Can An Integrated Washing Machine Be Used Freestanding?
If you’re moving home, or want to restyle your kitchen and your current washing machine is an integrated model, you could be wondering if you can use it as a freestanding unit. As with many electrical appliances, opinions differ on whether this is a good idea or not.
In this article, we take a closer look at integrated washing machines and find out if an integrated washer can be used as a freestanding washer.
What Is An Integrated Washing Machine?
In terms of laundry equipment, integrated means fitted inside a cupboard, or hidden behind a cupboard door. Many people believe (mistakenly) that that’s the only difference between freestanding washing machines and integrated washers.
However, there’s more differences in the design of an integrated washing machine compared to a freestanding unit. Integrated washers are slightly narrower and have a much smaller base to allow the cupboard plinth to fit to the cupboard.
On many integrated washing machines the door of the cupboard is directly attached to the washing machine. Integrated washers are designed to be fitted inside the cupboard and rely on that cupboard for support.
They also have lower spin speeds to reduce any vibrations that could potentially cause problems for the cupboard doors and surrounding cabinetry. Integrated washers are often louder when running than freestanding units which are typically muffled by the cabinetry.
The drum capacity is typically smaller on integrated washers due to them having to fit inside a cabinet.
Due to the way these appliances are designed, many experts agree that it would be dangerous to use an integrated washer as a freestanding unit. They say it’s because the washer relies on the cupboard to provide stability.
Can You Use An Integrated Washing Machine As A Freestanding Unit?
As we said earlier, there are differing opinions when it comes to this subject, with many saying it’s dangerous because the appliance could topple over. Whilst other experts say it’s OK but looks unsightly due to the holes in the front where the cupboard door should be attached.
The facts are that freestanding washing machines are specifically designed to be freestanding, standalone units. They can withstand the high spin speeds and any associated vibrations without leaking, becoming unbalanced or looking unsightly.
Integrated washers on the other hand, are designed to fit inside a cupboard space and have lower spin speeds to prevent instability and excessive vibration (due to instability). Plus they do have those holes where the cabinet door should be attached.
However, some integrated washers come supplied with a front panel which can be fitted to hide the holes. Once that front panel has been fitted, to the untrained eye, the integrated washer would look almost identical to a freestanding model.
The main differences are that integrated washers are narrower and often slightly shorter than freestanding models and often have a narrower base. The base could be a problem as this could potentially affect the stability of the appliance especially when it’s on a spin cycle.
Which makes it a good thing that integrated washers typically have lower spin speeds than freestanding units.
So, Can You Use An Integrated Washer As A Freestanding Appliance?
It’s really your call as to whether you use your integrated washer as a freestanding unit. As there are 2 schools of thought on this, it’s obviously been done in the past and as long as you ensure that it’s installed on level ground to reduce vibration and watch the appliance as it runs through its cycles for the first few times of use, it should be fine.
However, with that being said, it’s worth remembering that:
It’ll Look A Bit Odd
However, ideally you should get a freestanding washing machine if you don’t intend to put it in a cupboard in the interest of aesthetics if nothing else.
Plus there’s also the noise levels to consider, many integrated appliances tend to be louder than their freestanding counterparts.
It’ll Be Quite A Bit Louder Than A Regular Freestanding Washer
This extra noise is usually muffled by the cabinetry when the appliance is fully integrated. This could be a problem if you decide to use your integrated washer as a freestanding unit.
It’ll Likely Void Your Warranty
If you own an integrated washing machine and you are using it without the support of a cupboard. Or to put it another way, in a way it wasn’t designed to be used. If the appliance develops any faults, the manufacturer would be perfectly within their rights to void your warranty.
This would be exactly the same if you were to enclose a freestanding washing machine in a cabinet, behind a cupboard door. The unit would be prone to overheating if it was designed to be freestanding and you put it in a cupboard.
Let’s face it, washing machines are not cheap, throw away items, do you really want to void your warranty by turning your appliance into something it’s not?
Frequently Asked Questions
Integrated appliances are designed to be installed directly into kitchen cabinet columns or under work surfaces. The appliance is then fully hidden behind a hinged door panel to match the rest of the kitchen cupboard doors.
Integrated washing machines are often less efficient because they have fewer wash options, lower spin speeds and a smaller drum capacity.
Whilst you can technically use an integrated washing machine as a freestanding unit, there are a few potential problems associated with this practice. The appliance could become unstable especially during spin cycles, they’re often louder than freestanding washers and you would almost certainly void any warranty you have by using the appliance in a way it wasn’t specifically designed to be used.