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When we moved into our new home on 20th December, our builders had kindly gifted us free integrated appliances as an apology for a small mix up on their part. We were absolutely delighted of course, and for the first time in my life I have a washer... in a cupboard ; )
The integrated washer that they had opted for was the 7kg Zanussi ZWI71201WA, which at around £430 they hadn't scrimped on costs. This particular model is absolutely loaded with features and so far for us has been a dream machine.
The key features of the Zanussi are as follows:
7kg Drum: The large drum means you can fit a surprisingly large amount into one load, which as a family of four is essential. Our previous washing machine was a 7kg load so I don't know how I would have managed if it had been any smaller! A 7kg load is probably around average of what's on the market, with some manufacturers producing washing machines with 10kg and even 12kg loads. This is humongous and probably only required for households with extremely large families and the need to wash duvets at home.
1200 rpm spin: This is actually quite important for a washing machine and it's important to know the differences between the spin speeds. Most washers on the market will have a spin of between 1000rpm and 1600rpm, meaning mine is around average. The 'rpm' stands for rotates per minute, and basically the faster the machine rotates, the more water will be taken from your clothes, resulting in a reduction in the drying time of your clothes. If your clothes are coming out of the washing machine sodden, then you are probably using the wrong function and / or your washer has a limited spin. Do bear in mind though that you only need to use a fast rpm for cottons and wools, at around 1400 rpm and 1200 rpm respectively. I don't know of any garments that require a 1600rpm so wouldn't recommend paying for a 1600rpm, you just won't use it.
A++ Rated: A brilliant product for energy efficiency, this model will use 20% less energy than one that has an A rating. Use this to its full advantage by using the set & go function and setting the machine to run during the night, taking advantage of reduced price electricity.
30 minute wash: This is handy for a last minute panic on a Sunday night when you realise the children don't have any uniform for Monday morning (been there a few times!), or when you want to freshen up garments that have only been worn once.
Easy Iron Programme: The option to reduce the number of creases in your laundry, however I don't mind ironing so this isn't something I regularly use to be honest. I have one or two garments that crease really badly so I use them only for these items.
Set & Go function: A particular favourite of mine, I often will load the washer before I go to work on a morning, but I don't like to think of my damp laundry sat in a drum and starting to smell so I pre programme the wash for 2 hours before I am due home, that way I know it is ready to come out when I get home. I occasionally do this at bedtime too and set it for around 4.30 knowing it will be ready to go in the tumble dryer at 6 when I get up. It isn't a noisy machine so doesn't wake us. The delay can be set for 1 to 24 hours time.
LCD Display: This is handy to see the timer of how long you have left of a particular function and I solely use it for this really. It is also useful when you are selecting a function as it displays how long it will take.
Prewash option: I've only had to use this once when my youngest decided to go for a swim in a pool of mud, it loosened the dirt and removed the majority of it before its main wash.
Aqua Control: Monitors the water level to detect any leaks. Hopefully I won't ever need this function, but it is a useful fail safe, although I'm not sure what it would do if it did detect a leak?! Call a plumber, fix it itself? Who knows?!
1 Year Manufacturer Warranty. Some manufacturers offer a two year warranty with large appliances, so this is something to consider.
Child Safety Lock. Always useful!
Large Porthole. For that awful moment when you realise you've set the white wash going and you can see a navy blue sock inside!
All in all a fantastic integrated washing machine that has a multitude of functions (some of which I haven't mentioned here as they are the usual handwash / wool / mini load). A little pricey however I think most integrated washing machines start around the £275 mark so I think this model is probably middle of the road with all the functions of a much more expensive one.
Short name: Zanussi ZWi71201WA