Product: Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Price: From £374 to £579, depending on retailer
**What they say
‘Tough on stains and kind to clothes, taking care of laundry and removing more than 100 stains at just 20ᵒC. Three technologies, Active Mousse, Active Drum and Active Load, work together to remove tough and stubborn stains.
***What we say
The Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A, to give it its full name (catchy, eh?), is a regular-size free-standing front-load machine with a conventional plain but attractive design, with minimal, easy to follow switches and a handy digital screen readout.
It comes with similarly minimal but effective installation instructions and we fitted the machine ourselves without problems, with a bit of supplementary help from ‘How To’ videos on YouTube. Like many modern washing machines it features just one cold-water feed, helping to make it a relatively simple job, even for a novice with limited tools.
There’s lots of space in the drum, easily accessed through a wide-opening door and capable of holding up to 10kg worth of soggy contents (the machine’s also available in 8kg and 9kg form), and a usefully broad range of cycles (15 of them), selected using the dial above the door.
Most helpfully, the digital display tells you how much time’s remaining on a cycle, and the machine works out how much time (and how much water) to use according to how much load you’ve added. And when it’s finished it plays a little tune to let you know it’s done, like there’s a flute-playing leprechaun hidden inside the drum.
That’s about as noisy as the machine gets; even when the cycle reaches its spin phase it remains impressively quiet.
All the clothing, bedding and towels we’ve tested have been cleaned thoroughly, with no signs of damage.
The only issue we’ve encountered during test is the appearance of a warning symbol (accompanied by another tuneful ditty as an alert) to say that the machine was not filling with water – but simply pressing the pause/play button completed the cycle without issue, so it may have been an isolated incident.
The 15 cycles include, along with the usual cotton/synthetics/bed & bath etc, an anti-allergy mode to help remove pollen, mites and pet hair, and a Steam Refresh program, to freshen dry clothes by penetrating their fabrics with steam for 20 minutes. They emerge slightly damp, but dry quickly, and it can also be used to help with ironing.
A further Steam Hygiene option projects steam into the drum at the end of the wash, to help further remove bacteria.
The Hotpoint ActiveCare has impressed this tester greatly with its ease of use and installation, and the variety and effectiveness of its wash cycles.
Worthy of particular praise are its clear digital display, with its useful timer countdown to the wash’s completion, and how impressively quiet it is in operation.
Dimensions: 850mm high, 595mm wide, 605mm deep
Free 10-year guarantee available
‘Stop&Add’ feature allows the wash to be paused and extra laundry to be added during the first few minutes of a wash cycle
A+++ energy rating
Spin speed is variable – maxes out at 1400rpm