How do I Choose the Best Laundry Machine?

B. Miller

A laundry machine can be an expensive purchase, so it is important to take some factors into account before buying one. You will first want to consider the type of machine that you want, such as whether you prefer top loading or front loading; there are certain advantages to each. It will also be necessary to consider any additional features you want, such as a number of different washing or drying cycles, automatic dispensers, or temperature controls, or whether you prefer a more basic laundry machine. Washers and dryers will both increase in price as you continue to add features or extras such as a certain color choice.

Front-load washing machines typically have a greater capacity than top loaders.
Front-load washing machines typically have a greater capacity than top loaders.

Top loading washing machines used to be standard, but front loading washers are now very popular as well; most dryers are front loading. Top loading machines tend to be less expensive, though they also tend to be less energy efficient unless you specifically purchase an energy efficient top loading laundry machine, which will boost the price even more. As a general rule, they tend to have fewer features and color options as well, though there are certainly exceptions. Top loading machines, though less expensive, can't be stacked with a dryer.

Many modern laundry machines have dispensers for liquid fabric softener.
Many modern laundry machines have dispensers for liquid fabric softener.

A front loading laundry machine tends to use less water and be more energy efficient, though washing cycles tend to be slightly longer. These types of laundry machines generally have a great deal of features, including programmable wash cycles, dispensers for fabric softener or other products, and more flexible temperature adjustments; They also are usually available in different colors to match your home. Front loading washers and dryers are often sold in sets, and the dryers found in these sets are often high efficiency models to save energy as well. These dryers may also feature programmable drying, gentle cycles, or temperature controls. On the down side, front loading washing machines generally require special high efficiency (HE) detergent, and can be more difficult to keep clean because water can collect in the rubber ring around the door, which can lead to mildew growth.

Top loading washing machines are typically less expensive than front loaders.
Top loading washing machines are typically less expensive than front loaders.

Combination washer and dryer machines are another option. These may be tall one-piece units with a washer on the bottom and a dryer on top, or they may actually wash and dry cloths in the same compartment. Both of these machines tend to be much smaller capacity and less efficient, but for areas where space is at a premium, they can be a good laundry machine choice.

Top loaders may be more convenient because they don't require bending.
Top loaders may be more convenient because they don't require bending.
Front-loading washing machines usually require high efficiency detergent.
Front-loading washing machines usually require high efficiency detergent.

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