Washing Machine Prices
The price of an average washing machine today is hardly more expensive than buying a washing machine twenty or so years ago. The big difference though is in the quality and the time the machine will last before breaking down oreven needing to be replaced.
If you think about the price of anything from twenty years ago compared to a similar item today, such as a car, the price difference is huge. Where the average price of a car from the early 1990’s was about £5-6000, the same car today would cost at least double that, if not more. The technology for cars has increased as much as it has for all electronic appliances, but the cost has risen because the quality of the car has also risen. You would really notice the difference if you drive an older car for a lengthy time, the comfort or road holding is just not there. However, if you compare the quality of a washing machine in the same way, although technology has moved on in leaps and bounds, the quality seems to have gone the other way.
In the 1990’s unless you spent a considerable amount of money on a washing machine, you only got an 800-1000 spin speed and 4 or 5 programme choices, but that machine lasted a considerable length of time. The machines were also very heavy and difficult to move, the curse of removal men, but they were robust and hardy.
Look at the type of machine that is available on today’s market, loads of different programme choices and spin speeds up to 1600 rpm. But you will notice these appliances are far lighter and can be moved around relatively easily once you have removed all the packing. The reason for this is the manufacturers, although spending huge amounts of money on Research and Development, have to make the machines in the price range the general public are looking for.
In the past, most washing machine parts were made from metal, hence the weight. This made them strong and long lasting. In today’s competitive market, the manufacturers are using plastic components for reasons of economy and speed. Also many manufacturers outsource their manufacturing to the Far East, where the wage bills are far lower than in Europe, meaning they can manufacture far more cheaply, with low cost labour, cheap components plus the huge footprint of sending these products across thousands of miles of ocean.
Everyone knows the recession has had a major impact on people’s buying power and even though the outlook appears to be improving, people are now far more careful with their money and will avoid running up large credit card bills as much as possible.
Taking all of the above into account, you can now start to see why washing machines are available for purchase at more or less the same price as they were in the 90’s. However, you may be spending the average £300 for your washing machine, but you will be getting a far inferior product as far as wear and tear is concerned.
An appliance that is built from cheap plastic components will obviously not be able to stand up to the amount of use we put our washing machines through. Plastic components are far more likely to break than the previous metal counterpart. Also, a lot of the components come in self-sealed units, which makes it very expensive to repair a modern machine. In the past, if a metal strut broke for instance, it would be a fairly easy job to replace it but nowadays that strut may well be part of a much bigger component and you will need to purchase a whole new unit instead of one small part.
It is becoming very common that fairly new appliances are being replaced entirely due to the huge costs of the spare parts and the labour required to fit them. If you have paid £250-300 for your machine, and the bill for repair is as high as £400, it is obviously cheaper to buy a new machine. Not only is this not cost effective, but the machines are generally not recycled and will continue to end up in landfill sites.
We have become used to seeing washing machines at fairly low prices, but you need to look at the economics of this price. As we have already said, a machine in the low to middle price bracket is not likely to last all that long, say 3-4 years, and if it breaks down you are likely to be met with a high repair bill.
Over a ten to twelve year period this means that you could have spent up to £1200 in buying washing machines, plus any repair bills you have had to pay along the way, not forgetting the effect on landfill sites up and down the county. If, however, you bought a more expensive machine in the first place of, say, £700 plus, you will probably still be enjoying the use of this machine for many years, plus any repairs would have been much cheaper, as the components are still made from metal.
Spending this sort of money on a washing machine is quite daunting for lots of people, and your budget may not stretch that far. In which case, you should buy the best possible machine you can afford, making sure you go for a manufacturer with a good reputation. Try to purchase a machine that is being offered with at least a free two year Warranty, and also check out the country of origin. Even if you see a sticker saying Made in the EU, there could still be problems, for instance, some manufacturers have bought facilities in struggling countries, such as Spain, where the machines are made with cheap components. Ensure there is one country of origin on the label.
You can also help your machine to last longer if you are careful:
- Use the correct programmes for the items to be washed
- Avoid overloading the machine – this point is very important as you can cause real damage by overloading the machine
- Use a good detergent
- Break your washing loads down by the temperature indicated on the wash labels, also by texture, fabric and colours
- Only use the Quick Wash for one or two items, these programmes are not designed for a whole wash. Not only will your clothes not be cleaned or rinsed thoroughly, this could cause considerable wear and tear on the machine
- Keep the filters clean to avoid blockagesKeep the machine clean inside and out to avoid mould and germs building up on the surfaces
Whatever machine you do buy, using some of the tips above will help keep it going for much longer.