Although all washing machines are engineered to handle dirty laundry, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all unit that can boast to be perfect for every home. With the variety of models and brands on the market, it is up to the consumer to select a machine that best fits their family’s unique needs. It is best to check out the machines available out there before choosing a suitable one for your home.
A top-loading machine can either be a traditional top-load washer or a high-efficiency unit. The difference lies in the presence of an agitator in the former, which a high-efficiency machine replaces with an impeller. A traditional type of machine is typically cheaper, and is designed to move the clothes around using the agitator. An agitator-equipped machine is typically cheaper than the second type of top-loading unit. It also allows the addition of items at any time during the cycle.
A high-efficiency top-loading machine uses an impeller that resembles a propeller located at the bottom of the machine. This element whips up the water to move the clothes around, an action that produces currents that move the clothes through the water to clean them, eliminating the need for the impeller to come in contact with the clothes. Using sensors to effectively manage the use of water, a high-efficiency top loader proves to be more energy efficient as well. It can wash larger loads thanks to the absence of an agitator post that can eat up space in the drum.
This type also uses significantly less electricity and less detergent than a standard unit. Providing a faster spin, this type reduces drying time as it can wring out moisture better from laundry.
The second type of washing machine is the front-loading unit. A spinning drum moves the clothes around for cleaning. A front loader offers greater energy and water efficiency than a top loader. It is also gentler on the laundry and delivers faster spin speeds that remove more water for shorter drying times. Typically, front-loading washers offer more programming options and have a compact design suitable for small living spaces. As the laundry is moved back and forth, water is pulled through the laundry by gravity.
The buyer has to be aware of the average dimensions of washing machines to ensure hassle-free placement in the unit’s designated space in the home.Generally, top-loaders measure 27 inches wide, 25.5 inches deep and 42 inches high. Front loaders are commonly 27 inches deep and also 27 inches wide, and are 36 inches high. Better take note of those dimensions when shopping for a laundry machine for your home.
Another vital consideration is machine capacity. Take note, a bigger capacity often means a machine two or three inches wider than the average dimensions. Measure the space you intend to put the machine in, then give a clearance of about six inches behind the machine to accommodate plumbing hookups, plus an inch between the washing and drying units. Don’t forget to also measure the entryway to your home, so you can make sure the machine will fit through it.
Placing the machine near the family room or bedroom necessitates that it does well in noise level assessments. This ensures that the machine can do its job without creating a ruckus, which can easily become a problem for those who live in upper floors of residential apartments or condos. Some machines are equipped with anti-vibration systems to handle that issue.
The capacity of a medium-size machine is commonly 5.5 kilograms to 7.5 kilograms. Roughly, an 8-kilogram unit can handle a load of around 40 shirts. Do consider possible additions to the family when deciding on capacity.
In addition, it is worthy to note that high-efficiency top- and front-loading units are able to handle 24-pound loads for a single cycle. Large-capacity units take in 28-pound loads at a single time, making them ideal for family use. Traditional top-loading units handle between 12- to 16-pound loads, perfect for single users or couples.
A large-capacity washer reduces the number of loads you have to do every time.
If space is a concern, you might try to consider buying stackable units. Also, make sure that if you do get a front-loader, there has to be sufficient room to fully open the door. Bear in mind that frequently overloading the machine can directly affect its lifespan by decreasing it.
Programs and Settings/Washing Speed
Fortunately, most washing machines are equipped with variable wash and temperature settings, allowing the user to wash more types of clothing safely. Take note of the settings that you will frequently use for the type of laundry you typically do.
A selectable spin speed enables use of higher spin that reduces drying times while providing a slower speed to handle delicate items.
Some machines come with an anti-crease function that employs a unique cycle to handle fabrics that are easily creased, or ensures no spin after the final rinse.
A load sensing feature tells what type of clothing is put in, gauges the quantity of the clothing and the soil level, then uses the appropriate wash cycle to accommodate those elements.
Generally, top-loading washers do the laundry quicker than a front-loader unit that can wash anywhere up to two hours for just one load. Some washing machines come with a time-saving wash option/fast-wash setting that easily cuts off up to 20 minutes from the standard wash cycle of a high-efficiency unit while still ensuring superb cleaning capability.
Plenty of mid- and high-priced units offer a steam setting, which can offer slight improvement on stain removal ability.
With auto temperature control, the user doesn’t have to manually mix hot and cold water in predetermined ratios as the system adjusts the water temperature to optimal levels according to the selected level.
Convenience and Controls
Unlike plastic or porcelain tubs, a stainless steel drum can withstand chipping and scratching due to contact with buttons, metal zippers and rivets on clothes. A stainless steel tub can also hold its own during high spin speeds, removing more water to reduce drying times.
The controls on the washing machine should not only be easy to understand but also readily accessible. While lower-priced units come with mechanical or rotary knobs, machines on the higher end of the spectrum can be equipped with feather-touch digital buttons plus display screens, allowing easy programming . You will also want the control panel to be brightly illuminated for hassle-free activation of settings even in dimly lit basements or corners of the house.
Some machines offer an end-of-cycle signal such as a series of beeps or a tune to alert the user when cleaning has been completed. Some models also come with an automatic dispenser that prevents wastage of detergent and fabric softener by holding enough of those items for a whole month or two, eliminating the guesswork.
Majority of front-loading units, along with some top-loading models, come with an automatic lock function that keeps the door from being opened during the washing/drying cycle.
A washing machine is an investment that should last, so make sure it has the features and offers the performance you expect from it for the price you pay for it. By simplifying laundry days and making the task less of a chore, a washing machine should prove to be one of the most indispensable appliances in any modern American home.