Simplify the laundry process with washers and dryers that handle tough stains and heavy loads. Choose a front-loading appliance for high efficiency or top-loading units for easy access. If you have a small home or apartment where space is at a premium, stackable units and compact devices provide effective cleaning and help you maximize tight areas. Pedestal bases with drawers easily fit under machines, raising them to a height that's comfortable for your back and providing handy storage for laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Whether your home has electric or gas hookups, well-known brands such as Frigidaire, GE, Whirlpool, and LG work with different power sources for simple appliance installation. Overstock.com also carries a large selection of accessories to keep your machines working their best, including fresh ducts and filter screens to eliminate lint buildup.
Choosing the Best Washer and Dryer Set for Your Home
Front Loading versus Top Loading Washing Machines
Washers are basically divided into two categories: front load washers and top load washers. As the names suggest, the difference between the two lies in where you open the machine to load and unload your laundry.
That higher cost gets you a machine that tends to be gentler on your clothes. Their wash cycles may take a little longer than top loading machines, but they feature a faster spin rotation that cuts down on drying time later on. That high speed may cause some vibrations against your floor or wall, so keep in mind where you'll place your washer. If you have back problems, a front load washer might aggravate your low back (however, you can purchase an accessory like a pedestal to increase the washer's height).
Traditional top loading washers, meanwhile, have much lower price points. They're more comfortable to load and unload (just make sure you can reach all the way into the bottom before buying, so you don't have to climb on top to grab that just-out-of-reach sock in the process).
Gas Dryer versus Electric Dryer
Now, it's time to evaluate your dryer needs. A gas dryer requires an installed gas line to the home and special installation, but if you can accommodate that, you'll enjoy saving on electricity costs. An electric dryer costs less up front, but installation requirements and costs will vary depending on your model. Both types of dryers perform similarly. Chances are, if you don't already have a gas hookup, you'll end up purchasing an electric dryer to avoid the hassle of meeting the gas line requirements.
Are you crammed into a small studio or do you have a spacious laundry room? If your machines will go in a closet, do you have room for your washer and dryer set to sit side-by-side, or do you need stackable appliances? If you want a front load washer or dryer, do you have room to fully open the doors and comfortably load and unload your laundry?
Don't forget that with many washers and dryers, you can purchase pedestals that act as storage drawers, a useful accessory that will add height to your washer and dryer set. Use these black-and-white measurements to eliminate appliances that just won't fit from your list of potential appliances. If space is really limited, consider a dual appliance unit that does washing and drying using one machine.
How much laundry do you do on a weekly basis? Families with kids will want machines that can wash and dry large volumes of dirty clothes without breaking down. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're a solo dweller, a compact washer and dryer set might be your best option for small loads.
Washing machine capacity is determined by the size of the interior drum; the manufacturer will also recommend load sizes that are appropriate for the machine. For dryers, most models will measure from 25 inches to 29 inches, while compact models will be under 24 inches.
What's the most important thing you need out of your washer and/or dryer? In general, for a washer, you'll absolutely need water level options for different size loads; water temperature settings; and a delicate wash cycle. With dryers, your must-haves include dryer sensors, temperature controls, and a permanent press setting.
Once you've got those bases covered, you can start to think about your "nice to have" features. For both appliances, these might include a delay wash/dry setting or stainless steel drums to decrease risk of rusting.
Some washers feature steam settings, extra rinses, presoaks, and extra dispenser compartments for fabric softener and bleach. Some of the most innovative washers even have added a mini-basin so you can do two loads at once and a magnetic remote control so that you can control your machine from afar. Dryers can have settings like Quick Dry and Wrinkle Release that make your life easier.
Many washers these days feature a "HE" label, standing for high efficiency. That means the washer is energy efficient, saving water and electricity each time you have to rush a ketchup-stained t-shirt into the wash. HE washers also tend to have higher capacities than others. An Energy Star rated washer indicates the highest levels of energy efficiency.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to almost two thousand dollars each for a washer or dryer. If you purchase a matching washer and dryer set, you can get a significantly better price. Shopping for portable units and all-in-one combo units can also cut down on costs.
In general, top load agitator washing machines cost far less than high efficiency top loaders or front loaders; however, you should calculate expected water and electricity costs when determining your final price point.
Finally, remember to consider what accessories your new washer or dryer will require. As mentioned before, pedestals can add height (and storage) to front-loading machines. Consider what connectors or hoses you'll need to ensure your machines are hooked up safely and correctly. You might also need to purchase lint filter screens, stacking brackets, or exhaust caps. Don't forget to factor these costs in to your final budget.