Behind the seemingly simple form and function of your washing machine or tumble dryer lies a hub of innovative and mind boggling technology. Appliances are more advanced than ever before and are fast adapting to our changing lifestyles. With today's technological advances, there's a lot more to the average appliance than meets
Washing machine technology has made waves in the last couple of years, with German brands leading the way. Miele and Siemens are arguably the front-runners. Miele's W5000 Supertronic washing machine is deemed by Miele as the "finest domestic washing machine ever", and they wouldn't be far wrong. With its brilliant steamcare system, steam is injected into the spin cycle to reduce the effect of creasing. The result: a 50% reduction in ironing - and a boon for those who hate ironing! This Supertronic machine also boasts a special dispensing unit for liquid and powder detergent that uses the exact amount you need. Its Washing Assistant is also on hand to recommend the correct programme for the type of fabric, colour and level of soiling.
In a similar vein, the Siemens WM12Q390GB washing machine is a great choice if you have a lot of different fabrics to wash. The unique waveDrum is sculpted into a raindrop pattern which emulates the shape of paddles to offer the gentlest treatment for your most delicate items. Its super-quick 15-minute wash for small loads is ideal for when you desperately need that special shirt for tonight!
The LG F1495BD washing machine is also noteworthy for its motion technology. The drum performs a combination of cycles depending on the wash programme you've selected. For example, it'll operate in a swing motion for delicates and a stepping motion for when you want less creasing. All of this comes at a price however, but the benefits are huge and far outweigh the costs.
At the lower end of the price scale, brands such as Hotpoint and Beko are ramping up their appeal with varied wash programmes. If you've a four-legged friend who's forever moulting then you might like the Beko WMB61631S, with its useful pet hair removal programme that removes any stray hairs that cling onto fabrics.
The Hotpoint Futura WMFG8337G washing machine has a revolutionary anti-allergy cycle that uses high temperatures and extra rinsing to significantly reduce major allergens. An anti-stain cycle is also on hand to remove even the toughest stains, including chocolate, grass and felt-tip pens.
Dishwashing is also seeing a wave of new technology being introduced. The Siemens SN26T295GB Dishwasher uses Zeolith, a class of silicate minerals which absorbs water molecules and then releases them as energy, helping to dry your dishes quickly in a more energy-efficient manner. Thanks to Zeolith drying, Siemens dishwashers take a shade over two hours to complete a regular cycle, which makes them the fastest in the market by some distance. A feature I particularly like on the Siemens dishwasher is the timeLight function. A beam of light displaying the time remaining is projected onto the floor. The bright projection is clearly visible any time of the day or night and on any type of floor surface.
With some top-of-the-range drying functions, tumble dryers are giving professional dry cleaners a run for their money. The John Lewis JLTDH16 condenser sensor tumble dryer uses heat pump technology for more energy-efficient drying. Electronic sensors continually monitor the dampness of laundry to make sure clothes are perfectly dried. A reverse-tumble action drum reduces creasing for an expertly laundered effect.
All of these features demonstrate the level of innovation that's injected into everyday appliances. Technology's ever evolving and who knows what a dishwasher or washing machine may look like in 10 years' time?