/ Home & Energy

Is your appliance lying to you?

Washing machine timer

Time remaining displays on washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers can help you plan your day around your chores. But what if the predicted time differs from the actual length of the cycle?

Whenever I hit the start button on my dishwasher at home, the screen on the front will proclaim how long I have until my dishes are done. But the few times I’ve actually taken note of the time and then keenly come back to unload my clean crockery, it’s never finished. My washing machine also suffers similar delays.

Admittedly, a small lag of time is nothing to get up in arms about, though it can be frustrating when I’m in a rush to get out the door.

However, we’ve heard reports of appliances with much more significant delays. One Which? member, David, has a washing machine that promises a cycle lasting two hours and twenty minutes. Instead, the cycle takes three hours.

Do you trust your appliance’s predicted times?

David thought his machine was at fault, but the first two engineers told him that his AEG L64850LE Super Eco washing machine was working to specification. When David spoke to AEG directly, he was told that three hours is not exceptional and the dial figure is an approximate time for a full load.

When we contacted AEG ourselves, the manufacturer told us that the time shown on the washing machine can be affected by a number of factors:

‘Our washing machine calculates a time that an optimum load will take at the start of the selected programme. The actual time taken is dependent on a number of factors e.g. water pressure, amount of soilage, laundry weight and amount of detergent used. These factors can affect the length of time taken but do not affect the performance of the appliance as your own test has shown.

‘The outcome of the report already provided, indicated that [David’s] washing machine was working to specification at the time of our previous visit. However, in light of our customer’s concerns, we have arranged for a further inspection of the appliance and all aspects of the wash cycle.’

A third engineer visit revealed the problem; David’s washing machine was unbalancing and repeating parts of the cycle. An unbalanced load is often caused by a heavy item sticking to one side of the drum. Many modern machines will detect this, pause the timer and try to readjust the load along with repeating parts of the cycle. The countdown timer will only begin again once this has finished.

Yet, doesn’t this just mean you’ll never really know when your washing will be ready? Isn’t that the point of a timer?

What I want to know is how many of you note the predicted time of a wash/drying cycle, and how accurate do you find them? Can you plan your day around your chores, or do you treat your appliances’ estimated times with suspicion?

If your washing machine/dishwasher/tumble dryer has a time remaining display, is it:

Normally accurate (47%, 87 Votes)

Just a little bit inaccurate (34%, 63 Votes)

It’s usually completely wrong (21%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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My washing machine is too old to have a digital display, I’m the dishwasher and I don’t use a tumble drier for environmental reasons.

My Mac laptop computers have always done well in re-calculating the remaining battery life according to how the computer is being used, so the time goes down when watching video and up when sitting there doing nothing. There is no reason why a washing machine should not correct the time display automatically.

My car calculates the distance it can travel based on the fuel remaining and it is ridiculously inaccurate. I don’t really care how long my washing machine takes to complete its cycle, but it would be a good idea not to run out of fuel on a long journey.


My AEG timer is accurate – The very reason why I bought it – Excellent machine.


Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear your machine is accurate – can I ask what model you have?

Adrina34smit says:
19 December 2012

washing machine calculates a time that an optimum load will take at the start of the selected programme. The actual time taken is dependent on a number of factors e.g. water pressure, amount of soilage, laundry weight and amount of detergent used. These factors can affect the length of time taken but do not affect the performance of the appliance.


Testing my new AEG 75270FL today and it said 3 minutes remaining for a full 10minutes – and that is only once I started timing. It had been saying 3 minutes for quite a while before I was concerned enough to start timing.
Will give it a couple more goes, to see if unbalanced load was the problem first time.

Caryna says:
2 June 2014

My Bosch washing machine very often if not always completes the cycle before the time stated. I haven’t noted the time as I am not usually near it as I’m busy elsewhere in the house but I set my mobile alarm to let me know when the time is up (or should be) but it has usually finished earlier. If my husband happens to be near the machine when it finishes the cycle, he will tell me that it is crying, indicating that the alarm has sounded on the machine.

Shazza says:
19 September 2014

My Bosch washing machine also mysteriously jumps ahead mid cycle, sometimes it skips up to an hour mid-cycle. It doesn’t bother me hugely, but I thought the reason programmes were so long is so that the water could be heated up gradually. I’ve also started wondering if my clothes are being cleaned properly in the shorter time.


If your machine is cutting short the washing cycle, you can be sure that it will be less effective at cleaning, the bonus being decreased fabric damage.

One reason for having long wash cycles is that it allows time for the enzymes in biological detergents to do their job.

amee says:
24 March 2016

Hi did u manage to get this sorted I got new machine 8 weeks old and says cycle one takes 175 on 90 degrees yet takes 95 mins please help thanks

whichwasher says:
29 August 2014

not nicking the name of a youtube channel and yes my name really dose derive its origins from this site name, its the real me, every appliance I have owned and used has had different inaccuracies, the thing is that I don’t mind if the appliance over exaggerates the time on the display to be a lot longer than what it actually is. it’s when the time is underestimated that is when it gets annoying. and every appliance I have owned and used differs. the worst brand is Hotpoint, the 2006 ultima WT960 lied about the fast wash 30 being 30 minutes, it would take 45 minutes with a small load, and I even tested it with no load in set to cold and still took 36 minutes, same went for a lot of the other cycles taking a lot longer than the stated start time, Samsung was incredibly accurate, only taking longer when the load was imbalanced to spin. (it would freeze the time remaining until it was balanced), LG’s F1222TD timing’s are pretty accurate except when its set to cotton 95’c or synthetics 60’c where it would take a bit longer than stated (due to heating taking longer), finally the Bosch Logixx was32461gb I now have is incredibly accurate once the load has been sensed, it will add on time to the wash if the load is larger than the stated capacity for that cycle. but will often be a lot shorter than the start time


I have a Daewoo washing machine and the timer is never accurate..it always takes significantly longer (from 10-45 minutes). 3 technicians have told me this is just normal, that it depends on the weight of the clothes. It’s an 8kg machine…surely it’s designed to manage the weight of a small imbalance?! And why a lighter load should take longer than a heavier load (I checked it once) I have no idea. The machine also frequently seems to repeat parts of the cycle… more often the drainage (the filter is clean). Frankly, I find it all very frustrating and, due to another unrelated issue, am now awaiting a decision on whether they will replace the machine (still under warrantee).

Mazza says:
2 April 2015

I have recently bought a Bosch washing machine but it’s a guess as to how long the wash program will take despite having the duration of the wash in the display. Most wash cycles are taking at least 20 minutes longer than the original display time regardless of what I put in the machine, how full or not I fill it and what temperature its on.

Sumaiyyah says:
7 June 2015

My hotpoint washing machine boasts a 9 minute spin cycle. It takes 18 minutes exactly – I’ve timed it several times. Isn’t that false advertising? I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d known it took so long.


Hi Sumaiyyah, If your washing machine doesn’t perform as well as it’s supposed to, or doesn’t match the specification claimed, under the Sale of Goods Act you can choose to return it and get a refund as long as you do this within a reasonable time.

Have you spoken with the manufacturer directly about the issues? Of course, I’ll highlight your feedback with Adrian too.

Chirps says:
27 June 2015

Just bought a Samsung washer dryer. The cotton cycle says it takes 2hrs 59 minutes but it actually takes about an hour and a half. Washing comes out clean but I’m debating whether this is a good thing (who wants to wait 3 hours for a wash anyway?) or whether the machine is malfunctioning at 2 weeks old and I should complain? Also, a point about the opening post, how on earth does a washing machine know how dirty your clothes are??

amee says:
24 March 2016

Hi did u ever manage to get this sorted I put my machine on 90 degrees wash should take 175 but is done in 95 ???

Jane says:
4 August 2015

I have a new John Lewis which is apparently made by AEG. I called the technician in the first week. Whatever length of time is given it always finishes early. The quickest being a 3hr 39 min wash completes in about 1 hr 20 min. A 20min wash about 15min! Fine if I’m here to get it out but I can’t go out planning on getting back as it finishes and don’t like leaving in the machine getting creased etc. What’s the point of a suggested time or a delayed timer etc if it’s never going to complete when suggested. I was told the machine is working out water quantities spinning length how dirty the wash is etc but don’t think it was in that price range. Actually it doesn’t finish any quicker if it’s a full or small load as I was also told. Also strangely when I was looking in the store I commented on how long the wash would be and was told it’s a more efficient long wash now! It’s making me feel there’s a problem even though I’ve been told there isn’t. Could there be a problem with the ‘problem programme indicator?’

amee says:
24 March 2016

Hi did u manage to sort this I just got new washing machine 8 weeks old and says 175 on cycle 1 90 degree wash yet takes 95 ?? Please help thanks


The time also depends on water flow rate in house . Ie how quickly the machine fill u, iand how quickly it emptys your plimbing.

Mike says:
12 January 2016

Our new Hotpoint washing machine, WMFUG942PUK and used 4 times, has failed on every occasion to estimate time remaining. During the most recent, I went into the kitchen and noticed 6 minutes left. As I wondered why it wasn’t on the spin cycle with just 6 minutes to go, the display changed to 20 minutes. It’s not the end of the world, but it is rather annoying.

Catherine Buhagiar says:
18 April 2016

My hot point was fine until a couple of days ago. I noticed it was on 1 minute for a few minutes but hadn’t gone through the spin cycle yet and the fabric conditioner was still there. It then jumped to 45minutes taking the whole cycle to nearly 3 hours. It’s never done this before and the washing load is the same as always. I thought the timer has gone and contemplating buying a new one as worried about the energy consumption.

C Scott says:
14 May 2016

I have an AEG – new heater put in as not heating water, then found timing all wrong ( would not think to check normally as usually put washer on when going out but noticed by accident). New timer put in but no different. A cotton wash @ 60 time shown as 2hrs 45mins took just under one hour – been told it us because it is not full enough (3 bath towels, 6 hand towels, 4 tea towels) and I should wait until I have twice as much. There is only two of us and I don’t want dirty washing piling up just to accommodate my washing machine. To me this is not an exceptionally light load. Take off the time for temperature to reach 60 I do not feel this is adequate wash time for something like towels, i.e. the technology behind this ‘automatic adjustment’ is, to my mind, incorrect. How can you plan when you don’ t know his long things are going to take – I do not want to leave wet washing sitting in a machine getting stale and creased!! This is one case where technology has got too big for its boots.


Unless you have an old washing machine, the 60°C setting does not mean that the machine will reach this temperature. Washing machines are now rated on cleaning performance and the temperature setting is meaningless: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/washing-machines/article/should-i-wash-at-60c


CScott if your washing machine worked perfectly before the heating element was replaced and all they changed was the element but not the control panel ( I take it its a digital control of the washing not a manual timer control ) then the element resistance is different to the one that was originally in it , it depends on the electronics that sense the wattage and voltage in relation to resistance and run your washing machine at that deduction . Some washing machine “computer ” boards can be adjusted by a small variable resistance to compensate others cant . IF the element resistance is different then the whole board should be replaced with the one designed to work with that particular element . Without more detailed knowledge of your model I cannot comment further.


wavechange while you have a point the poster said it only occurred when the element had been changed -vis-a-vis look for the rational explanation.


I was only commenting on the washing temperature, Duncan. I object to manufacturers marking a machine programme as 60°C if this is meaningless. As you say, the power of the heater will affect the cycle duration. I would have thought it cheaper to swap the heater for the correct rating rather than buy a new circuit board, but maybe the correct heater is not available.

amanda says:
28 June 2016

i often put my washer on quick wash, and dont over load, its started taking a whole morning approx 4 hours to do one wash! its an indesit innex.

MURIEL says:
9 February 2017


Sonam says:
27 July 2017

I have Daewoo front load washing machine its working good but in last stage when coming 6 minutes after 6 or 5 showing direct 12 minutes and again and again going like that please help me

James says:
23 December 2017

I’ve got a Beko & it’s a year old. Yesterday it showed 22 minutes remaining for at least 10minutes. I’d noticed before when it says 9 minutes to go it takes longer. Just figured it’s a cheap machine & it reflects the quality.


I’m guessing but the timer may not be a simple timer clock, but a “time remaining” device that looks at the state of the wash and decides how much longer it will take to complete. Depending on what it sees may change the time remaining as it progresses.