A washing machine costing more than £600 produced inferior results to one retailing for about one-third of this price in the latest group test carried out by consumer champion Which? magazine.
The in-depth tests of six of the current market best-sellers proved that buyers face an almost impossible task when trying to differentiate between models through looking over them in showrooms, the publication said.
For its latest in-depth test, the magazine focused on budget models, with prices ranging from £160 to £400, and pitted machines bearing well-known manufacturers' names, including Hotpoint and Logik, alongside an own-brand model from electrical retailer Currys – the cheapest model tested.
"Our tests reveal you could pay over £600 and still end up with a Don’t Buy washing machine, or you could pay close to £200 and get a 'best buy'," said Adrian Porter, Which? laundry expert.
"Price is no guarantee of quality," he added.