A washer makes it easy to have fresh laundry without putting in the work or hiring someone to do it for you. But how much electricity does a washing machine use, and how much does it cost you?
The electricity consumption of a washing machine varies based on the model. The most energy-efficient models consume 250 to 300 watts per hour. Older models, or those in less efficient classes, can use up to 2,100 watts per hour.
Washer/dryers typically consume more energy than standard washers, with a surge in power when the dryer is enabled.
Beyond these considerations, the type of washing machine can also influence electricity consumption.
Washing Machine Electricity Consumption By Type
The electricity consumption of a washing machine is primarily determined by its class, or energy rating. However, the actual type of washer also plays a role.
The table below highlights the electricity consumption requirements for various types of washers:
|Washing Machine Type||Electricity Consumption|
|Compact (mini)||0.4 to 0.8 kWh|
|Front-loading||0.5 to 1.0 kWh|
|Top-loading||0.7 to 1.2 kWh|
|Washer/dryer combo||0.5 to 3.5 kWh|
*Energy consumption intervals in the table are averages based on reported electricity use of various appliances in each class. The lower value refers to energy efficient models (energy rating A), while the higher value refers to less energy efficient models (energy rating G).
How Much Electricity Does A Washer Use?
Knowing how much a washing machine consumes on average can help you figure out the appliance’s overall impact on your electricity bill.
However, you might want to break down the costs by load, month or year.
Washing Machine Electricity Consumption per Load
The electricity consumption of a washing machine per load depends on the washer type, its energy rating and the cycle length.
As explained, the average washing machine can consume between 400 to 3,500 Wh. This is what your washer consumes when it runs for one hour. Knowing the watt-hours your appliance requires can help you calculate the electricity consumption per load.
For instance, if you have an energy-efficient washing machine that only consumes 250 watts per hour and you run a 15-minute wash cycle, the appliance will consume 62.5 watt-hours per load (0.0625 kWh).
Similarly, if your washing machine requires 2,100 watts per hour and the wash cycle lasts 2.5 hours, you’re looking at an electricity consumption of 5,250 watt-hours per load (5.25 kWh).
Considering the national average price of electricity (£0.34 per kWh), you could spend as little as £0.021 or as much as £1.79 per load, on average.
Washing Machine Electricity Consumption per Month
Knowing the electricity consumption and cost per load can help you calculate the monthly impact of using a washing machine in your household.
These values vary widely, depending on the size of your household and your laundry habits. To put things into perspective, we’re going to consider the average UK family of four.
Nationwide, a family of four does laundry eight to ten times a week. A normal wash cycle takes 50 minutes to one hour to complete. In this case, the average consumption per load varies from 208.3 Wh to 3,500 Wh, with a cost between £0.07 to £1.19 per load.
In a week, the average family’s washer would consume between 1,666.4 and 35,000 Wh (1.6664 and 35 kWh), which is the equivalent of £0.56 to £11.9 per week.
To figure out the monthly cost, you must multiply the weekly cost by 52 (number of weeks in a year) and divide by 12 (number of months in a year).
Using the formula above, the average monthly washing machine electricity consumption for a family of four is somewhere between 7.22 and 151.6 kWh. This works out to £2.45 to £51.54 per month.
It goes without saying that you could spend a lot more or save a lot, depending on your actual habits, preferred cycle and the type of washing machine.
Washing Machine Electricity Consumption per Year
Figuring out the yearly electricity consumption of your washer once you know the monthly consumption is easy. All you have to do is to multiply the monthly value by 12.
Following the example above, the washing machine of an average family of four would consume between 86.64 and 1,819.2 kWh per year. This would be £29.40 to £618.52 per year.
7 Factors That Impact Electricity Consumption
While the averages above apply to most households, there are factors that affect the washer’s electricity consumption.
1. Energy Efficiency Rating
The most important factor that can impact your washer’s energy consumption is the energy efficiency rating. Since 2021, the rating system in the UK classifies appliances from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient).
Classes D and above are your best bet if you want an energy-efficient appliance. Also note that washing machines manufactured before 2021 may use the old rating system that goes from A+++ to E.
2. Load Size
When doing laundry, you might be tempted to fit as many clothes as possible into the washer so that you can reduce the number of loads and save. However, this practice can be counteractive.
Washing machine motors need more power to spin a heavy drum. Hence, overloading the machine can boost the energy consumption per load. In some cases, this could cost you more than washing two loads.
Hence, if you want to save, you should avoid overloading the washer.
3. Wash Cycle Duration
As mentioned, the length of the wash cycle has a direct impact on electricity consumption and costs.
Unless your clothes are heavily soiled, running a normal or long cycle is often unjustified. Instead, you can choose an eco or quick cycle that typically lasts 15 to 30 minutes. This can help you reduce monthly and yearly costs.
4. Water Temperature
Another factor that influences electricity consumption and costs per load is the wash temperature.
Washing machines consume more energy to heat the water. It also needs time to bring water to temperature, which is why hot water cycles are longer than cold water ones.
Lukewarm water (30°C) is your best choice to clean most laundry effectively while keeping consumption low.
5. Spin Speed
Spinning the clothes at the end of a wash cycle can speed up drying. However, this setting can boost energy consumption.
If you want to keep it as low as possible while also avoiding your laundry dripping water everywhere, choose a spin setting with fewer rotations per minute.
6. Frequency of Use
It goes without saying that the more you use the washer, the higher the electricity consumption. But the daily frequency of use can also play a role.
When running several loads one after the other, the motor could overheat and increase electricity consumption. If you can, try to split the chore and do the loads on several days throughout the week, rather than washing everything on the same day.
7. Additional Features
Additional features, such as pre-wash or drying cycles, also have an impact on electricity consumption.
You can avoid pre-washing your clothes by soaking them in soapy water for at least an hour before throwing them in the washer. Likewise, allowing your laundry to air dry can help you save.
Does washing at 30 cost less?
Yes, washing at 30°C generally costs less compared to washing at higher temperatures.
This is because heating water accounts for a significant portion of the energy consumed by a washing machine.
Is it cheaper to use the washing machine at night?
It could be cheaper to use the washing machine at night, but it greatly depends on the contract with your supplier.
Most suppliers offer more advantageous rates for using electricity during off-peak hours, but those hours can vary from company to company.
What is the most expensive time to run a washing machine in the UK?
Typically, the most expensive time to run a washing machine in the UK is in the afternoon, between 4 PM and 7 PM.
However, your supplier may define different peak hours, so you should check out your contract to determine the best time to schedule your laundry.
Washing machines can use between 250 and 2,100 watts per hour, depending on their type and class. Washer/dryer combos typically consume more, up to 3,500 watts per hour.
Based on your household size and washing habits, you could consume between 86.64 and 1,819.2 kWh per year, which can cost you from about £30 to over £600 a year.