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What is a Twin Tub Washing Machine?

Your mum might remember, your gran almost certainly will, but for most people under the age of fifty, a twin tub is likely to be something only ever seen in a museum. And yet ....if saving water is top of your priority list then the the answer to the question 'what is a twin tub washing machine?' could be 'exactly what you're looking for!'

The Clue's In the Name

Unlike a modern automatic washing machine, which combines washing and spinning into one process, in one drum, and maybe even adds tumble drying into the mix, a twin tub has two drums. One, generally the one on the left is used to wash clothes, while the other is used to spin the clothes.

Just to add to the fun, most twin tums aren't plumbed in devices, instead they come with a couple of hoses, one of which needs to be attached to the hot water tap to fill the machine, the other, fixed to the back of the appliance is used to drain it.

Why Would anyone Want One?

When considering twin tub washing machine pros and cons it's easier to spot the cons than the pros.

The disadvantages of a twin tub

Using a twin tub is a lot more work - You have to stand over it to fill it. When the wash cycle is finished you have to transfer the wet clothes from the wash drum to the spin side. You'll need to rinse and spin more than once of course, so that means transferring the clothes back across, to the wash side, soaking them in clean water, then repeating the process until the water being spun out is clear.

Twin tubs are top loaders - Unlike modern automatics which are almost always front loading. So you can't use them under a work surface and if you store them under one you have to have space in the kitchen to pull them out.

You may have trouble finding spares or repairs - For that matter, if you decide you buy a twin tub new in the UK you'll find far less choice than you will in automatics. When you need a technician for your electrical washing machine repair you'll have to find someone who understands these machines and can get hold of the parts you need.

The advantages of a twin tub

There are more than you'd think!

Put it anywhere - You don't need to plumb in a twin tub so you can store it anywhere, just so long as you have a clear path to wheel it within hose length of a water point.

Water saving and energy efficient - You can start off with a load of lightly soiled washing, then recycle some of the water to wash more heavily soiled laundry. If you're really dedicated you can even save the water to use on your garden, though you'll have to make sure you use an environmentally friendly detergent if you want to do this.

The spin cycle is very efficient - The spin on a twin tub will outperform many automatics, which means less drying time.

Is a twin tub right for me?

It all depends on your priorities. If time and your own labour is most important to you, you'll probably do better with a modern automatic, but if water saving is a must and you don't mind the extra work a twin tub may suit you down to the ground.