What kind of Washing Machine should I buy?
Start with survey of your use.
In order to pick the best brand and type or washing machine, you need to take a variety of things into consideration.
- How often do you use the washer?
- Do you open the washer often during the cycle?
- Are you particular about your wash, or do you just cram enough in to make a load and then run it?
- Do you live in a place that needs to conserve water due to high cost low availability or disposal costs?
- Do you use the cycles on your machine to match the wash load requirements?
- Is your main concern conservation, life of the machine, condition of clothes, or water conditions?
- Please follow safety cautions when working on a washing machine.
- Does it cost more to run a washer and dryer at the same time? How can you save on your energy bill?
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When thinking about buying a new washer, it is a good idea to think about the following:
- Electronics: If a machine is controlled with or by electronics, the repair rate is higher than mechanical machines and the costs are much higher.
- Personally, I try to avoid machines with more to go wrong with them. If you are buying a washer, electronics should not be the only consideration, however, two machines with the same options side by side, the electronic machine is less reliable and harder and more expensive to repair. I have read the repair manuals on several different electronic and non-electronic machines. Although this does not make me an expert, it is apparent that the electronic machines are more difficult to test, more difficult to diagnose, and more difficult to repair, and will cost far more for the service. Replacing a controller may also call for the replacement of a wiring harness. This adds up.
- Conservation. If you need to conserve energy and water, then the machine that uses the least amount of water and does it more efficiently would be the best choice. The best machine for this scenario is a front loader.
- The major complaint of all front loading machines is smell. Most of the front loaders have a musty mildew smell that can permeate the wash. This comes from water sitting in the folds of the rubber boot that seals the door. Carefully drying the boot and running bleach in the washer once a month or so can alleviate the problem. Others recommend using vinegar to help reduce the odors. Some repair scenarios call for leaving the door open.
- Detergent: if you want to save on detergent, a front loading machine typically calls for 1/2 or less the amount of detergent used in a top loading machine.
- Door Lock: most top loading machines have a lid switch and the lid can be opened anytime during the cycle. Front Loading machines have a door lock that sometimes will not unlock and allow the door to be opened even when the washer is turned off.
- Operating costs: did you know that front loading machines use 1/2 to 1/4 energy needed for a top loader? It is true. Some of this is hype though since both machines are inexpensive to operate. A top loading machine based on 8 loads a week, costs about $41 a year to operate while the front loader costs about $15 a year to operate.
- Economics: Most front loader washers cost more. As a matter of fact they run in the $600 to $1200+ dollars. Top of the line top loading washers run about $600+. Say two washer with similar features, a top loader for $700 and a front loader for $1000 were purchased and run exactly the same, it would take approximately 10 years to reclaim the added initial costs in enegy savings. I suspect the front loading machine will cost more to maintain during that period.
- Expected life of a washer: Front Load = 11 years, Top Load = 14 years.
- Conservation: If you want to conserve energy and water, then a front loading machine might be the best choice. However, there are a few top loading machines that meet low energy standards. You must research these machines.
- Costs: The lower end front loading machines are pretty amazing. Frigidaire® has a front load machine for about $600 which has great engineering, dependability, low operating costs, conserves energy, and has a mechanical timer (a big plus to me) and most importantly is just as good or better than most of the machines on the top end.
- Personal preference: don't be fooled with fancy displays, lcds, and leds. These look great and have a place in bragging circles, other than that, they offer options that sometimes do not work and usually will not be used by the consumer. Most people want basic service out of the washing machine, and they want it to be reliable. Fancy displays and buttons do not compute to be reliable service.
Select a machine for Features
Most people want a machine that can do the following:
- Heavy Duty cycle for heavily soiled laundry.
- Regular cycle for most regular wash.
- Permanent Press cycle for wrinkle free wash.
- Gentle Cycle for delicates.
- A second rinse setting.
- And less often a Soak cycle for hand washables.
- Water level selector for different sized loads.
- Temperature selector for combinations of hot/cold/warm settings.
Select a machine for economy
If money is no object, just buy the most expensive complicated washer you can find. It will look beautiful in your laundry room, and will impress your maid, housekeeper, and friends you bring through your laundry room.
However, if you are on a budget, you should purchase your next machine on the basis of your personal preferences: features, economy, service record, conservation.
Remember that sometimes you do not get what you pay for....an expensive washing machine is not necessarily better.
My favorite brand: Whirlpool® for top loading, Frigidaire® for front loading. Avoid the electronics. You will get good service with these.
Maytag Front Loaders
Front Loading Maytag
Excellent reviews for
Maytag Performance Series : MHWE300VW 27in Front-Load Washer 4 cu. ft. - White
This front loading washer has great reviews and is stylish. I would recommend a look at this machine as it has high recommendations and appears to be a fine machine.