Washing Machine Buying Guide
Whether you're tired of trekking to the laundromat or need an upgrade, finding a new washing machine can save you tons of time and energy. Modern washers are loaded with useful features that are specially designed to help simplify laundry day. Here are some of the most popular washing machine styles and features available.
Front-Loading Washing Machines
- Efficient - Front-load washers are specially designed for efficiency, which means they often require less energy, water and detergent to operate.
- Large capacity - Because front-load washing machines rely on unobtrusive impellers for agitation and don't utilize a central agitator, they typically have a larger overall capacity than top-loading washers and are gentler on fabrics.
Top-Loading Washing Machines
- Wide selection of options - Top-loading washers are available in a variety of high-efficiency and conventional styles. They're also often more affordable than comparable front-loading units.
- Easy to fix - Even the most dependable appliances will need to be serviced occasionally, and traditional top-loading washing machines are typically easy and affordable to fix. Many repairs can be completed with just a few common household tools.
Portable Washing Machines
Portable washing machines may not have all the features of full-sized washers, but their versatile design makes them a great option for apartment dwellers without access to a laundry room.
- Simple to transport - Caster wheels and compact frames make these units easy to move and set up. Store one away in a closet or pantry until laundry day, then simply connect it to a faucet and power outlet and avoid a trip to the laundromat.
- Cost-effective option - Portable washing machines are far more affordable than full-size units, and the smaller wash basins can lead to savings over time by cutting down on water and detergent use.
Twin-Loading & Pedestal Washing Machines
Twin-load washers offer a larger capacity and added versatility. With two wash basins that can be operated simultaneously (and on different cycles), save time and energy by consolidating your workload on laundry day.
- Run multiple loads - With two independent wash basins, you can run two different loads at the same time. The easy-to-use controls make it possible to clean a small load of light-colored delicates in the drawer basin while washing a large load of darks on hot without missing a beat.
- Different combinations - Some twin-load washer components are available separately, meaning you can mix and match front-loading and drawer-style units to find the right combination for your unique needs.
Modern washers have so much more than just a hot or cold water setting. After you have a good idea of the type you want, you should also familiarize yourself with the advanced features available to get the most for your money.
- Wi-Fi capability - These washers can sync with a compatible smartphone and be controlled from nearly anywhere. Whether you decide to start a load on your way to work, or just want to be sure your delicates get the gentle care they deserve, a smart washer can add more flexibility to laundry day.
- Self-cleaning designs - If you've ever removed a load of laundry only to realize it smells more like mildew than detergent, you know the results of an unclean washer. Instead of cleaning the machine by hand, many modern washers feature self-cleaning cycles that will keep your laundry smelling fresh for years to come.
- Automatic detergent dispensers - Instead of adding detergent and fabric softener to every single load, consider a washing machine that can self-dispense enough cleaning solution to handle up to 12 loads of laundry or more before refilling.
- Advanced venting - Forget to pull your clothes out of the washing machine before going to work? Some washing machines feature advanced ventilation systems that will keep your clothes smelling fresh long after the cycle has ended, which means you won't have to worry about lingering odors in the wash basin or on fabrics.
What Should I Consider When Buying a Washing Machine?
- Style - Many modern washers are as stylish as they are functional. It's likely that you'll find a machine that includes all the great features you need and matches your décor, but don't settle for a unit that lacks important features for a cooler-looking model.
- Efficiency - High-efficiency washers are some of the most popular options available. While it's estimated that you'll save water and energy in the long run, keep in mind that the initial cost may be higher and that you'll be restricted to certain types of detergents.
- Agitator vs. impeller - Older washing machines may include an agitator in the wash basin that help deep-clean fabrics, but can also break down materials over time. Modern washers generally incorporate impellers to cycle clothing through the water, resulting in an equally efficient and more delicate cleaning cycle.
- Size and capacity - The size of your washing machine will be largely determined by available space. If you're outfitting a closet or under-the-counter area, then a compact, stackable or portable option will be ideal. If you're regularly doing laundry for the whole family, a larger washer will save you from having to do more loads than necessary.
Need a full set? Find everything you need to know about buying a dryer.