Washer dryer features explained

Lynn Wright / 27 May 2016

Here’s our guide to the most important features to consider when shopping for the perfect washer dryer for you.

Washer dryers are wonderfully convenient for tackling everyday laundry needs. Combining both the drying features of a tumble dryer with the washing features of a dedicated washing machine, they save space over having two separate machines. Understanding washer dryer features and programmes will help ensure that you buy the best model for you.

For more information, read How to buy the best washer dryer.

What washer dryer features to look for

Don’t spend longer than necessary doing the laundry, choose a washer dryer with all the features necessary for your family’s needs.

Capacity This can vary from 5kg to 12kg of laundry, with drying capacities ranging from 2.25kg to 8kg. This refers to the dry weight of clothes with one kilogram equal to one full outfit of trousers, top and underwear or one large sheet or bath towel.

Electronic display Provides feedback on the status of the current wash or drying programme, showing how much time it has left to run.

Timer delay With this feature you can set the washer dryer to start automatically at a later time - anything from a few hours up to 24 hours depending on the model. This means you can take advantage of cheap off-peak electricity tariffs or to have your laundry ready when you get home from work.

Variable spin speed This useful feature lets you change your washer dryer’s spin speed to protect delicate fabrics such as wool, silk and linen.

Extra rinse This helps remove more detergent from your laundry – useful if a family member suffers with sensitive skin, eczema or allergies.

Quick-wash Many washer dryers offer speed washes lasting 15 or 30 minutes which are designed for small amounts of laundry that isn’t too dirty. As a comparison, a typical standard wash usually takes around two hours.

Anti-crease/easy-iron This programme uses lower spin speeds that can help reduce creasing, saving time later when ironing.

Wash and dry mode Allows you to wash and dry a small load in one go. The drying cycle starts as soon as the wash cycle has finished so you need only load and unload the machine once.

Automatic sensor programmes Many washer dryers have built-in sensors to automate much of the wash and dry cycles. By monitoring how heavy or dirty your washing load is, the machine automatically adjusts temperature, water levels, spin speeds and drying settings.

Noise Washer dryers can be noisy in operation, which may be an issue if the appliance is in an open plan kitchen and living area. All machines should have a noise rating given in decibels, typically ranging from 45 dB (A) to 61 dB (A). The lower the figure, the quieter its performance.

Child lock Safety features that lock the washer dryer’s controls and/or drum door to help keep children protected.

Ready to choose the perfect washer dryer for you, read our guide to the Five best washer dryers.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.