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Buying Guide: How to Buy a Clothes Washer and Dryer

Updated on October 5, 2014

Buying a Clothes Washer & Dryer

Amazon | Source

Buying Guide: How to Buy a Clothes Washer & Dryer

A clothes washer and dryer is a big investment. One unit can cost from several hundreds to thousands of dollars. Most will last about ten years. Learn how to buy a clothes washer and dryer RIGHT HERE.

Not all washers and dryers are created equal. From personal experience, it would be a mistake to buy the cheapest washer and dryer that you can find. You don't necessarily have to buy the most expensive either. A mid range priced machine can sometimes be your best option.

Specifically, look for a porcelain tub. The plastic ones tend to bang around, making loud noises, and don't last as long as porcelain. Look for a name brand quality that has a good reputation, like: Whirlpool, Maytag, or Kenmore.

A family member had a bad personal experience with LG appliances. She owned an LG washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Neither of these appliances lasted long. Therefore, I would caution against buying one of these because it might not be long before repairs are required.

Admiral was the last brand of washer and dryer that I bought. This purchase has been the biggest disappointment and daily irritant of anything that I have ever purchased. The drum bangs around, the dryer took forever, and the clothes look like they've been chewed up.

Here are some more tips to consider when shopping for a clothes washer and dryer:

How to Buy a Washer and Dryer

A Conventional Top Load Washer

Photo by Bryan Rosengrant
Photo by Bryan Rosengrant | Source

Washing Machine Buying Guide Consumer Reports

Top or Front Loading?

Choose which kind of clothes washer that you want: top loading or front loading? There are two types of top loading washers to choose from, including the conventional top load or the high efficiency top load washer.

  • Top Loading - Choices: Conventional top load or high efficiency top load washer? Top loaders clean a load of laundry quickly, at an average of thirty five minutes. These are typically the most popular type of washer on the market.
  1. Conventional top load washers allow you to select the water level to match the load size. Then an agitator moves the water and clothes to get the clothes clean. These work best for heavily soiled clothing items.
  2. High efficiency top load washers are becoming more popular. They adjust the water level to the size of the load and spin at higher speeds, resulting in reduced drying times and energy consumption. Washers, however, take longer to wash the clothes. A washer plate or impeller is used which is gentler on clothes.
  • Front Loading - These work by bringing clothes to the top and then forcing them back into the water. These can also be stacked with a matching dryer to save on floor space. Front loaders are the most energy and water efficient; but they take longer to work. Some can take over an hour and half to wash a load of laundry. Another downside of front loaders is that they spin pretty vigorously. So, unless you have a solid concrete floor, a front loader is not recommended.

Tips from a Mom - I Prefer Top Loaders

If you want to know my opinion, I prefer the top loading washers and dryers. Most people select the front loaders because they are new and modern. However, you have to bend over and dig to the back of the machine to reach all of your clothes. A top loading machine is much easier on your back. So consider this if you are also short or petite, like me.

Another thing to know about front loaders is that the door seems to retain a lot of moisture due to the way its sealed. This moisture can create mold. So, my advise is to go with a traditional top loader. The only good thing about front loading machines is that you can purchase a stackable unit for tiny apartments that don't have room for full size standard top loading machines.

What about high efficiency top loaders? These units do use a lot less water than conventional machines, however, this means it will take longer to wash your clothes. Therefore, most manufacturers have increased the load capacities of high efficiency top loaders. If you buy a high efficiency top loader, look for one with an increased capacity. An average capacity size is 3.6 cubic feet of space. The bigger units now have between 3.9 to 5.1 cubic feet of space.

How High Efficiency Top Load Washers Work

How does a High Efficiency Top Loader work?

High-efficiency top-loaders are popular for using a lot less water and also spinning faster than regular or traditional top-loaders. The fast spinning action extracts more water, which takes a washer longer to work but a less time is need for a dryer to work. A special HE detergent, that produces less suds, is required for cleaning and rinsing in the high-efficiency top-loader. Your clothing items will need to be added in loose heaps around the wash plate.

The washer spins a dry load a few times to determine its size and how much water will be needed. During the washing cycle, the washer will spin the load at a higher speed which uses less water to clean the clothes. These units can also identify potential out-of-balance loads. If you need to add a garment to your load, it can take up to two minutes for the basket to stop spinning and door to unlock. The wash plate moves the clothes together to remove and lift dirt and stains.

Clothes move from the center of the washer to the edge of the basket and back again. The clothes will not always be in the water. This also reduces energy costs and wear on your clothes. The total cycle time will be increased if your load becomes out of balance. After the load is finished, the basket can take up to two minutes to completely stop spinning.

Timed or Sensor Dry? - Clothes Dryer Features

Which setting do you regularly use on your clothes dryer?

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Gas or Electric Dryer?

Next, choose whether you want a gas or electric dryer. Gas and electric dryers are similar in performance. Gas models cost a little bit more but there will be a cost savings on your electric bill, compared to electric models. The most important feature of your dryer is how it dries.

  • Timed dry - will continue to dry your clothes and will only shut off when the preset time has ended.
  • Sensor dry - this is a better option. It automatically senses when the clothes are dry and then shuts off. This minimizes the risk of overheating and shrinking clothes.

Say Goodbye to the Laundromat

Photo by Eddie Quinones
Photo by Eddie Quinones | Source

Extra Features

What are the most important features that you look for in a washer or dryer? Please leave your comments below.

Additional Features

  • Delay Start - Program your washer to run when you want; even when you're not home to avoid peak energy consumption costs.
  • Steam Technology - Helps to better clean and sanitize fabrics in your clothes washer. In dryers, it can help to reduce wrinkles and remove odors from fabrics.
  • Drum Rack - Some dryers include this feature which keeps items, like shoes, from tumbling.


Consumer Reports recommends the following units in both reasonable and more expensive price ranges:

Reasonable $$$ Price Range:

  • Maytag - Bravos XL MVWB725BW high-efficiency top-loader and Maytag Bravos XL MEDB725BW electric dryer. Both machines run about $800 each. Reason? Impressive washing and drying and have large capacities. The dryer is relatively quiet.
  • Whirlpool - Cabrio WTW5800BW high-efficiency top-loader and Whirlpool Cabrio WED5800BW electric dryer. Both machines run about $700 each. Reason? Impressive at cleaning and did a normal wash on heavy soil setting in a brisk 40 minutes. The dryer was excellent at its job. - ***Editor's Pick: Purchase from Best Buy.

More $$$$ Expensive Units:

  • Kenmore - Elite 41073 front-loader and Kenmore Elite 81073 electric dryer. These units are around $1200 each. Reason? The washer has 14 cycles, offers excellent washing, was gentle on fabrics, and has a 26 load capacity.
  • Maytag - Maxima XL MHW7000AW front-loader and Maytag Maxima XL MED7000AW electric dryer. These units run $1150 each. Reason? The washer aced cleaning tests, was gentle on fabrics, and was one of the few front-loaders to ace vibration tests. The dryer offers excellent drying. Both machines have large capacities.
  • Whirlpool - Duet WFL98HEBU front-loader and Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU electric dryer. These units run about $1500 each. Reason? Both have a large capacity. The washer offers excellent wash performance. Normal wash time, on heavy soil setting, is 75 minutes. That's faster than most.The dryer was superb at drying and among the quietest tested.

Buying a Clothes Washer or Dryer

After reading this hub, are you more confident about buying a new clothes washer & dryer?

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Where is a Good Place to Buy a Clothes Washer & Dryer?

Consider this: a washer and dryer is a HUGE investment. Oftentimes repairs are needed. Therefore, purchase your washer or dryer from a trusted source, like: Best Buy or Amazon. Some stores deliver the machines and then they were done with you. Here are some helpful links:


About the Author

Melinda Longoria, MSM writes product buying guides and reviews on Hubpages. She also operates a successful Facebook fanpage where pregnant moms connect, Maternity Clothes Online, which has over 930 followers. She is also a mommy to three of her own beautiful children. Please feel free to post your comments and questions about clothes washers & dryers in the below comment box.

Comments Please...

Can you share tips with others about how to buy a clothes washer and dryer? Do you currently own a model of washer and dryer that you can recommend to our readers? In your opinion, what is the best washer and dryer on the market? What is your favorite brand of washer and dryer? And explain why, please.


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    • Melinda Longoria profile imageAUTHOR

      Melinda Longoria, MSM 

      4 years ago from Garland, Texas

      Bravewarrior, thank you for confirming our fears about faulty LG appliances. ;-) That is definitely one brand that I will not buy. Several of those LG washers & dryers are listed on Amazon & recommended on Hubpages. If people only knew! One of consumer reports top rated LG washers is impossible to even reach inside to get your clothes out. You have to use tongs. That's ridiculous. It's like they covered the basics but really didn't test their product for usability or reliability.

      Glad to know you had good experiences with the Kenmore and GE brands. I was wondering if the GE and also the Electrolux were good brands.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I have a GE conventional top load washer and a Kenmore front load dryer. I've had them both for well over 15 years and have no complaints. One thing you need to do from time to time with the dryer is blow out the ventilator tube. That keeps the dryer drying and avoids the risk of a fire from too much lint having built up in the hose.

      My ex-husband is an appliance repairman. He said most of their service calls are for LG appliances. LG should stick to electronics and get out of the household appliance business.


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