Laundry machines are the true workhorses of household appliances. For everything from simple stains to deep dirt, you want a washer/dryer duo that can handle it all. The improvement in laundry machine technology over the past 15 years has been significant. Modern machines use less energy and water, while getting clothes cleaner. Here is a checklist you can use when shopping for your next washer and dryer:
Pick Your Style. Three choices exist in today’s market for washing machines: the traditional top-loader with agitator, the more modern front-loader and—newest to market—the top-loader without agitator, also known as high-efficiency (HE) top-loader. Generally speaking, front-loaders and HE top-loaders get the best reviews for energy efficiency and overall performance. Both styles have automatic load sensing capabilities that determine exactly how much water you need for the size of your load and remove more moisture in the spin cycle to decrease drying time. The ability of the washing tub to lift and tumble without an agitator not only yields cleaner clothes, but also a gentler wash cycle that helps extend the life of your clothing.
Traditional top-loaders are still a great choice if you’re working with a tight budget and prefer a quicker wash cycle. These tried-and-true models are what most of us grew up using, and they continue to be a solid choice.
Features You Want. Space permitting, you’ll want to select a large capacity machine. More laundry in the tub equals fewer loads to wash! Most front-loaders and HE top-loaders come with a great assortment of automatic features: load sensing for water conservation, temperature control for effective stain removal, automatic liquid dispensing for proper timing, and on dryers, automatic moisture sensors. All of these features will end up saving you money in the long run. Bonus features to look for include “add a garment” on front-loading machines and a steam option to help blast out the toughest stains.
Features to Skip. Some of the newest models come with all the bells and whistles you don’t need. Features like overnight cycles, custom programming and smart device capability are fun, but provide little value compared to the inflated price you’ll pay for those options.
Accessories You’ll Love. Consider “sold separately” accessories that make doing laundry even easier. Pedestals raise front-loaders to a more comfortable height and provide extra storage for your odds and ends. Adding an automatic shut off valve to your water source and placing your washer in a drip tray instead of directly on the floor can help prevent unforeseen accidents that lead to costly water damage.
Picking a new laundry pair doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. With only three basic styles to choose from, finding the right one for your family can be as easy as 1-2-3. Your washer and dryer will be with you for the next 10-15 years, so do your homework, shop with confidence and make laundry fun again!