What is the John Lewis JLWM1205?
The JLWM (John Lewis Washing Machine) 1205 is the retailer’s entry-level own-branded washing machine offering good specification for a very attractive price. The headline A+++ energy rating and 7kg capacity will keep running costs low while rotary programme selection, feature buttons and basic numbers LED display give it a traditional simplicity to use.
Its larger porthole makes for easy loading and a wide selection of programmes cater for almost any wash load. For those with smaller kitchens or with their connecting pipes directly behind the machine, the JLWM1205 is usefully slim from front to back at just over 55cm deep. Even with the waste plumbing behind, this model should fit flush into standard 60cm-deep kitchen units.
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John Lewis JLWM1205 – What’s it like to use?
The JLWM1205 blends modern features with traditional operation, its rotary programme selector turning with positive clicks to engage the main wash programmes. Even if you have not had a new washing machine for a while, the range of programmes covers the same basic line up of cottons, wool, delicate etc, that have been adorning washing machines since the 1980s. A 20-minute Quick Wash is a handy new addition for today’s busy lifestyles.
After the main selection a number of option buttons allow user-control of temperature (on some programmes), spin speed and a delay start. This can be set to run the cycle overnight if you are on cheaper off-peak electricity, or so that the programme ends when you come in from work and you can hang the clothes out to dry immediately to reduce creasing. Adding a modern twist, the buttons register a press with a little beep and a red segment LED display shows wash time remaining in minutes.
Nice touch features include a child lock door, extra rinse mode for those sensitive to detergents and a ‘quick’ mode that speeds up some cycles at the expense of a little wash performance. The fairly wide opening door, pull-out detergent and conditioner tray, and low down pump filter access flap (to remove all those coins that went into the machine in pockets) will be familiar to anyone who knows their way around a washing machine.
John Lewis JLWM1205 – How noisy is it?
Coming in at around £330 we were not expecting the JLWM1205 to be outstandingly quiet and its EU energy label clams of less than 60dB wash noise and 78dB on spin seemed about right for the money. In reality, the wash was a little noisier than stated, peaking at 62dB as the water sloshing noise added to the motor and pump sounds. Do bear in mind, however, that if you are upgrading from an older, well-worn machine, even 62dB will sound whisper quiet – being only about the conversation in a restaurant.
However, the JLWM1205’s spin speed was markedly less noisy that the EU tests, making us wonder quite what those EU boffins were washing when they measured the noise… possibly bricks. Despite suggesting an average 78dB noise on full spin, we barely measured 73dB, which is not much louder than you would have a kitchen radio.
Obviously this machine’s fairly conservative 1,200rpm maximum spin speed gives it a noise advantage over faster machines, but this is still a very impressive result. Interestingly, much of the customer feedback on this model on John Lewis’s website mentions how quiet this machine is compared to their old model. A great result.
John Lewis JLWM1205 – Programmes
This machine’s line-up of programmes holds few surprises and covers all the familiar bases. There are three main cotton washes covering standard, intensive and with pre-wash for heavily soiled clothes such as football kit. For other materials, generically labelled ‘textiles’ on the machine’s fascia, you get dedicated programmes for wool, delicates and synthetics as well as a programme for easy-iron fabrics which further helps to reduce creasing.
A key programme is perhaps today’s ‘default’ wash cycle, ‘cotton economy’. This program is the one used for the EU energy label testing, is made to be the most efficient and will deliver the claimed A+++ energy results – albeit only with a maximum load. It is set near the top of the dial and we expect most users will use this programme most of the time. Do see our note of caution (in How Much Will It Cost to Run) on loads, however.
Under the Extra Programmes label the JLWN1205 offers a heavy cotton wash for full loads and bulkier cotton item such as duvet covers, a cold 20 degree C wash to protect clothes in a load of mixed materials and a super-quick 20 minute wash. This programme is ideal for emergency freshen-up of lightly soiled clothes but they do come out quite wet, so you will have to budget plenty of time for drying them before they can be worn or out away.
Stand-alone rinse, drain and manual spin cycles complete the programme offering. Some of the main programmes can be adjusted for temperature and spin speed, and can have an extra rinse cycle added to ensure detergent removal. The rinse hold feature stops main programmes before the rinsing and spinning part of the wash, to be engaged manually when you are ready. For washes you start when you go out, this saves a fully finished load creasing up by sitting in the drum for hours.
John Lewis JLWM1205 – How well does it wash?
We ran our standard three wash cycles for our tests; a 40°C cotton wash with a 5.6kg (80%) full load at the maximum 1200 spin speed, a 40°C normal cotton wash with a 2.8kg (40%) load at 1200 spin speed and then the same load but this time in machine’s Cotton Eco programme to see how much energy this mode could save. As the JLWM’s Cotton Eco mode defaults to a 60 degree C wash, we suspected the answer might not be much. A test stain strip went into the first wash, stained with dried on ketchup, coffee, blood, red wine and engine oil. We loaded the JLWM1205 with a leading brand non-biological detergent and got down to washing.
The main 80% full-load cotton wash at 40 degrees was certainly not speedy and took 3hrs and 35minutes from start to end, but the wash results themselves were impressive. Our test strip looked exceptionally clean for a budget washing machine with the merest hint of the heavier stains still showing. If you regularly use bio powders, this machine will deliver outstanding wash results for its asking price. Its spin performance was also very good for a 1200 spin machine, leaving just 1.8kg of water (32%) in the load to dry off.
Our test strip before (above) and after (below)
The half load test showed much the same results with the machine effectively reducing water and energy consumption accordingly. The wash duration slimmed down to a slightly more reasonable 2hrs 28minutes, too.
As we anticipated with the Cotton Eco mode defaulting to a 60 degree C wash, meaning the water had to be heated a further 20 degrees over the normal wash, results were not as frugal as one would have hoped. In fact, compared to the half load normal wash, the Eco Cotton wash used 15% more electricity and water and its reduced energy spin left a further 300g of water in the wash. It also took a staggering 4hrs and 15minutes to complete. Oh dear.
John Lewis JLWM1205 – How much will it cost to run?
Based on electricity costs alone, the JLWM1205 is quite a frugal machine to run as long as you avoid the Eco Cotton wash with half loads. The main cotton 80% load used 1.21kWh of electricity, or around 18pence per wash, with the half load halving that to just 0.580kWh. The latter would cost around 8.7pence per load. These figures are broadly in-line with similar specified machines, underlining this model’s excellent A+++ energy credentials.
Water consumption was not quite as impressive with the main load using 72.9 litres, perhaps 5-10 litres per wash above some other A+++ machines we have tested. The half load was less thirsty using less than half the water at just 33.3 litres. Given average household use of around 200 full loads and 50 half loads per year, the machine is a little thirstier than perfect, adding perhaps 2000 litres of water usage (around £3.50 for metered customers) per year over the most frugal models. So not a lot at all really.
As noted, switching to Cotton Economy for the half load increased the energy used to 0.735kWh or around 11 pence, and the water usage went up by four more litres per half load wash. That is not an unusual result as most Eco modes are geared up for a full load to minimise energy consumption rate per kg of washing. It is worth bearing in mind that, like many machines we have tested, the JLWM1205’s eco mode is not necessarily as ‘eco’ as it would seem.
Should I buy the John Lewis JLWM1205?
The JLWM1205 is an exceptional budget washing machine that offers outstanding cleaning performance, simple controls and low running costs. We like the shallow design, too, as it ensures it should fit flush under any counter with ease.
No cheap machine is perfect, of course. Noise and water consumption are a little higher than some, it’s not a quick machine generally and, like many, the Eco mode is best avoided. However, for a very reasonable asking price the JLWM1205 is a great all-round buy.
Its cleaning results are better than other cheap machines like the Servis W714F4HD and it comes with the reassurance of a three-year guarantee from a reputable brand.
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A great budget washing machine that’s easy to use and cleans well.