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Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W review

Lots of options for a great price, especially for small loads

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W
(Image: © Indesit)

Our Verdict

Solid cleaning chops, low energy use and a decent-sized porthole for easy loading and unloading make this Indesit a great-value buy. Selecting a programme by numbers is a little clunky, and its slightly high water consumption and so-so spin efficiency highlight its budget underpinnings, but for a well-featured, reliable washer that won’t break the bank, it’s a sound option.

Indesit’s BWE 101684X W UK is part of the brand’s Innex range, and features a handy Push and Wash button for those seriously short on time – you simply push this for two seconds for a pre-set wash to start, although loading your laundry may take a while longer. This top-spec addition to Indesit’s Innex range boasts credible eco credentials with its A+++ energy rating, and an extra-large porthole door that happily swallows a duvet. Even rarer at this price is the 1600rpm maximum spin speed, promising drier washing straight out of the drum.

Heard about Indesit washing machines in the news? Fear not. Starting in December 2019, three Indesit models were the subject of owner-brand Whirlpool’s recall notices due to risk of fire. Thankfully, the new Innex series are bang up to date and not part of the recall, but if you’re looking at older Indesit or Hotpoint models, it's worth checking the models affected.

We put the BWE 101684X W UK through its paces to see what it offers.

Price and availability

The Indesit Innex BWE101684X W UK is available in the UK with an RRP of £319.99. While that makes it one of the pricier machines in the Innex range, it’s in the ballpark for machines that are starting to add features and hero specs to differentiate them from super-cheap machines. Beko’s Aquatech washer is a head-on 1600rpm spin competitor at almost the same price, although with its 8kg maximum load the Indesit is better for larger families.

Design and key features

The Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W breaks no new ground with its appearance. It’s a big white box, with the standard detergent drawer on the left, a central controller knob, a display on the right, a porthole door below and pump filter access below a pull-off panel at the bottom.

Selecting a programme isn't as easy as it could be though. Having to cross-reference between the numbers around the dial and the list of numbered programmes on the detergent drawer panel to the left isn’t the smoothest idea, doubly so as there would be plenty of space to have the full programme names around the dial with a little rearranging of the layout. The orange-on-black display is easy to read, although the Indesit forgoes upper-market touch controls for good old-fashioned push buttons.

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

With a 10kg drum, the Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W UK has plenty of space for those big loads, and a generously-sized porthole to fill it through. Our test duvet went in without the customary foot-push required with smaller openings, suggesting big loads and puffer jackets won’t be an issue. The maximum 1600 spin speed is a welcome inclusion at the price, and should make for quicker tumble dries, or simply less time with damp washing hanging about the house.

Add this to its array of Rapid Option washes, covering 20-, 30-, 45- or 60-minute cycles for light soiling, and doing the laundry shouldn’t take all day. Even the Push and Wash programme only takes 45 minutes, on top of those valuable seconds saved through only having to press one button.

If you do need more specific washes though, the Innex doesn’t disappoint, with programmes like Sport wash, a Duvet programme, Woolmark Apparel Care and the trainer-taming Shoe Sport wash. (No, we don’t know why it isn’t called ‘Sport Shoe’ either…)

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

If your focus is on reducing running costs and saving resources, the Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W has plenty to offer. The A+++ energy rating may only relate to the Eco Cotton programme, but the good selection of general low-energy washes includes Everyday 30° Eco options for Cottons, Synthetics, Coloureds and Delicates, and a Rapid 30min wash, as well as a higher-temperature Eco Cotton wash for heavily soiled clothes.

Nice touches at the price include a child lock option to stop little fingers messing with your washing plans, a delayed start option, and the ability to override the default spin speed for a preset. An antimicrobic door seal should prevent mould growing in the folds of the rubber, and an AutoClean cycle should keep the machine itself well laundered.

Testing and real-world performance

How we test

Our tests include the UK’s most popular programme: a full-load Eco Cotton wash at 40 degrees, comprising a selection of cotton clothing, bedsheets and towels, plus a test stain strip featuring an assortment of dried-on household and food spills. Measuring water, energy and noise throughout, we also run a half-load Eco Cotton 40 wash to see if the machine reduces water and energy consumption accordingly, plus one or two more cycles to test any programmes specific to the machine or brand. We only wash with non-bio liquid to ensure it’s the machine, not the detergent, doing all the work. As cotton clothes take up a relatively large amount of space, we use 70% of claimed maximum load capacity for a full load and 30% for a half load. We also test spin efficiency by checking the weight of water remaining in the load after a cycle.

Setting up for our first test wash with the Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W, we found the process of selecting the desired programme a bit clunky. As mentioned, selecting a wash requires cross-referencing dial numbers against the programme list on the detergent drawer panel, and we found the controller knob rather stiff, and a little too shallow to grip easily. Things got easier once we got used to the Indesit’s quirks however, and the controller knob loosened up over time.

While we always test by performing an Eco Cotton wash at 40 degrees, on the Indesit the programme defaults to 60 degrees, so another option press is required if you want to select the lower, more eco-friendly temperature. We just about managed to get 6kg of fluffed-up cotton clothes mix, plus the test stain cloth, in the drum before it was looking crammed; a 10kg machine should just about be able to handle 7kg of real-world clothes, so this Indesit’s drum isn’t perhaps quite as capacious as claimed.

The display suggested that the Eco Cotton programme would take a seriously lengthy four hours to complete. While some way off the five hours-plus of some brand’s eco washes, four hours seemed lengthy given this model’s claimed capability to perform short, high-speed washes. Moreover, the actual wash ran over 45 minutes longer than indicated, very nearly cresting our five-hour boredom threshold. The half load didn’t speed things up much either, shaving off only 30 minutes to come in at four hours, 13 minutes; going Eco is a time-consuming endeavour, clearly.

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

Thankfully the Indesit's stain-busting performance proved worth the near five-hour wait. The harissa paste was still visible, but had been addressed well considering that it’s an impossible stain to clean thoroughly without biological detergent. There were also faint marks left from the turmeric and grass stains, but again neither of these are a breeze to get rid of completely. So overall it was a very good effort from a budget machine on a low-energy Eco wash.

 Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

Dropping to a half load saw the Indesit’s sensors working well, reducing energy and water consumption for the main Cotton washes by around 35%; half loads are never as efficient per kg of washing as full loads, but here washing smaller loads won't cost you too much more.

On full or half loads it’s a peaceful operator too. The average noise during the wash phase was nearer 49dB than the 52dB stated on the energy label, and anything below 50dB is very quiet indeed. The spin cycle was a whole lot quieter that stated too, coming in at an average of just over 70dB, with rare peaks nearing the energy label’s stated noise of 79dB; with 70dB being about the noise of a shower, and 79dB close to a hairdryer, that’s quite a difference. 

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

Pulling the washing out after its 1600rpm spin, however, we were a little disappointed, as it wasn’t quite as dry as we’d have liked. The full load retained an extra 34% in water weight, and that only dropped to 33% for a usually more spin-efficient half load. The best 1600 machines come in at around 31% and 29% respectively, so the Indesit’s high-speed whirl isn’t actually much more effective than a good 1400 spin machine. On a side note, we also noticed that water pooled in the door rubber, so we hope that the antimicrobic seal does indeed stop mould growing in these damp recesses.

Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of running costs, the BWE 101684X W only just makes the grade as an A+++ machine, and only then on a full-load Eco Cotton wash. Its 1.1kW for our full test load will cost you around 15 pence, which is a little higher than we’d have liked for an A+++ machine. That said, our calculated annual energy consumption figures are only a little higher than those stated on the energy label (226kWh vs 215kWh).

Indesit’s Water Balance Plus feature is designed to optimise water use depending on the load, but it wasn’t noticeably effective in our tests. Our full-load Eco Cotton wash guzzled over 100 litres of water, while the half load used 70 litres. Based on the same 220 washes per year, we would use over 21,000 litres of water, which is way higher than the claimed 13,000 litres. This figure will vary depending on load weights and soiling level, and it’ll certainly be lower for the quicker and lighter washes, but our test results suggest the Indesit likes a drink.

Verdict

Good stain-busting performance, useful capacity and a A+++ energy efficiency make the Indesit Innex BWE 101684X W a great freestanding washing machine with low electricity running costs. Water use was higher than we'd like, but the handy selection of Everyday 30-degree Eco programmes for smaller loads and speedy washes will reduce resource consumption for lightly-soiled loads. We question the usefulness of Indesit’s Push and Wash button, and the process for selecting programmes, but these are quirks you’d likely get used to.

The 40-degree Eco Cotton wash takes a crazily long time at close to five hours, although the 60-degree wash is slightly shorter – and the much quicker Everyday 30-degree washes are only for half loads, so if you have a big household, getting all your washing done in a day could be a challenge. That gripe aside, the Indesit’s price is extremely appealing, it uses very little electricity, and has a porthole wide enough for the fluffiest of duvets. Once you get used to the numbered programmes the operation is simple too, making it a solid budget option.