Welcome to the third and final installment of our Choosing Appliances mini-series! In this series, we’ll be doing our best to help you through the sometimes-stressful research process for purchasing a new appliance. While appliances are not quite the sticker shock of a home or a car, they still are big financial investment. This mini-series will hopefully help you cut time and worry on your choice.
In part three, we’re covering washers and dryers. If you missed our previous installments, check them out for this same experience on refrigerators and dishwashers plus, ranges and microwaves.
Let’s get into it!
Before you go to the store or start to search online there are some things we can narrow down and think through:
- Measure the area the appliance will fit in (height, width, and depth)
- Note unique factors (Be sure your washer and dryer fit in the space provided, especially side by side. You also want to make sure the electrical and air return line up with your appliances.)
- Make a purchase plan
- What’s your budget range?
- Are you going to purchase during a sale? (most big box stores have Memorial Day and Labor Day sales)
- Will you need delivery? If so, consider cost. Or do you have a truck/trailer?
- Will the appliance fit in your doorways? Will you have to take it up stairs?
- What will you do with your old appliance? You can haul it away, have a company take it or sell it.
An important note is to check availability. More recently what’s in stock is more prevalent to your purchase. If you’re casually looking you may not mind a three-month backorder. However, if you needed it yesterday, going into a store and asking about what they’ve got in store is a good place to start. That way you don’t get attached to something that isn’t available or won’t be for a while.
Last year our washing machine stopped working right. Though we’ve been homeowners for about five years – we’ve yet to buy any appliances. I was overwhelmed by the choices. Our previous washer was a late 80s , early 90s model so there was a lot to learn about new versions. Unfortunately, things don’t last as long as they used to. I had to discover the common lifetime of new appliances as well as how long I wanted it to last and where all of that met in the middle. Then there’s the cost, installation, sales for the year, haul away – oh my! As a researcher, I had my work cut out for me.
Thankfully, there are tons of amazing in-depth reviews by various websites, so I didn’t go into it totally blind. After my experience, I thought I want there to be a guide for this, especially for our customers so when you go to buy appliances you have all the tools you need in one place.
Before you start – see what’s available – now it’s time to look around and get an idea of what’s available.
- Think of style/ color. Most options are white, silver, or black. You may be able to get another color or a custom color, but it will probably cost a little more.
- Energy Star® Certified. If this is something you’re interested in for your home keep a look out for certified washers and dryers that can help save you some energy.
Are you ready to start thinking through the options? Let’s learn about washer options.
Main types of washing machines:
- Front loader washing machine
- Top loader washing machine:
- Stacked laundry
Front loaders are the fad now. A lot of people choose them for their look, use of less water, and gentleness on clothing. They are likely more expensive ranging around $700 – 2,000. Front loaders can be stacked and can be accommodating in smaller areas. They also use their angle and gravity to clean clothes. Some people don’t like them because you have to bend over low to use them, their sockets can get moldy, and they usually don’t have a deep-water wash. Check out some highly rated ones here.
Top loaders are the more traditional option, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t evolved. This type is loved for its ability to have items added during a wash cycle, being typically more affordable than front loaders, and for easier repairs – the top load is another great choice. They usually can range around $500 – $1,000.
- Top loaders use agitators and impellers to move clothing and rid clothes of dirt. Agitators are spindles with small rivets that help push and turn clothing. Sometimes people don’t like this because your clothes can get caught or twisted, but they can be great for a deep clean.
- Impeller devices are the other option of top loaders. It uses a small cone or disc that uses energy to create currents in the water. This method is touchless can be seen as both a pro or a con.
Stacked laundry sets are often used in rental units or places with restricted space. They are typically more basic units, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good quality. These are available in both top and front load options washers and of course include the dryer. Start exploring options here.
We didn’t cover every type of washer here, but we covered the basic ones that most homeowners purchase. We hope that this helps you get started and educates you so you don’t miss out on a possibility you may not even have realized existed. Happy searching!
Main types of dryers:
All dryers are front loaders, so I didn’t list it as a type. But technically, you can purchase a dryer that may be called a “top-loader” however it isn’t. This label just means that visually it will match a top load washer (likely purchased from the same brand), but it will still load from the front. Most dryers range from $450 – $1,200, but of course you can find them for higher if you’re looking for more features.
Electric dyers run off a 4-prong cord, so you’ll need an outlet that’ll fit it or aa converter and typically need a vent for air return. They are likely the most common type and tend to cost less upfront.
Gas dryers as you might have guessed run off natural gas or propane, so you’ll have to have that hooked up at your home for this option.
Ventless dryers are an option for people that may live in apartments or are unable to have a vent location. These dryers use a condenser or heat pump to make heat and create the energy needed to dry your clothing. Learn more about these main dryer types here.
Looking for some great options for dryers? Get started here.
In conclusion, don’t forget the options listed here are not exhaustive. Also, if you’re hoping to spend less don’t forget used options can be found online, at yard sales, etc. for your washer or dryer. Sometimes people will even set out old units that work by the side of the road or you may be able to check with a unit recycler location in your area to see if they have anything available. Thank you for checking out this mini-series! We hope it’s help you be more informed about your home appliance purchase and that whatever you choose lasts a long time and works well!
*ENERGY STAR® and the ENERGY STAR® mark are registered trademarks owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.