A smart washing machine controllable via the app, the AEG L9FEB969C also comes with a water softener, which makes well-suited to hard water areas. Excellent stain removal at low temperatures plus low running costs makes this a top high-end washing machine.
- Low running costs
- Useful smartphone app
- Cleans well at low tempertures
- Could have better stain removal in Eco mode
- UKRRP: £999
CapacityHolding up to 9kg, the AEG offers sufficient room to fit in a large load and enough space for larger items
Smart featuresHook up this machine to your Wi-Fi for remote control via the AEG app
It appears that there are fewer ways for washing machine manufacturers to differentiate their products. The AEG L9FEB969C does so through the company’s SoftWater technology, with sees a built-in water softener added to the appliance.
With excellent remote control and good cleaning at lower temperatures, combined with low running costs, this is a high-end washing machine that impresses, particularly in hard-water areas.
Design and features
- Water softener helps prevent limescale
- Smart app provides remote control
- Bright light in drum
From the outside, the AEG L9FEB969C looks much like any other washing machine. Pull open the detergent drawer and you’ll spot that there’s a Salt compartment. This can be filled with dishwasher salt and is used for the SoftWater water-softener.
Based on the setting you input into the machine (you can find your water hardness level online), the water softener automatically adjusts the amount of salt used to soften the water. So, what’s the advantage?
Hard water contains minerals, such as limescale, which can be harsh on clothing and make detergents less effective. For this reason, detergent contains a softening agent and you require higher doses in hard water areas.
The problem is that most of us, myself included, don’t always use the correct amount of detergent. Besides, the dosage is a generalisation; it isn’t targeted to your exact area. With the AEG L9FEB969C, once you’ve set the water hardness level, the softener is tuned to your area – and, aside from having to refill the salt, you can forget about this.
Effectively, the AEG L9FEB969C then operates as though it’s in a soft water area, which means you can use less detergent to get the same cleaning results, as well as protecting the inside of your machine from mineral build-up. AEG also says that softer water helps protect colour fastness. For those of us in hard water areas, this is a handy addition and something that we’re all used to seeing in dishwashers.
The addition of the salt container does mean that there’s no room for pre-wash in the drawer, only detergent (a slide-in liquid tray is provided; you don’t need this for powder) and fabric softener. If you want pre-wash, then you’ll have to add it directly to the wash, via a detergent ball.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with a large 9kg drum providing plenty of room for your washing. The light in the drum is a welcome feature, making it easy to see what you’re doing. It’s particularly useful for ensuring you don’t miss a stray sock when emptying.
The main control panel presents the standard selection of programmes. Most are covered, with special programmes for MyWash 49min (fast cleaning of regularly soiled items); Wool; Down Jackets; and a very quick 20min 3kg wash for fast turnaround.
A Steam option allows you to refresh clothes, plus you can use the controls under the LCD screen to add steam to a cycle, to reduce creasing (and therefore ironing time) of items. In addition, you get controls to adjust the temperature and spin speed of a wash. Current time remaining is shown on the main screen, although this will change based on the amount of washing in the machine, reducing for lighter loads.
As a smart machine, the AEG L9FEB969C connects to Wi-Fi and the My AEG Care app. From the app, you can select your desired programme plus any options, which are immediately sent to the machine. For safety, you can’t start a washing machine cycle without first turning on the Remote Start option (this is the same for all smart washing machines).
From the app, you can check on the time remaining on the cycle and you’ll receive a notification once the wash has finished. Cleverly, if you have an AEG smart tumble dryer, it can be automatically linked via the app, giving drying recommendations and showing you the total wash and dry times. Samsung offers similar features with its smart devices, such as the Samsung WW9800T.
The app also provides handy tips for removing stains, and has a care label guide. The latter is useful – although the Hoover H-Wash 500 goes one step further, providing users with the ability to scan care labels via their phone’s camera and suggesting the best wash programme thereafter.
- Low running costs
- Efficient cleaning on low temperatures
- Could clean better on Eco settings
To see how good the AEG L9FEB969C is, I put it through my standard tests. I began with the regular Cotton 30ºC wash. For this machine, I used less detergent than normal, adjusting for the inclusion of the built-in water softener.
I then loaded my test washing , along with a stain strip that contains (left to right) blobs of red wine, cooking oil, ketchup, orange juice and gravy. Completing the wash cycle, I found that all of the stains bar the red wine one had been removed. Even the red wine stain had dramatically faded; and properly pre-treating the stain would likely have removed it.
On this setting, with the Stains option selected, the washing machine consumed 0.702kWh of power and used a fair amount of water at 76.4 litres. Clothes came out quite dry, adding 39.67% of their original weight in water retention.
Next, I moved to the Eco 40-60 programme, which is designed to save energy. Indeed, power consumption dropped to just 0.31kWh and water consumption to just 43 litres. The weight of the load had also come down to 33.06% above the original.
Using this programme, results were good but not quite as impressive. While some of the stains had been removed, you could still see a faint outline of the ketchup and gravy stains remaining, alongside the red wine stain. Pre-treating stains or using a more intensive wash would help.
As an A-rated appliance, the AEG L9FEB969C is as efficient as you can get. Based on the washing label, this machine costs a reasonable 19p per cycle. To work out fair running costs between different manufacturers, I first work out the average total amount of washing done per year in kilograms, assuming 274 loads per year with 6kg per load. That gives a total amount of washing of 1644kg per year. Assuming the AEG L9FEB969C was used in full 9kg loads, it only needs 182.67 loads per year to complete this amount of washing.
That translates to a annual running cost of £34.39. That’s super-low and only the Bosch Serie 8 WAV28MH4GB can do better – and then only by a bit. Here, you can save costs fur