A washer is an investment in your home and lifestyle, so you want to make sure you get the most for your money.
Washers come in several styles so before you start looking you want to make sure you pick the right type for your lifestyle. Your space may limit your choice so measure before you start your search.
Your first consideration should be capacity. If you have a large family or plan on washing larger items including bedding and pillows, choose a machine with a large capacity (4.5 – 5 cu. ft.). Most people will find that the standard 4.0 cu. ft. capacity should be sufficient.
Front-load washers have increased in popularity in recent years. They are easier on clothes and often are more energy-efficient. They can be stacked to maximize your floor space as well.
Top-load models used to be the standard for every laundry room. They are still a popular choice since you don’t have to bend over to load and unload them and they initially are less expensive. They come in energy-efficient models as well so if you want to save some money they are a good option.
Compact and stackable washers are great for smaller spaces. You should consider one of these washers if space is at a premium or if you want the comfort of doing your own laundry even if you live in a smaller apartment or condominium.
Washers don’t just come in white anymore either. Stainless steel, red and even purple washers are on the market now. You can always go for the conservative neutral colours, but why not show off your vibrant side in the laundry room?
A top-loader washer tub sits vertically in the machine and it often has an agitator in the middle to spin the water and force it through the clothes to clean them. Top loaders are a sensible choice if you have back or knee problems, since minimal bending is required to load and unload them. These washers can use any type of laundry detergent which is also convenient. They are usually lower priced than front-loaders, but they are often not as energy-efficient and can cause more wear and tear on your clothing. They come in varying sizes to accommodate all wash load capacities.
There’s no doubt that the front-load machine has surged in popularity recently. They offer better energy-efficiency, can be easily stacked to free up floor space and are gentle on your clothes and bedding. Front-loaders don’t require as much water as top-loaders since they only use enough water to cover the clothes, and since the drum is horizontal, gravity moves the clothes as the drum turns. They don’t have an agitator in the centre so they are roomier as well, allowing for larger loads. The lack of agitator also means your clothes are cleaned with minimal force, preserving them longer. One of their few downsides is the fact that they tend to be in the higher-end price range, and they often require special high-efficiency (HE) detergent.
Combination Units/Stacked Laundry Centres
If you are looking for both a washer and dryer and have limited space, you can also look at combination units. These consist of both a washer and dryer attached and stacked. They typically have the dryer on top with the washer on the bottom, and the washer is usually a top-load style. They are great for small spaces however, a potential downside is the fact that they are attached so if one part of the unit breaks, you may have to consider replacing the entire machine.
Compacts and Portables
If you live in a small apartment or condominium you may not have a lot of space for a full laundry pair. Like a portable dishwasher, these washers are hooked up to the kitchen sink with an adapter, and can be wheeled away when not in use. They have the same capacity as standard washing machines. You can also hook it up in a dedicated space like a regular washer if you choose to do so. Their portability makes them easy to relocate should you ever choose to move.
The type of washer you choose will have an impact on your budget for both the short and long term. If you choose a washer that is more energy-efficient, you will reap the benefits for many years, although the initial purchase may have your wallet taking an immediate hit.
ENERGY STAR® clothes washers typically use about half the electricity and water of a conventional top-loading machine. ENERGY STAR models also have a greater capacity than conventional models, meaning fewer loads of laundry.
Using an ENERGY STAR washer is an effective way of reducing your energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, saving a typical family of four $150 in utility costs and more than 33,000 litres of water per year. ENERGY STAR washers use less water and are more effective at cleaning clothes.
High-efficiency(HE) washers are ENERGY STAR qualified but also have other special features. HE machines spin at faster speeds, removing more water and allowing for shorter drying time for clothes. HE washers must use less energy and detergent to be called HE. HE washers do not have central agitators in any model, so they are gentle on clothes as well. They use re-circulated water in the rinse cycle to help save water. All HE machines will have the HE symbol on the washer so you know what kind of detergent to use.