When someone utters the phrase “German engineering,” thoughts are more likely to turn to Mercedes than washing machines.
But as the demand in the U.S. for high efficiency, high performance appliances has increased, European manufacturers have seen a sprawling, untapped frontier for their products.
For a number of reasons, the two biggest being limited space in smaller homes and greater efficiency requirements, European appliances have long focused on packing more punch into smaller packages.
One of the areas in which this is most obvious is in the laundry. It’s unusual for a European home to have an entire room devoted to washing clothes, so often space must be found for washers and dryers beneath counters (sometimes within the kitchen) or in closets.
At the same time, Europeans are less likely to view resources such as water and electricity as limitless, and thus strive to get the maximum amount of work out of those resources. The result has been washers and dryers designed as if they were high performance sports cars.
Siemens and Bosch are two of the most obvious examples of this design philosophy. Both companies’ names were only recently added to the American appliance shopper’s vocabulary, but they’ve been turning out smaller, more efficient washers and dryers in Europe for years. It’s from these companies, it seems, that the big American appliance makers have borrowed a number of ideas.
For instance, the majority of the European washer models are front-loading, which allows clothes to be washed more gently and use less water. Spin cycles in front-loaders are usually faster than in top-loading machines, and less water in clothes at the end of the spin cycle means less time in the dryer.
Siemens’ ultraSense washers have a number of sensor features designed to ensure that not too much water is used for each cycle and that water temperature is always optimal.
Bosch, meanwhile, includes a feature on its Nexxt Premium washer that minimizes wrinkling to make ironing easier.
Dryers made by these companies continue the philosophies of innovation and efficiency. Bosch’s Nexxt Premium dryer will even intermittently tumble laundry that has finished drying. The result, again, is fewer wrinkles, even after clothes have sat for a while.
Siemens’ dryers in the ultraSense line perform much the same function, and the models of both companies offer large capacity and ultra-low noise, not exceeding 67 decibels in the ultraSense.
Tight construction, efficiency and power – no, it’s not a sports car rocketing down the Autobahn. But then again, since when could a car get your clothes clean?