Originally developed by General Electric in 1954, the combo washer and dryer combines the functions of both a washing machine and clothes dryer into a single unit. The ability to wash and dry clothes in the same unit is an attractive feature that many consumers prefer. With that said, combo units are more popular in European nations than the U.S.
Advantages of a Combo Washer/Dryer
It should come as no surprise that the greatest advantage of a combo washer and dryer is its size. Families living in homes with a small, compact laundry room (or no dedicated laundry room) may find it difficult to squeeze in both a washing machine and clothes dryer. This problem is easily solved, however, by opting to use a washer and dryer combo unit instead. With both the washing and drying function built into a single unit, families can use closets, counter tops, or other small spaces to do their laundry.
A combo washer and dryer also eliminates the need to manually transfer clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Once a load of clothes is finished washing, you simply press the dry button to begin the drying cycle. Consumers aren’t required to move loads of wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer; a benefit that’s particularly useful for people with back problems or physical disabilities.
Disadvantages of a Combo Washer/Dryer
But there are some potential disadvantages to using a combo washer and dryer, one of which is its low capacity. A typical washer and dryer combo may hold anywhere from 10-30% less laundry than a pair of standalone units. This is a serious drawback for families who normally wash max loads at any given time.
A washer and dryer combo may also take longer to dry clothes. While a standard clothes dryer typically performs a full drying cycle within an hour, a combo unit may require two or more hours to complete. There are dozens of consumer reviews posted online in which users complain about the slow drying times of combo washers and dryers.
While some combo models boast the Energy Star-certified logo, they are generally less energy efficient than standalone units. This is due to the fact that combo units are smaller, so manufacturers aren’t able to include the same energy-saving features as standalone washing machines and clothes dryer. The longer drying times also reduces the combo unit’s energy efficiency.