The Best Washer-Dryers 2021

The Best Washer-Dryers 2021

The Best Washer-Dryers 2021

Washing machines and tumble dryers are bulky pieces of equipment and not all households have room to accommodate both.

Washer-dryers combine washing and drying in one machine to save on space and offer the convenience of being able to go from wash to dry without unloading and reloading clothing.

Prices vary dramatically between machines, from budget models that have basic functions, to top end combos that use the latest technology to offer a wide range of settings to suit different lifestyles.

It’s important to think about what you need from a washer-dryer combo.

If you have an open plan flat, it pays to consider noise levels when comparing machines. If you’re a busy mum washing football kits and uniform daily, quick washing/drying settings and performance will be key.

Let’s take a look at some of our favourite options:

This washer-dryer features Samsung’s Ecobubble technology. Detergent is mixed with water before washing starts, and then air is added to the dissolved detergent.

This technology means that the machine uses less water than similar models, cycles are quicker and you can wash on a lower heat, ensuring less energy is used.

Samsung even promotes washing clothes at a chilly 15°C.

It has fantastic programmes, including a bubble soak that will help shift stains, a quick wash that will wash 2 kg of clothes in 15 minutes, and an Air Refresh function which is suitable for dry clean only clothes.

Using a stream of hot air and no water whatsoever, the Air Refresh setting is great for giving garments a freshen up, as well as cuddly toys and blankets that you would otherwise have to hang on the line to air out.

The ‘Delay End’ function is useful if you want washed clothes ready for when you get home from a day at work, but don’t want them sitting wet in the drum all day.

There are two settings for drying, and within this, you can set the time yourself – anything from 30 minutes to 4.5 hours.

It can wash up to 9 kg and dry up to 6 kg, so not a huge amount of clothes to have to take out if you want to dry 6 kg.

There’s some cheerful music to alert you that the cycle has finished, but it’s very, very long. We quite liked this at first but can imagine it gets extremely irritating over time – especially if you’re in bed when a cycle finishes.

We loved the fact that once the music finishes, the machine turns itself off, so no extra electricity is used once the washing/drying cycle has been completed.

A huge plus, given the amount of pressure on the mechanics of these machines, is that this model comes with a five-year guarantee from Samsung – fantastic for peace of mind.

It comes in a graphite colour with a stylish blue door and has a great digital display. It’s slightly deeper than a standard-sized washer-dryer at 650 mm, so slightly more room needed for this one.

It’s slightly smaller than a standard washer-dryer, so great for those with limited space.

With this does come a reduction in drum space compared to similar models – this washer-dryer can accommodate 7 kg of clothes for washing and 5 kg for drying.

We also found that the drum seemed quite shallow, so you might struggle with capacity even if the weight of the items is ok.

If you tend to wash large items frequently – like pillows or sleeping bags, or even if you always use the load capacity, this washer-dryer probably isn’t a good choice for you.

It has got Indesit’s SensorDry technology which senses the level of moisture in the drum and only dries the clothing as much as it needs.

This is a great money-saving measure and it helps avoid shrinkage of garments as well. Similarly, Indesit’s Water Balance technology senses how heavy the load is and only uses the amount of water needed for that specific weight – a fantastic feature for the price.

This model has a 50-minute wash and dry setting – so you should be able to wash and dry an outfit ready to wear in under an hour.

We found this was a little ambitious, perhaps not quite as dry as we would like, but it was nearly there. That’s for a small load; for a 7 kg load, the wash and dry cycle takes nearly three hours.

There’s a big orange button which will kick start the wash and dry program; unfortunately, the wash and dry performance aren’t quite as striking as the button if you use the full capacity allowance.

Noise-wise it’s excellent. On paper, the spin noise should be louder than any other product we have reviewed, but we think it’s a lot quieter than the 84 decibels listed, and the values for wash and dry are very low.

The motor and parts have a 10-year guarantee which is great for this budget price.

The Zanussi Lindo washer-dryer lacks style and certainly looks more dated than Beko’s budget machine.

That said, it’s well made and has excellent features for the price.

One of the best things about this machine is the noise – or lack of. It’s one of the quietest machines we’ve reviewed.

If you tend to stick to one wash programme and don’t usually make use of the very specific options some machines offer (shirts, baby care, anti-allergy, etc.), this washer-dryer will suit.

The only programmes on offer are the run of the mill options – cottons, synthetics, wool, delicates, etc.

We love the Auto Dry function – simply press this in and the machine will automatically switch to drying once the clothes are washed.

It has sensor technology to ensure clothes aren’t over-dried and it’s also got Fuzzy Logic but, like the Beko model, we can’t find any specific details of what this covers.

For the price, we’re not blown away – it could look better and it could have more innovative programs and functions.

the best washer-dryers review
the best washer-dryers review

Why Might You Want to Buy a Washer-Dryer Combo?

The most common reason for householders opting to buy a combo machine is to save on space.

Washing machines and tumble dryers take up a lot of room, and if you only have space for either a washing machine or a tumble dryer, a washer-dryer is a great option.

Unlike a tumble dryer which needs a vent to take the damp air out of the machine and into the atmosphere, washer-dryers use a different process and do not require access to the outside.

This means that those wanting tumble drying facilities in a shed or conservatory don’t need to start cutting holes in walls to be able to do it.

Washer-dryers can save time – there’s no need to unload wet clothes and reload into a dryer.

If you’re moving into your first home or you need to replace your washing machine and tumble dryer at the same time, a washer-dryer can be a great option to save money on purchasing two separate machines.

Important Features to Look For

Capacity

Often, next to the make and model, you will see two weights in kilograms; for example, 10 kg/4 kg.

This refers to the capacity of clothes you can wash in the machine and the capacity of clothes you can tumble dry in the machine.

So, if the washer-dryer states ‘10 kg/4 kg’, it means you can wash 10 kg of clothing, but you will have to remove more than half of that load before you can dry it.

In this instance, you could opt to wash a 4 kg (or less) load and then it can all be tumbled, or you could wash 10 kg at once and then remove the lighter items for air drying, keeping items like jeans in for tumbling.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of drying in the machine, it might be better to go for the highest drying capacity you can and not worry too much about washing capacity.

If you need to wash large loads and won’t be drying everything you wash, go for a bigger wash capacity.

Condensing

Unlike a standard tumble dryer which uses a vent to remove moisture from the clothing, a washer-dryer uses ‘condensing’.

Condensing is the process of removing the moisture from clothes and putting it into a tank, which must be removed and emptied frequently, or removing it via the waste pipe.

Self-Cleaning

A self-clean program on a washer-dryer is useful to preserve the life of the machine and get the best performance from it.

Energy Rating

Like any household appliance, washer-dryers are given an energy rating between A+++ and G.

Energy ratings are important when choosing a washer-dryer because they are worked out based on the amount of water and electricity the machine uses.

It pays to take energy rating into account when choosing a washer-dryer to keep running costs down.

The majority of washing machines are rated A+, but tumble dryers use a lot of energy, so most washer-dryers are rated A.

All of the washer-dryers we have reviewed in this article are A-rated.

Noise

It’s hard to get an accurate picture of just how noisy a machine will be until it’s in your house, but the decibel level should be included in a product listing so it’s a good idea to compare between models when you are looking for a washer-dryer.

The jump between figures noise-wise is huge – 80db is twice as loud as 70db.

Time Delay Option

Time delay can be extremely useful on a washer-dryer.

It’s not always convenient to unload the machine once the cycle is finished, so this setting gives you the option of loading it up and setting it to finish when it’s convenient for you to unload it.

Settings

Washer-dryers come with a range of different settings to fit different lifestyles.

Think about how you are likely to use your machine; you might swim every day before work and need a quick cycle to wash your kit in the evening, or you might be a fan of delicate blouses and woollen jumpers, so need a good handwash program.

Fuzzy Logic

Fuzzy Logic is built-in technology where sensors monitor conditions inside the washer-dryer and alter the washing process accordingly to get the best results.

Fuzzy Logic can cover things like water intake, wash time, rinse performance, water temperature or spin speed.

Premium machines might even learn from previous cycles and adjust programs for future use, and some weigh the load and adjust settings according to the drum contents.

Fuzzy Logic isn’t a standard – it’s open to interpretation. If it’s important to you, it’s worth doing some investigation to establish exactly what the machine is capable of.

Water Consumption

It pays to check the energy specifications for how much water the machine uses in the drying cycle.

Some dryers use more water for drying than they do for washing because the condenser uses water direct from the tap for cooling.

Integrated or Freestanding?

Washer-dryers are available as integrated or freestanding machines.

  • Integrated washer-dryers fit into a kitchen unit and sit behind a cupboard door. Standard dimensions are 85 cm(h) x 60 cm(w) x 53 cm(d).

  • Freestanding washer-dryers can be moved and aren’t fixed into any kitchen unit. Usually capacity is larger with freestanding machines. Standard size is 85 cm(h) x 60 cm(w) x 60 cm(d).

Spin Speed

Spin speed on a washer-dryer usually falls between 1,200 rpm and 1,600 rpm – those figures refer to the number of spins the drum makes in one minute.

A higher spin speed means clothing won’t need as long to dry – because the excess water has been removed.

Sensors

It’s becoming common for washer-dryers to have built-in sensors which can build an accurate picture of the load and adapt conditions accordingly.

Depending on the model (and usually the price) of the combo, this could cover the weight of the load, types of clothing in load, how much moisture is in the drum and how dry individual items of clothing are.

Everything Else We Looked At

There is a huge price range when it comes to washer-dryers. You can pick up a machine for a few hundred pounds, or pay thousands for cutting edge technology and the best performance.

It’s fair to say that you get what you pay for with combo machines and you need to pay to get the performance – especially where drying is concerned.

Here are some of the other options we looked at:

The AEG ÖKOMix 8000 Series looks great and performs great too. With 10 kg capacity, it’s a great choice for a busy household and it certainly has the technology to stand up to the challenge.

ÖKOMix is similar to Samsung’s Ecobubble technology; detergent is mixed with water before it reaches the clothes to achieve a more even wash and to better prepare the load for more even drying.

AEG’s DualSense is a stand out feature on this machine that will change the way you wash.

It enables different fabrics to be washed and dried in one load together – you could put a silk blouse in with an outdoor coat if you’re brave enough.

This is even the case for handwash-only items, which is very impressive and extremely useful if you often find yourself with garments set to one side waiting to be hand washed or join a wash that won’t damage them.

This combo can wash and dry 5 kg in four hours, which represents the most economical performance on the market, as claimed by AEG.

It uses less water than other machines too; so, long term, it could save you money.

We were extremely happy with the results after a wash and dry cycle – especially the even drying of the clothes.

Bosch is renowned for making excellent white goods and the Bosch WDU28560GB is no exception.

It’s at the higher end price-wise but it has a long list of programs and can accommodate a 10 kg load for washing and 6 kg for drying.

In addition to the dial program options, the large touch screen can be used to change the spin speed and heat on programs, as well as a long list of other details like speed of wash and amount of rinses.

Whilst everything is spaced out well on the screen and some of the options are clear, it takes a while to get used to what all of the icons mean.

You’ll probably need the instruction manual to use as a reference for a while – although even that is quite confusing and could do with a re-write.

This machine has Bosch’s EcoSilence Drive motor built in, which is designed to produce the highest possible durability, efficiency, economy and performance at the lowest possible decibels.

Indeed, this is the quietest machine we reviewed with only a whisper of wash noise at just 47db.

As long as the load is 6 kg or below, you can opt to dry the load as well just by pressing the wash and dry option on the touch screen. This machine has Bosch’s AutoDry which will ensure clothes are never over-dried.

Built into this combo is Bosch’s speed and eco-technology; touch ‘Speed’ on the screen and the wash time is dramatically reduced – the washer-dryer will do everything up to 65% quicker.

Eco is great if you’re not in a hurry. It will add time on but conduct a more ecological wash to save you money.

This washer-dryer might do everything a similar, cheaper machine does, but the Bosch name not only gives it kudos as far as the technology is concerned but also in the engineering and build.

Just one look at the solid metal hinges or the metal locking mechanism gives an indication of quality.

The first thing to note about the John Lewis JLWD1614 is that, compared to the others we reviewed, it has got a poor wet-to-dry ratio.

It can wash 8 kg but only dry 4 kg, so you have to remove half of a full load to use the dryer function.

That said, it’s very impressive as far as washing and drying are concerned; clothing was very clean and didn’t seem over-worked.

The drying program (despite taking a long time) dried the load very well with no wet patches.

It has a good range of programs and a large touch screen with functions like ‘Reduce Time’ and ‘Autodry’.

There’s a one hour wash and dry program for up to a 1 kg load – not great for frequent use, but useful for an emergency outfit.

Sensors for assessing how much water is needed and when to stop drying are great features for a machine at this price.

Like the Samsung washer-dryer, this combo turns off when it’s finished.

The downside to this is that, unlike the Samsung which plays such a long tune you’re unlikely to miss it, this machine only gives a short beep to announce the end of the cycle. It’s easy to forget about washing sitting in the drum with the digital display off.

This budget combo specialises in tackling three common problems – allergies, stains and care of woollen items.

It has achieved several official accolades to back up its claims, making it fantastic value for money.

For those who struggle with pollen, pet hair and dust, the Hotpoint Futura gives great peace of mind.

This model has been awarded an Allergy UK Seal of Approval due to its performance removing up to 99.9% of major allergens.

It’s also a good one for households who have to tackle lots of stains – there’s a dedicated stain cycle which Hotpoint claims frees you from having to use expensive chemicals or pre-washes. It also has an anti-stain quick cycle for emergency cleanups.

If you’ve got woollen items that you wouldn’t trust a washer-dryer to take care of, this combo might be a good choice. It has been awarded the Woolmark Platinum Care mark of quality.

Although it’s black and aesthetically pleasing from a distance, up close it’s quite plastic-looking with a dated dial and no digital display – but, for the price, we can’t be too picky.

Make sure you take a look at the clock when you put it on – there’s no digital display to let you know exactly how long until the cycle is finished, which is a big downside in our opinion.

If you want to wash more than 1 kg of clothing, you need to be prepared for a painfully long wait. A standard 40-degree wash is a whopping 225 minutes long.

Performance-wise we found it to be effective at washing and drying – we didn’t encounter any wet patches once the dry cycle had finished.

The Whirlpool FWDD1071681W certainly isn’t going to be a talking point when friends come over for coffee; there’s little style, but we like to think there’s a lot of substance.

It’s reminiscent of a 90s washing machine with no words on the dial display, just icons.

The program title does come up on the digital display, so you might have to go through each click of the dial for the first few uses until you remember what each icon represents.

If you can get past the look of it, there’s is a lot of great technology built in to protect clothes and produce fantastic results. Wool Excellence, 6th Sense Technology and Softmove are all included in this model.

The best thing about this washer-dryer is that it can dry a huge 7 kg of clothing – the most out of all the combos we have reviewed.

This, of course, means that if you are happy washing 7 kg of clothing, you don’t need to remove any of the load before you dry it.

There’s a great Steamcare function which can refresh items of clothing you might have just worn for a few hours or de-wrinkle clothing.

This is a handy feature for a washer-dryer as garments often come out creased. The only issue we had with this was that the clothes are quite damp when they come out.

Sensors monitor drum conditions and assess how dirty the laundry is to help save on detergent wastage, water, energy and time.

Like many of the other combos we have featured, the Whirlpool can wash and dry a 1 kg load in 45 minutes. We were happy with the results after using this cycle.

At a Glance Comparison

The first step when comparing washer-dryers is to look at details like wash-to-dry ratio, noise levels and spin speed.

We’ve noted down these values and more for the combos we have reviewed. This should make it easier for you to consider the other, more specific factors that should come into your decision.

Name Price Wash/Dry Noise-Level Wash/Spin/Dry Dimensions in mm
(H x W x D)
Labour Guarantee Spin Speed Energy Rating
SAMSUNG ecobubble WD90J6A10AX £729.99 9 kg/6 kg 54/73/62 850 x 600 x 650 5 years 1,400 A
INDESIT Innex XWDE751480XS Washer Dryer £409.99 7 kg/5 kg 54/84/59 850 x 595 x 540 1 year 1,400 A
Zanussi Lindo1000 ZWD81663NW £599 8 kg/4 kg 51/76/59 850 x 600 x 522 1 year 1,500 A
AEG ÖKOMix 8000 Series L8WEC166R £599.99 10 kg/6 kg 51/77/63 850 x 600 x 605 5 years 1,600 A
Bosch WDU28560GB £847.00 10 kg/6 kg 47/71/61 848 x 598 x 620 2 years 1,400 A
John Lewis JLWD1614 £679 8 kg/4 kg 51/76/60 850 x 600 x 572 3 years 1,600 A
Hotpoint Futura FDL 9640K £399.99 9 kg/6 kg 56/82/61 850 x 595 x 540 1 year 1,400 A
Whirlpool FWDD1071681W £528.97 10 kg/7 kg 54/83/unspecified 850 x 600 x 605 2 years 1,600 A

Final Thoughts

Choosing a washer-dryer is largely down to personal choice.

Features like sensor drying, Fuzzy Logic, wash to dry programs and detergent mixing technology are common in combos, so choosing between the wide range of models on the market often boils down to exactly how you intend to use the machine.

Those with separate washing machines and tumble dryers often stick to the same few wash cycles because they have the flexibility of being able to manage the washing outside of the machine.

With a washer-dryer, space in the house is often more limited and there is likely to be more demand for specialised programs that can provide exactly the right level of washing and drying.

It’s a good idea to make a few notes on the types of loads you want to wash and dry, how quickly you need them done, whether your family has specific issues that could be helped by a washer-dryer (allergies, a passion for green living, stains), and the environment you will be operating your machine in (baby in bed, open plan living, etc.).

Considering your requirements will help you choose a machine that will perform well for you.

We don’t often say it, but with washer-dryers, it is pretty much a case of the more expensive you go, the better the performance. Budget combos will wash well but drying can be hit and miss.