A term you often hear when buying a washing machine is direct-drive technology. In India, LG and Samsung and the main proponents of this technology. They claim it has numerous superior functions compared to the belt-drive technology. Do these claims hold water? Is one really better than the other? Let us explore.
What Is Belt Drive Technology In Washing Machines?
The drums of washing machines rotate for agitating the clothes and spinning them for drying. This is powered by the motor. In belt-drive washing machines, the motor is connected to the drum using a belt. This acts like a pulley system that can rotate the drum. Comparatively, it is an older technology, but a robust one. Brands like IFB and Bosch use belt drive technology in their front and top-loading washing machines.
What Is Direct Drive Technology In Washing Machines?
In direct drive technology, there is no belt connecting the drum to the motor. The tub containing the drum is connected directly to the motor using stators and rotors. This technology is comparatively newer with the patent filed by LG in 2005. Nowadays, direct drive technology is found in washing machines from LG, Samsung, Electrolux, and more.
Comparison of Direct Drive Vs Belt Drive Technology
As mentioned, in belt-drive technology, driving force is transmitted from the motor to the drum through a pulley system. This results in higher noise as more components are involved in the process. Comparatively, direct drive technology is a lot more silent. In our comparison between LG and Bosch washing machines, we have noticed that LG makes significantly lesser noise compared to Bosch.
For the same reasons mentioned above, vibration too is lesser in direct-drive washing machines compared to belt-driven ones.
When it comes to energy consumption, neither technology has an edge over the other. Inverter motors have a significant advantage as it adjusts the energy consumption depending on the load. But drive technology doesn’t affect it.
It is true that there is lesser energy loss in direct drive technology. But practically, we haven’t found any difference in the energy consumption of washing machines using different drive technology. In fact, some of the Bosch front loaders consume lesser energy than LG washing machines of comparative capacity and features.
LG and Electrolux claim that direct drive technology enables easier rotation of drums compared to belt drive technology. Both of them market about 6 different motions like tumbling, stepping, rolling, etc which they claim offers better wash performance. However, comparing both, we haven’t found a significant difference in wash performance due to the drive technology.
Even when it comes to spin speed, washing machines with both technologies are able to spin at the same speed. Thus, we can’t say one is better than the other in this aspect.
As you know, in direct drive technology, the motor is behind the drum. Hence, the drum is shallower with more height. In belt-driven washing machines, the drums are deeper with less height. When the drum is deeper, more clothes rub against the drum surface, resulting in better abrasion and hence, better cleaning.
Wear and Tear
Pulley system comparatively has more wear and tear compared to direct drive technology, which uses lesser moving parts. Hence, direct-drive technology has an edge in this respect.
In front-load washing machines, clothes should not be concentrated on one side. This will result in load imbalance. It often occurs when you add a single heavy piece of laundry or overload the washing machine.
Direct-drive washing machines are more sensitive to load balancing. If the wash load is off balance, the machine may vibrate a lot. You often notice washing machines “walking” because of incorrect load balance.
Maintenance and Repair
The common complaint seen in belt-driven washing machines is with the pulley system. Changing the belt resolves them. In direct-drive technology, complaints often arise due to load imbalances. Such complaints are expensive to resolve. Overloading too causes more problems with direct drive technology misaligning the motor and the drum, which again is expensive to repair. Comparatively, direct drive technology is more prone to complaints, especially if you don’t take good care of your washing machine.
Nowadays, both direct-drive and belt-driven washing machines are competitively priced. You cannot really say that one is more expensive than the other. For example, LG’s 6.5 Kg front loader with direct drive technology and IFB’s 6.5 Kg front loader with belt-driven technology, costs about Rs. 27K.