Many of us who grew up in HDB flats are used to putting laundry out to dry on bamboo poles. Besides requiring serious core and arm muscle, it also poses a safety risk and is a huge pain when it starts raining and the struggle ensues to bring our laundry back in.
Today’s BTOs offer standard indoor laundry racks, which are safer but no less tedious, requiring manually pulling the rack up and down. And if you aren’t blessed with an abundance of sunlight and ventilation in your service yard, there’s not much hope in your clothes smelling clean and fresh.
While you could always invest in a dryer, the electricity needed to operate one can drive your utilities bills up quite significantly. But there’s a good solution to all these problems—an automated laundry system.
Design: The Interior Lab
Unlike the standard ones that come in today’s BTO flats, automated laundry systems don’t require manual pulling. Most of the ones in Singapore also come with extra functions that help to make the drying process faster. Some also feature disinfecting properties, while others come with smart features that allow you to control the laundry system remotely.
Design: The Local Inn.terior
There are quite a number of automated laundry system brands out there, so you might be wondering how to begin choosing the right one for your home. This guide cuts through the marketing jargon and aims to help by providing a list of things you can look out for when shopping for an automated laundry system. Decide on the features you want to have and the ones you can forgo. We’ve also provided links to specific models and brands to make the buying process easier for you.
Size and Laundry Load
Design: Ace Interior Design
One of the first things to look out for in an automated laundry system is the capacity. How big an automated laundry system you should go for is mainly dependent on your family size, the size of your laundry load and the number of clothes you are planning to hang out to dry at a go.
Get an automated laundry system with a bigger maximum loading capacity size and more poles if you are planning to put out several laundry loads to dry. As an estimate, an automated laundry system with a loading capacity of 35 kg is capable of hanging out four to five loads from a 7-kg washer.
If you wish to hang out comforters and blankets, get ones that come with long extendable poles, preferably ones that drop down from the main system body so you can maximise air flow. For reference, a queen-sized quilt has a length of 230 cm.
The size you get also depends on the size of your service yard. Make sure you measure out your space before making your purchase (you want to be able to fully extend out the poles), or get an on-site assessment to have the suppliers assess your space.
Image credit: Steigen | Product featured: Steigen Solar Mini
For larger households, consider the OR-SGM09 by Orlant, which has poles that are extendable to 3.6 m.
Or consider the Singgate LS029, where two of its four poles can be dropped down to accommodate for larger laundry pieces. It also has dedicated hanger poles and extra rungs to put out more laundry.
Heater, Fan and Light
Design: Icon Interior Design
To speed up the drying process and to keep your clothes smelling fresh, consider getting an automated laundry system with a heater and fan. However, using these functions does take up quite a bit more energy, which would increase your electricity costs.
If you are inclined to do laundry at night, you might benefit from an automated laundry system with an in-built LED light. With this, you wouldn’t need a separate light in the service yard, keeping your space less visually cluttered.
Products to check out:
Mensch’s MD03 comes with a heater that switches off after 90 mins and a twin-blower fan that switches off after 180 mins. This means you won’t have to worry about remembering to switch them off.
If you need your clothes to dry fast, you will want to get your hands on Orlant’s OR-SGM11. This system comes with a unique drying bag, where clothes in that bag are subjected to circulating heat, cold air, and wind, resulting in dry and clean clothes in just two hours.
Mensch also carries the M1XPRO Xiaomi Mijia Mr Bond, which features a unique drop-down heater for more even heating.
Image credit: Mensch | Product featured: M1XPRO Xiaomi Mijia Mr Bond
If you are looking to illuminate your service yard, look no further than to the Oikia ARL-10, which is attached with a large 36-inch LED panel.
Design: Design 4 Space
Homeowners that switch to an automated laundry system usually seek out one with disinfecting features. Disinfecting features are particularly useful for those suffering from allergens, since they help to eliminate viruses and bacteria.
Products to check out:
Steigen’s Solar Alpha comes with a solar drying function, which uses solar heaters that run at 60 deg C to eliminate bacteria. It also features an additional ioniser that removes airborne allergens such as pollen, bacteria and dust mites while eliminating musty odours.
Goodwife’s Luxe features a UV disinfection lamp, which runs for 37.5 mins to effectively kill bacteria, mites and other microorganisms. You can choose to turn it on after loading your laundry on the rack or once your clothes have dried (set a timer so that it switches on after 8 hours of drying).
If exposure to UV lighting is a concern, check out Orlant’s 3W disinfection light in models such as their OR-SGM10. The UV light in their automated laundry systems comes with a radiation range of 1.5 metres, so it doesn’t quite reach you if you happen to be standing underneath the laundry system when the disinfection light is on.
Image credit: Goodwife | Product featured: Goodwife Advanced Modern
For families with young children and the elderly at home, safety should be a priority when choosing a suitable automated laundry system. Some models automatically stop when they detect an obstruction, while others come with child safety locks that will keep prying fingers safe.
Products to check out:
Luxe by Goodwife is equipped with smart sensors that allow you to stop or lift the rack up with a simple touch to stop accidents in time. It also features a child lock to prevent misuse.
Yuhome’s 366H model features an obstacle detection sensor as well. They also come with a 90-deg C temperature control protection that prevents overheating.
Some of Orlant models, including the OR-SGM13, go one step further. Instead of just stopping when an obstacle is detected, the automated laundry system rebounds upwards by 5 cm upon contact.
Image credit: Mensch | Product featured: M1X Xiaomi Mijia Mr Bond
If you are all fancy, consider getting an automated laundry system with smart features. Most of these laundry systems can be controlled via a remote control, but the ones with smart features can be controlled using an app with your smartphone or with other tech devices. What this means is you can switch your automated laundry system on and off remotely and operate the various functions without having to step into the service yard. #SmartHome
Products to check out:
There are four ways of controlling the Orlant’s X5. You can talk to it with voice-control smart speakers like Tmall Genie and Xiaodu, control it with an app from your smartphone or with a wireless remote control, or talk to it directly through its in-built virtual system. The fourth option works even without the Internet.
If you have a lot of Xiaomi products at home, consider the M1X Xiaomi Mijia Mr Bond, which is carried by Mensch, so you can sync it with the Xiaomi Mi Home app using your smartphone.
Installation & Warranty
Image credit: Mensch
Basic installation usually covers fixing the automated laundry system onto the concrete ceiling. If you have an existing false ceiling or additional ceiling fixtures like lighting, you will likely incur additional installation costs to accommodate the fixtures e.g. patching work for false ceilings.
When buying an automated laundry system, make sure you also check the warranty coverage. And whether the warranty covers just the product mechanisms or the motor as well.
This article was originally posted on Renonation.sg, Singapore’s leading renovation and interior design site.