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Steam Washing Machines and Direct Drive Washing Machines

Washing machines offer mums a number of time and energy-saving features these days. From built-in dryers to hand-wash cycles to eco-friendly models, there's more choice for Matic Mums than ever before!  Beyond the basic decision between top-loading and front-loading machines, there are also washers that offer additional features and different technology, and you might want to consider these before you buy a new washing machine.

Here is a look at two alternative types of washer: steam washing machines and direct drive washing machines.

What is a Steam Washing Machine?

A steam washer uses a combination of water and hot steam to clean your laundry. Models vary in design, but most either heat the water in the tub to produce steam or employ a separate steam generator that will apply the steam to the load through a nozzle.

There are three main stages to a steam wash:

  • Pre-wash – The clothes are soaked with steam while the water is filling the tub.
  • The main wash – Steam is added when the detergent is mixed with the water, actually dissolving the detergent faster and better than water can.
  • Post-wash or Steam refresh – Steam is used to soften and freshen the clothes, reducing the need for ironing. This additional cycle can be used either after the wash or on its own for delicate items, like embroidered linen or woollen garments.

Steam washers use less water than water-only machines – but the cycles are longer, which means more electricity is needed. This said, you are not restricted to steam, and can use any combination of steam, steam and water, or water-only cycles with a steam washing machine.

What is a Direct Drive Washing Machine?

By contrast to the steam washer, direct drive washers differ in technology, not in the way that they wash your clothes. Conventional washing machines use a belt and gears in their motor system, while a direct drive machine only needs a motor to turn the drum. This means that there is generally a reduction in noise with direct drive washing machines.

In addition, there's no risk of belts stretching or wearing thin over time. Without the other moving parts, less energy is wasted through friction so these machines are more efficient.

However, some mums find the agitation of direct drive washers is a little more vigorous than traditional belt motors. What's more, most washing machines produced from the early 1980s onwards are made with reliable belts and mechanisms, so the risk of damage is not as high as it was.

Should I Buy an Alternative Washing Machine?

As with other household goods, it's a good idea to weigh up your priorities before buying one of these types of machine. Direct drive washing machines tend to cost more than standard models, so you need to work out how important it is to you to have a quiet washer and a reliable motor.

In the case of the steam washer, you may want to consider how often you will use the steam function to determine how much value for money you will get. Be sure to check out Surf excel Matic’s Washing Machine Comparison Guide to help you find the best washer for you and your family!