What to look for when buying a washing machine

December 27, 2014

When your lifestyle is busy and you're always on the go, getting ahead of the laundry can seem like an endless task. Today's washing machines come with a host of features and functions that can help make laundry seem a little less of a chore. Here are a few things you should know when selecting a clothes washer.

What to look for when buying a washing machine

Types of washing machines

Top load washers: A top load washer uses a central agitator to clean your clothes. It’s easy to use, affordable and high-efficiency models are becoming more common.

Front load washers: Front load washers can usually handle a higher capacity of clothes, as they don’t have an agitator that takes up space. They are efficient, gentler on clothing, have shorter cycles and higher spin speeds that help reduce drying time.

Portable washing machines: If space is a concern, try a mini washing machine. These washers often have the features found in larger models, but handle smaller loads.

Washer and dryer combos: Stackable washer and dryers save space without sacrificing capacity. These are especially useful in smaller homes and condos, where your washer and dryer can fit in a closet, out of sight.

Washing machine features

Here are a few extra features you may want to consider to help make laundry day a little easier.

  • Consoles: Look for washers with touch screens and touch pads that give you more options and control over your laundry settings
  • Automatic dispensers: An automatic dispenser puts in the correct amount of detergent so you don’t have to measure manually
  • Weight sensors: Weight sensors can save you money on water because they automatically adjust to load sizes
  • Temperature regulators: Water temperature is a key factor in keeping your clothes looking like new, and temperature regulators make sure the water is at the right temperature every time
  • Sound dampening: These clothes washers are extra quiet, and a great choice if your machine is operating in high traffic areas like bedrooms or kitchens
  • Quick-wash option: A quick-wash option can reduce wait times without sacrificing performance
  • Steam cycle: This option uses steam to allow you to refresh items that can't be washed in water

Other things to consider

Cycle options: Look for washers with a larger selection of cycle options, such as handwash or heavy cycles, if you have a variety of different types of clothes.

Tub material: Many models use porcelain tubs, but stainless steel can endure higher spin speeds to extract more water and minimize drying times.

Energy efficiency: Washers with a certified energy efficiency (ENERGY STAR) label are easier on the environment and can save you money.

Capacity: Look for a machine that can handle the volume and frequency of your laundry requirements.

Consider clothing types, laundry volume and how often you plan to use your machine before buying a clothes washer. Models with extra features can offer convenience, but also increase costs. Balance the features you need with your budget to get the best washer for your family.

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