The best washers and dryers on the market offer fantastic functionality plus the latest in laundry technology to make them worthwhile investments. Consumers typically want the machines to be efficient workhorses aside from being energy-saving units that offer the optimum mix of performance and features. Make sure to check out the essential aspects in this type of kitchen equipment.
The most common systems for the best washers and dryers are in the side-by-side configuration, with the washing machine on the left and the dryer on the right, easily accommodating the way door hinges are set up in the individual components. While the typical dryer has right-sided hinges, the washer can be a top loader or a front loading model with either reversible or right side hinges.
Some units come as stackable systems that can be configured via a separately purchased stacking kit. This configuration saves on floor space without compromising on capacity. Make sure the control panel is still reachable despite the raised height.
Compact machines also come in stacked configurations, but the reduced capacity should be an element the buyer has to be reconciled with. Other units are designed to go into tights paces nicely. They can be configured vertically or side by side on a compatible stand. Combo machines are more common in Europe than in the US. They offer an innovative solution to doing laundry in small living spaces. With the limited capacity however, load times can be lengthier but the convenience of a multi-use appliance can be enticing.
The machines that are mentioned in the best washers and dryers reviews should easily fit into the space earmarked for problem-free placement. There should be at least 1 to 3 inches between the units to allow efficient ventilation. Any hookups, vents and cords should be easily accommodated with 4 to 6 inches at the back. Front-loading machines require at least 21 to 25 inches to enable problem-free door swing.
Top-load washers need at least 20 inches as door clearance. Installing front-load units under a counter will require at least 1 inch of space to wiggle the machine out of when needed.
Remember: pedestals add height while stacking kits don’t.
Do check out how your utility installations are laid out to accommodate those in the units, including the power outlet and water hookup for the washer unit and the exhaust vent and outlet for the dryer element. You will also need to ensure that there are no narrow doorways, jutting banisters and tight corners that will inhibit optimization of the washer and dryer.
Since even the top rated washers and dryers are long-term investments, the consumer has to be sure that it can accommodate the needs of the family now as well as any additions to the family in the future.
For families who need to handle piles of laundry at a time, it pays to invest in large-capacity machines. There aren’t standardized descriptors used by all manufacturers, necessitating that the buyer figure this factor out using the numeric value expressed in cubic feet, which adheres to the standards set by the Department of Energy.
If figuring out laundry in terms of cubic feet is an issue, just go by the weight, which can be a better means of measuring how much laundry you can do instead of relying on the number of baskets and towels the machines can handle.
A regular capacity washing machine with 3.1 to 4.0 cubic feet capacity allows loading of between 12 to 16 pounds laundry. Large capacity models varying from 4.2 to 4.5 cubic feet can handle 20 pounds or more. Extra-large capacity models with 5.0 cubic feet and higher are perfect for large families that output never-ending piles of laundry.
Bulky items such as a queen-size comforter need to be washed in a high-efficiency machine without an agitator and with a 3.5-cubic feet capacity or greater.
The dryer’s capacity has something to do with that of the washer. Make sure the drum is large enough to enable a full load to freely tumble around, with sufficient space for hot air to circulate for optimum and fast drying.
Washer-and-dryer pairs are engineered to work with each other in terms of capacity. However, it’s another story when you are getting a replacement dryer, which should have twice the capacity of the washer.
Standard washers that make it to the washer-and-dryer reviews typically come with basic wash cycles including normal, delicate, heavy-duty and permanent press. Specialized cycles are available in more sophisticated units. Those cycles may include pre-wash, baby care, bedding, wool, towels, sports, quick wash, activewear, among others. Using these cycles allows automatic adjustment of water temperatures and spin speeds for a wide variety of fabric types and soil levels.
Standard machines have a few water level options, allowing the user to estimate how much water to put in for every load. Automatic adjustment for this factor is done by high-efficiency machines that use only the precise amount of water based on the weight of the load and the chosen cycle.
With automatic temperature control, you don’t have to be limited by the temperature of the water from your mains and your water heater. To check the water coming in along with the adjustment of the right valves, an internal thermostat handles everything to ensure they are of the right levels for the fabric and the detergent used.
An agitator-less model equipped with a hand wash setting is gentle enough for delicate items.
Top-load washers enable the addition of more items even when the cycle is underway, but front-loading machines do not quite offer the same flexibility. A pause/interrupt cycle drains the water to keep the floor dry when the door is opened.
Some machines offer the convenience of a built-in sink with an integrated water jet and scrubbing board for pre-treating and hand-washing of laundry.
Investing in a washer and dryer requires that you be able to determine the essential elements to be considered in such kinds of equipment. More importantly, you should ensure that your investment is for the long term, and this will include ensuring that the machines can handle the type of laundry you normally do as well as the number of people you do it for.