Heard of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme “This is the way we wash our clothes?” From the earliest times, washing clothes and linens were women’s work, performed communally by hand or with a washboard. With home plumbing, washing became more of a family affair, spending one full day – typically every Monday – on the chore.
Washboards Make Way for Washing Machines
The first mechanical washing machines were invented in the 18th Century. But it wasn’t until 1937 that automatic machines became available. As quaint as the barrel-shaped tanks and overhead wringers seem to us today, these early automatic washers were miraculous labor-saving devices that performed all washing operations without manual intervention. Gradually, the machines morphed into the box shape so common today.
From Automatic to Electronic to Smart Washing Machines
With the advent of the microchip in the 1980s, we saw the introduction of energy-efficient and water-saving washing machines, a trend that continues today. Recently, however, internet connectivity has added enhancements that promise to reduce the cost and effort of laundry more than ever before. Enter the smart washing machine.
Allied Market Research, an international research firm, projects the global smart connected washing machine market to reach $13.6 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 22.60% between 2017 to 2023.
What Can Smart Washers Do?
If you happen to be in the market for a smart connected washing machine, the nationwide online appliance retailer AJ Madison points to the following intelligent features as well worth considering:
- Cycle customization — Some smart washers let you download washing “routines” specific to clothing and textile type. Others use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust cycles for optimal cleaning.
- Cycle status notifications — Smart washers send alerts to your phone to remind you when a cycle is finished. You will never again re-run your washer because you forgot to move wet clothes to your dryer.
- Remote activation — Picture this: the clothes are sorted, placed in the tub and ready to be washed. Do you need to leave the house? No worries. While you’re out and about, you can start the wash cycle from your smartphone and time it to finish as you arrive home.
- Remote diagnostics – A WIFI-connected smart washer that’s malfunctioning can tell you exactly what’s wrong with it and even call for service.
- Smart speaker connectivity — Controlling a smart washer with your voice through Amazon Alexa or Google Home can be a boon during a busy day. Even better is an automatic-dispensing washing machine that will ask your smart speaker to order more detergent when it’s running low.
Smart Washers: Time to Buy?
Smart washing machines, depending on brand and model, currently sell for between $800 to $2,000 – a purchase price comparable to the average cost of “regular” front-loading washers. And repairs are not significantly more expensive either – especially since smart appliances typically warn you before a part wears out, or when maintenance is required.
Who's Making Smart Washers?
Major manufacturers of smart washing machines, according to the Allied Market Research report, include Samsung Group, LG Electronics Inc., Siemens AG, Haier Group Corporation, AB Electrolux, Whirlpool Corporation, Robert Bosch GmbH, Panasonic Corporation, and GE Appliances.
Lifewire, the consumer how-to tech site, recently chose the Samsung High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer, available at Home Depot for about $1000, as its choice for the best overall smart washing machine for 2020. “With 14 wash cycles, five spin speeds, and five temperature settings,” Lifewire writes, “You can create truly custom wash conditions for everything from delicates to comforters.” For more top smart washer picks, you can check out similar sites like The Spruce and Pocket-Lint.
Smart washers – and their companion smart dryers – are, arguably, the best thing that’s happened to Wash Day in 40 years, thankfully making the age-old laundry chore that much less of a burden as we enter the third decade of the 21st Century.
Manufacturers: Smart connected washing machines can provide lucrative opportunities for you. Find out about how you can transform regular appliances into smart appliances, by contacting Ayla for a free consultation and to learn more about designing smart washers using Ayla IoT platform services.