Best washing machine: our top 7 choices for your next freestanding or integrated washing machine, plus a washer dryer

Take a look through our best washing machines whether you need an integrated or freestanding machine, or perhaps a washer dryer

best washing machine: Haier washer dryer
(Image credit: Haier)

Finding the best washing machine can set you in a spin but fear not, the Real Homes team are here to help. Washing machines have really upped their game over the last few years to bring more smart technology innovations into the home and an all-round bigger, better performance than we've ever seen before so it's a really good job our appliance expert is on hand...

There's a lot of washing machines out there which all claim to be the best but, ultimately, when it comes to buying it, or any other large appliance for that matter, you do get what you pay for. And, with so many makes and models to choose from, it can be so overwhelming honing in on the most energy efficient with the most programmes (for example) to opt for that you could quickly lose control of the budget which will set your mind in a spin.

To help, and speed up the decision-making process, you can read our expert washer reviews of the best makes and models on the market. We've covered everything from eco rating to the variety of spin cycles, and even included a couple of quiet washing machines, too. Our expert has worked hard to compare brands such as Haier, AEG, Bosch (and more), reviewing all the spec on offer to bring you the best of the best for the year ahead. You'll see that we have also included an integrated and washer dryer option – the latter having being tested in our own home – so you can choose the best option for you and your household.

Keep scrolling for more details on our best washing machine buys for 2021 then, why not check out our best tumble dryer buyer's guide so you can wash and dry your laundry with ease?

What is the best washing machine for 2021?

If you want your next washing machine to be the best on the market, which is around £500, then we can highly recommend buying the Haier I-Pro Series 7 HW80-B14979 8kg Washing Machine

We're impressed by its 20 minute detergent-free refresh cycle, the drum lights – so you can see inside clearly (genius!), its 8kg capacity, its wide door opening, its A+++ energy rating and overall quiet performance – and, because we're Real Homes and we know that not everyone has a massive budget, the very reasonable price tag of around £500 is particularly appealing.

Want to keep looking? No worries: just keep scrolling down this page for more of our washing machine reviews.

Best washing machine reviews for 2021

best washing machine

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

1. Haier I-Pro Series 7 HW80-B14979 8kg Washing Machine

Best washing machine 2021: a quick, energy efficient performer with a very reasonable price tag

Specifications
Capacity: 8kg** (Great for small families)
Noise level: 53dB washing / 69dB spinning
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: White
Dimensions: H85 x W59.5 x D46cm
Reasons to buy
+20 minute detergent-free refresh cycle+Wide door opening+Quiet+Energy efficient
Reasons to avoid
-None that we can think of!

Our top buy for a washing machine is this model from Haier. It has everything a family could need for a quick, quiet wash and comes so reasonably priced. You, our Real Homes readers, have also recently voted it the 'Best Washing Machine' in the Real Homes Awards, so you know you're onto a winner.

14 programmes, and more
No matter what garment you are washing, there's a programme to match. From Baby Care to Outdoor, all walks of life activities are covered. There's even a Refresh programme which uses water-vapour technology to remove odours, dust and allergens, so your clothes smell fresher and feel softer to the touch.

You can even make any of these programme shorter or longer, if you want to save time or money.

Quiet cycles
With it's quiet wash and spin cycles, you could (if you wanted to) set the timer to wash at night so your laundry is ready to dry first thing in the morning. It's one of the quietest models in this guide, which won't wake the family.

Energy efficient
Rated A+++ for energy consumption, this machine goes one step further to offer load detection. This measures the load you've added and makes sure it uses just the right amount of water, so none gets wasted.

Anything else?
The drum lights – so you can see inside clearly (genius!) – and wide door opening is super useful.

AEG L8FC8432BI Integrated Washing Machine

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

2. AEG L8FC8432BI Integrated Washing Machine

Best integrated washing machine 2021: it's got some clever tech which is extra careful with delicate garments

Specifications
Capacity: 8kg (Great for families)
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: White
Dimensions: H81.9 x W59.6 x D54 cm
Reasons to buy
+ÖKOMix technology distributes detergents and softeners evenly+Daily washing programme+Quiet when running a cycle
Reasons to avoid
-Not very efficient when in spin

As featured on our best integrated washing machine guide, this washer from AEG has an 8kg washing load capacity, impressive A+++ energy rating and a range of features designed to care for even the most delicate and sensitive clothing items.

Efficient
Thanks to AEG's OKOPower, this short washing programme produces excellent results and is ideal for daily use. Features such as DirectSpray makes more efficient use of the water in your washing machine. It continuously showers your clothes throughout the cycle so that the entire load is soaked and washed more evenly. It also helps to improve performance by making sure pre-mixed detergents and softeners are better distributed throughout the wash.

Tailored cycles 
AEG’s ProSense technology will keep your clothes looking their best for as long as possible. It works by automatically weighing each load to provide a tailored cycle. Sensors are used to adjust washing times precisely, ensuring optimum treatment for every load. 

Less ironing
Looking at customer reviews, there was big credit to the short and gentle steam programme which safely removes odours and reduce creases in dry fabrics. You can also finish your wash cycle with a gentle steam so clothes need little to no ironing.

Haier HWD120-B14979 12Kg / 8Kg Washer DryerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Hughes)

3. Haier HWD120-B14979 Freestanding Washer Dryer

Best washer dryer 2021: this washer dryer combo is perfect for busy, family households

Specifications
Capacity: 12kg wash / 6kg dry
Energy: A
Spin speed: up to 1600rpm
Finish: White
Dimensions: H85 x W59.5 x D60cm
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use, with plenty of programmes to choose from+Variable drying, spinning and temperature settings+Stain Removal function on several programmes
Reasons to avoid
-Wash and dry cycles can be a few hours-Spin cycle (noise) doesn't go unnoticed 

We were fortunate to get our hands on this washer drier during the first lockdown and can honestly say that it set us in a (good) spin. It's one which we couldn't strongly fault during testing and feel that it is an appliance which busy, family households couldn't be without. As such, it ended up our best washer dryer and claimed the top spot of our buyer's guide.

Top performance
The Auto Weight function – one of the many things our reviewer was impressed with – will automatically reduce the washing time for some programs – Cotton, Synthetics, Mix, Cotton 20ºC, Eco 40-60ºC – minimising energy, water and cycle duration.

On some of the 14 programmes there is also a stain removal function which did a pretty good job at removing soy sauce, ketchup and red wine. It even made a good effort at removing Biro ink from our reviewers cotton napkin which was used during testing, and we all know how stubborn Biro ink can be!

Noise levels
Throughout the washing, spinning and drying programmes you could hear that it was working which was a little annoying considering that the rest of the machine was so impressive. Haier have gone to some lengths to ensure that decibels are kept to a minimum by providing some noise reduction pads which can be secured at the point of insulation yet, compared to other similar machines, it is on-par with their noise levels, too.

Ease of use
The washer dryer uses a combination of a touch-screen and dial to navigate through the programmes. It's easy enough to get the hang of jumping around the different settings but, if you're more comfortable using a more hands on dial then it may be worth seeing this appliance before buying.

best washing machine - Samsung WW90J6410CX EcoBubble Freestanding Washing Machine

(Image credit: Hughes)

4. Samsung WW90J6410CX EcoBubble Freestanding Washing Machine

Best washing machine with an amazing washing performance, fab functionalities and for less than £500

Specifications
Capacity: 9kg** (Great for families)
Noise level: 53dB washing / 74dB spinning
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: Graphite
Dimensions: H85cm x W60cm x D55cm
Reasons to buy
+Intensive stain removal+15 minute quick wash+Chemical-free drum sanitisation
Reasons to avoid
-The music it plays at the end of the cycle can get annoying if you can’t work out how to turn it off

Considering it's so affordable, this washing machine from Samsung is packed with special features designed to make laundry easier and more efficient. 

Low running costs + good wash results
The high energy rating means running costs are low, while a twin water supply means you’ll get a super speedy wash in just 60 minutes, which is perfect for busy families. This works by quickly filling the drum with water, while the Speedy Spray features cuts down on the time the rinse cycles. Want a faster wash? There's an effective 15 minute quick wash, too.

This machine has what Samsung calls ‘Bubble Soak technology’ to remove stubborn stains, another reason it's a great choice for families. How does it work? Clothes are soaked in bubbles thoroughly, loosening and removing stains really effectively. You can even wash large loads at low temperatures using the ecobubble™ tech, which activates the detergent to quickly penetrate fabrics, even at 15˚C. 

Speed and noise level
This machine will spin your clothes at 1400 rpm, with a noise level of 74dB on a spin and 53dB during a wash – a tad louder than some of the other best washing machines in our guide, but not so as you'd notice.

Gentle on delicates
Another great feature is the machine's Diamond Drum's with its ‘soft curl’ design; this means it has smooth, diamond-shaped ridges inside that will clean clothes effectively but (and this is important) gently. The drum's small exit holes for water mean clothes don't get trapped (no more inexplicably lost socks, either).

Easy to maintain
Ease of maintenance and cleaning aren't something we usually consider when we buy a washing machine, but why not? This machine's Drum Clean technology means it will stay fresh without the use of harsh chemicals, and if it does need cleaning, it will tell you.

And, if something does go wrong with the washing machine, the Smart Check feature will automatically detect and diagnose the problem – and you can use the Samsung app to trouble-shoot, and maybe even save yourself the inconvenience and cost of an engineer's call out.

Not sure if this is the Samsung model for you? Read our washer review of Samsung washing machines where we pick 5 of the best models and deals – so you can make an informed choice.

LG smart washing machine - best washing machine

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

5. LG FH4G1BCS2 Freestanding Washing Machine

Best washing machine for capacity: huge drum, app control and energy efficient – what more could you want?

Specifications
Capacity: 12kg (Great for large families)
Noise level: 52dB washing / 71dB spinning
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: White
Dimensions: H85cm x W60cm x D64cm
Reasons to buy
+Huge wash load capacity+Can be controlled from your smartphone+Reduced water consumption+Stylish design
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive model

Offers a faster, more powerful wash in a shorter amount of time, and using less energy, is this washing machine from LG. Plus, it can be controlled from your smartphone, which makes the laundry process significantly easier. Yes, it's pretty expensive for the average budget, but considering the spec it is a good buy.

Large capacity and efficiency
Designed with families, heavy clothing and bedding, and those who often leave washes until they're long-overdue, in mind, this machine offers a generous 12kg load capacity, without taking up additional space in your kitchen. In other words, it has almost twice the load capacity of some of our other models, but despite the load size, does a really good job of cleaning it. Plus, it comes with the most efficient A+++ energy rating for peace of mind.

Smart technology
Smart washing machines are a bit of a thing now - and it's something we've looked into to find out whether the features are worthwhile in terms of the added cost. How does this one's work? You can manage your washing machine cycles, water and electricity consumption from your smartphone, thanks to Smart ThinQ™. This innovative smart technology not only enables you to avoid returning home to a machine full of damp smelling clothing, but can also troubleshoot any minor issues before they become a bigger problem. The latter, for us, is the biggest plus: after all, however smart your washing machine is, you'll still have to load and unload it.

Speed & noise level
This machine will spin your clothes at 1400 rpm, with a noise level of 71dB on a spin and 52dB during a wash – a pretty average noise level, all things considered – but not as quiet as a washing machine you might want to have in an open plan space, such as our third choice, the Indesit.

Reduced water consumption
Thanks to its use of steam particles, which penetrate fabrics more effectively than water droplets to wash your clothes, this machine requires a reduced rate of water consumption in order to function effectively. In addition to positive environmental impacts, this can also be helpful in reducing bills as wash times can be reduced to as little as 49 minutes.

This technology, when used in conjunction with the specialised Turbowash setting, can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 per cent and water consumption by up to 40 per cent. We approve.

Additional features
LG’s TrueSteam technology is also great for allergy sufferers and those with sensitive skin. There’s also a function called 'Pause & Add Items', which will release the door within three seconds, so you can add to the wash through the main door. Odd sock on the floor, sorted.

Not sure if this is the LG model for you? Read our washing machine review of LG washing machines where we pick 5 of the best models and deals – so you can make an informed choice.

Best washing machine: AEG L8FEC946R freestanding washing machine example of the best washing machines

(Image credit: AEG)

6. AEG L8FEC946R Freestanding Washing Machine

Best washing machine with low decibels: quiet wash and spin, great for flats and open plan living

Specifications
Capacity: 9kg Great for families)
Noise level: 47dB washing / 73dB spinning
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: White
Dimensions: H85cm x W60cm x D63.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Steam refresh+Anti-allergy+20-minute programme
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey-Choosing the best programme options can be hard as there are so many-Touch sensitive controls need a push with wet hands

Awarded the Quiet Mark, this large capacity washing machine from AEG is rated low decibel, making it a great option if you live in a small apartment and want to minimise disturbance to your neighbours, or are tired of your washing machine overpowering conversation in an open plan scheme. 

This washing machine has claimed our top-spot for the  quietest washing machine in our guide, and it's easy to see why:

Eco-friendly, speedy cycles + good wash results
Another reason for the popularity of this washing machine model is its use of ÖKOMix technology, which ensures that fabric is cleaned and cared for in shorter cycles but ensuring that detergent, fabric softener and water are dissolved and activated before entering the drum.

On top of all this, the AEG L8FEC946R freestanding washing machine boasts a high energy rating (A+++), while the Eco TimeSave also saves you time. The programme lets you select ECO and TimeSave options at the same time, meaning an energy efficient wash that’s quick, too.

The machine's ProSense technology weighs each load automatically to give you a cycle tailored to your wash. Its sensors help adjust washing time, too, so that you never use a longer cycle than needed.

Anti-crease
Advanced AEG ProSteam® technology, which can add steam at the end of a wash cycle if you want it, reduces wrinkles by up to a third, and with it the need for ironing.

Gentle on clothes
This is another washing machine with a drum designed to be gentle on your clothes. The ProTex drum reduces fabric distortion, so clothes keep their shape, even during spin cycles. SoftPlus also ensures the fabric softener reaches every part of your wash, which helps protect fibres.

As if that's not enough, the machine's wool programme has been accredited with Woolmark certification, meaning it's as gentle as a handwash. 

Not sure if this is the AEG model for you? Read our washer review of AEG washing machines where we pick 5 of the best models and deals – so you can make an informed choice.

HOTPOINT NM11 946 BC A FREESTANDING WASHING MACHINE

(Image credit: Currys PCWorld)

7. Hotpoint NM11 946 BC A freestanding washing machine

Best washing machine for quick washes: steam clean your clothes in 20 minutes

Specifications
Capacity: 9kg (Great for families)
Noise: 52dB washing / 79dB spinning
Energy rating: A+++
Spin speed: 1400rpm
Finish: Black
Dimensions: H85 x W59.5 x D60.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Quick steam cycle for freshening clothes+Can add items when was has started+Quiet
Reasons to avoid
-Some said the fast wash needed an extra spin to remove enough water for drying

Perfect for those who are often on the go – or are too lazy to commit to a consistent laundry day – this Hotpoint washing machine promises to steam clean your clothes in as little as 20 minutes.

Best features
Forgotten to wash the garment you must wear today? This machine will come to your rescue with a 20 minute Steam Refresh that will freshen and then leave clothing slightly damp so it can be ironed easily. It’ll also let you add in an item you dropped while loading – or left in the washing basket – at the beginning of a recently started cycle. You can also select between speeding up a wash, or reducing energy consumption.

The verdicts
A large capacity makes this washer a sound choice for a family home, we think. It has all the programmes you might want to suit the contents of everyone’s wardrobes, and we like the quick refresh for inevitable laundry emergencies, as well as the rapid 30 minute wash. We’re rather taken by the black colourway, too, which makes a welcome change from the usual white finish.

The washer reviews on the Hotpoint site award a healthy 8.6 out of 10 overall for this machine. Ease of use, its features, and value for money score most highly of the individual elements. Buyers like the low noise, the big capacity drum, and its stain-removal ability. 

On John Lewis, it’s five out of five overall. Buyers noted that the machine was quiet, and easy to use.

How to choose the best washing machine

When you're looking to buy the best washing machine for your household, there are a few things which you'll need to consider before investing.

Freestanding or integrated washing machine?
Freestanding washing machines are best for utility rooms or unfitted kitchens. They also make sense if you are renting and will be taking the appliance with you. The best integrated washing machines are hidden behind cupboard doors and offer a streamlined look. Most washing machines are around 60cm wide but there are slim options for a small kitchen.

Special wash cycles
The most important thing to consider when buying a washing machine is the type of laundry you wash on a regular basis. Some washing machines come with special programmes to tackle pet hair, tough stains on sportswear, work gear and school uniforms, while washing machines with short wash cycles are a great bonus for when you’re in a hurry. It's worth taking time to consider which of these settings will make laundry easier. We recommend considering a machine with advanced stain removal if you find yourself spending a lot of time pre-treating and even post-treating stains.

The basics
As well as the variety of programmes on offer, look at features like spin speeds, capacity in kilograms and standout features such as eco cycles and special cycles for woollens, delicates, duvets and anti-allergy options. 

Load size is down to the size of the drum. If you're washing for a large family, a 9kg washing machine will suit; 8kg will do for an average family; 6kg to 7kg is big enough for single people or couples.

Quiet mark washing machines are a good option if you are designing an open-plan kitchen diner and living space or perhaps live in a small home and want quiet appliances. Look out for washing machines with a sound level of around 48dB during washing and 72dB during spinning. Our quietest machine by some way is the Indesit Ecotime IWME147 integrated washing machine; the quietest freestanding model on our list is the Siemens WM14W5H0GB freestanding washing machine with Home Connect. See more choices in our guide to the quietest washing machines.

Eco ratings
Eco-wise, check the energy rating and water consumption as well as half loads, timer delay, sensor washing and auto detergent dispensing, which detects how dirty the clothes are and adjusts the programme and detergent accordingly for the most efficient wash. Pick a machine that has anything from an A to A+++ rating as this is based on both spin efficiency and wash performance.

Smart washing machines
Some of the best washing machines come with WiFi connectivity so that you can operate them from your phone. Far from a gimmicky feature, this addition is perfect if you're tired of coming home to a washing machine full of damp smelling clothes and can be a lifesaver in the instance that your washing machine starts leaking.

Plus, selected models can do everything from ordering more detergent to selecting the amount of washing liquid, and water, each cycle needs. This means you'll reduce your water and energy consumption – and with that your annual bills.

Our top rated washing machine is a smart model, but if you're looking for more options we'd recommend heading over to our specialist guide: what is a smart washing machine and do I need one?

How often should I replace a washing machine?

A washing machine will usually last around 10 years. If yours is older than eight years old and is showing signs of wear or poor performance, first book a service and ensure you maintain it well with cleaning (use our guide to cleaning a washing machine to find out how). If poor performance persists, think about replacing it.

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Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

After returning to Future Publishing in February 2020, Jennifer has been working on our appliance and mattress content to showcase the best in class examples which are available to buy for your homes. When she is not scouring the web for deals or reviewing products for your pursuit, she can be found hanging out with our three guinea pigs in her Victorian terraced home which she has lovingly (patiently) been renovating with her husband over the past few years. Jennifer also likes tea and homemade cake, very much.

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