The Miele W1 washing machine range is the laundry world’s equivalent of a Rolls Royce fleet. For over 100 years, the German home appliance company’s mantra of ‘always better’ has seen it pick up awards for design innovation and sustainability. Naturally, that prowess doesn’t come cheap to the consumer, but then, with many of Miele’s products coming with life-time guarantees, some consider that a price worth paying.
- Check out our best washing machine 2022 buyer's guide for our fave freestanding and integrated washing machines, plus a washer dryer option
There are 28 different machines in the W1 range, from £699 to £2,199. All of them are based on the Miele’s unique, fabric-protecting honeycomb drum and automatic load control technology which senses the amount of laundry in each wash and adjusts the water usage and electricity consumption accordingly. They also all go well beyond A+++ standards of energy saving.
What divides each model are factors such as drum size, finish colour, maximum spin speed and the odd special program which is worth looking out for. In terms of core washing performance, though, they should all produce similar results to what you read in this review.
We were lucky enough to get hold of the Miele WCR 860 WPS, one of the upper models, which means we could try out all the features which you’ll find throughout the rest of the W1 range. At £1,499, it’s not going to be in everyone’s budget but we should be able to give you an idea of which of its functions will suit you best. Then you can save yourself some money and pick a model that only has the things that you need.
With smart control, power washes, automatic detergent dispensing and full menu of programmes to test out, we sent it to one of our trickiest households to try. Miele W1, meet a family of four outdoor sporty types, two cats (mid-litter training), and loads and loads of mud.
Miele WCR 860 WPS at a glance
- Type: smart washing machine
- Capacity: 9kg
- Energy rating: A+++
- Noise: 46/72dB (wash/spin)
- Effectiveness: Exceptional results at all temps
- Annual Energy Consumption: 130kWh
Miele WCR 860 WPS specifications
- Spin speed: 1600 rpm
- Finish/Colour: White/Chrome
- Dimensions: 85 x 60 x 64cm (HWD)
- Control type: App and on-machine, full colour touchscreen
- Smart: Yes (Wi-Fi)
- Steam: No
- Loading type: Front
Miele W1 washing machine design
The Miele W1 washing machines are pretty unassuming white cubes until you switch one on and its MTouch, full colour LCD display springs to life. Other than on/off, there are no other on-machine buttons. Everything is controlled from the touchscreen which is simple to understand, easy to use and very response. Full marks there.
Open the door to the 9kg drum and some very tasteful LED lighting springs to life to give you a full, gleaming view of the Miele’s honeycomb drum. Miele says that the design creates a film of water between the highly-polished drum and your fabrics. The idea is that clothes glide on a plane of water instead of getting roughed up by the metal and it’s supposed to prevent bobbling and laddering. And because the draining holes are very small, foreign objects in your wash don’t end up getting stuck inside the drain pump.
In fact, the whole machine is designed to last. Miele’s idea is that each one should be able to run over 10,000 hours without a problem. That’s the equivalent of 5 x 2-hour programmes every week for 20 years. So, sure the W1 is expensive at the outset but there’s definitely savings to be made in the long term.
It also has incredibly low annual energy costs thanks to its quiet and efficient ProfiEco motor and the TwinDos cartridges which dispense the exact amount of liquid detergent required for each different wash programme precisely when needed. The downside is that you can only get new ones from Miele and a 6-month supply comes in at £65 which is quite pricey compared to the equivalent of most other brand’s washing capsules. If you can’t stomach that, then you’ll be relieved to hear that there’s a separate drawer where you can use your own detergent of choice.
Miele W1 washing machine installation
You should easily be able to negotiate the installation of your washer — and the disposal of your old one — for free when buying a machine at this level. If your retailer isn’t playing ball then it’s worth shopping elsewhere. Self installation is easy enough if that’s how it ends up, however.
Whoever ends up installing it, make sure that they’re careful not to destroy your flooring as they do so. Sliding a washer across a hard floor can leave scratches. Buy a pack of sticky felt sliders and attach them to the machine’s four feet first. They’ll protect your wood or tiles and make the unit much easier to shift too.
As with most modern washing machines, the Miele W1 is a two hose-affair — one for the water coming in and the other for the waste water going out. The inlet hose comes with a clever double solenoid valve attached at the end. If it senses a leak, it stops the water at your mains stopcock to prevent any further damage and, if that water protection system fails, then Miele will bear the costs. Attach the inlet hose to your copper water pipe and feed the ribbed waste pipe into the open-ended soil pipe at your installation site. Then plug in your washer and away you go. If you’re unsure about any of this, then YouTube is well worth a quick watch.
The Miele W1 series are mostly Wi-Fi-enabled. Get your phone out when next to your installed machine and check that you’re still on your home wireless network. If your phone appears to be on mobile broadband instead, or if the signal is weak, then you might want to consider getting a Wi-Fi extender from the likes of Devolo or TP-Link. That’ll make sure that you can use all the smart functions of your new machine.
Download the Miele@mobile app to your Android or iOS device, set up an account and the software will show you how to get your machine online. It’s dead simple and was flawless every time we tried it.
Miele@mobile app and smart control
The Miele@mobile app is a platform for all of Miele’s smart home devices. From ovens to coffee machines, if it’s made by Miele and Wi-Fi-enabled, then you can add it to your mobile life here and get notifications about what it’s up to as well as a little remote control too.
As with many smart washing machines, the best part of that is the Wash Assistant wizard which helps you select the right programme for your load. First it asks you to select the kind of items which you’ve got inside and the list is utterly exhausted. Woollens, jeans, blouses, jackets, bathrobes, table cloths, pillows, duvets, shower curtains, trainers — only the Hoover AXI system offers more with the likes of ski gear. Then you pick what colours you’ve got, how robust and how dirty they are and, hey presto, up pops a choice of a few programmes.
Not only does it tell you the temperature and spin speed — both of which you can customise — but it also tells you the finish time and allows you to delay the start up to 24 hours. Plus, you get a reading of how much water each cycle uses and how much energy it consumes too which is perfect for those both environment and wallet-conscious. There’s also an update of how much detergent you have left in the TwinDos tanks.
There’s little beyond in terms of smart functionality but it’s enough to be useful and, more importantly, it all works reliably.
Miele W1 washing machine performance
Our Miele WCR 860 WPS was, frankly, breathtaking for performance. It removed every fresh stain we couldn throw and it even turned an embarrassingly yellowed mattress protector whiter than it’s been for years.
Miele’s CapDosing system offers an extra boost for more ground in issues. They’re small detergent packs which you can add into the drawer before each cycle. They come in flavours like DownCare, SportCare, WoollenCare, CottonCare and more, and they’re designed as both special detergents and softeners depending on your fabrics and needs. They’re a bit like using home coffee machine pods and they cost about a pound each time you use one. While they’re definitely handy for the odd situation, we certainly wouldn’t recommend you use them for every wash.
There are 24 programmes to choose from with plenty of options for delicates, sportswear and down-filled items. Our stock choices were mostly Cottons or Minimum Iron and these performed admirably no matter the temperature we set them to.
You can pimp out any of the 24 programmes with a long list of extras from the Options menu in the app with settings like Eco, Rinse Plus, Intensive etc. You could spend months getting to know it all.
There was no steam function in our model — this is available in the SteamCare models — but the non-iron option did a brilliant job on the kids’ school shirts on their own.
The quickest wash available is the 3.5kg Express 20 and we really like the QuickPowerWash cycle for when we were in a real hurry. It allows you to do a full load of laundry in under an hour. The energy rating drops to an A for that cycle, so you do pay for the privilege but it’s excellent if you’re in a pinch. Thankfully, the rest of the time, Miele claims its PowerWash 2.0 system is 40 per cent more efficient than even A+++ requirements.
Whatever you choose to do with this machine, it’s very easy to forget it’s there. It’s absurdly quiet with just a few quiet swishes every now and then. While it may be quiet, though, that top spin speed is seriously powerful. If you don’t have the Miele W1 well fitted between other units, it will shift its way across the floor.
You get what you pay for with the Miele W1 and, if you can pay for one, you should most definitely should.
These are the best performing smart washers we’ve tested. They cost a lot compared to the Samsungs and LGs of this world but Miele’s cleaning is incredible and their eco-credentials might just help make some of your pennies back if you do your washing wisely.
How does it rate online?
Taking the Miele WCR860 WPS specifically, there is a smattering of reviews around the web on sites such as Amazon.de and Idealo but mostly on Miela’s site itself. It’s very much a five-star affair with reviewers praising its quality touchscreen, its ease of use, its great array of programmes and the efficiency of the TwinDos system. The only negatives were from customers who had received models with faulty software.
How does it rate against similar washing machines?
Miele is very much a high-end brand across kitchen appliances. It only has LG, Siemens and the odd top of the range Bosch or AEG washer to compare with. There’s plenty of quality from this competition but none of them attack the space with the same focus and number of models as Miele. You can be confident that if you’re buying Miele, you’re buying a product for life.
About our review – and our reviewer
Dan Sung has specialised in smart home and home technology for over 10 years. He was Features Editor at both Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable and is a regular contributor to Metro newspaper’s Connect section. He has put the smart washers through months of cycles, kilos of laundry and knows their apps inside out.
Follow Dan: @dansung