DIN Consumer Council


How do consumers use a washer-dryer?

The results of a study commissioned by DIN Consumer Council entitled: "Washer-dryer consumer behaviour and possible consequences for standardisation and energy labelling/ecodesign for washer-dryers" are now available.

Frau bei der Entnahme von Wäsche aus einem Waschtrockner
© Kzenon / Fotolia.com

Up to now, there is only little information about the use of washer-dryers. Do consumers use these appliances mainly as washing machines? Is the wash load always split in two parts for drying or washed and dried continuously? What are the consumer expectations regarding the Energy-Label for washer-dryers?

The Energy-Label for Washer-Dryers is still based on a European Directive from 1996. The Directives for washing machines and tumble driers were revised already in 2010 respectively 2012. Besides the layout (use of symbols instead of text) the standard tests were changed. Also the energy efficiency classes were revised (introduction of A + / A ++ / A +++).

Tumble dryers, washing machines and washer-dryers are normally arranged next to each other in the salesroom. For the consumer it is impossible to compare the information (energy, water consumption etc. ) given on the label of a washing machine and a tumble dryer with the information given on a washer-dryer as the values are determined on the basis of different European Directives and different European standards. Therefore, from consumers’ point of view a revision of the Directive for washer-dryers and an adjustment of the Label is absolutely necessary.

EU commission has given washer-dryers low priority up to now, because market share in Europe is not that high compared to washing machines and tumble dryers. But now the commission has initiated the revision of the Energy label for washer-dryers.

For the revision of the label and the standard EN 50229 „Electric clothes washer-dryers for household use - Methods of measuring the performance” which is the basis for determining the values given on the label, information about consumer behaviour regarding the use of washing dryers is necessary

This information is available now with the results of the study commissioned by DIN Consumer Council with the title „Washer-dryer consumer behaviour and possible consequences for standardisation and energy labelling/ecodesign for washer-dryers“. The University of Bonn, Institute of Agricultural Engineering - Household and Appliance Technology Section, has interviewed more than 1000 consumers in 4 European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain).

Some results of the study:
Consumers use the washing function of the appliance much more often than the drying function. Consumers, having only a washer-dryer and no additional washing machine, use the appliance on average 4.6 times per week. 2.9 times per week the laundry is also dried and 1.5 times the function is selected which washes the laundry and dries directly afterwards (so-called continuous wash & dry option). Washing programmes with washing temperatures up to 40 °C are used most frequently. The average calculated washing temperature is approx. 39 °C. The study shows, that consumers would like to save energy, however, they do not accept the extremely long programme times of most of the energy saving programmes. For almost 70 % of the respondents the program time they still would accept for a continuous wash & drying cycle is less than three hours.
Concerning the Energy-Label most consumers would like to be able to compare the values on the label of washer-dryers with those of washing machines. Regarding water and energy consumption a preference is given for the information of the values per wash resp. per drying cycle rather than per year, as it is the case for most of the appliances at the moment.

The results of the study will be used for the revision of the Energy-Label for washer-dryers and for revision of the European standard for washer-dryers.

You can order the complete text of the study free of charge from Verbraucherrat.


DIN e. V.
Natalie Tang

Am DIN-Platz
Burggrafenstraße 6
10787 Berlin

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