HolidayBuyer's Guide

A washer that mimics washing by hand

Fisher & Paykel's washing machine eliminates allergens and does its part to save the planet.

So you want the convenience of an automatic washer, but you also want to feel like you're doing your part for the planet. Fisher & Paykel's Intuitive Eco may be for you.

The instruction manual says this machine will give you clean laundry even if you don't have any cleaning experience.Photo by Fisher & Paykel

The machine's sensors monitor clothing movement and adjust the wash action and the water level to get your clothes cleaner with less water and energy. The bowl only fills with enough water to saturate clothes. That concentrated water and detergent solution is recirculated via a special pump system that lets the washer use only one-third of the hot water used in other models.

Throughout the wash cycle, the sensors continue to adjust the agitator for gentle or more intense movement, mimicking hand washing, and allowing the machine to change the water levels and temperature as needed, which, according to the company, dramatically reduces water usage.

In addition, the washer's direct drive motor has no mechanical brake, pulleys, or gears, which means fewer moving parts. In other words, what's not there can't break.

For the truly eco-minded, the machine also comes with instructions that detail how you can reuse your wash and rinse water for a second load--but you'll need to have enough storage space for the wet clothes to sit around and wait their turn.

Sensitive users can take advantage of the machine's allergy cycle, which is designed to kill dust mites and remove all their waste in a highly concentrated hot wash.