Washing Machine Buying Guide

The washing machine has been around since the late nineteenth century. It has made its way into millions of homes the world over, and newer technology is being created for washers every day. With this buying guide, you will be able to select the best washer for your household's needs.

Types of Washing Machines

Top-loading

The traditional type of washing machine, the top-loader consumes a great deal of water, energy, and detergent. Louder than other washing machines, they also have a lower capacity than most equally-sized washing machines of different types. These washing machines can also stop mid-cycle if the load is unbalanced. However, this type of washer is less expensive than other types and wash clothes quicker. It is best for someone who wants a budget-friendly washer that washes clothes quickly. Also, it is good for people with back problems as they do not have to stoop to load the clothing.

Front-loading

These washing machines are the most popular type and have several benefits. For example, they often finish a load with cleaner clothes than a top-loading. They also use less water, detergent, and energy than other types of washing machines. Quieter than top-loading machines, they may come with a dryer calibrated to work side-by-side with it. They may alternatively come with a stackable dryer. More expensive than top-loading washing machines, the front-loading machine is best for someone who has extra funds and wants energy efficiency and high performance.

Compact

Compact washers are a great alternative anywhere there is a tight space. Typically twenty-four inches deep and twenty-four inches wide, these washing machines can fit even in a kitchen cabinet. Often stacked in a closet or narrow hallway, compact washing machines are only electric and come with either vented or non-vented dryers. The washer and dryer together typically require 220 volts, so be careful where you place this type of washing machine. This type of washing machine is great for people in tiny apartments with small budgets.

Pay Attention to

Space Available

Measure the space you have available as this will make a big difference as to which model of washing machine you get. If you have plenty of room, you will likely want to save money in the short term buying a top-loading washer and dryer. If you have less room, you will have to consider whether you need a front-loading or compact model. The particularly tiny places will require the compact style of washing machine.

Capacity

Which capacity you get will depend on two factors: the price you are willing to pay and how many loads of laundry a week you are willing to run. If you want to run fewer loads, for example, you may want a high-capacity washing machine. If you have few loads to run each week (for instance, you live alone), then a lower capacity washing machine will be fine for you. You must also consider the price of the washing machine when deciding what capacity to get as the higher capacity models cost more.

Types of Cycles

There are many different types of cycles that you can get on your washing machine. The standard washing machine comes with cycles for cottons, permanent press, and delicate. The next step up comes also with a cycle that mimics hand-washing. Other washers come with pre-wash, heavy soil, and gentle cycles. You should consider which cycles you will use and get a washer that fits those needs. For example, if you have kids who play sports, you will likely want the heavy soil cycle, and if you have cashmere or silk garments, you will most likely want a gentle or hand wash cycle.

Liquid Dispenser

Depending on what type of washing machine you get, there may or may not be a liquid dispenser. Compact washing machines often do not have them. These are drawers or cups that allow you to place detergent, bleach, and/or fabric softener in them and the water will slowly pull the liquid out of the dispenser. For front-loading washers, this is a drawer in which you place your loose detergent, bleach, and/or fabric softener. In a top-loading model, the liquid dispenser is two cups, one in the center and one on the side. The one in the center is for bleach, while the one on the side is for fabric softener. If you plan to use fabric softener or detergent, you will want a liquid dispenser to distribute the liquids evenly throughout the water and onto the laundry.

Special Features

The special features of a washer can make things easier on you when doing laundry. One special feature is a digital display, while another is a light console. The digital display is great for people who do not mind spending the extra money and want the added features of a digital display for exact measurement of cycles and temperature. Lighted consoles are perfect for washing machines that are going to be located in a dark corner or basement because you will not need an added light to see which buttons to press or what digits to select on a washing machine's panel. Another special feature is called active water. This feature allows the washing machine to detect how much laundry is in the tub and puts just enough water into said tub. This feature saves water and thus electricity.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Whirlpool

Over a hundred years old, Whirlpool has been making washing machines all along. Starting with a patented hand washing machine in 1911, this company now makes large household appliances including the ever-present clothes washer. Their washers are known for top-of-the-line quality and sturdy designs. One of their top-quality models is the 3.5 cubic feet Top-loading Washer with Delicates Cycle. This washer boasts deep water washing and a delicates cycle.

Frigidaire

High quality and extra sturdy, Frigidaire home appliances are in almost every home in America. These appliances include washing machines, which use newer technology to make repairs less frequent and increase the life of the machine. The 3.9 cubic feet Energy Star stackable washer employs this new technology to decrease repair frequency it offers seven washing cycles, including casual, heavy, and delicate, and has a vibration control system that minimizes vibrations from imbalanced laundry.

General Electric

GE is a well-known company that is beloved by thousands of Americans for their great reputation and the large variety of prices and features available with their washing machines. The new General Electric models are all front-loading, however, so consider this when buying your washer. One of their top models can be described as having a dual-action agitator and five soil levels. This model, the 4.2 cubic feet Top-Loading Washer, is simple to use with dials instead of a digital console. It also features deep fill and deep rinse features. And deep rinse

Maytag

The oldest manufacturer of washing machines, Maytag has been around since 1893. Their innovative washing machines original used counterweights to imbalance the tub and thereby shake it, moving the water and soap around among all the clothes. Nowadays, you can still buy one of these original washers in good condition, but there are also newer electric models, such as the Bravos X 3.6 cubic feet Top Load Washer. This model is a high-energy, Energy Star compliant washer. It has an allergen cycle that removes at least 95% of all allergens from your clothes, such as pet dander and dust mites.