Best washer dryers for rainy laundry days

Always have something to wear with a washer dryer. The latest models have extra-large drums and super-smart programmes, plus they're more efficient than ever.

Save laundry day with one of our pick of the best washer dryers. Provided you have space for one, you’ll find it a worthwhile purchase. Particularly if you don’t fancy draping damp garments over every available radiator, chair and banister on a rainy day.

Over the years, washer dryers have earned themselves a bad reputation. Instead of living up to their promise of being the ideal two-in-one space-saving appliance, many models didn’t clean or dry clothes especially well. But times and technology are changing fast. Shop smart, and you can find brilliant washer dryers that live up to their potential and make laundry day effortless.

Our experts at Ideal Home have put the hard work in, and found washer dryers that tick every box. You’ll also find a buyer’s guide on what to look for when choosing a new washer dryer.

Best for fresh-smelling clothes

Beko WDR854P14N1 IonGuard washer dryer

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There’s nothing worse than musty laundry. Well Beko thinks so, as this machine does everything it can to make sure your clean washing comes out smelling of roses… or fabric conditioner. Its IonGuard technology reduces humidity in the drum, and there’s also a cleaning programme you can run to keep things fresh.

Can’t get to your dried laundry straightaway? The anti-crease function will occasionally rotate the drum and inject a blast of warm air for up to eight hours to keep nasty odours – and creases – at bay.

Capacity 8kg wash/5kg dry Dimensions H840 x W600 x D540mm Features 14min quick wash and 28min full-load quick wash, wash-and-dry cycle, sensor drying, 1400RPM max spin speed, A-rated

Buy now: Beko WDR854P14N1 IonGuard washer dryer, £429, AO.com

Best budget buy

Indesit XWDE751480XW INNEX washer dryer

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You don’t need to be a genius to work this water-dryer, so if dials and buttons fill you with fear, it’s the one for you. Press the ‘Push&Wash+Dry’ to immediately start a mixed, 30°C wash and sensor dry. Now no one has an excuse not to help with the laundry.

Stretched for space? This shallow design won’t stick out from under the worktop, and though it’s not going to handle a week’s laundry in one go, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bargain.

Capacity 7kg wash/5kg dry Dimensions H850 x W595 x D540mm Features 30min quick wash, 45min wash-and-dry cycle, sensor drying, steam cycle, 1400RPM max spin speed, A-rated

Buy now: Indesit XWDE751480XW INNEX washer dryer, £348.99, John Lewis

Best for clever functions

LG F4J8JH2W TrueSteam washer dryer

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Its myriad functions include several steam cycles – use the Steam Refresh to remove any smells and creases from barely worn clothes, and the Allergy Care mode for sheets and baby clothes. There are also Gentle Care and Delicate programmes, and a Sports Wear option for dirty football or gym kits.

Can’t find the cycle you need? It’s possible to add up to 20 more through the LG Smart Thinq app. You can control your machine away from home or even diagnose any problems with it using your phone, too.

Dropped a sock? Press pause on the wash, wait three seconds and then open the door to drop it in.

Capacity 10.5kg wash/7kg dry Dimensions H850 x W600 x D610mm Features 30min quick wash, wash-and-dry cycle, sensor drying, steam cycles, 1400RPM max spin speed, wifi connected, A-rated

Buy now: LG F4J8JH2W TrueSteam washer dryer, £929, AO.com

Best for families

Hoover Dynamic Next WDWFT4138AHB washer dryer

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Move a mountain of dirty laundry with this high-capacity model, which can wash a mighty 13kg of laundry and clean and dry 8kg of clothes in one go. That’s as good as it gets, capacity-wise for a washer-dryer. The only compromise you’ll have to make is the depth of the machine. At 640mm, it might stick out from under a standard worktop.

Features wise, there’s sensor drying and the excellent Hoover Wizard app that you can use to control the machine. If you’re not sure what cycle to use, the app can tell you. Just input what you’ve got to wash and/or dry, along with how dirty it is and what fabric its made from and it will suggest the ideal programme.

Capacity 13kg wash/8kg dry Dimensions H850 x W600 x D640mm Features 30min quick wash, wash-and-dry cycle, sensor drying, 1400RPM max spin speed, A+++ rated

Buy now: Hoover Dynamic Next WDWFT4138AHB washer dryer, £749.99, John Lewis

Best for shifting stains

Hotpoint RD1076JD Ultima S-Line washer-dryer

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Coffee, grass, red wine – whatever stain you’re faced with, this machine has the tools to deal with it. How? By cleverly managing detergent, water, drum rotation and temperature. It pre-mixes the water and detergent into a foam before it hits the drum. This foam gets to work quicker and breaks down stains faster, so the machine can banish the most stubborn marks in as little as 60 minutes.

The triple threat of Woolmark approval, sensors and steam make this an excellent dryer, too. It can wash and dry a 1kg load in 45 minutes, should you need something to wear, fast.

Capacity 10kg wash/7kg dry Dimensions H850 x W595 x D605mm Features 30min quick wash, 45min wash-and-dry cycle, sensor drying, steam cycle, 1600RPM max spin speed, Woolmark certified, A-rated

Buy now: Hotpoint RD1076JD Ultima S-Line washer-dryer, £549.99, Currys

Best for integrating

Bosch WKD2854GB integrated washer dryer

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Integrated models don’t come cheap and are often short on features when compared to their freestanding counterparts. This one is no exception in the former department, but it doesn’t shirk on features. Benefits include sensor drying, a 15-minute quick wash and a convenient Night Wash feature. This runs the machine in the wee small hours when electricity might be cheaper, and is much quieter than a standard cycle.

There are also cycles for wool, sportswear, delicates/silk and mixed loads.

Capacity 7kg wash/4kg dry Dimensions H820 x W595 x D584mm Features 15min quick wash, sensor drying, steam cycle, 1400RPM max spin speed, B-rated

Buy now: Bosch WKD2854GB integrated washer dryer, £1,139, Currys

A buyer’s guide to washer-dryers

Pick the right capacity

Best-washer-dryers

Image credit: Tim Young

Washer-dryers used to have rather stingy capacities, but more and more of our rainy day friends seem to be bucking the trend. Although no model can wash and dry a full load in one go – drying capacity is always around 2kg less – they can wash and dry more than ever before. It’s now not unusual to find dryers capable of drying 10kg of wet laundry. That’s space for around 20 bath towels.

Measure up

The typical freestanding washer-dryer has dimensions of H850 x W600 x D550mm. But check the depth carefully, as some models can be 10cm deeper and potentially stick out further from the worktop.

Pay less on energy bills

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Traditionally one of the worst energy wasters in the home, washer dryers tended to use more electricity and water than standard washing machines and significantly more than standalone dryers. Even today, a few models still dry using large volumes of cold water to chill the heat exchanger, as opposed to the heat-pump technology employed by the most efficient tumble dryers.

The heat-pump system works like this. Hot air absorbs the water from the clothes, before being vented, and the resulting hot water is used to drive another cycle. And as components continue to shrink, brands such as LG, Siemens and Bosch have managed to squeeze in this technology into their washer dryers. What does that mean for you? Running costs that are around 40% lower than that of an old condenser dryer. Hurrah!

Save time and money with clever functions

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Quick wash/dry Most washer dryers will have a small 1kg or 2kg fast cycle, which can wash a full load in less than 15 minutes. Some will offer a full wash-to-dry programme so you can have a favourite outfit clean and dry in between 30 and 60 minutes.

Handwash and delicate cycles Will wash and dry clothes more gently to avoid shrinkages. Look for ‘Woolmark’ approvals for extra peace of mind.  Some designs even have variable drum movement patterns to treat individual fabrics better.

Reverse tumble A big benefit to look for, as this reduces creasing by keeping clothes loose and untangled as they dry.

Steam Can help to improve both cycles. It penetrates fabrics faster than water, helping to shift stains easier, and by injecting steam into the drying cycle clothes can be ‘refreshed’ without needing a full wash. A steam function also helps to reduce ironing. It normally runs at the end of the cycle, so comes in handy if you forget to remove your clothes immediately.

High spin speed The faster the spin, the drier your clothes will be, and quicker and less costly the drying cycle. Look for at least 1400rpm and variable control for handling delicate items like silk/cashmere.

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Timer/delay start Make the most of off-peak electricity or when the house is quiet; 2-24hr delays are available.

Choose how dry you want your laundry to be

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Image credit: Claire Richardson

Many machine have sensors to measure the humidity and moisture levels inside the drum, and will stop as soon as your laundry reaches the right level of dryness. This saves energy and ensures your clothes aren’t too dry to be ironed, or too damp to be stored straightaway.

An iron dry setting leaves clothes slightly damp, while cupboard dry ensures clothes are bone dry and ready for storing away immediately. Extra dry is particularly good for more bulky items, such as sheets and towels.

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Follow our guide and we’re certain you’ll find the perfect machine to cure your washday blues.

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