Washing machine is becoming more and more a need with washing becoming weekly affair due to limited availability of time. You can select amongst a lot of washing machines available based on size of your family, type of machine and price you have in mind. Thankfully the categories aren't too tedious to choose from.
Your first decision will involve choosing between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic machine.
A semi-automatic, as the name suggests, will involve some manual work. For one thing these are top loading twin tub machines where the washer and the dryer are separate units. So you have the task of loading and unloading a couple of extra times.
A fully automatic, on the other hand, can be either front or top loading and only requires you to load the dirty laundry and unload them after the wash. It goes without saying that a semi-automatic is cheaper than the fully automatic machine. Your usage pattern (how often you will use the machine and to wash what type of clothing) will determine the type of washing machine you should buy.
For instance, if you wash very often then a machine with a stainless steel drum is a good investment. These are slightly expensive but are more durable in the longer run. However, if you don't use the machine too often then the high-grade plastic tubs will do. These won't cost you as much. Also, if your wash includes a host of different materials then a machine with more wash programmes like soak, mild, delicate, wool, etc will be a worthy investment.
Of course, the prime criterion as always is the bite it will take out of your pocket. Here are some essential factors that affect your buying decision.
WASHING MACHINE PRICE AND BUDGET
You can buy a washing machine for as low as Rs 3,390 and as high as Rs 80,000. Of course, this is a wide range including semi-automatic and fully automatic - top as well as front-loading machines. The price is solely dependent on the capacity and features of the machine.
Typically a semi-automatic will cost you anywhere between Rs 3,900 to Rs 17,000 whereas a fully automatic has a much wider range; the top-loading ranging between Rs 8,490 to Rs 35,000 and the front-loading ranging Rs 12,500 to Rs 80,000.
The wash load is the amount of clothes that the washing machine can handle at a time. It is the maximum weight (in Kilograms) of dry clothes the machine can hold in a single cycle.
Home-use washing machines in India have a range of 3 kgs to 10 kgs. For a family of two or those living alone, a 3 kg machine is more than sufficient, however, a bigger family will need a bigger capacity machine. Even a family of four, especially with small children will require a high-capacity washing machine as children go through several pairs of clothing in a single day.
Here's a rough statistic for you:
For those who wash clothes three times a week, depending on the family size will need a washing machine that is 3 kgs if you are 2 members, 4 to 6 kgs if you are 4 members and above 6 kgs if you are 6 members. Accordingly the price of the machine will be Rs 3,000 and above, Rs 5,290 and above and Rs 6,500 and above respectively.
If the wash process is interrupted due to power failure, this feature restarts the machine from the point when the cycle was interrupted. Saves you the trouble of restarting as well as reprogramming the machine. This feature is particularly useful if areas facing frequent power cuts.
Automatic drainage is very useful as it saves you the bother of walking up to the machine to push the drain button. Also, automatic drainage ensures clothes don't soak in water unnecessarily once the wash cycle is over. This feature is quite common in automatic machines and not so common in semi-automatic machines.
Will not accept any program changes without the authorised code. It is a very handy feature to have if you have ever-curious tiny tots at home.
Hot Water Wash
High-end washing machines come with the hot wash option. Here the machine washes clothes in steaming hot water. It comes handy for washing extremely murky clothes. This feature is usually found in fully automatic machines.
Wash Load Sensor
High-end washing machines have sensors that are able to programme, modify the wash cycles and help balance the machine in case of overload on any one side due to entangled fabric, etc. In the absence of a similar sensor, you may find that your machine hops and jumps at times due to an imbalance of the load inside. If you generally have a huge wash load, chances are that the clothes might get entangled.
Plastic Tub Or Steel Tub
The top end models have stainless steel tubs. Plastic tubs are also an option that will last the life of the machine. Some tubs are made of porcelain-coated steel, which can deteriorate if the porcelain chips.