Which washing machine to buy in the Boxing Day sales? Our expert reviewers tell you

We test washing machines we review in a family home. For us, that's what makes it easy to ensure they're really up to the job. Here, we explain the process – and recommend our best buys

Miele WEG365 WCS Washing Machine
(Image credit: Miele)

Realhomes.com home expert Dan Sung’s household consists of four sporty types, and two cats. The latter are being litter trained, and there’s a lot of mud. Why are we telling you this? Because Dan is our washing machine reviewer, and when he tests washing machines they have to be plumbed into Dan’s utility room and then cope with all the washing his busy household creates.

We think that when you’re buying the best washing machine online from the likes of Miele, Samsung or Hoover, it’s the at-home experience of using the machine you need to hear about, as well as the technical spec.

That’s not to say Dan’s testing of washing machines isn’t rigourous, just as laboratory tests are, of course. But on top of that he’s putting each model through its paces in a real home with real wash loads, just as you will.

So which washing machine should you buy this Boxing Day? Read on to find out – and to find out about the process we put them through to help you make the right buying decision. The links to the models recommended will take you to today's best price for them. For washing machine deals, go to our dedicated page.

1. Which washing machines do we rate?

Before we get into Dan's testing process, this is our list of the best washing machines you can buy at the moment. They're all great models, but we've highlighted what each one does particularly well:

2. How easy is it to get the washing machine set up?

Dan’s testing begins with installation of the machine because you may find yourself doing this job if it’s not included as a service by your supplier. 

Washing machines are increasingly Wi-Fi enabled, so he also gives you the lowdown on the set-up process for all the smart washers he reviews. Once again, we’re talking the real life experience you’re going to have with the machine and its tech rather than the lab scenario of everything already being set up.

Once you’re ready to roll with the app, what can it do for you? Once again, because Dan’s actually put it through its paces in his own home he can let you know exactly how practical and sophisticated (or not) an individual smart washing machine is.

3. Has the washing machine got the programmes you want? 

There are questions we all want answers to when we’re buying a washing machine. Will the spin ensure clothes are pretty dry when they come out of the drum? Is there a programme that means no ironing? Can the machine solve a I-need-it-today emergency? Dan’s real life reviewing ensures the washing machines are challenged with all the scenarios that come up in a busy home.

Also crucial are the range of cycles a machine offers. Will the washer actually cope with everything a family might want to chuck in there? Here, again, is where testing in a real home is invaluable. As the laundry basket fills with the whole family’s dirty stuff, whether the machine has a programme to cope is challenged.

And what about selecting the washing programmes and operating the machine in the first place? Dan’s in-a-real-home testing puts him in the same place you will be if you buy the machine – faced with an array of buttons or a touchscreen – and he gives you the inside story on exactly how simple or fiddly this is. 

The washing machines that got top marks for its simple to understand and easy to use touchscreen? The Miele W1 range. Here’s Dan’s review. You can find them in the John Lewis sale today at a range of prices.

4. Which washing machines come out on top in Dan's latest reviews?

Want to make a note? Dan's latest reviews found that the Hoover AXI AWMPD610LH8R offered enough programmes to suit a busy family looking after their budget. Read his full review.

Of course, just like a lab-centred review, Dan’s tests bring you the technical details you need: capacity, spin speed, the noise level for both washing and spinning, the finish and so on. (And if you’re looking for a quiet machine, Dan rated the Grundig GWN59650CHB as very quiet: find out more in his review – this range is on sale at Currys sale right now). But he’ll also let you know if the model in question actually got his family’s washing clean at both hot and cold temperatures.

We all want to spend our money wisely, especially when we’re buying an appliance that’s going to see as much use as a washing machine, but how to check you’re getting maximum value? Dan’s reviews will put your mind at rest by comparing the machine on test to similar designs, so you can be sure you’re clicking on the right buy.

Find more of today's deals below:

More bargains not to miss in the sales: 

Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.