Electricity consumption of the washing machine: tips for buying and using

Electricity consumption of the washing machine: tips for buying and using

The washing machine accounts for up to seven percent of our annual electricity consumption. But with the right device and optimal use, you can save up to 90 percent electricity when washing. We clarify what you should pay attention to when buying and using it.

Decreasing trend: Annual electricity consumption of a washing machine

According to calculations by EcoTopTen, the most energy-efficient washing machines consume between 90 and 200 kWh per year. That is around five to seven percent of the total electricity requirement of a household. If, on the other hand, your device is more than 15 years old, it uses between 20 and 100 percent more electricity, according to Verivox . A new purchase will pay for itself after just a few years.

Tips when buying: How much does a new device consume?


Green light for the new device: Look for the EU energy label when you buy it. Image: © viperagp – stock.adobe.com 2021

There are a few things to consider when purchasing a low-power washing machine. The EU energy label helps you with your purchase decision. Important to know: In 2021 the scale was changed. Since then there have been no more categories like A+, A++ or A+++. The new scale ranges from A to G, with A being reserved for the most efficient devices.

However, a good rating is only meaningful to a limited extent. In addition, you should choose a device that suits you. Most washing machines have a capacity of six or eight kilograms. Buy a device that regularly fully utilizes your household. As a rule of thumb, one wash cycle produces around two kilograms of laundry per person.

With the EU's energy label tool , you can easily compare several devices with each other. It may turn out that a washing machine with low energy efficiency is more economical for you overall. The reason: A washing machine with a high level of energy efficiency that you do not regularly fill up may consume more energy than a fully loaded washing machine with a somewhat poorer energy efficiency, according to the consumer advice center. The website also offers you detailed information on the efficiency classes.

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Lower electricity costs: How to get the most out of your washing machine

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Wash less often: Only a full washing machine is an efficient washing machine. Image: © Getty Images/iStockphoto 2018

The power consumption of your washing machine results mainly from three factors:

  • Energy efficiency of the device
  • washing temperature
  • Number of annual washes

With an efficient device that is tailored to your needs, you create a good basis for lower electricity costs. However, the majority of the electricity consumption of your washing machine is still caused by heating water. There is also great potential for savings here.  

According to Entega , a wash at 30 degrees uses less than a third of the electricity required for a 60-degree wash. Most of the time it is sufficient. So wash at lower temperatures whenever possible.

You save even more energy by reducing the number of wash cycles. Always wait until enough laundry has accumulated for a full drum load. As a result, you wash less often and your washing machine heats up less water overall.

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What is the electricity consumption of a washing machine per wash cycle?


Depending on the washing program, the energy consumption differs drastically in some cases. Image: © Siemens 2020

To determine the power consumption of a washing machine per wash cycle, multiply the power of the washing program in watts by the running time in hours. For kilowatt-hours, divide the result by a thousand. A sample calculation with the WD806P4SAWQ from Samsung in the "Energy Saver" program looks like this:

  • 100 watts x 2.25 hours / 1,000 = 0.225 kWh

In this program the machine does not heat the water at all. If, on the other hand, you choose the "mixed wash" mode at 60 degrees, the performance is 20 times and the consumption almost ten times higher:

  • 2,000 watts x 1 hour / 1,000 = 2 kWh

Perhaps surprisingly, longer programs tend to use less power. This is because the device heats water more slowly or less. However, most manufacturers only provide general information about the performance of their device. If you want to know more about it, get a power meter or a smart socket. This allows you to measure the actual consumption in your own four walls.

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Calculation: Annual electricity consumption of a washing machine


Now it's time to calculate: How much electricity does your device use per year? Image: © Michael Nivelet/AdobeStock 2022

When calculating the annual consumption of a washing machine in the EU , 220 wash cycles per year are assumed. However, the new energy label indicates consumption per 100 weighted cycles. To determine your actual annual consumption, you can multiply the number of your weekly wash cycles by 52 and extrapolate it over the year. You then multiply this number by the power consumption of your washing machine per wash cycle:

  • Number of washes per year x electricity consumption per wash = annual electricity consumption

An example with the Samsung washing machine in the respective program (up to 4 kg load capacity):

  • Energy saving: (220 washes/year) x (0.225 kWh/wash) = 49 kWh/year
  • Mixed laundry: (220 washes/year) x (2 kWh/wash) = 440 kWh/year

Depending on how you use your washing machine, you save almost 90 percent electricity. However, washing programs at 60 to 90 degrees or without heating at all are extreme examples. It is best to try out which economical washing program achieves the best results for you.



Here are the tips for a washing machine with low power consumption at a glance. Image: © lassedesignen/AdobeStock 2022

  • When buying, pay attention to the new EU energy label with categories from A to G.
  • Do not buy a larger device than necessary.
  • Expect a capacity of around 2 kilograms per head.
  • Use the EU's energy label tool to compare multiple washing machines.
  • Wash at 30 instead of 60 degrees and save up to two thirds of electricity.
  • Reduce the number of your wash cycles by always fully loading the machine.
  • Calculate the power consumption per wash based on performance and usage time.
  • Longer programs are more economical.
  • Use a power meter or smart sockets to determine the exact power consumption.
  • Calculate the annual consumption of your washing machine: Consumption per wash x number of washes per year.

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