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Buying a Washer

Today's clothes washers come with a laundry list of impressive features, wash cycles and other options. Whether you're replacing an old clunker, upgrading to a newer model or stocking your very first laundry room, you'll need to learn what these new features do before you make your decision. You can find energy-efficient washers that save you money on utility bills, compact washers that fit into tiny spaces and large washers that can accommodate big items like blankets. Washers are often hidden in the basement or tucked in a closet, making them less noticeable than your other appliances—but the result of their work is as visible as the shirt on your back. For that reason, getting the right washer is important to looking your best. Read on to learn some of the most important considerations when buying a new washer.

Why buy a new washer?

  • New washers come with a variety of wash cycles and features that do a better job of getting stains and odors out of your clothes.
  • A more energy-efficient washer will cut down on your utility bills by conserving both water and electricity.
  • Washers with a larger capacity will allow you to wash bigger items, such as blankets and comforters, without having to take a trip to the Laundromat.
  • An all-in-one washer and dryer can save time and make your life easier by washing and drying all in one step.
  • Investing in a more compact model can help free up valuable floor space for other uses.
  • If your washer is out in the open, upgrading to a more attractive model will improve the appearance of your home.

Features to consider when buying a washer

Specialized features

  • Different wash cycles give you the ability to customize water temperature, spin cycles and more so everything from delicates to heavy clothing is washed correctly
  • Additional dispensers let you add specialized cleaning supplies
  • Many new models are more energy efficient, including ENERGY STAR® compliant models
  • New washers include extra features like delayed start, remote diagnostics, and anti-vibration technology to make laundry tasks more convenient
  • Laundry pedestals are compatible with many models to reduce bending and straining as you do laundry

Learn more about features of new washers



Types of washers

Conventional top-load washers

The conventional top-load washer opens at the top and features a raised control panel in back. Inside the wash bin is a large agitator that spins the clothes around.

  • Price range: $300-$1400
  • Height range: 38-45 inches
  • Width range: 25-29 inches
  • Depth range: 25-30 inches
  • Capacity range: 2.1-5.2 cu. ft.

Conventional top-load washers are best for...

People who have trouble kneeling or bending over: Because they load at the top, these models are easy to load and unload with no bending down or kneeling required.

Cost-conscious shoppers: Top-load washers are typically the least expensive models available.

Front-load washers

Newer front-load washers open on the front, with the control panel at the top. They have no agitator inside and use less water than conventional top-load washers.

  • Price range: $600-$1500
  • Height range: 38-45 inches
  • Width range: 25-29 inches
  • Depth range: 25-30 inches
  • Capacity range: 2.0-5.2 cu. ft.

Front-load washers are best for...

People who are energy conscious: Front-load washers tend to be significantly more efficient than conventional top-load washers, using less water and electricity.


People with large items to clean: Because front-load washers don't have a large agitator taking up space in the wash bin, they can often accommodate larger items like comforters.


People with limited space: Many front-load washers are stackable with a dryer, allowing you to save space if you don't have a lot of extra room.


Shorter people: Shorter people who have trouble reaching all the way inside a top-load washer may find it easier to load and unload one of these models.


People who prefer a more modern look: Front-load washers have a newer, more modern appearance.






High-efficiency top-load washer

High-efficiency top-load washers are a more water- and energy-efficient version of conventional top-load washers. They do not have an agitator.

  • Price range: $350-$1400
  • Height range: 40-45 inches
  • Width range: 26-28 inches
  • Depth range: 25-30 inches
  • Capacity range: 3.4-5.0 cu. ft.

High-efficiency top-load washers are best for...

People who want to save on energy bills: As their name implies, high-efficiency top-load washers are more energy efficient than traditional top-load washers.



People who want to wash larger items: Because high-efficiency top-load washers don't have a big agitator inside, they may provide more room to wash larger items like blankets and coats.



People who prefer a top-load design: These models combine the efficiency of a front-load washer with the design of a top-load washer.  



Laundry center

A laundry center consists of a dryer stacked on top of a washer.

  • Price range: $1150-$1700
  • Height range: 72-76 inches
  • Width range: 24-28 inches
  • Depth range: 27-32 inches
  • Dryer capacity: 2.5-5.9 cu. ft.
  • Washer capacity: 1.5-3.4 cu. ft.

Laundry centers are best for...

People who don't have space for a laundry room: Laundry centers are compact enough to fit inside closets and other small areas, making them a good choice if floor space is an issue.



People who don't have a lot of laundry to do: Because of their smaller size, laundry centers have a smaller capacity than full-size washers.


All-in-one washer and dryer

All-in-one washers and dryers combine both appliances into one front-loading machine that washes and then dries your laundry.

  • Price range: $1400-$1600
  • Height range: 33-36 inches
  • Width range: 23-24 inches
  • Depth range: 22-25 inches
  • Capacity: 1.9-2.3 cu. ft.

All-in-one washers and dryers are best for...

People who want to do as little work as possible: These models will wash and dry your clothes, so you don't have to transfer clothes between machines or even start the dryer.


People without a lot of space: All-in-one washers and dryers take up half the space of separate machines, making them great for those without a lot of room to spare.


People without a lot of laundry: These machines have a lower capacity than most standalone models, making them a good choice for people who do smaller loads of laundry.


People who can't vent to the outside: All-in-one washers and dryers don't need to be vented to the outside, like many dryers do.

Bottom line

The best kind of washer for you will depend on a combination of factors, including your price range, your laundry habits, the space you have available and the amount of clothes you wash. Think about which features you absolutely must have and which would be nice to have; eliminating the models that don't meet your must-have criteria is the easiest way to narrow down your choices. After that, it's simply a matter of balancing cost versus functionality. It might sound like a lot of work, but it will be well worth the effort when you pull out that first load of fresh, clean clothes.