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Buying Guides

Laundry & Cleaning Buying Guide

Top loader vs front loader, which is better?

Both top loaders and front loaders have their own advantages. What suits you best will depend on your household and lifestyle.

Top Loaders

Top loaders are available with an agitator or impeller. Agitators are more common, they stick up through the centre of the drum and spin to move the washing around. They're very effective at removing dirt, but can also be quite rough on clothes.

Impellers on the other hand are ridges on the base of the drum, which rotate to create turbulence. This process is gentler, but also uses more water and energy than an agitator.

Generally, both agitator and impeller top loaders will offer you:

  • Faster wash cycles than front loaders: bear this in mind if you do a lot of laundry.
  • A larger wash capacity: suitable for big households.
  • The ability to open the machine at any time during the cycle to add in more items.
  • Lower purchase price.
  • Lighter weight, meaning they're easier to move.

Front loaders

Front loaders use a tumbling action to gently turn the washing over. This process means front loaders:

  • Are gentler on clothes.
  • Are more water efficient.
  • Are more energy efficient when washing in warm to hot water than top loaders. 
  • Use less detergent.
  • Have higher spin speeds that extract more water: this means faster line drying and less energy usage for your dryer.
  • Are compact in design: ideal for smaller spaces as most models fit underneath a standard height bench, or have room for a dryer to be put on or above it.

If you have back trouble or difficulty bending down, consider purchasing a stand for your front loader. 

What sort of capacity do I need?

Washing machines are available in different sizes. Their capacity is measured in kilograms, which can be a little hard to gauge as we mostly tend to think of our washing in terms of armloads rather than weight!

As a guide:

  • A 5-6kg washer would suit a small household of 1-2 people
  • A 7-8kg washer would suit a medium household of 4 people
  • A 9kg + washer would suit a large household of 5 or more people

What sort of dryer would suit me best?

When purchasing a dryer, there are two types available: vented and condenser. Vented are the more common variety, they work by blowing hot air through the clothes. They're affordable, light and easy to use, but they also produce moist air which means they need to used in a room with a window or exhaust fan.

Condenser dryers extract moisture and drain it away as water, either through a drainage tube that connects to the sink or a removable water container. This type of dryer is a better choice for apartments or where ventilation is restricted.

Some other things you might want to consider when purchasing a dryer are:

  • Does it have a sensor? A dryer with a moisture sensor will stop once your laundry is dry, saving on unnecessary energy usage and preventing over drying.
  • How energy efficient is it? Dryers are big energy users. It's worth weighing up the initial purchase price against your expected usage to find out if a slightly more expensive model with a better energy rating would be more cost effective for you in the long run.

What type of garment steamer is right for you?

Many people are unsure whether they should invest in a steamer or just stick with their trusty iron. The following guide outlines the benefits of owning a steamer and should help you decide whether having one at home will make your life easier!

Steamers can be used as an additional clothing care item, or used as an substitute to an iron. For those who struggle to use an iron and find the process frustrating, a steamer could be the perfect alternative. Unlike ironing, where you have to be wary about how you press the clothing, you can simply hang the garment up and steam it from all angles. By placing the head of the steamer a couple of inches away from the material and slowly sweeping it across the surface the steam acts quickly to get rid of wrinkles. Steamers use regular tap water to create the steam – there is no need for chemicals or detergents – and they are available in both standing and hand held models.

Standing

Standing steamers are designed to stay in your home or business and often provide an inbuilt hanger for your clothes to clip into while you steam. These machines are bulkier and hold more water than other products on the market, meaning you can do bigger jobs without having to refill the water too many times.

Hand Held

Hand held steamers are perfect for quick ironing jobs, and are great a option for those who frequently travel and want to keep their clothes looking presentable while on the road.

Handheld Garment Steamer