Washing Machine Depth Specifications (UK space requirements explained)

In the UK there doesn’t seem to be a standard size for washing machines, but there is a standard size in kitchens for the washing machine to fit into. This seems to be 60 x 60 x 85cm. Which is 60cm wide, 60cm deep and 85cm high and it also seems that most washing machines are built to fit into gaps this size.

Nearly all freestanding washing machines are 85cm high and 59 to 60cm wide. However, the depth has far more variations than the height and the width which seem to be the standard size of around 85cm and 60cm respectively.

Why Are The Majority Of UK Washing Machines The Same Height And Width?

It’s all about fitting all of the components to create a machine which will hold all of the average family’s washing. This means that to fit into the space allocated by kitchen designers, the washing machine manufacturers had to use the full amount of space allocated. This is especially true with the introduction of extra large drum sizes which still have to fit into this standard sized space.

Washing Machine Depth

The depth of the washing machine does appear to have some variation, with several machines available which have depths of differing measurements. The differences in depth seem to be connected to the machine’s drum capacity. 

Before buying a washing machine (of any drum size), you should ask about the depth measurement. As well as whether the depth allows any room for the inlet and outlet pipes which protrude from the back of the machine and need added space to fit between the washing machine and the wall.

On some machines this is accounted for by an extra overhang on the machine’s lid which overhangs at the back of the machine. Unfortunately this overhang isn’t universal, some machine’s have it and others don’t. If the machine in question doesn’t have an overhanging lid at the back, then you’ll need to allow extra space to accommodate the pipework.

Plus you’ll need to add space for the waste water stand pipe which usually sticks out from the wall as well. All of these pipes and even the plug socket will all prevent the machine from fitting flush under any standard kitchen unit unless the machine happens to have a large overhanging lid at the rear of the machine.

More and more modern washing machines do have an overhanging lid. The machine’s overall dimensions will still be the same so measured from the lid’s perspective the machine will have a depth of 60cm. But the back casing of the machine is often less than 60cm, usually just enough to accommodate the pipework.

What About The Front Of The Machine?

In many cases, the machine’s depth is the least important measurement as it doesn’t matter too much if the machine sticks out slightly into the room. This can often be ignored or at least put up with if it means a washing machine can be installed.

It could be a problem if there is a kitchen drawer or cupboard or even the kitchen door which opens across the front of the machine. If the space is narrow the door or drawer could catch on the machine and be prevented from being opened. Especially as many washing machines nowadays have bowed fronts which means the door and often the control panel can stick out quite a bit into the room.

If you happen to have purchased a washing machine with an extremely bowed front, which has to fit into a room with a door opening inwards across the front of the machine, you could have issues with opening that door. 

Unfortunately, the extra bow to the front of the washing machine is often not accounted for when the machine’s dimensions are quoted which means you can take nothing for granted and you’ll need to ask for specific measurements or go to a showroom and do the measurements yourself before you buy the machine.

Why Does The Front Of Many Washing Machines Bow Outwards?

Washing Machine

Back in the days when fitted kitchens first became popular, the kitchen was designed around appliances. This gave rise to washing machine manufacturers standardising their machines. Over the years these standardised sizes have become the norm. However, consumer demands have led to higher capacity washing machines.

To fit into the designs of modern kitchens, the larger capacity washing machines have to have the same standard dimensions of width, height and depth so to fit in the larger drums needed to wash a higher capacity of clothes, they came out at the front of the machine. But they came out at the front in a way that never interfered with the overall dimensions.

The floor space taken by a washing machine remains constant, and the only way that could be done is by bowing the machine at the front. As we said earlier the dimensions allocated in a fitted kitchen are 85cm x 60cm x 60cm so the extra space needed to fit in a larger drum has to be taken from the front of the machine, but it couldn’t take up any more overall space, so we got the bow fronted machines which are becoming more and more common.

If you take your measurements from websites or even manufacturers brochures, you will often find these measurements represent the size of the machine’s lid. So you will need to find out whether there is an overhanging lid as well as whether there is a bowed front before you assess whether that particular machine will fit comfortably in your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all washing machines the same depth?

Most washing machines tend to be a standard size which is around 85cm x 60cm x 60cm. With the height being around 85cm and the depth and the width being around 60cm. The only slight difference is usually the depth which can bow at the front or have an overhang at the back of the lid.

How much space do you need to leave behind a washing machine?

The amount of space needed behind a washing machine is around 6cm (2.5 inches) for hoses and pipework.

Why do washing machines stick out?

Washing machines stick out because of the pipework at the back of the machine. Also on many of the higher capacity washing machines there is a bow at the front which will stick out into the room but not add anything to the floorplan of the machine.

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