Buying Guide Washer Dryers

Washer dryers are a great way to save space at home – they’re two appliances in one. But, it might take a little longer to choose one that’s right for you.

Don’t worry – if you’re not sure what capacity you require or what the various programmes mean, read on for all the advice you need.

Our washer dryers’ buying guide explains all the features, sizes, and more in a way that is simple to understand. So, you can make an informed decision when it’s time to buy.

Finding your perfect washer dryer is easier than you might think – this guide will help you get started.


Types of Washer Dryer 

There are several types of washer dryers available – from integrated and freestanding models to different colours and styles. If you’re not sure which sort to choose, this section of our buying guide is for you.

How do they work?

Washer dryers generally work like condenser tumble dryers rather than the vented versions.

Instead of venting moist air produced during the drying process through a pipe, the machine condenses it back into water. As there’s no hose like with a vented tumble dryer, you don’t need to put your washer dryer next to an external wall. 

And, in a standard freestanding condenser dryer, you have to empty the water manually. But in a washer dryer, it’s drained away automatically.

+ Freestanding

Freestanding washer dryers are very popular, as they can be slotted into any suitable space in your kitchen or utility room. This makes them practical and flexible to your home design.

They stand free of kitchen units as a visible, integral feature of your room. They also come with a wide variety of drum sizes and colour options – see below.

Freestanding models are easy to install and take with you if you move.

+ Built-In/Integrated

Built-in or integrated washer dryers are great if you have a fitted kitchen and don’t want to ruin its streamlined look.

They have a flat front so a kitchen cupboard door can attach to it, blending in with your other units. If you’ve previously had an integrated model, it’s best to replace it with another integrated appliance.

As they’re secured into kitchen units snugly and have a door to muffle noises, built in washer dryers tend to be quieter than freestanding ones. However, they can be tricky to install, so you might want to have someone do it for you. This usually means you’ll need to pay a small installation fee.

+ Cold Fill Only

As with washing machines, the vast majority of washer dryers are now cold fill only.

This means that they take in cold water and heat it themselves, rather than using hot water from your boiler.

These machines are cheaper to manufacture and tend to be more efficient than hot fill models. Plus, if you use biological detergent, the wash starting with cold water will give you a better result; enzymes work best at lower temperatures.

+ Colour Options

White goods nowadays don’t have to be white, although it’s still the most popular colour for a washer dryer.

Although they’re hard to come by, it’s also possible to find silver, grey and black models.

+ Combination Washer Dryer VS. Stacked Separates

Washer dryers are a great option if you’re low on floor space – after all, you’ll only have to find room for one machine. They can also cost a lot less than buying two separate appliances.

However, another option is to buy a stacking kit for your washing machine and tumble dryer – so you can place one on top of the other. If you have the height available, they won’t take up any more floor space than a washer dryer.

Buying two separate appliances also means that you’re likely to have a higher drying capacity, although you won’t be able to wash and dry in one go – you’ll need to transfer the wash between the two machines.

If you’re interested in purchasing your appliances separately, take a look at our Washing Machines and Tumble Dryer buying guides.

Capacity and Drum Size

People often aren’t sure how much they should fill their washer dryer. But, if you understand how the capacity is measured, it’s simpler than you might think. 

+ How Washer Dryer Capacities Are Measured

The capacity of a washer dryer is usually given as weight in kilogrammes, representing the amount of dry clothing you can fit into the drum.

You should never cram in clothing that fills the machine. For a wash cycle, it should be around 75% full, but less for drying – clothes dry better and don’t crease as much when they have room to move around.

This means that washer dryers have two different capacities listed – one for washing and one for drying.

A larger drum can work out cheaper for electricity and water usage, as you’ll do fewer washes. However, if you buy a machine with too high a capacity, you could end up wasting money and energy by underfilling it.

Washing Capacity

Washing capacities generally start at 5 kg and can go up to 12 kg in the biggest models.

To give you an idea of how much laundry that is, 5 kg can wash 25 t-shirts at once, and 10 kg can do 50 t-shirts. For a medium-sized household, a 6-8 kg drum size is usually suitable and can also handle more substantial items, such as single and double duvets.

A larger drum can work out cheaper for electricity and water usage, as you’ll do fewer washes.

Drying Capacity

Drying capacities are often smaller than washing capacities, ranging from 4 kg in a standard-sized machine up to 8 kg.

Because of the difference between the two capacities, if you’ve washed a full load, you’ll have to remove some of the laundry before you can start drying it.

Two machines with the same washing capacity can have quite different drying capacities, so it’s always worth checking the specifications. You may also find that models with sensor drying options have a slightly smaller drying capacity.

Size and Dimensions

One of the main reasons to choose a washer dryer is to save space. Even so, you should still check if it will fit where you want it.

Fortunately, washer dryer dimensions are fairly standardised, and the exact measurements will be stated in the manufacturer’s specifications.

+ Height

Most washer dryers are around the same height – 85 cm. This means that they’ll comfortably fit under most kitchen worktops.

Integrated washer dryers tend to be a bit shorter, around 82 cm in height. However, as they’re designed to be built into your kitchen, you’re unlikely to get many benefits from this.

+ Width

Standard appliances are about 60 cm wide. Washer dryers are no different, usually measuring somewhere between 59.5 cm and 60 cm in width.

Kitchens are often designed to take appliances of this size, so if you have free space under your surfaces, it’s likely a washer dryer will fit.

+ Depth

Washer dryer sizes vary most in terms of depth.

Often, this is linked to capacity – a larger drum size can mean a deeper appliance. Likewise, styling – such as a curvy design – can make the machine deeper than expected. Washer dryers range from around 50 cm to 65 cm deep.

Bear in mind that having more space behind your washer dryer can make installing it more manageable. If you have a galley kitchen or small utility room, you’ll also want to make sure it doesn’t stick out too far. And, you should allow enough space for the hoses which are connected to the back of the appliance, and for the door to be opened comfortably.

More space behind your washer dryer can make installing it more manageable.

Compact Washer Dryers

A compact washer dryer – one that is significantly smaller than a regular model – does not exist.

You might find one that’s slightly smaller than others on the market, but it will still need the space a standard appliance would take up under your worktops.

The only exceptions are camping and caravanning versions, which you’re unlikely to use very often. 

Features and Technology 

Washer dryer features and technologies are always being developed, to improve performance and make them even easier to use. Read on to discover what features you can expect, and explanations of what they all do.

+ Controls

Electronic and digital displays use LEDs, LCDs or indicator lights to show you all the necessary information clearly. This can include your current cycle stage, temperature settings and the time remaining countdown.

The controls themselves will be buttons, touch screens, or dials which let you alter cycles to suit your laundry’s precise needs.

A delay start timer is great for tailoring when your wash begins. Simply load up, choose your programme, and set the timer, so your laundry finishes at a time convenient for you. Some models allow you to choose when the programme finishes instead, with an ‘end time’ function like Samsung’s Delay End.

If you have small children, a child lock will ensure that they can’t change any wash settings or open the door during a cycle. And, some child locks prevent the door from being closed and trapping valuable items.

You can even save your wash settings for future convenience if you buy a machine with a memory button. If you’re looking to create a smart home, why not buy a washer dryer controlled by your phone, using an app like Samsung Smart Washer/Dryer? This can let you monitor and manage your wash, or even diagnose problems.

The controls themselves will be buttons, touch screens or dials which let you alter cycles to suit your laundry’s precise needs.

+ Energy-Saving Features

Looking to save energy so you can reduce bills and help the environment? There are several functions to check out from a range of brands.

Across all models, you’re likely to find a standby mode. This helps to reduce your energy bills by turning off the machine automatically after a period of no activity.

There are also special washing features on the market, like Samsung’s Ecobubble™, which allows you to wash laundry at lower temperatures and reduce your energy bills. Bosch’s ActiveWater adjusts water consumption, while Zanussi’s AutoSense adjusts the time and energy.

Some Beko models have Direct Air Cool technology, which uses air rather than water to cool the condenser. Or, Samsung washer dryers with Fuzzy Logic not only temperature, wash time, spin speed and more.

+ Well Balanced

Choose a machine with adjustable feet to keep it level with your kitchen worktops.

Some washer dryers can wobble during a vigorous spin or drying cycle. This may result in noise as the appliance vibrates against your units, or even damage the exterior. An out of balance spin control feature reduces this by sensing when the machine isn’t spinning efficiently.

+ Quiet and Caring

If you’re worried about a noisy wash and dry cycle keeping you up at night, be sure to look out for a quiet motor, such as Bosch’s EcoSilence Drive, Blomberg’s Optima Inverter Motor, or other digital inverter motors. These reduce wear and tear, so the appliance lasts longer.

And, they are often more energy-efficient, with many using magnets instead of motor brushes to create less noise and work for themselves.

Some brands such as Zanussi have Gentle Care Drums with special pattern designs on the inside to ensure that delicate clothes don’t get snagged. Bosch has a VarioDrum system which washes all clothing types gently and intensively, thanks to even water distribution, preventing damage, stretches and creases.

You can also find washer dryers which tailor temperature and drum motion to different fabrics, so you can wash everything from sportswear to delicates at once.

+ Add To Your Wash

Forgotten to put something in your wash? Use features like Samsung’s AddWash or Reload by Bosch to add, or even remove, your items – to make sure you have all of your clothes when you need them.

+ Other Features

A wide porthole and double door hinges let the door lie almost flat. This makes loading up your machine easier and prevents the door from shutting on you.

Sometimes it can be hard to judge the amount of detergent you need. A foam control feature can help remove excess foam by altering the wash, dry, and spin cycles accordingly. Or, you could try a washer dryer with an intelligent load indicator, to make sure you don’t overload it with clothes or detergent.

Technology like Hotpoint’s Direct Injection pre-mixes your softener, detergent – or both – in water effectively before they enter the drum. So, they are fully activated and dissolved when they reach your clothes.

Washer Dryer Programmes 

Modern washer dryers come with a wide range of programmes and settings, especially higher-end models. 

+ Washing Programmes

The range of washing programmes available with your washer dryer will vary, depending on the model and brand.

Many machines have around 16 different modes to choose from, and most have some or all of the following:

Variable Time and Temperature Settings

These let you customise a wash programme to suit your laundry, save energy, or kill germs.

Different Spin Speeds

The more times the drum spins per minute in the wash, the quicker the drying. You can increase the speed to suit heavy towels or lower it for your delicates. It’s worth checking the capabilities before you buy, so you can get a model that does what you need when you need it.

Quick Wash

This programme lets you wash small loads in as little as 15 minutes – ideal if you’re in a rush.


Wool clothing can sometimes become damaged and shrink in the wash. A woollen programme prevents this from happening by using a low temperature and little drum rotation.


This suits synthetic fabrics such as polyester/cotton blend, nylon, and polyester, and is often about 50-60°C. Cottons: A cycle provided to give extra care to your cottons.


Some washer dryers offer gentle wash programmes, while others have individual programmes for separate clothing types. They’re designed to deal with items such as underwear, embellished and beaded clothing, or delicate fabrics like silk and cashmere so they don’t snag, matt, shrink or bobble.


This programme takes care of all your microfibre sportswear. It’s tough on sweat marks, odours, and mud. Some models have trainer washing modes too.


A programme tailored to wash jeans and denim items. This ensures the colour doesn’t run, and that your clothing doesn’t shrink or fade.

Easy Iron

Perfect for when you’re washing shirts or other items that wrinkle frequently. An easy-iron programme often lowers the spin speed or shortens the spin cycle to help prevent creasing.


This function can make other programmes more energy efficient.

Freshen Up

If you’ve got clothes that aren’t dirty but could do with freshening up, this programme is ideal. It gives them a quick rinse to get rid of any odours, ensuring you can wear them again in half the time.

Extra Rinse/Anti-allergy

An extra rinse programme is helpful if someone in your family has sensitive skin or allergies, removing as many detergent and irritant particles as possible. It’s also handy if you’re washing lots of towels which absorb some of the detergent.


For items that are heavily soiled or stained, a pre-wash programme starts the cleaning process before the standard cycle even begins.

Baby Wash

Designed to tackle tough stains such as fruit juice, yoghurt, baby food, mud, grease, vomit, and dribble, leaving your baby’s clothes fresh and super soft. It can also include multiple rinses to get rid of any excess detergent.

Cleaning Cycle

This programme helps to keep the drum in top condition by flushing out any detergent or fabric softener residue, removing odours and killing germs.


Look out for appliances which use steam in their programmes. For example, LG’s Steam Refresh cleans your clothes quickly without wrinkles, and their Steam Softener makes your load feel extra soft.

+ Dryer Programmes

There are generally fewer drying options, but you’ll still have plenty of choices.

Most washer dryers accommodate different fabrics such as cotton and synthetics as they do for the wash.

You can also find wash through dry programmes, which let you wash and dry in one continuous cycle to save precious time. But, make sure everything in your load is suitable for both programmes first. A final cool tumble turns off the heating element during the last ten minutes, so fabrics go back to room temperature, reducing creases. And, you can usually enjoy quick options for when you need items in a hurry.

+ Sensor Drying

Sensor Drying is one of the more recent additions to modern washer dryers.

Most brands have their version, such as Hotpoint’s Set & Forget. Sensors in the drum are used to monitor moisture and temperature levels, so the machine can turn off the programme when your clothes are dry. This saves energy while avoiding shrinking and damage.

Sensor washer dryers often have numerous drying levels, including damp dry, iron dry, hanger dry and ready to wear. Iron dry clothes are left slightly damp to make ironing easier, while ready-to-wear clothes will be dry enough to put on right away.

Noise and Vibration 

Like many appliances, washer dryers make some noise when they’re in use. If you live somewhere small or open plan, have young children who need to be put to bed early or want to hear the TV more easily, you may be better off with a quieter model.

+ How To Find A Quiet Washer Dryer

Usually, it’s difficult to see a washer dryer in action before you buy. This may be difficult if you want to review an appliance’s noise levels.

So, how do you find out? Often, manufacturers provide the decibel (dB) level of the appliance in the specification or on the energy label. These numbers can be difficult to understand but allow you to compare one model with another.

Another way to find a quiet washer dryer is to look at independent reviews. Comments from people who have already purchased the model can be very valuable.

Similarly, companies like Which? test many aspects of appliances, including noise.

+ Understanding Decibels

Most washer dryers emit somewhere between 45 dB and 80 dB of noise – the spin cycle being the highest level, then drying, then washing. Anything emitting below 50 dB for the wash cycle can be regarded as a quiet model. However, no model is silent, except when it’s turned off.

While it’s true that appliances with lower decibel ratings are quieter, there’s a little more to consider.

Manufacturers test these appliances in ‘ideal conditions’. Chances are your kitchen, utility room or wherever else you place your washer dryer is less than ideal. It will probably sound noisier than it would in a lab.

How loud something seems will also depend on your hearing and the pitch of the sound, rather than just the volume in decibels. Your mood and what you’re doing at the time might also make a difference.

The machine will also be noisier at some points of the washing and drying cycles compared to others – the spin is the usual culprit. Sound levels are subjective, which is why real-life reviews are probably a better measure of the noise an appliance produces.

+ Noise Reduction Technology

Another way to find a quiet washer dryer is by looking at its features. Some models are even designed to make less noise.

Machines with inverter motors tend to be quieter. This is because many of them don’t have brushes, which means less friction is generated when the motor is running. And, less friction means less sound.

Manufacturers are also beginning to look at anti-vibration in laundry appliances, such as Samsung’s Vibration Reduction Technology, so it’s worth keeping an eye open for this.

You can also consider the range of anti-vibration footpads and mats on the market. These cushion your appliance and absorb vibrations, reducing noise.

Energy Efficiency 

Washing and drying clothes can take a fair amount of energy, but with the latest models, it’s possible to keep costs down and do your bit for the environment. We’ll explain everything here – from efficiency ratings and heat pump technology to energy-saving tips.

Energy Ratings

If you’re thinking about upgrading your washer dryer to a newer model, it’s worth knowing about energy efficiency ratings. Appliances with a good energy rating can save you money on electricity and water bills, as well as help to look after the environment.

The simplest way of narrowing down products for energy efficiency is to use the energy label. Thanks to EU regulations, every washing machine must have one of these displayed, so you can quickly tell an appliance’s grade.

You’ll also find other information on energy labels, including annual water consumption (in litres), capacity (in kilogrammes), spin-drying efficiency (rated from A to G) and noise emission (in decibels). This is useful if you’re struggling to choose between two models.

In 2020, the UK introduced a new energy label. By spreading energy performance over a much wider scale, you will find it easier to compare efficiency across products. Plus, it will also set new standards for energy-saving appliances, bringing further savings to you as well as meeting environmental commitments set by manufacturers and the Government.

The key changes across all product categories are:

  • QR Code - Providing instant access to product information
  • New Energy Classes - A simple A-G energy classification system
  • Simpler Consumption Usage - An easier way to understand energy consumption measurements

If you’ve had your appliance for a while, there could be a big difference between your current model’s efficiency and newer versions. 

It’s worth noting that many other factors can affect your machine’s efficiency. In some cases, a model with a higher rating may cost more to run than a lower rated model. However, the energy efficiency rating is a great starting point for you to compare different models.

+ Not Just Energy Efficiency

With a washer dryer, you need to be aware of more than just the energy consumption. They usually use water during drying, as well as in the washing process.

+ Heat Pump Washer Dryers

Although these are less common as things stand, heat-pump washer dryers are the most efficient models.

Simply put, they reuse the hot air used in the drying process rather than releasing it into the atmosphere.

+ Efficient Laundry Tips

Investing in an efficient washer dryer is a great idea, but there are lots you can do to help out your pockets and carbon footprint too.

Washing clothes in cooler water is a brilliant way of reducing energy consumption. Most washer dryers will let you alter the temperature setting on wash programmes, so try a lower one. Normally, you only need higher temperatures for getting rid of stubborn stains and marks, or to clean baby clothes, bedding, and towels hygienically.

Increasing the spin speed will extract more water from your clothes and reduce drying time. Additionally, using high efficiency, low-suds detergent in the wash will save on rinsing. You could also try drying similar items together, like towels or sheets.

On warmer days you could let your laundry air dry, rather than using your washer dryer. As drying cycles use the most energy, cutting them out occasionally makes quite a difference.

Or, why not set your machine to wash while you sleep? Electricity can be cheaper at night-time, and many washer dryers have a timer you can use to set your cycle in advance.

Moisture sensors can also be useful for saving energy. These detect the level of moisture in your clothes and then shut off the cycle when they’re dry.

Washer Dryer Prices 

One of the more significant factors when shopping is price. This is particularly true for bigger purchases like washer dryers. This part of our guide will help you tell what’s top of the range, what’s a budget model, and what you can expect from different price points.

+ When Is Cheap Good Value?

Washer dryers tend to be slightly more expensive than individual washing machines or tumble dryers, which makes sense – you’re getting two appliances in one.

However, buying a combi model is usually significantly cheaper than buying the two machines separately.

Basic models are fairly inexpensive at around £300, while cutting-edge alternatives cost over £1,000. Modern appliances – especially those from big brands – are usually reliable, so purchasing something cheaper can be good value if you only have basic needs. Keep an eye out for a good warranty just in case something does go wrong. A longer warranty can also demonstrate the manufacturer’s faith in the appliance.

If you’re after more than just the basics and want the latest features, you’ll need a larger budget.

+ What Do I Get For My Money?

So, what can you expect in a more expensive model? In general, you’re likely to find:

  • A larger washing and/or drying capacity
  • More programme options
  • Sensor drying
  • A bigger, clearer display
  • Improved energy and water efficiency
  • A two, three or five-year warranty
  • The latest technology

Many other factors affect prices, such as the place of manufacture and the appliance’s aesthetic appeal. You can also expect to pay more for a well-known and respected brand.

+ Grab A Deal

If you aren’t in a rush for a washer dryer, it’s worth waiting for sales to come around, such as on Black Friday or after Christmas.

Manufacturers and retailers run promotions throughout the year too, so it’s worth doing your research.

+ Not Just The Price

The purchasing price isn’t the only cost to bear in mind – running costs can mount up too. A more expensive but more efficient model could end up saving you money in the long run. For more information, see the Energy Efficiency section of this buying guide.

Installation, delivery, and recycling costs are also points to factor into your purchasing decision.

Online VS. In-Store

One of the more significant factors when shopping is price. This is particularly true for bigger purchases like washer dryers. This part of our guide will help you tell what’s top of the range, what’s a budget model, and what you can expect from different price points.

Buying A Washer Dryer In-Store VS. Online

When you’re looking for a washer dryer, online shopping offers plenty of choices, reviews, and shipping options. However, there are also benefits of researching in-store.

Benefits of Buying Online

+ Choice

Unlike shops, websites are not constrained by physical premises, so going online gives you the widest choice. This is especially important when looking at large items like washer dryers. Most websites allow you to filter appliances by many aspects, such as size, capacity, colour, and type, which helps you find what you’re after more quickly.

+ Reviews

Most websites provide reviews from customers that have already purchased a product, which can be extremely useful. There are also sites dedicated to reviewing products, such as Which? that offer a wealth of information.

When it comes to washer dryers, reviews can give you more information about cycle times, noise levels and features.

+ Descriptions

Product descriptions are often featured online. These are normally written in a way that is easy to understand and can help explain key features – especially ones that brands have named themselves, such as Samsung Bubble Soak or Zanussi AutoSense.

+ Price

You can sometimes find cheaper products online. Also, you’ll get a clear idea of shipping, delivery, and installation costs before making a purchase.

Benefits of Shopping In-Store

One of the main downsides to shopping online is that you can’t see the washer dryer in person, so it’s worth popping into your local store to take a look. Some key things to check are:

+ Size

While measurements are given frequently online, seeing a washer dryer in the shop is a better way of telling whether it’s big enough to suit your needs.

+ Colour and Styling

If your appliance’s appearance is important to you, seeing it in person is a must. Colours can be altered on computer monitors, and they don’t give you the full impact of the design. To see whether your prospective washer dryer appeals to you, find it in a local showroom.

+ Using The Appliance

Seeing a washer dryer in-store lets you interact with it. Open the door, turn the dials and get an idea of how easy the appliance would be to use every day.

Best Of Both

You could always combine both approaches. Why not browse online, form a shortlist of products from the descriptions and reviews, and then pop in-store to have a good look at them? You can choose to order online, or in-store based on the prices and benefits.

Buying Guide - Washer Dryers

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