Are you a savvy shopper and homemaker? If you are, Black Friday (which falls on November 24 this year) will already be on your radar as the most sensible day of the year to purchase a new fridge or washing machine - leaving you with more cash to splash on Christmas presents.
However big-budget white goods can be fault-prone, so it pays to do your research and make sure you're buying a reliable model from a respected brand.
The Telegraph has rounded up everything you need to know about white goods ahead of the sales rush in this essential guide to buying white goods, as well as which deals we can expect to see this year.
Questions to ask for both fridges and washing machines
Is there a price match service?
How does the energy rating system work?
The energy rating determines a machine’s annual running costs. These energy ratings are often denoted by the letters A to D followed by up to three plus signs. However, it shouldn't be too much of a worry - most fridge freezers enjoy at least an A+ rating and, despite being on all the time, they won't hit your energy bills too hard.
Washing machines are rated from A to G, with their performance based on spin efficiency and whether they include energy-friendly features. Timer delays, which let you use cheaper overnight electricity, and pressure switch mechanisms, which automatically use the correct amount of water for the load, are features to look out for.
Fridges: what kind are you after?
Choose a tall fridge if you have plenty of groceries. You can opt for an under counter model if you're storing less food, or as a secondary fridge (good for when you have guests staying for the weekend, or at Christmas). Another thing to consider is whether you want a freestanding fridge, or a built-in model.
These fridge freezer combos are excellent for saving floor space and allow you to split your groceries into fresh and frozen.
An American-style fridge freezer
These are luxuriously large appliances with a huge amount of storage space. They often have multiple doors, and feature advanced technology.
These do what they say on the tin, and are specially designed for chilling wine and champagne at the optimum temperatures for serving and ageing.
How big should my fridge be?
- Measure the height, depth and width of the space allocated in your kitchen several times for accuracy.
- Account for door opening, general access, hinge size and location so you know your chosen appliance will be practical to use.
- Think about the constraints on moving the appliance into your house.
- Ensure there is ventilation space of at least 2 cm around the top and sides of the appliance.
- Make sure that the installation area offers a consistent ambient temperature so your refrigerator can perform at its best and last longer. If you want to store your refrigerator in a garage or outbuilding, make sure you choose an appliance that's designed for this purpose.
- If you're considering an appliance with a water or ice dispenser that requires plumbing, make sure you can install it within 1.5 m of the nearest water source.
The Telegraph recommends...
The pricey LG GSL961PZBV American-style fridge freezer is incredibly spacious, with 405 litres of fridge space and 196 litres of freezer space. Its self-sufficient plumbing system means you can install it anywhere in your kitchen without getting it plumbed while its holiday mode makes going away for a fortnight easier.
A big trend in fridges this year is a tendency to have multiple fridge doors, like the stylish stainless steel Haier HB14FMAA. Plus, brightly coloured fridges are also on trend: Gorenje and Smeg fridge freezers have colour match options that offer a fresh alternative to the traditional white appliance, ranging from cream to blue, pink to green.
Modern, premium-quality fridges often contain a number of special features. Digital temperature control, for example, allows you to enter in precise temperatures. Just a few degrees' difference can affect food safety and taste, so it should be a key consideration.
Fridges with multiple temperature zones take this a step further. Not all foods benefit from being kept at the same temperature, so it makes sense to keep your meat and poultry at a different temperature to your fruit. Another feature to look out for is the option to 'power chill' or 'power freeze' - this function allows you to speed up the chilling process on demand.
LED lighting is preferable to heat-emitting lights, and also helpfully light things up when you go to grab a late night snack.
Wide open spaces are also an important feature: it seems obvious, but since air circulation is critical to good cooling, a crowded fridge is something you'll want to avoid. Flexible shelving is useful and gives you more freedom to rearrange your food shop.
Finally, you might want to decide whether or not you want to go for a 'smart' fridge with Wi-Fi and connectivity. This means you can monitor your power usage, receive alerts (for example, if the door's been left open) and program the fridge to take advantage of reduced nighttime power rates.
One of the most exciting options currently on the market is the Samsung 'Family Hub' fridge (£2,599.00 at Curry's, with a 5-year guarantee) which promises to enable you to shop for food, organise the family calendar, share messages and photos, and even entertain (you can actually stream your favorite music or mirror your Samsung TV right on your refrigerator).
What money saving deals on fridges can I expect to find on Black Friday?
In 2016, deals included the likes of a stainless steel Hisense RQ560N4WC1 American Fridge Freezer - Stainless Steel for £529.99 (reduced by £270) at Argos, and a Swan 90cm American-Style Double Door Fridge Freezer for £349.99 at Very.co.uk, reduced from £699.99.
At Currys PC World, you could bag a 30 per cent discount on a Kenwood KFCD55B15 fridge freezer in black for £274.99.
How to shop for a new washing machine
White goods like washing machines are a considerable investment and will hopefully last at least 10 years. But with so many models on the market it's hard to pick what's right for you, especially with the pressure of a limited discounts window. Here are some tips on how to find the right machine for your home.
The Telegraph recommends...
The Miele WMB120 ticks a lot of boxes: as well as a family-friendly 8kg drum and a maximum spin speed of 1600 rpm, the machine is quiet and has an A+++ energy rating. It also has an automatic anti-crease function, which is ideal for those who don't have time to whip out the iron.
At the lower end of price range, The Beko WTB1041R2A can carry large loads of up to 10kg and has a quick wash time of 14 minutes, making speedy washing an easy option for families on the go. With a spin speed of 1400 rpm, time delay and an LED display showing you how much longer your washing will take, it's a machine to look out for.
Freestanding and integrated machines
Freestanding machines can be front-loaded, which means they can be loaded from the front and not the top.
An integrated machine is front-loading but covered by a door panel to integrate with your other kitchen units.
This space-saving option combines washing machines and tumble dryers, making them useful for smaller homes. They use cold water to dry clothes using a wet condenser system; this removes the water from the machine's outlet hose for you. Some brands use a heat pump to recycle heat in the drum, while some use a turbo system to force air around the clothes, drying them more quickly.
However they usually have a smaller drum than tumble dryers, which means you can only tumble dry small laundry loads. The wet condenser system uses more water than others, plus they use more energy than stand-alone tumble dryers do.
Programmes to look out for
Auto-dosing, where you put in enough washing liquid to last for a certain amount of loads and the machine automatically auto-doses according to what each load needs, is a handy programme to look out for.
Some machines can be controlled remotely via an app on your smartphone while some have a delay timer, which allows you to set your machines to start and finish at certain times. Plus, some have a reload function, which allows you to stop a wash that has already begun to add in new items.
Look out for machines which are cold-fill only: gentler on fabrics, this energy-efficient feature heats a small amount of water inside the washing machine instead of using water from your home's hot water system. Most machines are now cold-fill only, however some aren't.
Key features to consider
Work out what model you want in advance of Black Friday so you don't panic and end up buying a washing machine that doesn't actually fit the space you need it to.
Some machines are between 24 to 30-plus inches wide, and are bulky at the front so get your tape measure out.
Decide whether you want a smaller or larger drum; the bigger the drum, the more you can wash at once. However if you get a drum that's too big for your normal washing loads, you will waste money and electricity.
Currys PC World advise that one outfit (for example, a pair of trousers, underwear, socks and a top) is roughly equivalent to 1kg. Drums range in size from 5kg to 12kg, and 7kg is usually fine for most households.
Spin speeds range from 1000 to 1800 revolutions per minute (referred to as rpm by many shops). Spin speeds for synthetics and delicates are normally 400 to 800 rpm.
Washing machines with high spin speeds remove more water from clothes during the cycle, meaning your items come out drier. However, these can cost more to run while some are noisy, so it's essential to consider how your priorities.
Machines don't spin at their highest spin-speed all the time; most machines have at least two speeds as higher speeds can damage some materials.
You can pay over £1,000 for a top of the range washing machine, but experts at Which advise spending at least £300 to make sure you get a great machine. Work out your budget and stick to it.
If your washing machine is going into an open-plan living area or you often do your washing late at night, remember to prioritise a quiet washing machine. Machines usually range from 60 decibels to 80 decibels, so look for one at the lower end of that range.
What money saving deals on washing machines can I expect to find on Black Friday?
John Lewis knocked the price of the Samsung ecobubble freestanding washing machine down from £549 to £349 (a 35 per cent saving) last year, while Currys PC World reduced Hotpoint tumble dryers to £199 from £329.99. Plus, Tesco reduced Haier Washing machines by 20 per cent to £199.99.