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Looking for the best washing machine to buy or the best washer and dryer combination? Here are some important considerations first.
Make Sure You Have Enough Room
When purchasing a washing machine and dryer, the first step is measuring the space where you want to place your washer and dryer. Measure width, height, and depth. Contemplate whether stackable units are a consideration. Leave minimum half a foot behind for water inflow and outflow connections. Also, for side-by-side configuration, leave at least an inch between washer and dryer as well as on each side for air circulation. If you are buying front-loading washers and dryers, make sure you have enough room to navigate when the doors are opened.
Also, measure your doorways and entrances to ensure the washer or dryer can be transported into your home and the particular room. Make sure your floor is not sloped. Buy a drain pan, especially if your washing machine is above the ground floor.
What Kind of Plug-Outlet Connection is Required?
Make sure electrical outlets support the proper amp and voltage requirements. Washers need a 20 amp, 120 volt electrical outlet. Electric dryers need a 240 volt outlet. Gas dryers need a 120 volt outlet and a gas line. Dryers also need to attach to a vent duct to expel moist air outside or you will find an inadvertent steam room which will be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
The standard width of washing machines is 27 inches. That is the starting benchmark.
In terms of tub capacity, on the larger end is 5 cubic feet or more, handling more than 25 pounds of laundry load, while on the smaller end is 3 cubic feet or less, handling less than 12 pounds of laundry load. When considering capacity, not only contemplate household size, but also whether you plan to wash large items regularly such as king size comforters or large blankets.
Top Loading or Front Loading
Traditional home washers are top loading and have agitators in the tub which wring clothes to clean them. Today, there are top loading washers deemed high efficiency or HE washers which do not have agitators. They are generally the most cost effective washer. They typically perform better than the traditional agitator models, are more efficient and use less water, and spin clothes dryer.
Today, there are also front-loading washers for the home. They used to be found mostly in laundromats. They typically perform the best, have more capacity, run quieter, and spin the most water out of clothes. All front loading washers are considered high efficiency (HE), too. HE washers require HE detergents which generate less suds and require less water. Laundry detergents will state on their labels if they are HE suitable.
Traditional agitator models are the least expensive. Front loading are the most expensive. Agitator models clean better due to the wringing action, but tumbling front-loaders are gentlest on clothes. It is a tradeoff. Although front loading manufacturers would like to tout they are just as effective in cleaning as agitators, anyone who has tried to wash a stain out of clothing knows flipping and flopping the clothing around many times will do little compared to wringing by hand.
Finally, there are compact models which are really designed to fit into limited space.
There are many new features today as manufacturers are thinking more creatively in differentiating their products. Some models include a smaller built-in unit for washing one or two items. Some have a built-in sink for hand-washing items. And some are two-in-one washers with two smaller tubs but the ability to wash two loads simultaneously, for example, one cold gentle load and one warm. Some features are definitely useful, for example, extra rinse cycles.
However, really contemplate how much return you are receiving for paying for extra features. Does it really matter if your washing machine has digital display that counts down until completion? Doesn’t a dial give the same feedback by its position? Do you really need a phone-enabled app? You have to be there in-person to load the laundry and detergent anyway, so when do you really need to start your washer remotely?
Last Word of Advice
Leave the doors of washing machines open after use. This air dries the tub preventing mold and mildew buildup.
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