH. (At current energy prices it will cost about 12p depending on your tariff to use the machine for a normal cycle.
*Cleaning and maintenance*
Luckily the exterior doesn't need much cleaning and after a wipe down it looks like new again and it is not a haven for finger prints like some models are! You can use Calgon tablets to help your machine in getting rid of lime scale build up although my dad never used these with his old machine and it lasted aged.
The machine is slim and sleek. It is simple to use with a variety of cycle choices but without any fancy LCD screen. The horizontal drum with a bearing at either side has a little trap door to load your clothes; this has very low stress on the bearings so should increase the lifespan of your machine. It is reliable and simple and definitely a contender against other top loaders. Whether it is the best out there on the market, I'm not sure. With only a 5KG drum and 1000 RPM it is not fantastic. For these figures I would be expecting an extremely economic machine and it is only average with is quite disappointing. My father is happy with it but I'm looking for more out of a washing machine.
1000rpm Top Loading Washing Machine 5kg Load White