Washer dryers are ideal if you don't have the time or space space to hang clothes up, or room for a separate tumble dryer in your utility room or kitchen.
Here we've whittled down the market and picked eight great tumble dryers you should definitely consider, all of which offer big capacity, innovative cleaning technology, and a big, hot, rotating drum.
So what's the best washer dryer? For our money (and it is quite a lot of money), the top washer dryer choice is the AEG L99695HWD ÖKOKombi.
Even more so than washing machines, it's a good idea to spend more on a washer dryer, as there's so much to potentially go wrong with them. In the case of AEG's machine, the result of your outlay is a great washing machine, a fast spin speed, and a drying process sufficiently gentle to earn a Woolmark badge.
Should you buy a washer dryer?
All washer dryers list two different capacities, one for the washing sequence and another for the drying cycle. You can’t just leave a full washing load in the machine and expect it to dry it all successfully at the end of the washing cycle.
If you do wash a full load, you will have to find somewhere to store one half of the damp pile while the other half’s being dried. That’s no big deal in summer when you have the option of having the sun dry some of your washing but it can be an issue in winter. ‘Mum, the bath’s full of damp washing!’
If you want to enjoy the fully automated process of washing and drying all done in one go, you’ll need to do smaller loads, and stick to the maximum capacity for the drying programme.
Bear in mind, too, that washer dryers don’t enjoy the same rosy energy ratings of washing machines. On the other hand, you do get big savings in terms of hanging-up-washing time.
- Prefer to dry laundry as nature intended? Best washing machines
- Best microwave and combi ovens (not for laundry)
The best washer dryers to buy today
1. AEG L99695HWD ÖKOKombi
Best washer dryer (also hardest to spell)
This Which? award-winning freestanding washer dryer comes with a Woolmark Gold label for both washing and drying, which means your favourite Christopher Kane cashmere sweater won’t come out shrunk to the size of a Barbie.
OptiSense technology incorporates sensors that measure the amount of laundry you’ve put in before adjusting both the washing and drying cycles for the optimum result.
The oddly-named ÖKOKombi comes with a range of washing programs – cotton, synthetic, delicate, wool, easy iron – and a fast 1600 spin speed that 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 heat pump method apparently not only saves up to 40% energy but it also puts less stress on the fabrics. And that’s got to be a good thing.
This machine has ample capacity (wash 9kg; dry 6kg) for the average nuclear family and is exceedingly quiet, too. Top buy, if you can afford it.
2. Zanussi ZWD71460NW
Best value for money washer dryer
The long-standing Italian brand wades into the washer dryer arena with a fine Which? Best Buy-awarded 7kg/4kg machine that cuts the mustard, as well as cleaning it from your shirt.
That's by dint of a tranche of 21 excellent washing cycles, including pre-wash for the grubbiest of grub-infested attire, an extra rinse option and a fast-forward Quick Wash that shortens the cycle by 50%.
It performs admirably with both cottons and synthetics and, while it’s not the fastest dryer in the business, it does a thorough and even job.
The turn-dial control panel is easy to get a handle on, so not too much manual-leafing is needed.
If you’re after a splendid machine without breaking the bank, step right this way.
3. Samsung WD8000 (WD12J8400GW/EU)
Best washer dryer for style 'n' tech
Samsung often pushes the boat out when it comes to adding imaginative design and features to usually tedious white goods and this machine is a case in point.
It's capable of holding a mountainous 12 kilograms of laundry in wash mode and an equally mammoth 8 kilos in drying mode, but that’s just the half of it…
The Korean company’s proprietary Ecobubble tech uses quite literally bazillions of tiny air bubbles to saturate the clothing up to 40 times faster than the norm while its diamond pattern drum makes clothing slip around as if on a waterslide, for an allegedly more efficient launder. It certainly makes the machine quieter.
The freestanding WD8000 also comes with a raft of programs including Eco Wash, Speed Wash, Silent Wash and a deodorising feature to make everything smell like a florist.
A 1,400rpm spin cycle ensures that the drying session shouldn’t consume too much time and leccy, and like many other Samsung appliances, you can troubleshoot and operate it using a smartphone.
It is 10mm deeper than standard white goods, but that's not the end of the world.
3. Miele WTZH130 WPM PWash
Best high-end washer dryer
This super high-end, extravagantly feature-packed combo represents the pinnacle of Miele washing tech and is A-rated for economy – although presumably you’ll not be bothered about that if you can afford a machine like this in the first place.
On the washing side it features Miele’s proprietary honeycomb drum that 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 one of 11 drying programs.
The drying sequence itself features three cycles that use steam to remove creases and help prepare the garments for quick, fuss-free ironing. And if you select the ‘Rinse Out Fluff’ setting, it’ll even remove any lint remnants that might otherwise transmit colour to your favourite white shirt.
This freestanding machine incorporates TwinDos, which means you insert large liquid detergent bottles – either Miele's own brand, or your usual choice – and forget about it for a few weeks, with the machine automatically calculating how much liquid is required each time you wash.
Miele’s long guarantee and reputation mean the price is probably worth it in terms of longevity and reliability.
5. Bosch Serie 6 WVG30461GB
Best mid-price washer dryer
The freestanding Serie 6 is an extraordinarily quiet machine that won’t disturb the ambience if situated in a kitchen diner.
As all-in-one appliances go, it’s pretty efficient and reasonably priced too.
The 8kg drum is ample for an average sized household though do remember that the recommended drying capacity is only 5kg so if you want to do a full automatic wash and dry, stick to the maximum drying capacity.
The washing cycle ticks all the boxes and shifts dirt and stains very efficiently. Along with the usual cotton and easy care programs, it also comes with another eight special wash cycles, including a Super Quick 15-minute wash program – handy for when you’re in a rush to go out and realise your favourite shirt has egg all over it.
6. LG Eco Hybrid (F1695RDH)
Best for for large families
If you have six kids and a pack of dogs then this is the machine for you. The LG has one of the biggest drums in the business, handling up to 12kg of washing and 8kg drying.
This means you could set a complete auto wash and dry sequence for a load equivalent to that of a large washing machine – without ever needing to get off your arse.
Its 6 Motion feature performs a combination of different rotation sequences depending on the wash programme selected, apparently producing a more 'efficient' wash.
The Truesteam function, meanwhile, uses the power of steam to release obstreperous dirt, remove 99.98% of allergens and remove creases.
Like Samsung's machine, there's a smartphone app, too.