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Washing machines to avoid buying

We reveal the top-loader and front-loader models that rated lowest in our lab test. 

front loading washing machine sad face emoji
Last updated: 17 June 2022

Need to know

  • Our laundry experts tested 50 current models to find the best and worst washers
  • We evaluate key factors including dirt removal, gentleness, rinsing, noise, energy and water use
  • Become a CHOICE member to access our full reviews and ratings

Life's too short for a lousy washing machine and, unfortunately, our experts have seen plenty in our lab tests.

"A poorly performing machine can be a double blow for your washing and your wallet," warns our resident laundry expert Ashley Iredale. "Not only do they do a bad job of cleaning your clothes, they often use more water and power to do it, which means even bigger costs in the long run."

To help you avoid these lose-lose type situations, Ashley and our experienced team meticulously test machines from popular brands including Fisher & Paykel, LG, Bosch, Miele, Samsung, Simpson and plenty more. 

Ashley Iredale testing washing machines

Our laundry expert Ashley Iredale does a LOT of washing.

Using identically stained fabric swatches and special frey swatches for every model, our testers evaluate key criteria such as dirt removal, gentleness, rinsing, water and spin efficiency (learn more about how we test).

"We've reviewed machines ranging from $500 to $4000 and often find a bigger price tag doesn't always mean better performance – sometimes, far from it!" warns Ashley.

We don't want you to end up with an average washer, so here are the ones that scored lowest in our lab tests. Consider becoming a CHOICE member to see the best performers. 

Lowest-scoring top loaders

1. Fisher & Paykel WA7060G2

fisher paykel wa7060g2

Fisher & Paykel WA7060G2.

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 60%
  • Dirt removal score: 62%
  • Capacity: 7kg
  • RRP: $999

This Fisher & Paykel machine is excellent at rinsing but not much else, receiving a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 60%. It's pretty darn terrible on the water efficiency front, scoring a dismal 21% and using a shocking 163 litres of water per cycle. 

It's also relatively expensive to run: it'll set you back around $1295 in running costs alone over 10 years. (We work this out by calculating how much it costs to do one 'normal' cycle every day for 10 years, based on 30c/kWh for electricity and $2/1000L of water. This doesn't include detergent, which can be up to a third of your washing machine's running costs.)

2. Kmart Anko 8kg top-loader ATLW80G

kmart-anko-atlw80g_1

Kmart Anko ATLW80G

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 61%
  • Dirt removal score: 72%
  • Capacity: 8kg
  • RRP: $419

Sure, this is a cheap-as-chips price tag (we rarely see washing machines this cheap unless they're from budget retailers such as Aldi or Kmart), but our experts urge caution before you buy. While the dirt removal score and rinse performance on this model is not too shabby, it uses a huge amount of water to do your load and is relatively expensive to run, costing you $1628 on average over 10 years, providing the machine lasts that long.

"This model is like the fast fashion of the washer world," says Ashley. "It may be cheap to buy but ultimately it will likely cost you more to run than many other models over its lifetime. To be priced this low, it's likely made with cheaper parts and materials, with less consideration for how easy it will be to repair and how long it should last."

Read our full review of the Kmart Anko ATLW80G.

3. Fisher & Paykel WA1068P1 10kg top loader

fisher-paykel-wa1068p1_1_large

Another poor performer from Fisher & Paykel.

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Dirt removal score: 61%
  • Capacity: 10kg
  • Price: $1699

This is a large and pricey washer that has excellent rinse performance, but only because it is another water waster, scoring just 21% for water efficiency and using a whopping 162 litres per cycle. With all that water sloshing around you'd think it would be gentle on your clothes, however it scored only 50% there, too.Overall, if you're spending this kind of dosh on your wash, there are better options out there.

"When other comparable washers have proven you can do a better job with much less water, it's disappointing that these water wasters exist – particularly in a dry country like Australia where every drop counts?" says Ashley.

Read our full review of the Fisher & Paykel WA1068P1.

Lowest-scoring front loaders

First things first: front loaders perform a lot better than top loaders, which you'll see reflected in the higher scores below. To be fair, these models all rated well enough. That said, they still ranked lowest for front loaders tested and our experts found better performing ones for a similar price or cheaper.  

1. Haier HWF10DW1

haier hwf10dw1

Haier HWF10DW1.

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
  • Dirt removal score: 70%
  • Capacity: 10kg
  • Price: $1099

As the lowest scoring front loader in our test, this machine isn't actually bad – it's just not as good as other models we reviewed.

"It's a solid middle-of-the-road performer," explains Ashley. "It'll do the job, but you can get a better wash for the same money, or even less."

This washer rated solidly for dirt removal and very good for rinsing and water efficiency. But it was let down by its ordinary gentleness and spin efficiency. You can do better. 

Read our full review of the Haier HWF10DW1

2. Fisher & Paykel WH1060P1

fisher paykel wh1060p1

Fisher & Paykel WH1060P1.

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 74%
  • Dirt removal score: 77%
  • Capacity: 10kg
  • Price: $1549

This Fisher & Paykel cleaned well and rinsed even better, but fell down in our clothes gentleness test with a lowly 49% score. So if you care a lot about your clothes or wash a lot of delicates, you might want to avoid this model's rough tumble. 

Our experts also found it's not as water efficient as the other front loaders listed here and also used notably more power. That's probably because its wash cycle time clocked in at 108 minutes, compared with the 70-ish minute mark for the other models on this list. 

Read our full review of the Fisher & Paykel WH1060P1

3. Asko W2084CW

asko w2084cw

Asko W2084CW.

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 74%
  • Dirt removal score: 72%
  • Capacity: 8kg
  • Price: $1899

This middling model revealed another mixed bag of test results. It did fare better for gentleness and spin efficiency than the Fisher & Paykel, but didn't clean or rinse as well.

On the upside, it did rate very well for water efficiency, scoring 89% and outperforming all other similarly-sized machines on this stat. On the downside, our tests found it quite loud and a lot noisier than other models mentioned here. 

Read our full review of the Asko W2084CW

Washing machine buying tips

Ashley says you should avoid making impulse buys on an important appliance such as a washing machine, no matter how much of a discount is on offer.

"Don't be tempted by discounts on more expensive, feature-rich machines if you're not going to use those features," he says.

He also advises looking for deals with free delivery and avoiding poor-quality extended warranties: "They can eat up any sales savings and aren't worth the paper they're printed on."

For more top tips, visit our washing machine buying guide.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.