If it’s been several years since you last looked at washing machines, you might get a bit of a surprise next time you go shopping. There is a huge range of choice out there today, with machines offering a bewildering number of features and options and some domestic machines having drum sizes and programmes that your parents may only have ever seen at a professional laundrette!
This means it can be difficult to decide what drum size you need, and whether you’re really going to use all those programmes.
What Does Drum Capacity Really Mean?
Drum capacity refers to the weight of clothing that the drum can safely accommodate for a washing cycle. Usually, the drum capacity is slightly less than the amount you can fit in the drum, because there does need to be some space for the clothes to move around and for the drum to fill with water. If you’re buying a washer dryer, then you’ll see two drum capacities – one for the wash cycle, and one for drying, which will be about half the amount that the washer can accommodate.
Is Bigger Always Better?
You might be tempted to buy a washing machine with a huge drum capacity, on the logic that it’s better to have a big drum just in case you need it. This isn’t necessarily the case. A bigger drummed washing machine isn’t just more expensive to buy, it is more expensive to run as well since even on its ‘half load’ cycle it will use a lot more water.
It will also require more electricity to run, so if you’re not filling the machine you’re wasting money each time you run it. Of course, if you do have to do a lot of washing, you would be better off with a bigger washing machine, since a smaller number of bigger loads will cost less to run than several smaller loads.
Deciding What Size Drum to Choose
For most average sized households, a 7 or 8kg drum will be more than enough; especially if it’s a quality washing machine with programmes that can be used for smaller loads. A bigger family that has to deal with several washes per week, or that has to clean heavily soiled items on a regular basis, might need a washing machine with a much larger drum.
As a general rule, a 5kg washing machine can wash up to 25 t-shirts in one go, or a couple of sheets and towels. A 7kg washing machine could handle a double duvet. You would need a 12kg washing machine to be able to cope with a heavy king sized duvet.
Over-loading a washing machine is a far more common issue than under-loading it. Over-loading a machine will cause the clothing to clump together and will mean that the clothing won’t be properly cleaned. Minor overloading probably won’t damage the machine, but it is still wasteful. Under-loading will waste energy and water. Try to get used to how much laundry you need to do in a typical week, and schedule washes to make the best use out of the machine that you have.
For our full range of washing machines click here. Or, if this didn’t answer your question, check out our other guides below:
- Washing Machine Buying Guide
- Tumble Dryers: Buying Guide
- Washer Dryer or Separate Washing Machine and Dryer?
- Top Loading vs Front Loading Washing Machine
- How to Use a Washing Machine
- Guide to Washing Machine Spin Speeds
- How Much Does a Washing Machine Cost to Use?
- Washing Machine Labels Explained
- How to Install a Tumble Dryer
- How to Look After Your Tumble Dryer