Before you pick a washer, think about how much laundry you do. Are you a single person who gets by with washing once a week? Or do you have a large family that requires laundry everyday? How many loads do you do and how much time do you spend doing the wash? Once you’ve answered those questions, use these guidelines to pick a washer.
- Measure the space. Find out both the width and the depth of the area that will accommodate your new purchase. You want to also allow at least 36 inches in front of the machine so you can load and unload clothes properly. There’s no use pining for a bigger machine if it won’t fit. Don’t forget to measure the width of the doors that you’re going to use to bring in the washer, otherwise you may not be able to bring the new appliance in.
- Decide on capacity. This is usually clearly stated on the washer’s sales label. A compact washer can handle 1.7 to 2.3 cubic feet. This may be practical for singles or couples. An extra-large unit, more suitable for families, can deal with 3.1 cubic feet or more.
- What about energy use? The type of washer you select affects energy use and expense. A top load washer is more traditional and cheaper. A front-loader uses less energy but is more expensive. Unless you install it about 15 inches off the floor, a front-loader also requires more bending to load and unload properly. Look for the Energy Star rating on the label, which gives you some idea of how much it costs to run your appliance.
- Decide on options. The more options that a washer has, then the more expensive it becomes. Cheaper models have one to four speeds and few temperature options. They may also rely on mechanical controls. Higher-end models may have preset cycles that combine speed, temperature and agitation levels to wash specific materials more thoroughly. You may control them with touch screens and digital displays. They may also boast options for recycling water if the load is lightly soiled.