Load sizes for Washing Machines

It seems to be more common for manufacturers to claim they have a larger load capacity in the washing machines, up to 8 Kg.  The way they market these machines is that this higher load capacity is a good thing, and is definitely something that you should be looking for.

The thought process behind this is that you can wash a full load in your new super duper machine,  that would have taken 2 loads to do in your old machine. Sounds good, but does it really work and is it really necessary.

The vast majority of households sort their washing into specific loads, for delicates, light colours, dark colours and different fabrics.  In most cases these loads will not weigh anywhere near 8 Kgs.

One very interesting point to note is that manufacturers obviously have to test the load capacity of their machines to meet their advertising blurb.  Apparently, the only way you can get 8 Kgs of clothing into a washing machine is to have it folded professionally, so that it can be crammed into the drum.  Somehow this does not seem to be a likely way for most of us to load our washing machines!

Washing machine tub

The Plus Points of a larger load

It means you can get through your weekly wash in a much quicker time.  

The Negative Points of a larger load

To use your machine to its capacity, you would have to wash mixed loads together.  The effect of this is that colours could run, certainly your whites would lose their sparkle if they are washed with black socks.  Delicate fabrics would be washed at too high a temperature, plus the fabric could be ruined.

Because the drums are so large, it can have a detrimental effect on the wash process, in that instead of your clothes being gently agitated around the drum, being taken up to the top, and falling down in a prescribed pattern to give a good, even wash to each item, it has the opposite effect.  The drum is too big for the clothes to get up to the top, so they tend to go so high and then fall down in a heap, where they splosh around in the bottom half of the machine.  The effect of this is that your clothes will not be as clean as you would like and rightly expect.

Your normal detergent dosage is insufficient to clean the extra clothes.  If you tend to use tablets or gel caps, it might be too much to double the dose and you could be left with detergent residue in your clothes.

You may also notice that if you are washing just a few items, the spin will be pretty ineffective as there is insufficient weight to drive the velocity required.

It is also more costly in the amount of water used, plus you use more electricity per load.

If you are washing loads that are under capacity, the machine will still take the same amount of water and electricity as for a full load, so is more costly to run.

Design Issues

In order to fit in the large drum into the casing of the machine, something has to give.  This is where some of the other problems can come to light.  It stands to reason that the drum will now be much closer to the edge of the machine cabinet, therefore, the noise of the drum rotating will be much more noticeable.  


noise of the drum rotating will be much more noticeable.  It is when it switches to the spin cycle that you will really notice the noise difference.  These machines are much noisier than machines with a normal drum size.  The vibrations will also become much more noticeable.  This may not be a problem if you have a separate utility room, or if you have your washing machine in a garage or outhouse, but if it is in your kitchen, this may prove extremely annoying.

Another way that manufacturers try to make room for the larger drum is to increase the size of the door.  This seems a fairly sensible solution, however, in order to keep the door safe there needs to be a far bigger dome shape of the door.  What happens is when you have fully loaded the drum, when you close the door it will reduce the available drum space, and will squash your clothes together.  This will have a detrimental effect on the washing results.

Cost and Environmental Issues

As mentioned above, these machines are much costlier to run, regardless of the size of the loads.  There is also the other effect which is on the environment.  You are burning electricity needlessly and using more detergent which will be washed into the drains.  The demand for water for each load, regardless of size, is also much higher.

You may still decide to go with a higher load washing machine, as you feel it is more suitable to your life style, which is entirely your choice, but at lease go into it with your eyes open and be aware of the hidden costs and the poorer performance you may see compared to your existing washing machine.

If you are thinking of buying one of these machines, it might be a good idea to check the weight of your normal wash loads for a few times just to see how heavy they normally are.















Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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