Washing Machine Energy Ratings Explained

washing machine with a energy rating sticker

If you have recently been browsing for a new appliance in your home, you’ve probably come across energy ratings.

In more recent years, consumers have been trying to get the most energy efficient washer and dryer they can so that they can save more money on electricity.

But what exactly is an energy rating? We will be explaining it in detail so that you can figure out if it’s something that you should be concerned about when making a purchase.

What are energy ratings on a washing machine?

The energy rating of a washing machine is an indication of how efficiently it uses electricity during a wash cycle.

We currently have 7 different energy rating categories that a washing machine can fall into. These are letters that range from A through to G, with A being the best rated.

the new EU washing machine energy rating sticker

When you’re shopping for a new washing machine, you will notice that retailers like to promote products that have an efficient energy rating.

This is because they know that consumers are more aware of energy efficiency and want to save money on energy bills.

A good energy rating is definitely something to look out for when you’re trying to find a new washing machine.

Something that’s worth mentioning is that the energy rating doesn’t include the amount of water that a washing machine uses during a cycle.

When you’re trying to figure out how much energy an electrical appliance uses, this is usually calculated in kWh. When energy ratings for a washing machine is being calculated, this is done only on 40°C and 60°C washes, as these are standard across all washers.

Why do we have to use energy rating labels?

Energy rating labels make it easy for consumers to quickly decipher the most energy efficient appliances.

energy rating label next to household items

The EU passed a directive in 1992 requiring all retailers of appliances to give information about energy efficiency. This was to be in the form of a label, which is why you see energy rating labels on washing machines.

This ensures that appliance manufacturers are more transparent and focus more on providing machines that are better for the environment and reduce the cost of electricity for consumers.

Since the introduction of energy rating labels, manufacturers have become more responsible and proactive in producing energy efficient products.

Why energy rating labels changed

In 2021, energy rating labels were changed to reduce the number of bands that an appliance could fall into.

old style energy rating sticker

This was to reduce the ambiguity of energy ratings for consumers so it’s much clearer for consumers to distinguish between appliances that are efficient and which ones have poor efficiency.

Energy ratings used to have four ratings that included the letter ‘A’ which made it unclear which ones were the best. Most people would assume that A is the best and it was actually the fourth most efficient.

The new energy performance certificates that you will find on a washing machine include the energy rating, the amount of water consumption per cycle and the airborne noise emission class amongst other details.

Why you should buy an energy efficient washing machine

It’s simple really, energy efficient washing machines are better for the environment and are cheaper to run.

washing machine with the door open full of clothes

If you’re a savvy homeowner who is always trying to reduce the cost of electricity, having appliances with good energy ratings can reduce the amount of money you spend on electricity every month.

The problem with appliances that have the best energy ratings is that they are generally slightly more expensive than more inefficient machines. This is because they cost more to manufacture.

You need to decide if the money that you will save on electricity outweighs the initial premium that you will pay on an appliance.

If you’re in the market for some of the best washing machines in the market which often come with price tags of £800 upwards, a high energy rating will usually be standard.

Buying a washing machine with a larger drum will usually mean that it is more efficient in general because it reduces the number of wash cycles you need to do to wash your clothes. This is especially true for families.

How to make an old washing machine more energy efficient

So, we have talked about energy ratings on a new washing machine, but what if you want to reduce how much you spend on electricity with an older machine?

energy efficiency for a washing machine explained

As a breakdown, here’s what you can do to make your washing machine more energy efficient:

  • Use low temperature washes when available – This means that the heating element in your washing machine doesn’t have to work as hard and thus uses less electricity.
  • Make use of your machine’s maximum drum capacity – washing only a few items at a time is not only bad for your washer, but it also costs more in the long run.
  • Keep on top of maintaining your machine – washing machine cleaners can reduce the amount of limescale in your washing machine and in particular the heating element.
  • Don’t overload the drum – If you regularly overload the drum, you will not only need to do more washes to make sure they come out clean, but you’ll also work the motor harder on a spin cycle.

It’s also worth checking with your energy supplier if you’re getting charged more at peak hours.

Some energy tariffs charge you more to use electricity during the middle of the day in comparison to early in the morning. Having an energy efficient washer and dryer and good wash practices can help you reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of money you spend on electricity.