Buying a washing machine can be a real challenge!
They are heavy to move around, and there are so many confusing words and fancy features out there. Plus, it’s a big and costly decision to make, which can be stressful.
But don’t worry, if you pick a good one, it will last you a really long time, giving you peace of mind for many years of laundry ahead!
So, let’s help you choose wisely and find a washing machine that suits your needs and lasts for a long time.
Types of Washing Machines
When it comes to washing machines, there are several types available in the market, each with its own unique features and advantages. Understanding the different types will help you make an informed decision about which one best suits your needs and lifestyle.
Top-Load Washing Machines
Top-load washing machines are a classic and popular choice among consumers. As the name suggests, you load the clothes into the washing drum from the top of the machine.
Moreover, top-loaders come in two main varieties: agitator and impeller models.
- Agitator Models
These traditional top-loaders have a central post (agitator) in the middle of the drum that moves back and forth to wash the clothes.
Agitator models are known for their deep cleaning capabilities, making them suitable for heavily soiled items. However, they may be harsher on delicate fabrics and can use more water and energy compared to other types.
- Impeller Models
Impeller top-loaders lack the central agitator and use a low-profile cone or disc at the bottom of the drum. This design provides more space for clothes, making them gentler on fabrics and allowing for larger load capacities.
Furthermore, impeller models use a different washing action, which is more efficient in water usage and often results in shorter wash cycles.
- Easy loading and unloading, suitable for people with mobility issues.
- Budget-friendly compared to front-loaders.
- Ideal for washing large and bulky items.
- Higher water consumption, leading to potentially higher water bills.
- Agitator models may cause more wear and tear on clothes.
- Limited capacity compared to larger front-load models.
Front-Load Washing Machines
Front-load washing machines have gained popularity for their energy efficiency and advanced features. In front-loaders, you load clothes through a door located on the front of the machine, and the drum rotates horizontally to wash the clothes.
- Energy-efficient, reducing utility bills.
- Gentle on fabrics, preserving clothes’ quality.
- Larger capacity for bigger loads.
- Higher upfront cost compared to top-loaders.
- Door seal may accumulate mildew if not cleaned regularly.
- Longer wash cycles compared to some top-loaders.
High-Efficiency (HE) Washing Machines
High-efficiency (HE) washing machines are designed to use less water and energy compared to traditional models. Both top-load and front-load washing machines can be classified as HE models.
Moreover, they are equipped with advanced technology that optimizes water usage and reduces the amount of detergent needed while delivering excellent cleaning performance.
- Environmentally friendly
- Cost-effective with lower utility bills.
- Versatile wash cycles for customized cleaning.
- Higher upfront cost compared to traditional models.
- Longer wash cycles due to optimized water usage.
- Using regular detergent may cause excess suds and issues.
Washer-Dryer Combo Units
Washer-dryer combo units offer the convenience of both washing and drying clothes in a single appliance. They are suitable for homes with limited space or those who don’t have a separate space for a standalone dryer.
- Space-saving design for small apartments.
- Eliminates the need for a separate dryer.
- Continuous washing and drying cycles for convenience.
- Smaller drying capacity.
- Longer laundry cycles.
- Risk of losing both functions if the unit breaks down.
It’s essential to consider your laundry needs, available space, and budget when choosing the type of washing machine. Each type has its own set of pros and cons, and by evaluating your requirements, you can find the perfect washing machine that meets all your expectations.
Choosing the Right Washer Size
A washer’s size can be described in terms of either its capacity or its external dimensions.
|Washer||Small Drum |
|Pounds of Laundry||4-8||12-16||20+|
|Household||1-2 persons||3-5 persons||5+ persons|
|Typical Load||Small towels x2 = 1 lbs|
Light weight tops x6 = 3 lbs
Pants/jeans x2 = 3 lbs
Pairs of socks/underwear x10 = 1 lbs
|Small towels x 4= 2 lbs|
Light weight tops x10 = 5 lbs
Pants/jeans x4 = 6 lbs
Pairs of socks/underwear x15 = 1.5 lbs
Bedsheet x 1 = 1.5 lbs
|Small towels x 5 = 2.5 lbs|
Light weight tops x12 = 6 lbs
pants/jeans x5 =7.5 lbs
Pairs of socks/underwear x 20 = 2 lbs
Bedsheet x 1 = 1.5 lbs
Duvet Cover x 1 = 3 lbs
Capacity: Laundry Per Load
To find the right-sized washer for your laundry needs, start by checking your current washer. Look for the model number and search online to see its stated capacity. The model number can usually be found inside the door or on the side or back of the machine.
If you’re happy with your current washer’s size, look for washers with a similar capacity. If it’s too small or too big, shop accordingly.
Just remember, the washer’s capacity should be only half of the dryer’s capacity. So if you plan to upgrade to a larger washer, you might need to upgrade your dryer too.
If you don’t have a washer to use as a reference, the different capacity measures can be a bit confusing. Washing machine capacity is typically measured in cubic feet.
However, thinking about laundry in terms of volume might not be very clear. That’s why we also talk about the weight of laundry in capacity discussions. Roughly, one cubic foot of capacity can hold about a full outfit for an adult.
The smallest washers have a capacity of 1.5 to 2.5 cubic feet, suitable for 1-2 person households, and can handle 4-8 lbs of laundry.
Standard-sized washing machines have a capacity of 3 to 4.5 cubic feet, appropriate for families of 3-5 people, and can handle 12-16 lb loads of laundry.
The largest washers, with a capacity of 4.5 to 6.0 cubic feet, are meant for big families or those with a lot of laundry and can handle 20 lbs of laundry or more.
Here are some approximate weights of common items to help you estimate your laundry load:
- 1 T-Shirt = 0.5 lbs
- 1 Full Bed Sheet = 1.3 lbs
- 1 Large Bath Towel = 1.6 lbs
- Jeans = 1.6 lbs
- Sweatshirt = 1 lb
- Full Adult Outfit = 3-5 lbs
- Full Child’s Outfit = 1-3 lbs
Remember, it’s always best to base your decision on the size of the washer you currently have. The above figures can be helpful if you don’t have a machine for reference.
Dimensions: Compact and Standard Washing Machine Sizes
Washers come in two main external dimensions: compact and standard, referring to their width.
Compact washers are 24″ wide whereas the standard washers are 27″ wide.
However, some washers may deviate about 1/2″ from these sizes, and high-capacity washers can be up to 30″ wide.
When choosing the right-sized washer, leave about 6″ of open space behind the machine for water hookups. Also, make sure there’s a 1″ gap between the washer and dryer. If you’re considering a front-loading washer, leave space for the door to swing open fully.
Lastly, make sure the washer can fit through doorways, corners, and tight passages on the path from the entrance to the laundry room. You wouldn’t want to find out the washer is too big after bringing it home.
Additional Features to Look Out For
Capacity: Choose the right drum size to handle your laundry loads efficiently, matching your household’s needs.
Energy Efficiency: Save on electricity bills and reduce your environmental impact with a high-energy efficiency washing machine.
Spin Speed: Faster spin speed means better water extraction, leading to shorter drying times for your laundry.
Noise Level: Enjoy a peaceful home with a washing machine that operates quietly, even during high-speed spin cycles.
Delay Start: Take advantage of off-peak energy hours or schedule your laundry conveniently with the delay start feature.
Child Lock: Keep your little ones safe and prevent accidental settings changes with a child lock feature.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid these common mistakes while shopping for a washing machine:
Ignoring Space Constraints: Ensure the washing machine fits comfortably in your laundry area.
Overlooking Energy Efficiency: Don’t overlook the importance of energy-efficient models to save on utility bills.
Purchasing on Impulse: Take your time and make an informed decision rather than purchasing impulsively.
Neglecting Noise Levels: Consider the noise levels of the washing machine, especially if it will be placed near living spaces or used during quiet hours.
Hence, choosing the perfect washing machine requires careful consideration of various factors, such as capacity, size, energy efficiency, features, and noise levels. By understanding your laundry needs, available space, and budget, you can make an informed decision that will ensure efficient and satisfactory performance for years to come. For more helpful guides and information, follow hazehunt, your go-to source for home appliance reviews and buying tips. Happy washing!