Washing Machine Buying Guide
Washing machines come in several styles and sizes designed to fit different homes and varying needs. If you are considering purchasing a washing machine, review each style and a variety of features to decide which one fits your home and your needs the best.
What Are Features To Look For?
Unlike some appliances, the features of a washing machine can make a huge difference in its performance. Depending on your budget and space restrictions, select a washing machine with the right features to fit your lifestyle, and get the best clean for your money.
- Controls: Regardless of your price range, you’ll want to select a washing machine with clear and easy to understand controls. While lower end models typically feature dials, new, high end washing machines feature touch screen control, making selecting the perfect wash cycle for your clothes just a fingertip away. With touch pads, your favorite cycle settings can typically be saved, and many settings are usually customizable.
- Steam: High end models featuring a steam setting claim to not only clean clothing better, but actually sanitize it as well.
- Delayed Start: Washing machines with this feature can be programmed to start their wash at a certain time of day, allowing you to load laundry at one time, and remove the freshly washed clothing hours later, without it having sat damp all day.
- Stainless Steel Tubs: When selecting a washing machine, stainless steel tubs/compartments are frequently considered the smartest option. The steel will not rust, and it is able to withstand bumps and scrapes during high speed spins.
- Automatic Temperature Control: While most models simply allow hot, cold or warm settings to be programmed, washing machines with automatic temperature control will adjust the water temperature in response to extremely cold or warm water coming in from your pipes, which would otherwise affect your desired water temperature.
Are You On A Budget?
Top loading washing machines are the most traditional style and are typically the most affordable. These machines feature a lid on the top of the structure, opening and closing to allow clothes to be placed inside and removed. They are generally valued for their economic price tag, easy loading and unloading during a wash cycle and relative ease of use.
Unfortunately, top loaders are also the highest energy consumers, which can cost you more money in the long run. Also, they tend to leave some stains which have been shown to be removed by other styles of washers with more aggressive agitators—the device or actions that moves clothing around the inside of the washing machine. A traditional top loading washing machine typically costs between $300 and $1,000, depending on brand, size and features.
Do You Want A Machine That Can Wash More Clothes, Better?
Normally, a top loading washing machine needs to fill completely with water to soak all clothing loaded into it. This requires a much larger amount of water and energy to be used than other styles, which high efficiency top loading machines hope to resolve. High efficiency top loading machines fill only partially with water and use more aggressive agitators to turn and mix clothing more, as well as a faster spinning speed.
This process attempts to thoroughly soak all items of clothing in the machine without completely submerging each item at once. They are typically found to wash clothing better than traditional top loading machines and can usually hold more clothing. Due to these added features, high efficiency top loading machines cost more than traditional models and can reach price levels matching high end front loading models, up to $2,000.
Do You Prefer An Energy And Water-Efficient Option?
Front-loading washing machines have become increasingly popular as an energy and water-efficient alternative to top loading machines. They are also prized for their superior cleaning ability to traditional top loaders. As their horizontally laying chamber rotates, clothing is plunged in and out of water, which does not need to fill the entire chamber. This process saves water and energy, while cleaning clothing and removing stains very efficiently.
Front-loading washing machines typically cost more than traditional models, though are usually equal in price to high efficiency top loaders. They are also usually quiet, and can be stacked (dryer on top of washer) for laundry areas with little space to spare. A front loading washing machine typically costs between $500 and $2,000, depending on brand, size and features.
Do You Have Limited Space?
Compact/space saving washing machines are smaller versions of regular washing machines designed for apartments, lofts or living spaces with very little area for laundry machines. Usually two feet wide or smaller, they are designed to be stacked, taking up as little floor space as possible.
While they are much less expensive and convenient in small homes, these washing machines can usually only handle up to 12 pounds of laundry at the most, eight pounds less than some regular models. A space-saving washing machine typically costs between $200 and $1,000, depending on brand, size and features.
Pick out a washing machine that will last and be a worthwhile investment. Keep in mind the aforementioned questions and answers in order to make the purchasing decision you will not regret.