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Laundry Appliance Buying Guide

Types of Washing Machines

Top Load

Top-Load Washing Machines:

  • A central agitator moves the clothes around the drum during the wash cycle
  • Easy to reach when loading and unloading - No bending or kneeling
  • You can easily add forgotten items after the cycle has started
  • Settings allow you to choose the appropriate water level and water temperature
  • Faster regular wash and rinse cycles
  • Less expensive

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High Efficiency

HE Top-Load Washing Machines:

  • Impeller washers feature a cylinder at the bottom of the drum that delicately moves clothes through the wash cycle and produces clean laundry without as much wear and tear as agitator models
  • Greater capacity sizes than a standard top-load machine
  • Less water usage than a standard top-load machine
  • Faster spin speeds that reduce time and energy spent drying clothes
  • Require high-efficiency (HE) detergents, which are ultra-concentrated

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Front Load

Front-Load Washing Machines:

  • Clean better and are more energy efficient than the best high-efficiency top load models
  • Load monitoring determines the amount of water for the load based upon the weight of the clothes which results in less water usage
  • Least wear and tear on clothing
  • Optional steam sanitation feature for a deeper clean
  • Faster spin speeds that reduce time and energy spent drying clothes
  • Some units are stackable with a corresponding dryer to save space
  • Can be combined with a pedestal which raises your washer to a more comfortable height for loading and unloading and adds additional storage space underneath the machine
  • Require high-efficiency (HE) detergents, which are ultra-concentrated
  • Modern look

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Laundry Centers

Laundry Centers:

  • Fit into a space the size of a small closet
  • Ideal for apartments or 1-2 person households.

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Selecting the right capacity

What are your cleaning challenges?
Clothing that requires special care calls for a delicates cycle. Steam treatment busts through tough stains and soil without needing pretreating. Automatic detergent dispensers add just the right amount of detergent at just the right time for powerful cleaning. A built-in sink is available in some washing machines for pre-soaking clothes prior to washing.

What are your laundry habits?
Do you add items after the wash cycle starts? Do you leave clothes in the washer for a few hours after the cycle ends? Today’s machines offer features that cater to your unique needs.

Where is your laundry room?
A quiet machine is essential if it’s near a living or sleeping area. Check the machine for vibration reduction and look for added insulation and improved suspension for less noise.

How big is your household?
The capacity of a washing machine, measured in cubic feet (Cu.Ft.), is based on the interior dimensions of the wash basket or tub. Use the chart below as a guide for the capacity that meets your washing needs.

Image of mother and child in laundry room
 

Washing Machine Capacity Guidelines

Washing Machine Features

Anti-allergy Cycle - Target dust mites, pet dander, and other common household allergens that can irritate sensitive skin by washing clothes using the anti-allergy cycle.

Antimicrobial - Technology developed to sanitize fabrics without hot water or bleach.

Automatic Dispensers - Dispenses bleach, detergent, and fabric softener release their respective products at just the right time during the washing cycle.

Built-In Sink - A built-in sink with scrubbing board and integrated water jet allows you to easily pre-treat and hand wash your laundry.

Bulky Setting - Useful when washing meant for large items such as blankets, comforters, and sleeping bags. A bulky setting soaks items first to maintain the load balance.

Child Safety Lock - Locks the washer door to prevent children from opening during a spin cycle.

Darks/Colors Cycle - Clean dark or brightly colored fabrics without fading them.

Extra Rinse - This cycle helps remove detergent residue that can irritate delicate skin.

Heavy-duty cycles - Engineered for cleaning sturdy items, such as jeans and towels, or extra dirty laundry.

Noise-Reduction - Some models are designed to reduce vibration and noise, which is especially important if your laundry area is near a bedroom or living room.

Quick Wash - A quick-wash, rapid-wash or speed-wash setting is perfect for when you need to wash a garment in about 30 minutes.

Sanitary Cycle - By boosting water temperatures, the sanitary cycle removes stains and kills germs.

Stainless Steel Tub - A high-quality tub won't rust if it's chipped and withstand high spin speeds.

Steam - A steam cycle works on tough stains, freeing you from pretreating laundry. Steam also can be used to freshen clothes and remove allergens without going through the entire wash cycle.

Time-Delay - A time-delay feature lets you load the washer and program it to take advantage of lower utility rates or start at a more convenient time.

Touch Pad Controls - Touch pad and touch screen settings are more versatile than dials. They often include customized programs such as dedicated cycles for specific fabrics, four or more water-level settings, and memory settings to remember your favorite cycles.

Warm Rinse - A warm rinse cycle speeds up the drying cycle by leaving clothes warm after washing.

Quick Tip! 
Consider a matching washer/dryer set. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, many washer and dryer sets are actually engineered to work together. Factors like spin speed mean reduced drying time and your matching dryer will feature special cycles and sensors to accommodate the function, ensuring clothes are never over-dried, making them last longer.

Types of Dryers

Woman drying clothing

Gas or Electric?

If you're replacing an existing dryer, check your connections. All dryers use an electric motor to tumble clothes and an electric fan to distribute heated air. The difference is the source of heat generation — some use natural gas, some use electricity. Electric dryers use twice the energy of an ordinary household electric current. Most run on a 240-volt current to heat up coils and require a special 240-volt outlet in your laundry area.

The purchase price of a gas dryer can be slightly higher than that of an electric dryer, but it's typically less expensive to operate. It usually takes only a year or two to make up the purchase-price difference due to energy savings.

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Dryer Features

Eco Cycle - This cycle significantly decreases energy use by accurately monitoring clothes' dryness. Some models even have a monitor on their console that displays the energy use and efficiency of different drying cycles. A dryer with an eco cycle can use less energy when you pair it with a matching washer, compared to a conventional top-load pair.

Express Dry - This dry cycle uses large blowers for increased airflow so laundry dries faster.

Delicate - This cycle uses an ultra-low temperature to safely and gently dry lightweight garments and loosely woven fabrics. Your clothes will last longer and keep their color longer if you use the correct temperatures.

Post-Dry Tumbling - Drum tumbles every few minutes after the clothes are dry to keep them wrinkle-free until they are removed from the dryer.

Quiet Touch - If your laundry room is close to living areas, consider one that offers quiet operating levels.

Sanitation - A dryer with a sanitizing cycle will increase the temperature or use steam to reduce germs, bacteria and irritants in your clothing and bedding.

Sensor Dry - A moisture sensor knows how wet your laundry is and adjusts the drying time according to your preference of damp or completely dry. This saves time and money on energy costs and prevents overdrying to extend the life of clothes.

Stainless Steel Drums - More durable than plastic or porcelain drums and won’t chip, crack or scratch. They also handle longer drying cycles better.

Steam - Steam cycles can refresh an outfit, relaxing wrinkles and removing odors. During this cycle, a small amount of water sprays into the dryer drum after several minutes of tumbling with heat. Some dryers come with settings to periodically tumble, rearrange and fluff the load, keeping wrinkles from forming. The setting is adjustable based on the number of garments in the dryer.

Measuring for your new laundry appliance