Energy efficient washing machines

 

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

Choosing a washing machine

Washing machines are rated for both energy efficiency and water efficiency. This information is represented on separate energy rating and water efficiency labels.

If you’re looking to improve your household’s energy efficiency, purchase a washing machine with at least a 3.5 star energy rating and 4 star water rating.

The following tips can also help you to choose a more energy efficient model.

  • Look for washing machines that have a cold water wash cycle. 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, as they use roughly 50% less water than top loaders and are generally more energy efficient.
  • Choose a washing machine with both hot and cold water connections. This means that the washing machine will import hot water from your water heater rather than heating it in the washing machine, which is more cost effective if you have a gas, off-peak electric or solar water heater.
  • Look for models with load sensing technology, as these can adjust the amount of water they use to suit your load size.
  • Look for models with a programmable timer or delay start function, especially if you are on a flexible electricity tariff, to enable you to run the machine at cheaper off-peak rates.

Washing machine energy rating labels

energy rating label for washing machineThe star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can be from 1 to 6 stars.

The more stars, the more efficient the washing machine and the lower its running costs. Every extra star could save you 25% of your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle.

energy rating label for washing machine with hot and cold water

To compare washing machine models with the same energy star rating, look at the energy consumption numbers in the boxes in the middle of labels. This gives the annual energy use of the washing machine when used once per day on the normal warm wash cycle.

Some washing machine labels also have a blue box, and this shows the annual energy use 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.

When purchasing a new washing machine, use the energy rating website to choose a new washing machine with as high a star rating as possible.

Washing machine water efficiency labels

water rating label

The water 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, and the less water it will use.

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.

Visit the Water Efficiency Labelling Standards (WELS) website to compare the water efficiency of different washing machines.

Washing machine running costs

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.

Wash cycle

Loading Type

Star Rating

Cold only connect or small electric water heater  Dual hot and cold connect
Annual Energy Cost* Annual GHG Emissions (kgCO2-e)** Annual Energy Cost* Annual GHG Emissions (kgCO2-e)**

5 kg capacity – small

All warm

Top


               
 $75  359  $29 92 

Half warm

 $41  197  $18 65

All cold

 $8  37  $8 37
All warm Top
2.5 stars
 $43  205  $19  66
Half warm  $25  120  $13  55
All cold  $8  37  $8  37
All warm Front

 $52  248  N/A  N/A
Half warm  $34  162  N/A  N/A
All cold  $15  75  N/A  N/A
All warm Front
3 stars
 $35  170  N/A  N/A
Half warm  $25  119  N/A  N/A
All cold  $14  67  N/A  N/A

7 kg capacity – medium

All warm

Top

1 star
$104 502 $38 117

Half warm

$56 269 $23 77
All cold $8 37 $8 37
All warm Top
3.5 stars
 $40  192  $18 64 
Half warm  $24  114  $13  50
All cold  $8  37  $8  37
All warm  Front    $72  346  N/A  N/A
Half warm  $46  221  N/A  N/A
All cold  $20  95  N/A  N/A
All warm  Front  Four and a half stars  $26  127  N/A  N/A
Half warm  $21  100  N/A  N/A
All cold  $15  74  N/A  N/A

8.5 kg capacity – large

All warm

Top

 $105 507   $38 118 

Half warm

 $56  271  $23  77

All cold

 $8  37  $8  37
All warm Top 3.5 stars
 $48 233  $20 71
Half warm  $28 135  $14 54
All cold  $8  37  $8 37
All warm Top

$87   420  N/A  N/A
Half warm  $55  265  N/A  N/A
All cold  $23  110  N/A  N/A
All warm Front Four and a half stars
 $32 153   N/A  N/A
Half warm  $25  119  N/A  N/A
All cold  $18  86  N/A  N/A

* Calculations assume electricity tariff 27.5 c/kWh, and natural gas tariff 2.07 c/MJ (for heating water);

The annual cost figures shown are only the energy cost. Front load washing machines generally use less water than top load load machines and so have lower annual water use costs.

Its 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 more efficiently

No matter what type of washing machine you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running your machine efficiently:

  • Wash on a cold wash cycle as often as possible.
  • Only use your washing machine when you have a full load of clothing
  • 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.

Make a Smarter Choice

Smarter Choice logo

The Smarter Choice retail program provides helpful and actionable advice on energy efficient washing machines. Find your nearest retailer to take that next step towards being a more energy efficient household.

Download the Smarter Choice fact sheet on washers and dryers below.

Document | PDF | 119KB
Fact sheet: Washing machines and dryers