Reaching for your supermarket’s home brand can sometimes seem like a compromise on quality for the benefit of the back pocket.
But extensive testing by Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group might have found a diamond in the rough.
Consumer group Choice tested 60 popular laundry detergents for front and top-loading machines before declaring its best – and its worst
Surprisingly, Coles’s home brand capsules tied for first place with Dynamo’s Professional Discs in the front-loader category.
Both winners scored 85 per cent, despite Coles Ultra Concentrate Laundry Capsules being less than half the price of Dynamo’s discs – coming in at 40 cents a wash compared to 86 cents.
Those looking to save even more might eye up Aldi’s Trimat Advanced Concentrated Laundry Liquid. It came in third in Choice’s study, with a score of 83 per cent at just 13 cents per wash.
Dynamo makes five of Choice’s top-10 performers for front loaders, while Coles had three and Omo and Aldi each had just one.
Not all home brand items are made equal though, Ms Iredale said.
Coles also took home the wooden spoon for its Lemon Fresh Laundry Liquid Hot and Cold Wash at just 52 per cent, “which isn’t much better than plain water”.
Other notable mentions for worst performing front-loader detergents included Woolworths’ Essential Clean Wash Apple Liquid (54 per cent) and Tru Earth’s Eco-Strips Laundry Detergent Fresh Linen (53 per cent).
In the top-loader category, weighing in at just 15 cents per wash, Coles won again, with its Lemon Fresh Laundry Powder Hot and Cold Wash scoring 61 per cent (not to be confused with the supermarket’s disappointing front-loader product).
Sharp-eyed consumers might be wondering why there’s such a large disparity between the best front and top loader detergents. Ms Iredale said that came down to the effectiveness of washing machines.
“Our tests have shown that top-loader machines just don’t wash as well as front loaders,” she said.
“This means that choosing a top-performing detergent is even more important for top-loader devotees.”
Even for front-loaders though, price was not necessarily a guide to quality. Despite costing five or six times the per-wash price of some home brand detergents, top-performing detergents by famous brand names like Cold Power and Omo were matched by Coles’ and Aldi’s top performers.
Again, making the list of losers was Tru Earth’s Eco-Strips at just 40 per cent, despite the company touting them as a “revolutionary new form”.
Plain water scored 41 per cent.
Choice also recommends consumers avoid Euca Soft Wash Premium Laundry Detergent (42 per cent) and Omo’s Laundry Detergent Dual Capsules (44 per cent).