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I had to get another Zanussi when my 16 year model failed just after Christmas. I needed one that fitted under a narrow countertop and this one would fit, was very good value from Currys (£199 incl delivery and they also took away the old warrior free).
Preset Wash Cycles
15 Wash Presets
Annual Energy Consumption
Water Consumption Per Wash
Compact, Large Capacity
Economy Wash, Extra Rinsing
Control Panel Features
Delayed Start Timer, Dial Controls
Delicates, Hand Wash, Soak, Wool
Fitting My husband did this, and his comment was that it takes two people, as the transit bolts are quite stiff and you need to hold the machine at an angle to get access at one stage. He levelled off the machine using the tool provided. Our old machine had wheels at the back - current models may not - this one doesn't, and he anticipates it will be harder to pull out. It fits well in the space, with space for the hoses to fit at the back without kinking.
Detergent Drawer This Flexidose drawer is standard across the current models, and is well designed in my view. There is a lever you depress to get it to release, so easy access for cleaning or to change its use from liquid to powder. Yes, you can use liquid in the drawer and it will release on the appropriate time in the programme. This means that the warning not to use it with prewash may no longer be valid. However, liquid detergents are not recommended by Which or Washerhelp for other reasons, which I will mention below. The powder I used to use, Fairy Nonbio, creates a lot of suds and does not clean as well in this machine. I now use a cheap bio detergent with Soda Crystals which cleans well, low suds and rinses completely out of our clothes. Without the Soda Crystals the cheap detergent does not fully dissolve in the drawer. If you use too much detergent, even if dissolved, it wont rinse away and will remain in the tub and clothes. After 5 uses of Fairy, we were able to run the programmes twice with nothing in the drawer and still had suds! There are Prewash and Softener compartments which work well on my machine.
Door Seal The rubber door seal is perfectly clean, of course it is only 1 month old. On my old machine after 10 years it was a dark grey colour, but not smelly. According to Washerhelp the use of nonbio detergent, and low temperature washes, has led to growth of mould on the interior of the washing machine. This can be sorted by regular maintenance washes at 90C with bio detergent powder. I never bothered with my last machine, but this one may not be as robust. The seal has three escape holes for drainage at the base. This keeps the gasket dry, well designed. You can set the door to Child lock setting, but I have not needed to investigate this.
Control panel This panel is angled for easy view from above, and the dial is easy to use with a well defined click to select the programme. There are three options for delay start, 3, 6 and 9 hours. The set programmes are the familiar ones for cottons and synthetics, both use the top spin of 1200 on long spin, but you can choose to reduce the spin on any programme by selecting the spin button which will light up. This will reduce 1200 to 900, 900 to 700. I havent tried this on the Mini 30 wash as this uses a 700 spin anyway. If you choose an incompatible option the Start button will flash red. (Edit - I just read in the manual that the Spin button will halve the spin, min 400rpm, so 1200 to 600, 700 to 400 are the speed reductions.) Super Quick is well worth using, shortens the cycle by omitting the final rinse, which should be ok unless you use the manufacturer's recommended amount. You can opt for an extra Rinse on any of the programmes but only at the outset; if you see lots of suds on final rinse you can adjust the programme by pressing Pause, Off, then Rinse. This will save time as you dont want the suds spun into the clothes. Pause does work to allow you to open the door after 3 minutes (if the water isnt heated, or in the drum) and the programme will restart by pressing the same button. If you have to open the drum anyway, turn it off on the dial, wait three minutes and it will open, but watch out for water escape. The release is indicated by one short beep, which is roughly 3 minutes after the end of the cycle. You also have the End Cycle button lit to guide you. Pity there is no programme time remaining display, but at this price point I am not complaining. The fuzzy logic programming means that the programme weighs the clothes and so you dont know how long it will take until the programme has started anyway. I have not used Mini 30 but this presumably does not use fuzzy logic.
Packing in the laundry The manual does tell you the load recommended for each wash programme. In addition to this there are a few tips i have noticed which may be applicable to many current machines. If I have two heavy towels, and a few shirts the machine will thump its way through the programmed spin. Very noisy bashing the towels from one side of the drum to the other, as the towels will clump together, and the shirts wont be heavy enough to balance it. Solution - wash towels seperately. If I have a sheet with an elasticated edge, it will collect small items and will act like a battering ram in the spin cycle. If this is normal then its poorly designed. After a towel wash the next wash will have fluff transferred; very visible when its dark blue onto white shirts! I did a maintenance wash after a towel wash, and the following wash wash was unaffected by fluff. Very expensive and time consuming solution. But better than having to pull fluff off a shirt with tape. Maybe vinegar will help, as it is supposed to have antistatic properties. The wash is hard on fabric, and even wellwashed towels felt thinner after a few washes in this machine. I will use the Super Quick which reduces the wash time. This is not available on the easy iron setting, which uses 900rpm spin which may be easier on the shirts. Half load only on this.
Dont ignore thumps in the spin cycle, as they put pressure on the bearings and motor. These machines are designed for 800 cycles with normal use, and once the bearings go the machine is beyond economic repair. Electrolux sell several brand names of which Zanussi and Bosch have the best reputation, who knows if this is still deserved.
The synthetic cycle copes really well with shirts, takes only 70 mins when I select Super Quick and 40C. They come out with few creases if I take them out immediately. Cottons at 60C with 6kg load took 120 mins and was poorly rinsed (this was before I changed detergent)
Filter An engineer told me that the machine is designed to cope with normal use without a filter, so the drain bore is larger than machines with a filter. The manual tells you in bold type not to allow coins or loose metal objects into the wash as this will damage the machine. I would prefer to have some protection against this occurring.
Ease of use I now find it easy to use, and certainly easier than handwashing. I check pockets for change but I could forget. Many of the issues I have with this machine may be common even to more expensive models in this brand, so the sole factor that would cause me to choose another in this price range is the lack of Filter.
I expect I would choose a Miele when I buy my next machine.
Update - I am now thinking of an LG direct drive, so a new review will be coming soon....