Washers and Dryers Guide

Bring Us Dirty Laundry

Nothing brings joy like a pile of freshly laundered clothes! But there is no escaping the dirty work of doing the laundry. Your superpower can be a dependable washer and dryer that can ease your load for years to come.

When deciding the type of washer and dryer to buy, you need to first keep in mind how much laundry you typically do in a week. And then comes a series of choices: top load or front load? Regular or smart/digital washers and dryers? Regular or high-efficiency dryers? Stacked washers and dryers or laundry pairs?

Do the options make you feel like you are on a perpetual spin cycle? Don’t you worry! Our buying guide will outline all the things you need to consider before buying a washer and dryer that is perfect for your needs.


Washer and Dryer Shopping Checklist

Thinking about a new washing machine, a new clothes dryer, or both? Then check out these details while you shop:

When is it time to buy a new washer and/or dryer? Here are a few hints that maybe it's the right time to start shopping.

  • Are you tired of hauling loads of clothes to the laundromat, and you've confirmed you have access in your current home to water and electrical hookups required to install a washer and or dryer?
  • Is your current washer and/or dryer getting older, and you are wondering how long it may last? According to recent articles from CNET and Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a washing machine may be around ten years.
  • Are your current laundry machines too noisy, possibly indicating aging or dysfunctional parts that may need replacement?
  • Does either your washer or dryer have a lingering unpleasant odor that does not cease even after cleaning and other treatment?
  • Is your water bill higher than you feel it should be, although you are not using large amounts of water in other areas of your home?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", you may be in the right place, trying to find a convenient, effective and energy efficient new machine to wash and dry your clothes.

If you have sufficient laundry space, then a full-sized dryer is a great option. If you have to get creative in space management, consider compact dryers or going vertical, or in other words, stacking your dryer on top of your washer.

It’s all about the space and the right fit. Where will the washer and dryer sit? Be sure to measure the space before you start shopping.

Here are the measurements you'll need to keep handy while shopping for washers and dryers: Height of location where you want to place the washer and dryer, depth of the same spot from front to back, width across the same area.

You'll need to allow extra space for the following:

  • Allow some room between machines if you will be placing them side by side.
  • You'll need some extra space between the back of each machine and the wall to allow for plumbing hookup and adequate ventilation.
  • Remember to consider where the doors will swing open and how much space you will need on the top or side of each machine to load or empty the machine.

Check out our appliance measurement guide for more tips.

How big is the laundry load going to be? A weekend load from a family of two, or an almost daily maximum capacity load for five or more people? Generally, more people = more dirty laundry.

  • A small washer is usually around 2 - 3 cubic feet and can roughly hold around 8 pounds of clothes.
  • A medium-sized washer is usually 3 to 4 cubic feet and holds approximately 11 pounds of laundry.
  • A large washer is 4 to 6.2 cubic feet and can hold more than 15 pounds.

An average family of four or more may need a large washer and dryer, while a couple may only need a small to mid-sized one.

Comforter Test

There is a simple way of deciding the clothes dryer capacity best suited to your needs. Check the cubic feet of a dryer and check if your biggest comforter (usually 4 cubic feet or larger) can tumble-dry comfortably.

Door Types

Do you want machines that open on the top, or in the front?

Top Load Washers

A top load washer features a mainstream, traditional design that has been around for a long time.

One of the best features of top loaders is that you can add forgotten items even after the cycle has started. These washers also offer faster regular wash and rinse cycles. Keep in mind though that top loaders use a bit more water than their front-loading counterparts.

Front Load Washers

Is saving water and energy one of your main priorities? If yes, you should go for a front loader.

Front load washers are the result of new technology and design that automatically regulates the amount of water needed for a load while being gentle on clothes. They reduce water consumption by up to 40% according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Front load washers usually have a bigger capacity than a standard top load machine. Many of them also come with an optional steam self-cleaning feature.

Front load washers get clothes clean not by an agitator or impeller but rather a tumbling action similar to a dryer. They also have paddles located on the drum that lift the clothes in and out of the water.

Some considerations are that these washers require HE (high-efficiency) detergent. Also, they need routine care and cleaning as they are susceptible to mold if not cleaned regularly.

High Efficiency (HE) Washers

Want to conserve even more water and energy? High-efficiency (HE) washers refer to all washers with an HE-setting and can reduce the amount of water used for washing clothes by about 80% and energy up to 65%. They can also wash more laundry at one time than other washers.

Tip: Only use HE detergent (with higher concentrate and low-sudsing) in these machines.

Dryers and Energy

While all dryers will eventually get the job done, an inefficient dryer takes longer, uses more heat, and costs more. While all dryers use an electric fan to circulate heated air and an electric motor to tumble clothes to dry them, they can either be powered by a gas line or an electricity line.

Let’s look at some basic aspects of a dryer that can make your buying decision a bit easier.

Gas Dryers

Gas dryers connect to your natural gas connection to generate the heat needed and dry your clothes. They plug into a three-prong 110-volt electrical outlet for power. These dryers require an external exhaust vent. They heat up faster and dry your clothes faster than electric dryers.

With a gas dryer, you would probably need to get the gas line and venting installed by a trained professional.

Electric Dryers

Electric dryers need a dedicated three-or four-prong, 240-volt outlet. All heating and drying operations are powered electrically. Almost all electric dryers need an external vent.

Combination Washer and Dryers

Why not have it all? Another option you have is to have one machine do it all – wash and dry your clothes.

This means you don’t have to manually load wet clothes into a dryer. This also means you can have washed and dried clothes without you being physically present.You can use the timer and program it to start a cycle whenever you want.

This is the ideal solution for a space-challenged condo, an apartment, or a cabin. While load times may be longer than a regular washer or dryer, the one-step process makes this a very convenient option.

Stacked Laundry Units

Stacked laundry units, also known as laundry centers, are towers featuring a dryer suspended above a top load washer as one unit.

You can also create your own stacked pair with many front load washers by using a stacking kit (sold separately) and stacking the matching dryer on top. This way, you can save floor space by going vertical, without sacrificing on the capacity.

Keep in mind, though – the dryer's elevated height could make the control panel hard to reach. The capacity of stacked laundry units is on the smaller side, as the drums inside are not as deep as full-sized washers or dryers. However, this makes it easier for them to fit into compact spaces like laundry closets.

Washer and Dryer Pedestals

A pedestal is a platform or a riser, installed beneath your front-load washer and dryer. This can provide extra storage space for laundry items and make it more comfortable loading and unloading the machines.

You can also find pedestals with washers built into them. These can be used when you need something washed but don't have enough clothes for a full load. Some of these come with "hand wash" and gentle cycles too.

New Washer Dryer Features

Smart Washers and Dryers

Home appliances are becoming smarter. Washers and dryers are no exception. Whether it is usage tracking or wi-fi connectivity for the ability of remotely controlling your laundry, look for smart features in your washer and dryer. Check for the latest features in the washer and dryer that you purchase to ensure it is still relevant way in the future.

Moisture Sensor

Moisture sensors automatically sense the state of laundry’s dampness/dryness and turn off the dryer once it senses that your clothes are dry. This way your clothes won’t get overdried and you save energy.

Digital Displays

Trendy and stylish, digital displays look contemporary and clearly display cycle countdown.

Steam

Steam is one of the most useful features of dryers today. A steam cycle on a dryer relaxes and removes wrinkles from your clothes and makes your clothes practically ready-to-wear.

New Garment Care and Laundry Accessories

In addition to accessories that you may need for your washer or dryer in special cases, there are also new and improved garment care appliances available now, such as improved irons and full size high tech garment steamers.

Washer and Dryer Installation

Installing a washer and dryer involves several steps, often including tricky position of large heavy machines, connecting to water, electricity and/or gas lines. You will want to plan ahead to figure out if you have the help and resources to do this job on your own, or if you prefer to hire a professional.

Plan Ahead for Repairs and Accidents

Washer and Dryer Warranties

A new washer or dryer can be a significant financial investment, so it's a good idea to consider what type of warranty or service plan may be available for the machines that you want to buy.

Check the manufacturer's warranty, any homeowner appliance warranties you may already carry, as well as store protection plans, to determine what type of coverage you may already have, and determine any additional coverage you may want to buy for future washer or dryer repairs or replacements.