Advice and Inspiration

What to Look for When Buying a Washing Machine

Author: Matt Donnelly Published: Mar 27, 2024

These days buying a washing machine involves navigating a dizzying array of types, features and characteristics. In fact, the choice can seem endless. Well, don’t worry. If you’re looking for a new washing machine for your home, this buying guide from Comet will help you choose the perfect machine for you…

Washing machine types

So, where do you start? The best place for most people is to consider what type of washing machine they require. As you’ll soon read, different types of washing machines have their own unique features, pros and cons. And, some lend themselves more readily to certain types of homes than others. 

Freestanding washing machines

Freestanding Washing Machine Example

The classic. The traditional option. Yes, the freestanding washing machine…

If you ask someone to imagine a washing machine, it’s more than likely going to be a freestanding machine. 

As the name suggests, freestanding washing machines are able to ‘stand alone’ and don’t need to be integrated into units or cabinets. As such, freestanding washing machines offer flexibility and mobility. 

Provided they can be connected to an appropriate electricity and water supply, freestanding washing machines can be located virtually anywhere in the home (think kitchens, utility rooms, even garages!). What’s more, freestanding washing machines can easily move house with you.

Key facts:

  • Available in a truly vast range of colours and finishes.
  • Leading freestanding washing machine brands include Hotpoint, Indesit, Russell Hobbs, and LG. 
  • Freestanding washing machines have average dimensions of H85 x W60 x D55cm (but, always check the dimensions of the specific model you’re looking at). 
  • Available in different ‘drum sizes’ which refers to the amount of clothes they can hold. Drum capacity can vary from 7kg up to 12kg. 

Integrated washing machines

Integrated Washing Machine Example

Integrated washing machines (also known as built-in washing machines) are designed to be fitted into standard sized cabinets, making them perfect for fitted kitchens. 

Depending on the exact model you buy, it is sometimes possible to get integrated washers that can be hidden behind a door panel, allowing it to be completely hidden out of sight. 

As they’re designed to be ‘slotted’ into a cupboard/cabinet space, you’ll find that integrated washing machines aren’t as deep as their freestanding counterparts (generally being between 50 to 60cm deep). 

Key facts:

  • As they are designed to be hidden by a door panel, integrated washing machines tend to be available in a more limited range of colours and finishes.
  • Being more compact, integrated washing machines will often have slightly smaller drum sizes (often in the range of 7kg to 9kg). 
  • Leading integrated washer brands include Indesit and Hotpoint. 
  • The average dimensions of built in washing machines are H81 x W60 x D55cm (although this will vary depending on the individual model).

Washer dryers

Washer Dryer Example

Combining the ability to both wash and dry clothes in a single appliance, washer dryers represent a highly convenient, space-saving option for your home.

The majority of washer dryers are freestanding - and can be located anywhere with a suitable water and power connection - although it is possible to buy integrated washer dryers.

Handily, many washer dryers feature combined cycles. Simply load your clothes, select your desired settings, and it’ll both wash and dry the load in one go.

The only slight drawback of washer dryers is that they tend to have slightly smaller drum capacities than traditional washing machines. Although, having said that, the largest washer dryers have drum capacities of 10kg, which is generally more than enough for most households. 

Key facts:

  • Like freestanding washers, washer dryers are available in a huge range of colours and finishes, including neutrals such as black, silver and graphite.
  • Drum sizes typically range from 7 kg to 10 kg, offering a slightly smaller capacity than freestanding washing machines.
  • Both freestanding or integrated washer dryers are available.
  • Washer dryer dimensions vary depending on whether you select a freestanding or integrated model. 
  • Leading washer dryer brands include Indesit and Hotpoint.

Tumble dryers

Tumble Dryer Example

Although not ‘washing machines’ per se, tumble dryers are often grouped together with washing machines. 

Tumble dryers are available in either freestanding or integrated formats, so it’s easy to select a model that’ll perfectly complement your home.

As you shop around for tumble dryers, you’ll likely spot that they are available with different drying technologies. As such, you can buy:

  • Condenser tumble dryers - where the dryer uses hot air to evaporate the water in your laundry. The evaporated is then passed through a condenser after which it collects as water in a removal tray.

  • Vented tumble dryers - often the cheapest form of tumble dryer, vented tumble dryers use hot air to evaporate the water in your laundry. The subsequent steam is then vented out of the dryer via an outlet.

  • Heat pump tumble dryers - considered to be the most ‘high-tech’ form of tumble dryer, heat pump dryers work by continually recycling hot air. This hot air causes the water in the laundry to evaporate, after which it is passed through a condenser and collected as water in a dedicated compartment. 

Like other similar appliances, tumble dryers are available with a range of different drum capacities. These span from particularly compact 4 kg models, through to large 10 kg (or more) dryers.

Key facts:

  • Leading tumble dryer brands include Hotpoint and Indesit. 
  • Tumble dryers are available in either freestanding or integrated formats.
  • Tumble dryer capacities can range from 4 kg up to 10 kg+.
  • Tumble dryer dimensions vary depending on whether you select a freestanding or integrated model.
  • The three distinct types of tumble dryer are; condenser tumble dryers, vented tumble dryers, and heat pump tumble dryers.

So, which type of machine washing machine is right for you? As you’ve just read, the decision may be out of your hands (for example, if you have limited space in your home or have a fitted kitchen). 

However, that’s not the end of your buying journey. There are a number of other things you need to consider so you pick the perfect washing machine…

What size washing machine do you need? 

The next step towards your new washing machine involves figuring out what size you need. 

After all, measurements like ‘9 kg drum size’ don’t exactly mean much to your average person!

But, you guessed it, Comet is here to help.

So, what exactly do manufacturers mean when they say ‘9kg drum size’? The answer is that they’re referring to the total weight of clothes that the drum can support. This is important to remember because if you overload your washing machine beyond its drum capacity, and it breaks, you may find that your warranty has been voided.

Again, though, we appreciate that talking purely in terms of weight can be a bit abstract. 

Here are what the common washing machine drum sizes equate to in the ‘real world’:

  • 4-6kg load size - good for households of one or two people. 
  • 8kg load size - a great all-round capacity that will be enough for the average four-person family
  • 9kg+ load size - got a large family of five or more? Then you’ll want a washing machine with a drum size of at least 9kg.

Here at Comet, we make it easy to shop our washing machines by their load capacity. Simply use the ‘Rated Capacity’ filter at the top of each category page:

Tip - want to avoid overloading your new machine? When fully loaded, you should always have enough room at the top of the drum to put your hand in and pat down the laundry. 

Washing machine energy rating

Given the rising cost of energy, one of the most important things to think about when choosing a washing machine is how energy efficient it is.

Here in the UK, appliances such as washing machines are assigned an ‘energy rating’ based on how much overall energy they use during use. The rating scheme is managed by the Energy Saving Trust in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and the Office for Product Safety & Standards. 

The energy rating system runs from A+++ through to G, with A+++ being the most efficient. 

Here at Comet, we make it easy to see the energy rating of our washing machines as well include the label as part of the product listing:

If you’re especially concerned about the energy consumption of your washing machine, then choose one with an ‘eco-mode’. Washing machines with eco-modes tend to modulate the following factors in order to achieve maximum energy efficiency; water volume, cycle duration, and temperature. 

The typical eco-mode will see a washing machine use a smaller amount of water, at a lower temperature, with a longer cycle time. (The longer cycle time is required to achieve the same level of cleaning as shorter, more energy-intensive wash cycles). 

Washing machine spin speed

How quickly do you want laundry day to be over? The answer to that will influence what spin speed you want your new washing machine to have. 

Think of it this way, the faster the spin cycle of your washing machine, the quicker the water in your laundry will be drained away. 

Spin speed is typically written as RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). 

Today, most washing machines have a spin speed of between 1,000 and 1,400 RPM. However, it’s not unusual to see some washers with spin speeds as high as 1,600 to 1800 RPM.

Whilst it might be tempting to go out and buy a washer with the highest possible spin speed, remember that certain fabrics need to be washed at lower speeds. 

For example, consider the following fabrics and their recommended spin speeds: 

  • Cotton: 1,400 RPM. 
  • Wool: 1,200 RPM.
  • Denim: 900 RPM.
  • Silk: 400 RPM. 

Spin drying class

You may often see washing machines categorised based on their ‘spin drying class’. This is a measurement of how fast the washing machine drum rotates during the spin cycle; the higher the class, the faster the drum rotates - leaving the laundry drier at the end of the program.

Spin classes run from A (most effective) through to G. These classes are typically benchmarked against how much residual moisture they leave in the laundry at the end of a program. The table below demonstrates this: 

Spin class

Residual moisture

A (most effective)












G (least efficient)


Here at Comet, we make it easy to select a washing machine based on its spin class. Simply use the filter at the top of our collections pages. 

Washing machine wash programs

Washing Machine Programs

In order to buy a washing machine that’s going to provide you with maximum value and longevity, you want one that’s able to wash a wide variety of items - and deal with a broad range of situations. 

For example, if you own a lot of clothes made of delicate fabrics such as silk, then you absolutely want a washer that has a ‘hand wash’ cycle which, as the name suggests, replicates a delicate hand wash. 

Likewise, if you’ve got an adventure or sports lover in the family, you’ll definitely want to buy a washer that has a ‘heavy duty’ cycle that can deal with super dirty items of clothing. 

The point is - and it’s a rather subjective one - you need to think about how you’ll be using your washing machine, and ensure you buy one that has suitable wash programs. 

Common wash programs to look for on washing machines include: 

  • Economy or eco-modes - these programs tend to take longer to complete a wash cycle, but save lots of electricity in the process.

  • Quick wash - in contrast to eco-modes, quick wash programs will complete a wash cycle super quickly, but at the expense of using more electricity.
  • Extra rinse - this program allows you to give your laundry a more thorough soaking, which can be useful in areas of the UK with soft water.

  • Variable temperature - not necessarily a ‘program’ as such, but most washing machines also allow you to change the temperature of a wash cycle. This not only allows you to save electricity, but better accommodate certain fabrics that may be damaged/shrink at higher temperatures. 

Washing machine features

Okay, so far we've looked at washing machine types, capacities, energy ratings, spin speed and wash programs.

But, we’re not finished yet.

As with any type of home appliance, washing machines are continually evolving and advancing. New features and technologies are always being integrated into washers, meaning there are plenty of additional things to look for when you’re buying a new washing machine. 

Below, we’ve set out some of the most useful and interesting features you may want to look for on a washing machine. 

Quiet performance

There’s no getting away from the fact that washing machines have traditionally been quite noisy appliances - especially when that spin cycle ramps up to the max!

However, manufacturers have recognised this issue with a slew of quiet washing machines making their way onto the market in recent years.

But, what’s classed as a ‘quiet’ washing machine? 

The quietest washing machines can have an operating sound level of only 47db (the dB stands for decibels which is a unit of measurement for sound). To provide you with some context, the sea (which we’re sure you’ll agree is a relaxing sound) has a noise level of 55dB. 

If you find noise in the home a particular irritant, then look for a washing machine with quiet performance built-in.

In recent years, many washing machine manufacturers have signed up to the Quiet Mark scheme. This is an independent global certification programme - associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society - that identifies the quietest home appliances. Washing machine brands that have signed up to the Quiet Mark scheme include LG.

Child locks

Child Friendly Washing Machine

For those of you with young children or toddlers, this is very much a ‘must have’ feature. 

Many washing machines are now available with ‘child locks’, which typically take one of two forms: 

  • Disengaging the control panel. This means if your little ones decide to press some buttons, they won’t stop or interrupt a wash cycle that’s already in progress.

  • Door safety lock. This safety feature prevents the washer door from being closed (and locked). This means random items can’t inadvertently be put in the washing machine!

If you want a laundry day without interruptions, then you 100% should be looking for a washing machine with some form of child lock feature. 

Antimicrobial coatings

If you’ve owned a washing machine for any length of time, you’ve likely noticed that the rubberised door seal is a magnet for grime, bacteria and mould. 

To make things worse, it’s all too easy to pull your freshly washed clothes over this grime and mould when taking it out of the washing machine. Yuck!

You can avoid this unpleasant ‘feature’ of washing machines by ensuring that the model you select features antimicrobial coatings (for example, this tends to be standard on most Hotpoint washing machines). 

Steam feature

Some washing machines include a ‘steam feature’. As the name suggests, this is a feature which introduces hot steam into the drum during the wash cycle. 

A heating element is typically used to heat water until it boils. The resulting steam is then ‘injected’ into the drum during the pre-wash, wash, and post-wash cycles.

But, what exactly does it do? 

Claims vary from brand to brand, but the consensus appears to be that the addition of steam to a wash cycle can help reduce (if not entirely eliminate) bacteria and allergens from garments. Further, some manufacturers also state that the steam function on their washing machines can help reduce or remove wrinkles and creases from clothes - making ironing far easier. 

Whilst a steam feature can be useful for households that are regularly dealing with heavily soiled clothing (think baby clothes or sportswear), bear in mind that this feature often adds to the overall cost of a washing machine. A steam feature can also sometimes result in longer wash cycles and higher energy use.

Smart control

Smart Control Washing Machine

Here at Comet we are increasingly seeing new washing machines being launched with ‘smart control’. 

As the name suggests, smart control means that the washing machine can be controlled via a smartphone (or in some cases a smart home hub). 

Smart washing machines facilitate this function as they have a built-in Wi-Fi module, allowing them to connect to the internet and thus communicate with other internet-connected devices (such as your iPhone or Android smartphone). 

Depending on the exact model, smart washing machines provide lesser and greater degrees of control over their operation. For example, some smart washing machines allow you to use your phone to set and start programmes remotely or check and monitor the progress of a wash cycle.

Enhanced cleaning

A number of washing machine brands offer models with ‘enhanced cleaning’ or ‘stain removal’ technology. As the names suggest, these washing machines are able to target and remove deep, stubborn stains derived from a variety of foodstuffs and beverages.

As you shop around you’ll find that most washing machine brands have their own proprietary enhanced cleaning technology. For example, many Hotpoint washing machines feature a technology called ‘Anti-Stain’. 

This technology uses a combination of drum movement, temperature and water volume to target and remove stains. One of the purported benefits of Hotpoint’s Anti-Stain technology is that it significantly reduces that amount of ‘pre-treatment’ you have to do before adding an item to the washing machine. 

Express programs

Life can be busy and hectic, which is why the less time you have to spend faffing around with washing machine programs the better! That’s why brands such as Indesit have introduced easy to use, ‘express’ programs such as Push&Go.

Push&Go is a particularly great example as, with a single push of a button (just depress it for two seconds) the washing machine will begin a 45-minute cycle at 30º - the perfect program for everyday laundry loads such as cottons and synthetics. 

If you live in a busy, laundry-intensive household, then this feature is an absolute must for your washing machine!

Add to the wash!

We’ve all done it. You’ve just finished putting on a wash only to find an errant sock or a pair of undies lurking at the bottom of the wash basket. 

Back in the day, this bit of clothing would have to wait until the next wash. But, not any more

Some washing machines now feature ‘add to wash’ or ‘AddWash’ functions. As their names suggest, these features allow you to pause the washing machine, open the door, and add in the missing item(s) of clothing. 


Believe it or not, but it’s actually possible to buy washing machines that are able to clean themselves!

Nobody wants to spend time on their hands and knees fishing out bits of dust and hair from their washing machine drum, which is why brands such as LG have developed self-cleaning technology. 

Taking LG as an example, they have developed LG TurboWash 360º. This technology uses powerful jets of water to thoroughly rinse and clean the drum, leaving it spotless for your next laundry load. 

Artificial intelligence

Yes, it seems like artificial intelligence (or ‘AI’) is everywhere these days, and the world of washing machines is no exception. 

AI-enabled washing machines (also known as sensor guided washing machines) are designed to take the guesswork out of doing your laundry. Instead of you having to guess what program will be best, an AI-enabled washing machine will automatically detect what type of load you’ve added to the drum and then adjust the water, temperature and spin speed.

This not only makes your life easier, but can save both energy and water. 

Washing machine brand

This may seem like an obvious point, but when you’re selecting a washing machine, give some consideration to ‘the brand’.

Shop online, and you’ll find a whole bevy of brands available, but not all are created equal. 

Here at Comet you’ll find only reputable, high-quality brands that are renowned for producing reliable, robust machines that’ll provide years of reliable service. 

Our range includes major household names such as Hotpoint, Indesit, and Russell Hobbs. Plus, our collection is always changing. 

Choose the best, choose Comet

We hope you’ve found our guide to buying a washing machine useful. If you’ve decided it’s time to buy, then explore our washing machine range now. 

Not only do we sell washing machines from many leading brands, but we offer flexible finance options, making it easy to buy the perfect washing machine for your home. Why compromise when you can use Klarna Pay in 3 or PayPal Credit to spread the cost of your new washing machine over three, interest-free payments?

Our washing machines are also available with delivery options. You can find out more about these options here

So, if you want to buy the best, buy from Comet today!

Shop washing machines at Comet now

For more buying guides, advice and information, explore the Comet blog

Your item has been added to your bag
Customers also bought
Russell Hobbs RHRETHFH1001B electric space heater Indoor Black 1800 W Fan electric space heater £24.99
Russell Hobbs RHOFR3001W 5 Fin Oil Filled Radiator in White £29.99
Carmen C81194 White King Fitted Underblanket £20.99
FR-TEC Inari Gaming Headset-Playstation/XBOX/PC/MAC/SWITCH- Black & Red £6.49 £12.99 Save £6.50
Black & Decker BXEH60001GB 900ml Portable Mini Dehumidifier White £37.99
Please enter your postcode below.
Add Services
Electric cooker installation
Electric cooker installation - £110.00


We Offer :

  • Connection to existing cooker socket outlet within 2 metres of appliance.

  • Test electrical circuit.

  • Assess connection point to comply with standard building regulations.

  • Test the appliance.

We are unable to connect if :

  • The connection point is not a standard outlet.

  • The electrical outlet is damaged or not complete.

  • On/off control is above the cooker in the "hot zone".

  • The electric circuit fails our tests.

  • A General assessment by installer suggests it is unsafe to connect.

To help the connection go smoothly, please watch our connection video.

Old Appliance Removal
Old Appliance Removal - £24.00

Remove & Recycle:

Unpacking the product at the consumer's home and ensuring that all of the packaging is recycled. We have specifically designed all of our packaging to be 100% recyclable. We separate the 4 constituent parts (polystyrene, plastic, wood and cardboard) at the depots then bale and compact the materials at our hub. These clean high quality materials are then sent directly to our recycling partner so they can be put back into the raw material streams.

Collecting the old product which is officially counted as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). These products are separated into the correct waste flow at our local depots and send directly to government approved WEEE recycling plants. As a White Goods manufacturer, we take our WEEE obligations very seriously and actively encourage our customers to use the most environmentally friendly recycling scheme available in the UK 

Defrosting is required ahead of recycling refrigeration products.

Gas Cookers are required to be disconnected ahead of removal. 

Wet Connection - Washers
Wet Connection - Washers - £27.00


We Offer :

  • Connect to an existing 13amp power socket within cable length.

  • Connect to water plumbing supply within 1m of appliance.

  • Connect to water supply connector if a safe and standard connection is present.

  • Connect to waste pipe within 1m from appliance.

  • Test appliance to ensure connected and ready for use. Consisting of checking water in and pumps out.

We are unable to connect if :

  • Kitchen carpentry needs adjustment.

  • Electrical extension leads are in use.

  • Plug required to be cut off to feed through small gaps.

  • The appliance is hard wired into a connection box.

  • Extended waste piping is being used.

  • Poor unsuitable plumbing is identified by installer.

  • Taps are seized and pose risk of leakage.

  • General assessment by installer suggests unsafe.

To help the connection of your appliance go smoothly, please watch our dishwasher or washing machine connection video.


Wet Connection - Washer Dryers
Wet Connection - Washer Dryers - £27.00


We Offer :

  • Connect to an existing 13amp power socket within cable length.

  • Connect to water plumbing supply within 1m of appliance.

  • Connect to water supply connector if a safe and standard connection is present.

  • Connect to waste pipe within 1m from appliance.

  • Test appliance to ensure connected and ready for use. Consisting of checking water in and pumps out.

We are unable to connect if :

  • Kitchen carpentry needs adjustment.

  • Electrical extension leads are in use.

  • Plug required to be cut off to feed through small gaps.

  • The appliance is hard wired into a connection box.

  • Extended waste piping is being used.

  • Poor unsuitable plumbing is identified by installer.

  • Taps are seized and pose risk of leakage.

  • General assessment by installer suggests unsafe.

To help the connection of your appliance go smoothly, please watch our dishwasher or washing machine connection video.

Dry Connection
Dry Connection - £15.00


We Offer :

  • Connect to an existing 13amp power socket within cable length.

  • Connect to suitable existing Dryer outlet vents.

  • Test appliance to ensure connected and ready for use.

We are unable to connect if :

  • Kitchen carpentry needs adjustment.

  • Electrical extension leads are in use.

  • Plug required to be cut off to feed through small gaps.

  • The appliance is hard wired into a connection box.

  • Fridge specific - Door hangings are required to be reversed.

  • Dryer specific - Extended vent piping is being used.

  • Dryer specific - No outlet connection for dryer vent pipe.

  • General assessment by installer suggests unsafe.

To help the connection go smoothly, please watch our connection video.

connection service
connection service - £110.00
Please choose a delivery date below.
You've selected
for your item to be delivered
Add additional warranty
Electric cooker installation - £110.00
Old Appliance Removal - £24.00
Wet Connection - Washers - £27.00
Wet Connection - Washer Dryers - £27.00
Dry Connection - £15.00
connection service - £110.00
Sorry, this item is now out of stock