/ 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

Loading ... Loading ...
Tarah says:
6 January 2019

Mine is terribly inaccurate. Once, it said “34 minutes left.” I come back a half hour later to check, and it said “24 minutes left.” I come back ANOTHER half hour later. “8 minutes left.” I come back about 20 minutes later when the timer alarm sounded.

g cross says:
26 August 2019

I have a bosch machine and it does the same had a mielea for 12 years before this one and it was very accurate

linda bray says:
20 February 2019

just switched on my washing machine on cotton 60 degrees 3 hrs 7 mins and 5 mins later the display is now showing 1 hr 35 mins. this happened to my previous machine the 3rd time i used it and had it replaced thinking it was a fault with the machine. Could it it be the electricity supply at fault?

My brand new a rated Hotpoint washing machine tells me 3:30 for a cotton wash then after 20 mins jumps to 2:30. Btw, it’s a great machine but s***e as I can’t customise a cycle.

Caroline Gambell says:
9 May 2019

I have a Hotpoint Smart washing machine, bought July 2017, which up to the last few weeks seemed to stick to the time displayed. However I have recently noticed it stays on 10 mins (on the spin programme) for ages and then suddenly will drop to 4 minutes and finish the cycle a couple of minutes later. I have today noticed it saying 19 mins left on a 45 min wash, then it went to 21 minutes, then back to 19, then down to 7 (after only a further couple of minutes)!. It seems to be washing OK however. Very disconcerting and I have never experienced this in previous machines (and I’ve had a lot!).

paluine says:
2 August 2019

Agree completely with your comments, mine is doing a similar thing.

Chris says:
16 October 2019

Can we go back to basics on washing machines please, manufacturers. Really no need for all this extra information. My new machine has jumped back from 55 mins remaining to 1hr 12 mins. Also why 1400 & 1600rpm spins? What is the need for that kind of speed?

Bells, whistles and high spin speeds help sell washing machines, Chris.

A front-loading washing machine is supported at one end, which puts considerable load on the bearings, particularly if the machine has a heavy load, is out of balance or run at high spin speeds. With most modern machines it is not possible to replace bearings since they have a ‘sealed tank’ meaning that the entire tub and drum are part of a single assembly. That makes it not economically viable to do what used to be a straightforward repair.

Each time I start a cycle on my machine I have to turn down the spin speed. That cuts down the noise and hopefully will mean that I don’t have problems with bearings.

Mr Stephen G. Rowe says:
30 October 2019

Have just purchased a Candy 9 kg 1600 rpm washing machine, this has replaced 3 brand new machines one after another, No.1 Indesit 9 kg 1600 rpm washing machine but arrived damaged, it was returned and replaced with another Indesit No.2 same spec as previous one, no damage on the outside, great. Started washing and it made an awful noise, rattled, banged mixture of both, so decided to call the Indesit tech dept who heard the noise and gave me a uplift number, contacted supplier and gave them information. Now had the choice of having another make so went for a Logik washing machine No.3, had to wait a couple of days later arrived and the Indesit collected. This machine was lovely and quiet but needed to spin the washing twice on 1600 rpm as washing came out a little too wet. Getting a little tired now so rang the store to arrange collection and asked them to refund my money, as by now lost faith in them. Washing to do now 5 days worth, have managed to get through most but would have got all done problem being having to spin washing twice as first washing cycle with 1600 rpm spin has not managed to do it as it should, otherwise we would be done, now all we have left is another 10 bath towels to wash and then there’s today’s to do as well. This is the 4th machine we have had since the Sunday before last, and still not that happy with it, programmes are all over the place with timing, it’s extremely noisy especially on 1600 rpm spin, even makes the washing machine draw rattle, just like the one we had that went completely wrong. Would send this one back but my wife is disabled and we need a reliable washing machine, at least this one will wash and spin but it’s so very noisy and I dare not send anymore machines back, it’s another supplier but am getting weary of washing machine problems, just want a 9 kg 1600 machine that spins reasonably quieter than this.

I think buying a cheap washing machine and using it at 1600rpm is likely to give trouble. It puts a big strain on the bearings. Probably OK in a more expensive machine with better quality bits, but I’d avoid high spin speeds of you can.

Have you looked at Which? best buys at the price you are prepared to pay?

I must back up Malcom,s comment , about 15 years ago i went and looked at washing machines in an electricity/home appliance showroom , many were on show .
As an ex practical engineer I soon found many were of low build quality till I came to a direct drive LG washer/dryer , now this was more like it but (as it turned out ) this was their dearest machine and try as I might the salesman refused to lower the price saying -quote-
This machine is far superior to our other models and our store manager ( after asking ) will not reduce the price of it .
From both their demeanours they had by this time lost the synthetic salesperson approach and were showing their real faces but in the end I bought it even though it was several times the price of their cheap models , it was their comments on the cheap models that shocked me ,
15 years on its still working fine I don’t want to name the company but the Regulars here know it very well.

19 January 2020

My machine at home cost only 200 quid and literally couldn’t be better… A brand I used to steer a country mile around back in the 80s+90s

19 January 2020

I ended up on thread while I waited for the final two minutes of my machines cycle to compete, and it was over 20 effing minutes