What’s the difference between commercial and domestic models?

Miele product lineup

Many people wonder whether there are any real differences between commercial washing machines and domestic machines. Here we look at the top 10 questions we get asked.

1. What is a commercial washing machine?

A commercial washing machine is designed for constant usage, large loads & built with specific quality components, tolerances, and features that you won’t find in domestic machines. Commercial washing machines contain much higher-grade motors, pumps, and heating elements which make them suitable for use in a commercial environment.

2. What is the difference between a commercial washing machine and a regular washing machine?

There are several differences between a commercial washing machine and a domestic one. Broadly speaking, a commercial washing machine is built to withstand the intensive daily usage of a commercial environment. Domestic equipment is simply not designed for this. The main differences are:

A typical domestic washing machine is built to last around 5 years, delivering an average of 270 washes hours per year.

On the other hand, commercial washing machines are subject to intensive quality testing, to give them a much longer life. For example, the Miele Professional commercial washing machines are tested to 30,000 operating hours. This equates to over 10 years of usage, based on running the machine 8 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Higher grade parts
The component parts of a commercial washing machine are a different specification than those for a domestic machine. The motor is of a much higher grade and so will last longer.

The graded heated element in a commercial washing machine gives much more consistent results, meaning it will meet the stringent infection control requirements for environments such as a care home or healthcare.

3. What features do commercial washing machines have that set them apart from domestic machines?

There are a number of features and types of cycles that are only available in commercial washing machines:

Hot-fill – commercial machines can be filled directly with hot water which means quicker cycles and lower energy usage
Specific wash programs – that can be tailored to meet the needs of different sectors, in particular care homes
Auto-Dosing – commercial machines can be fitted with auto-dosing pumps which dose industrial chemicals at the quantity you need.

4. Are commercial washing machines larger than domestic machines?

Commercial washing machines come in a range of sizes designed to meet requirements. The smallest commercial machines, such as the Miele Little Giants offer a load capacity of 8kg, but they only take up floor space of 1m2, similar to a domestic machine.
The larger commercial machines, for example, the Primus machines stocked by WASHCO go up to a capacity of 32kg and above. The advantage where you have a high throughput of laundry is being able to reduce the number of loads required, saving time and money.
It’s important that you choose the right size and number of washing machines to meet your specific requirements. WASHCO can advise you on the right size of machine to meet your needs.

5. What is the difference between a commercial washing machine and an industrial washing machine?

Industrial washing machines are extremely large, expensive built-to-order machines for environments such as industrial cleaning companies. Commercial washing machines are designed to be used in sectors such as care homes, hotels, schools, and healthcare.

6. Can I change the power rating on a commercial washing machine?

Unlike a domestic machine, a commercial washing machine can be adapted for different power supplies including single-phase or three-phase power. Dependent on the model, they can also be converted from 13-amp through to 32-amp.

7. Should I buy a commercial washing machine instead of a domestic one?

A commercial washing machine is essential for many environments where infection control and sanitation are of primary importance. For example, care homes, healthcare, boarding schools, hotels, and sheltered housing. They are also available with payment options.
All commercial washing machines supplied by WASHCO are WRAS 5 approved. This is the minimum standard that is needed to meet infection control requirements in a care home.
Domestic machines are simply not designed to comply with these standards.

8. What is the life expectancy of a commercial washing machine?

A commercial washing is built to last! We measure washing machine life in cycle hours. A good commercial washing machine such as Miele will typically last 30,000 hours. This compares with a typical domestic machine with an expected life of 2,500 hours! So, on average a commercial machine lasts 12 times as long as a domestic model.
Although domestic machines do come with manufacturer warranties, these will usually be invalidated if the machines are used for commercial purposes.
Commercial machines, on the other hand usually have standard parts and labour warranties for two years. There is also the option to have a maintenance contract which covers breakdowns and annual maintenance including gas safety checks.

9. How much does a commercial washing machine cost?

The cost of a commercial washing machine depends on a number of factors including make, model, and capacity. We stock a range of commercial machines that cater to all budgets and requirements.

A domestic machine can cost less initially. But they are more likely to need replacing sooner which can be more expensive in the long run. Domestic machines are not designed for frequent, commercial use which can lead to more breakdowns.

Commercial machines can be available to rent which has several advantages. These include no upfront cost and a monthly subscription which includes both the equipment and the service. WASHCO provides equipment to suit any budget and offers clients flexible finance arrangements. You can then easily manage your outgoings and have flexibility if your needs change.

10. Where can I buy a commercial washing machine?

WASHCO stocks a range of commercial washing machines at different price points and specifications to suit every business need.
View our full range of commercial washing machines here

To discuss your requirements and get advice about the best commercial washing machines to meet your needs, contact WASHCO’s specialists on 08000 546 546 or email