If you don't have the space for a separate tumble dryer in your utility room or kitchen then a washer dryer could be a better alternative for your home.
Here we've whittled down the market and picked eight great tumble dryers you should definitely consider, all of which offer big-capacity drums and innovative cleaning technology to help remove tough stains from your laundry...
Price: £1,299 | Load: wash 12kg; dry 8kg | Size: H 850 x W 600 x D 600 | Energy efficiency: A
Samsung excels when it comes to design and features and this machine is among its best efforts. Even its image-led console screen has the appeal of a quality smartphone.
The WD8000 shares the same dimensions as most white appliances yet the bods at Samsung have somehow managed to turn it into a Tardis capable of holding a truly whopping 12 kilograms of laundry in wash mode and an equally mammoth 8 kilos in drying mode.
But there's more… Samsung's proprietary ecobubble tech uses tiny bubbles to saturate the clothing up to 40 times faster than the norm. Its diamond pattern drum, meanwhile, makes clothing slip around as if on a waterslide. All of this goes towards a more efficient launder.
But we haven't finished yet. It comes with a raft of programs including Eco Wash, Speed Wash and Silent Wash and it'll even deodorise and sanitise the entire laundry load. Oh, and like many other Samsung appliances, you can troubleshoot it using a smartphone. Top dollar.
Price: £1,199 | Load: wash 9kg; dry 6kg | Size: H 870 x W 600 x D 605 | Energy efficiency: A
AEG's revolutionary washer dryer comes with a Woolmark Blue label which means your favourite cashmere won't shrink to the size of your daughter's teddy bear. Using OptiSense technology, the AEG automatically measures the amount of laundry and adjusts the cycle time accordingly. It comes with a range of programmes – cotton, synthetic, delicate, wool and easy iron – while its 1600 spin speed ensures the laundry is dry enough for the tumble sequence which utilises a heat pump to dry the clothes at lower temperatures than the norm. This method not only saves up to 40% energy but it also puts less stress on the fabrics. The AEG ÖKOKombi has a huge capacity (wash 9kg; dry 6kg) which makes it ideal for larger families. It's very quiet, too.
Price: £784 | Load: wash 7kg; dry 4kg | Size: H 845 x W 600 x D 590 | Energy efficiency: A
The Bosch is extraordinarily quiet (must be the EcoSilence Drive) which is a good thing if you're siting it in the kitchen area. As all-in-one appliances go, this one's pretty efficient on all fronts and, for a washer dryer combo, reasonably priced too. The 7kg drum is ample for an average sized household though do remember that the recommended drying capacity is just 4kg. Washer dryers don't enjoy the same rosy energy ratings of washing machines but at least you can program this one to take advantage of night-time energy tariffs.
And another thing… Most washer dryers consume additional water during the drying mode. Yes, that's right. This extra water is used to condense the warm vapour from the drying clothes. The Bosch, though, uses air to dry the load thereby saving a few extra quid on the water bill. And finally, when you're in a rush to go out and realise your favourite shirt has egg all over it, simply select the speedy 15-minute wash program and you'll be out and about in a thrice.
Price: £968 | Load: wash 6kg; dry 3kg | Size: H 820 x W 595 x D 584 | Energy efficiency: B
Siemens' non-stop wash and dry programme is good for up to three kilograms of laundry which equates to around 15 adult T shirts. Not the biggest load, granted. The machine uses a smart water system that pumps jets from three different points ensuring the laundry is completely soaked for better results. We're especially enamoured of the Rapid 15 speed wash which is perfect for lightly soiled shirts, etc. The iQ500 spins at 1400rpm which is ample enough for all but the heaviest of fabrics.
The dryer section has some interesting tech too. For instance, during the drying cycle, sensors monitor the moisture in the clothing and when done, the machine automatically switches off. This method ensures your shirts aren't dried to within an inch of their life and saves a bit of energy in the process. As this is a built in model, be sure to check the dimensions of the machine against the space between your kitchen cabinets or you'll have a bit of a 'mare getting it in.
Price: £1,299 | Load: wash 6kg; dry 3kg | Size: H 850 x W 595 x D 580 | Energy efficiency: A
This high-end, feature-packed washer dryer combo includes many of the same features of the Miele WDA100 washing machine. On the washing side it has Miele's proprietary honeycomb drum which makes laundry glide over the surface on a thin film of water. When the wash is complete, it enters Thermospin mode where a combination of hot air and tumbling prepares the clothing for the actual drying cycle.
One key thing to remember with all washer dryers is that if you want to set the machine to run an automatic wash and dry cycle, make sure you only use half a load at a time. In order to ensure efficient drying, all appliances of this nature have a smaller tumble drying capacity; usually half the load of the washing volume. This unit has a veritable shedload of program combinations so keep the manual to hand because you're likely to need it. If you have a shortage of space in the home, give this all-in-one model a whirl.
Price: £650 | Load: wash 8kg; dry 5kg | Size: H 850 x W 600 x D 590 | Energy efficiency: A
This German-made unit has an electronic control dial for all wash and special programmes including down wear, mixed loads, a rapid 15-minute blast, allergy care, handwash for woolens, delicate silks, even a drum clean. Its EcoSilence Drive ensures a decent level of quietness during operation, its spin speed is a commendable 1500rpm and the child safety lock is a bonus.
It doesn't have the biggest drum in the business so consider something larger if you have a family of muddy kids. But its a-rated energy efficiency should at least ensure a few pounds are saved over its lifetime. This unit is deeper than most so make sure you have enough room for it.
7. LG F14A8YD
Price: £612 | Load: wash 8kg; dry 6kg | Size: H 850 x W 600 x D 640 | Energy efficiency: A
Washer dryers are ideal for those with space restraints but they do have their limitations. As is the case with all models, you can only wash just over half the machine's stated capacity if going for the full automatic wash and dry programme. Hence, the only time you can really wash a full load is if the sun's shining, allowing you to take advantage of nature's efficient drying method.
Try a full load during the winter months and you may have to find somewhere to store half the damp load while the other half's being dried. In this respect a washer dryer with a larger capacity (see the Samsung WD8000) is an especially worthwhile investment. The LG's 6kg drying capacity is good for smaller families and those who don't regularly indulge in muddy sports.
Its 6 Motion performs a combination of different rotation sequences depending on the wash programme selected and this apparently produces a more efficient wash. It also uses a direct drive motor for a 'quieter, cleaner wash'. And, like most of Samsung's products, you can diagnose problems using your smartphone. The LG has deeper dimensions than other models so bear that in mind when installing it.
8. Smeg WDF147X
Price: £569 | Load: wash 7kg; dry 4kg | Size: H 850 x W 600 x D 550 | Energy efficiency: A
Smeg doesn't just do retro as this sleek modern model so aptly illustrates. There's quite a lot of attractive stainless steel in the construction but there are also a few plastic parts like the door and control knob.
The Smeg features 15 wash programs (including mixed loads, wool, shirts and an ultra rapid 15 min blast) and two drying programs. Spin speed is a respectable 1400rpm.
The Smeg is an excellent choice for medium sized families but it doesn't sport as much tech as other models on these pages. Still, it's easy to use and those with poor eyesight will benefit from the control panel's large typeface.
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