What Is Integrated Washing Machine
An integrated washing machine is one that is completely invisible to see in a standard kitchen.
To have a fitted kitchen with everything hidden behind a cupboard door creates a tidy room, no ugly industrial machines to spoil the sleek lines of the designer cupboards.
The integrated washing machine has a cupboard door identical to all the other doors in the kitchen. To create the illusion that there’s no washing machine behind the cupboard door, many design features have to be sacrificed.
They are designed to fit inside a standard cupboard space so the machine needs to be thinner, less wide and as it relies on the internal cabinet for support, the spin speeds are often not as fast as on a freestanding washing machine. An integrated washing machine could not stand up without the cupboard supporting it.
What Are The Differences Between An Integrated Washing Machine And A Freestanding Washing Machine
The main difference between the 2 is a free standing washing machine can be placed anywhere. It supports itself,can withstand large amounts of vibrations and can therefore have faster spinning speeds. An integrated washing machine on the other hand, needs the support of the cabinet it fits into to stay upright. As it needs the cupboard to support it, the integrated washing machine can only have low spin speeds.
Integrated washing machines have smaller base plates so that the cupboard plinth can run throughout the whole kitchen including the cupboard with the machine in. It’s partly this thin base that stops the integrated machine from free standing.
As integrated machines are by their design smaller than freestanding machines, they can wash fewer clothes and only spin at lower speeds, so they’re not so practical for large families. But for professional couples who like to entertain, an integrated washing machine is ideal.
How Much Is An Integrated Washing Machine?
Integrated washing machines cost more than their freestanding counter parts due to manufacturing costs. As an example there is a machine manufactured by a particular company, that produces a freestanding version capable of washing 9kg with a 1400 spin speed, that is £30 cheaper than an integrated machine made by the same company that only has a 7kg wash capacity.
That’s just one example, but in all cases integrated machines are more expensive than their freestanding opposites. Plus installation charges are more for integrated machines. This is due to the awkwardness of fitting wires and pipes into the rear of a cupboard. Plus any subsequent call outs or repairs are harder to access and cost more than with freestanding machines.
5 Facts About Integrated Washing Machines
- Not Much Choice
Of all the washing machines available on the UK market, only 20% are integrated machines. This means you have a choice of only 20 out of every 100 machines on sale.
- Not As Efficient As Freestanding Machines
As integrated washing machines are smaller by design, they can wash far less than freestanding washing machines. Plus as they have such lower spin speeds available, they don’t dry as well as freestanding machines.
- Cost More To Buy
Integrated washing machines cost between £30 to £150 more than freestanding machines.
- Smaller Capacity
The largest drum size on an integrated washing machine, tends to be around 8 kg whereas on a freestanding machine, the largest drum size is around 12 kg, that’s a whole lot more washing (It’s an average of 6 bath towels).
- Cost More To Install And Repair
As they are fitted into cupboards with limited access space, it costs more to have an integrated washing machine installed. And it costs more for repairs as well.
Integrated Or Semi-Integrated Washing Machines?
A fully integrated washing machine is completely hidden by a cupboard door, but a semi-integrated machine has the control panel visible. The cupboard door covers the front of a semi-integrated machine but leaves the top control panel freely visible. This is handy if you want to know how long left between cycles etc.
Only 10% of all integrated washing machines are semi-integrated, giving even less choice.
Built-In Or Integrated?
So an integrated washing machine is hidden behind a cupboard door, would that then be called a built-in washing machine? No a built in washing machine is a full size machine that fits in between and under your kitchen units but has no cupboard door hiding it. It is constantly on display. As they fit flush to the rest of the kitchen units, built-in machines still cost more to install and repair.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a small apartment or studio flat, an integrated washing machine will probably suit your needs. But if you have a large family and enough space, a freestanding washing machine gives you much more choice and will hold more washing.
It is not easy for an amatuer DIY enthusiast to replace an integrated washing machine, and even professionals charge more because of the inherent difficulties.
A freestanding washing machine can be integrated but only if you build a large cabinet to house it in.
Integrated appliances are a good idea if you need to save space. If you have a large amount of washing on a weekly basis an integrated washing machine is not a good idea.