How to find the perfect washing machine

With so many options out there, finding the perfect washing machine can be a challenge if you don't know what you're looking for. Here are some things you need to know about washing machines before you make a purchase.

How to find the perfect washing machine

Washing machine sizes

Washing machines don't come in small, medium or large sizes, but super or extra-large instead. The capacity of a washing machine is usually measured in terms of washtub size.

  • "Super" machines are about 0.08 cubic metres (three cubic feet), "extra large" total 0.07 cubic metres (2.5 cubic feet). When full, a "super" machine will hold six to seven kilograms (14 to 15 pounds) of laundry and use 160 litres (about 42 gallons) of water per load.
  • An "extra large" model can handle five to six kilograms (11 to 12 pounds) of laundry and uses 148 litres (about 39 gallons) of water. The smallest washers, often marketed as "apartment-sized" or "compact," range from 0.04 to 0.07 cubic metres (1.5 to 2.5 cubic feet).

What size is right for you?

  • If you routinely wash large loads, the "super" size is probably right for you.
  • Don't buy a larger model than you need.
  • Washers perform best when they are run at full capacity, so you would be wasting both energy and water if you regularly wash less-than-full loads.

Save space with a stackable solution

Stackable washer/dryer combinations, which were originally designed for apartments, take up half the floor space of a regular side-by-side washer and dryer while cleaning just as efficiently.

  • Where space is at a premium, stacked units may be your only option.
  • But stackable units can create new space in any home laundry for such options as a sink, a folding counter, an overhead clothes rack, or just more storage space.

Understanding cycles and temperatures

  • Most washing machines come with three basic wash cycles: regular, permanent press and delicates. But an optional extra-rinse cycle might be useful if you are sensitive to detergent or regularly use extra detergent to wash especially dirty items.
  • Temperature controls usually include hot wash–cold rinse (for whites or heavily soiled items), warm wash–cold rinse (for permanent press or normally soiled items) and cold wash–cold rinse (for delicate items).
  • Some models allow you to fine-tune the temperature of the water used on each cycle, while others electronically regulate the water temperature in the washtub.

Keep these tips in mind while looking for your new washing machine and find one that fits your space and needs!

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