Testing products and asking questions on behalf of all consumers since 1957, Which? have grown to become one of the most influential organisations consumers turn to for expert advice to help with life’s decisions and important moments.
But is this an out of date approach? Have we as consumers become dependent on organisations like this and lost our sense of self-assurance when it comes to purchasing products?
We at Ebac think so.
The Which? Washing Machine Test Explained
In June 2017 Which? published their review of our AWM74D2H Washing Machine and rated it “not good enough” with a 39 per cent Which? Score which left us with a lot of questions.
To help gain a better understanding of how Which? got to this conclusion, it made sense to look into what the test entailed.
Each assessed area, as shown below, make up a proportion of the overall total Which? Score that is given to each Washing Machine.
- Will the Washing Machine clean clothes and remove stains?
- Does it leave traces of detergent on clothes?
- How well will the machine spin clothes?
- Will it use a lot of water and cost a lot to run?
- Is using the washing machine and programmes simple to do?
- Will it be irritatingly noisy when running?
- How reliable will the Washing Machine be?
The scores are then broken down into the following percentages:
- Cleaning 50%
- Rinsing 15%
- Spin Drying 15%
- Energy Use 10%
- Programme Time 5%
- Ease of Use 5%
As can be seen, different areas of testing have a different level of importance when it comes to Which? and is based on what its members value.
Each area above is then given a star rating. These star ratings are granted on a one to five scale, one being poor, three being average and five being excellent.
Is Which? Right Or Wrong?
There seems to be a fundamental flaw in the above information, that Which? themselves even seem to contradict.
You see, on How We Test Washing Machines Which? state that all Washing Machines are tested in the same way we use them at home but then directly below say their cleaning tests are tougher than ever and clean a range of stains including tough-to-shift blood, grease, ink, milk, oil and rust.
I’m not sure these are stains the majority of us would achieve daily and need our Washing Machine to get out but okay Which? let’s explore this further.
Which? ‘rewarded’ our Washing Machine two-stars on cleaning performance. Tested at two different 40° wash programmes, this rating indicates how good a Washing Machine is at removing stains on a whole, or is at least meant to. However, how Which? determine how the best and worst Washing Machines handle stains has a significant clause.
In a one-off test to see how Washing Machines compare when tackling everyday stains including blood, chocolate, coffee, grass, red wine and tomato sauce, even Washing Machines with a five-star wash didn’t manage to remove all traces, rather up to 85 per cent of the stains.
But not just that, each test is run three times, a measure in the test that should be a good thing, right? Not to Ebac.
Doing this doesn’t just overwash the clothes, something that we would never have the time or effort to do ourselves, but also increase the wear and tear of the machine itself and the clothes within it.
According to Which? their tough tests help them find the best Washing Machines and inform consumers on which machines to invest in and which machines to avoid.
Their Best Buys and Don’t Buys have become something consumers turn to when it comes to researching because of the trust and value associated with Which?. However, something we were surprised to see is that well-known brands have also faced the wrath of Which? — brands such as Beko, Belling, Bush, Hisense, Hoover, Montpellier, Smeg and even Hotpoint.
Something Which? fail to give appropriate credit to when it comes to our AWM74D2H Washing Machine is how well the machine spins, how little water is used and cheap it is to run. If Which? gave these factors an equal weighting percentage in the testing stage, we would possibly be looking at a considerably higher rated Washing Machine.
That being said, in the actual review section, Which? do acknowledge how efficient and quiet the machine is and state “it’s one of the quieter washing machines” and does a fair job of spinning water from clothes and wash programmes that aren’t too long.
What Have Our Customers Said?
To put Which?’s review to the ultimate test, we decided to ask genuine Ebac Washing Machine owners to give their opinion on their machine to see if the overall consensus was with Which?’s position or Ebac’s.
This shows that 85.9 per cent of Ebac customers said that the quality of their wash with an Ebac Washing Machine was good or better.
This shows that 64 per cent of Ebac customers pre-treat their clothes before they wash them.
What Does John Elliott, Ebac Founder Think?
“We know that our washing needs change depending on what it is we’re washing. From a simple refresh to soiled and severe stains, this is where Which? have got it wrong.
Which? only to clean severe stains and do this on both the 40° cotton programme and the 40° synthetic programme.
If we took this same approach at home, this would not only over wash everything that is not severely stained but waste electricity, time and water and increase the overall wear and tear of the machine.
Our programmes (apart from Quick Wash) are designed to wash soiled clothes and slight stains and believe that severe stains are best dealt with before putting them into the Washing Machine.
We believe that Which? units that become a Best Buy will overwash most washing.”
While we are not disputing that Which?’s consumer-first approach is admirable, the Which? test is out of date. It rejects washing machines that do not deal with severe stains in each wash – most we will never manage to achieve – while majorly underplaying the importance of efficiency and noise.
Nonetheless, Ebac is proud of their customer satisfaction. Not one person who has bought an Ebac Washing Machine has complained about the quality of the wash, and with a flow of consistently positive reviews, our customers can’t all be wrong.
Still not convinced?
Shop our E-Care Range to find out.