Wait, Before You Buy That Washing Machine!

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Och_Ach_Concept Rustic style bathroom
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Whether you consider yourself a good person or a great one, it cannot be escaped: laundry day comes to us all. Manufacturers are all too well aware of this, which is why they offer us bucket loads of options when it comes to making our lives easier in terms of washing and drying.

Yes, a washing machine is not really at the top of anybody’s dream list of things to own (most would splurge on a fancy flat-screen TV or a king-sized bed first), yet it becomes an indispensable part of our routines as functioning adults. Fact remains: if you want your valuables, like your clothes, to remain clean and smelling good, then frequent washing needs to occur.  

But choosing a washing machine is a little more challenging than flipping a coin, as there are loads more to consider than merely ‘heads or tails’. Budget, size, available space… these, and more, are all important factors. 

Well, what luck, as homify just so happens to have a handy little list of considerations before buying a washing machine – and we don’t mind sharing it with you!

The cost of cleaning

Obviously you’ll want to look at the price tag before ordering one to go, but remember: energy- and water consumption needs to be factored in as well. And don’t think that you’ll save on your water- and electricity bills by grabbing the cheapest model available – the most cost-friendly price isn’t necessarily the best one for your requirements. 

All home appliances require some further thinking: How many times a week will you need to use the washing machine? Do you have lots of delicate fabrics that require a special kind of wash? What about needing a model that can take care of heavy-duty loads, such as sweaty sports uniforms?

Each household’s requirements are different from the next (just as each person’s pay cheque and monthly expenses differ from the rest), so don’t take that particular model just because your neighbour loves hers.

Automatic or semi-automatic?

They’re both great options – but which one will fit your schedule (and wallet) perfectly? 

Semi-automatic washing machines involve some manual labour. With their top loading twin tubs – one for washing and the other for drying – they need somebody to load the bundle from the one into the other. Depending on the model type, semi-automatics can be quite cheaper than automatic ones, and they consume less water and energy. 

(Fully) Automatic models can be either top- or front loads. The only requirement from your side will be to load the dirty laundry and unload them again after the wash. Thus, this will be a better option for somebody who doesn’t have the time to regularly check on the washing.  

Enjoy looking at homify’s fabulous range of kitchens – and try to spot where, in each image, you would insert your top-of-the-range washing machine.

Washing and drying

Some washing machines present a two-in-one deal that presents you the option of drying your clothes as well. So, no need to transfer the clammy load from the washer to the dryer. But there are some additional facts to consider.

A combined wash and dry cycle can last longer than 3 hours. In addition, some combos are too large to fit under a bench, meaning you’ll have to do some measuring first to determine if that model will fit where you want/need it to. 

Then again, you can use the wash / dry function separately; they don’t need to be combined. And purchase/running costs are roughly the same to owning a separate front-load washer and condenser dryer.

So, some more work for your thinking cap…

A more hands-on approach

If you’re pressed for space (and cash), then don’t worry: you can still enjoy clean and fresh-smelling clothes, but you’ll need to put in some elbow grease. 

Known in South Africa as The Sputnik model, this handy little device is portable, compact, uses no electricity, and doesn’t require any maintenance. Since it uses considerably less water and soap, it really is a cost-effective choice. But since it is also much smaller than your typical washing machine, it takes smaller loads too.  

With that being said, if you don’t mind engaging in about 2 – 3 minutes of handle turning, the Sputnik can be the perfect option.

To dry or not to dry

Not everybody requires a tumble dryer. Since they use a lot of energy, most people are perfectly happy hanging their clothes outside to dry. However, rainy weather does tend to cause some interference regarding this, and then a dryer becomes an I-wish-I-had-one-of-those appliance. 

To each his own; however, herewith some facts for you to chew on:


• A tumble dryer saves you time and effort. Just pop that load in and enjoy filling your time with other important tasks, such as gathering more stunning interior/architectural tips here on homify. 

• Tumble dryers make ironing easier, as the clothes don’t tend to be that creased.  


• Since they offer up so many benefits, they tend to be pretty expensive.  

• Air-drying is gentler on your clothes, and not all clothing is intended for tumble drying (read the label on your new jacket first before popping it into the dryer).

Size does matter

It is a fact of life, but let’s not get into that now… The point is, you need to consider the size you’ll be working with: the size of your available space for a washer, as well as the size of your bundles that need washing. 

A family of four will definitely make more use of their washing machine than a happily-single bachelor. And not just in terms of washing clothes; towels and blankets will also need to undergo the occasional cleansing, so consider that when shopping for your washer.

Consider all of these factors, and as we’ve said before, don’t think that opting for the less expensive option is necessarily the best one. As they say: buy cheap, buy twice.  

From washing and drying to storing and cooling, we show you how to: Keep your cool when fridge shopping.

A separate dryer, semi-automatic, brand name... So many things to consider! Tell us which ones are important for your household.

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