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Washing machines

Washing machine and clothes dryer in a laundry

Washing machines can last for more than 10 years, so it's important to buy the most energy efficient washing machine that suits your needs.

Choose an efficient washing machine

Compare star ratings

Energy rating

The energy rating label helps you compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different washing machines. Washing machines are rated for both energy efficiency and water efficiency, and this information is represented on separate labels. 

energy rating label for washing machine with hot and cold water

Red band

The star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can range from 1 to 6 stars. Every extra star could save you 25% of your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle. The more stars, the more energy efficient your washing machine will be, and the lower the running costs. 

Energy consumption

Compare the star ratings at the top of the energy rating label, then use the number in the energy boxes in the middle of labels to find the annual energy use of the washing machine when used once per day on the normal warm wash cycle. When you buy a new washing machine, use the Energy Rating Calculator to help you choose a machine with as high a star rating as possible. 

Minimum stars

To improve your household's energy efficiency, buy a washing machine with at least a 3.5-star energy rating and 4-star water rating. 

Blue band

Some washing machine labels also have a blue box, and this shows the annual energy consumption of the washing machine when used once per day on the cold wash cycle. As 80–90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating the water, washing machines use a lot less energy on the cold wash cycle.

water rating label

Compare water efficiency

The water efficiency rating label shows the efficiency rating in the blue band at the top of the label and can be from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more water efficient the washing machine, the less water it will use, and the less water you will pay for. The water consumption box in the middle of the label tells you how many litres of water the washing machine consumes each time you use it. If you're buying a new washing machine, make sure it has at least a five-star water efficiency rating and four-star energy rating.

Choose your washing machine wisely

  • Look for a cold wash cycle option: Many people now use the cold wash cycle for the majority of their washing, as this can reduce washing machine energy use by up to 80%.
  • Consider a front loader washing machine: Front loaders use roughly 50% less water than top loaders and are generally more energy efficient.
  • Look for both hot and cold water connections: Machines with both connections will import hot water from your water heater rather than heating it in the washing machine. This is more cost effective if you have a gas, off-peak electric or solar water heater.
  • Look for load sensing technology: These machines can adjust the amount of water they use to suit your load size.
  • Look for a programmable timer or delay start function: Especially if you are on a flexible electricity tariff, these models will enable you to run the machine at cheaper off-peak rates.
  • Look for brands that are designed for recycling: Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.

Running costs for washing machines

The table below shows running costs for different types of washing machines based on three loads washed per week. You can also see a similar table for six loads washed per week further down the page.

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy cost* Annual GHG emissions** Annual energy cost* Annual GHG emissions**
  Cold only connect or electric water heater Dual hot and cold connect
5kg capacity – small
Top 1 star rating Warm $75 359 $29 92
Half warm $41 197 $18 65
Cold $8 37 $8 37
2.5 star rating Warm $43 205 $19 66
Half warm $25 120 $13 55
Cold $8 37 $8 37
Front 2 star rating Warm $52 248 N/A N/A
Half warm $34 162 N/A N/A
Cold $15 75 N/A N/A
3 star rating Warm $35 170 N/A N/A
Half warm $25 119 N/A N/A
Cold $14 67 N/A N/A
7kg capacity – medium
Top 1 star rating Warm $104 502 $38 117
Half warm $56 269 $23 77
Cold $8 37 $8 37
3.5 star rating Warm $40 192 $18 64
Half warm $24 114 $13 50
Cold $8 37 $8 37
Front 2 star rating Warm $72 346 N/A N/A
Half warm $46 221 N/A N/A
Cold $20 95 N/A N/A
4.5 star rating Warm $26 127 N/A N/A
Half warm $21 100 N/A N/A
Cold $15 74 N/A N/A
8.5kg capacity – large
Top 1.5 star rating Warm $105 507 $38 118
Half warm $56 271 $23 77
Cold $8 37 $8 37
3.5 star rating Warm $48 233 $20 71
Half warm $28 135 $14 54
Cold $8 37 $8 37
Front 2 star rating Warm $87 420 N/A N/A
Half warm $55 265 N/A N/A
Cold $23 110 N/A N/A
4.5 star rating Warm $32 153 N/A N/A
Half warm $25 119 N/A N/A
Cold $18 86 N/A N/A
Running costs for six loads per week

The table below shows estimated running costs for different types of washing machines based on six loads washed per week.

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy cost* Annual GHG emissions** Annual energy cost* Annual GHG emissions**
  Cold only connect or electric water heater Dual hot and cold connect
5kg capacity – small
Top 1 star rating Warm $148 712 $56 179
Half warm $81 391 $35 123
Cold $14 68 $14 68
2.5 star rating Warm $84 404 $36 126
Half warm $49 236 $25 97
Cold $14 68 $14 68
Front 2 star rating Warm $102 491 N/A N/A
Half warm $66 317 N/A N/A
Cold $30 143 N/A N/A
3 star rating Warm $69 333 N/A N/A
Half warm $48 231 N/A N/A
Cold $27 129 N/A N/A
7kg capacity – medium
Top 1 star rating Warm $207 998 $74 229
Half warm $111 532 $44 148
Cold $14 68 $14 68
3.5 star rating Warm $78 377 $34 121
Half warm $46 222 $24 148
Cold $14 68 $14 68
Front 2 star rating Warm $143 687 N/A N/A
Half warm $90 436 N/A N/A
Cold $38 184 N/A N/A
4.5 star rating Warm $52 248 N/A N/A
Half warm $40 195 N/A N/A
Cold $29 142 N/A N/A
8.5kg capacity – large
Top 1.5 star rating Warm $209 1,008 $75 230
Half warm $112 538 $45 149
Cold $14 68 $14 68
3.5 star rating Warm $95 459 $75 230
Half warm $55 263 $45 149
Cold $14 68 $14 68
Front 2 star rating Warm $173 834 N/A N/A
Half warm $109 524 N/A N/A
Cold $45 215 N/A N/A
4.5 star rating Warm $63 301 N/A N/A
Half warm $48 233 N/A N/A
Cold $34 165 N/A N/A

* Calculations assume electricity tariff 27.5 c/kWh, and natural gas tariff 2.07 c/MJ (for heating water)
* It is assumed that dual hot and cold connect top load machines are connected to a natural gas storage water heater. For the 'cold only connect or small electric water heater' option.
* It is assumed that the top load machines are connected to a small electric water heater operating on a general (or peak) electricity tariff.
* It is assumed that the front load machines have a cold only connection, and that they use a 'semi-cold' option when set to a cold wash. Energy costs will be slightly lower on the cold wash cycles if the front load machine has a 'true cold' wash option. Some front loaders have a dual hot and cold connection and these will have lower energy costs if they use hot water for their normal wash cycles. Some dual connect machines will only draw hot water on their hot cycle, and heat water internally on their normal cycle.
**GHG Greenhouse Gas coefficient used is 1.324 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per kilowatt hour for electricity and 0.05652 natural gas.

Use your washing machine efficiently

Regardless of the type of washing machine you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running it efficiently.

  • Wash on a cold wash cycle as often as possible: Using the cold wash function can reduce washing machine energy use by up to 80%.
  • Only wash full loads: Even if you run the machine with small load settings, the machine is still using most of the water and most of the energy of a full load.
  • Spin the clothes on as high a speed as is possible: This will mean that your clothes are dryer, which can reduce energy use if you usually dry them using a clothes dryer.

Dispose of your whitegoods responsibly

Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.


Examples of energy and water rating labels

Energy and water ratings

Energy rating labels help you compare appliances so you can and choose the most energy and water efficient, and save money on running costs.

Read more


Energy rating label

Energy rating calculator

The Energy Rating Calculator and app allows you to calculate the energy consumption and running costs for an appliance before you buy it.

Read more