Finding the perfect washing machine for your everyday use is not a walk in the park! There are several sizes and styles of washers available, there are equally several factors to consider when shopping for a new washer. Fortunately for you, here is an article on how to choose a washing machine to last you years to come.
Beyond other aspects such as budget, you should consider other factors on choosing the right washing machine for your home. Here are some of those vital factors to look into:
The average size of a washing machine is 27.5 inches wide while the capacity ranges from 3.0 to 6.2 cubic feet. The amount of laundry that a washing machine holds depends on its construction. Top-loaders washing machines handle more clothes as compared to front-load washers.
- Most compact machines are 25 inches wide and come with a capacity of 2.2 cubic feet. These can fit between 5 to 8 pounds of laundry in the tubs.
Dryers hold more clothes than washers. It is, therefore, important to also consider the size of the accompanying dryer. We are sure you will not love a dryer that holds fewer clothes than your washer as this will force you to dry your clothes in shifts. To be on the safer side, always shop for a dryer that is almost twice the size of your washer. Compact model washing machines often come with dryers that are twice the size of the washers.
2. Top load vs front load
The top loaders washing machines come in two types; the agitators and impellers. The agitators are made of a pole with fins that protrudes from the bottom of the drum and easily moves the laundry around. The impellers on the other hand, have propellers at the base that churns the water to move the clothes.
- Priced on the lower side.
- Have shorter cycle period
- Clothes can be added mid-way through the wash cycle.
- Clean very well.
- Use a lot of water
- The agitators are rough of soft fabrics
- Impellers may tangle clothes
- Takes long to dry clothes
- Produce a lot of noise
Front loading washing machines have more features than the top loaders. The new ones come with sensors that will require extra care such as occasional wiping so as to prevent mold buildup.
These types of washers may not be ideal for individuals who dislike bending to open doors.
- Excellent cleaning
- Gentle on fabric
- Use less water as compared to other types of washing machines.
- Dryer time is shorter.
- It can be easily stacked with a matching dryer thus space-saving.
- Quite energy saving
- More expensive than the other types of washers.
- Not possible to add clothes midway.
- It cannot be moved easily due to their weight.
- Longer washing time
- Quite a number transmit vibrations to the floor.
- Easily affected by mold.
3. Automatic vs semi-automatic
Automatic washing machines come with a single tub. It is in the tub that all functions are performed, no need to shift clothes. These types of machines come as a single tub that can be used for washing, rinsing and drying clothes. They usually come as top and front load machines. The programing is different from each brand in the market.
- They are energy saving
- Programming is only done once before each wash load
- They are quite expensive as compared to other types of washers.
Semi-automatic washers are partially automatic meaning that you will have to do some of the work. You will be required to fill the tub with water before starting it. You will also need to move the clean clothes into the drying tub assuming that you buy a twin-tub semi-automatic washing machine.
Semi-automatic washers usually come as top loaders machines
- Come with two tubs, for washing and drying.
- Use less water compared to the automatic machines.
- Priced on the lower side
- They need manual input to function as intended.
- Need more storage space because of their size
Washing machines come with several features. Here are the features that you are likely to find on the newer washers:
Steam settings: This feature allows you to steam your clothes to get rid of stains and creases. For this function to work, it will depend on the make of the washer. With some models, you will have to add water or get an additional hook-up behind the dryer.
Handwashing function: This function is crucial when handling delicate fabrics such as undergarments.
Temperature settings: The function is used to adjust cold and hot water as it enters the machine.
Extended spin: An extended spin is vital for heavy fabrics such as comforters and towels. Additionally, the extended spin effortlessly gets out the extra water thus making the heavy items easy to dry.
Stain removal: The stain removal function acts as a pre-soak and pre-wash cycle. The function helps remove the stain completely from your clothes.
Automated water levels: This is a great function to help you save water. The newer machines come with sensors that tell how full the machine is and adjust the water reasonably. The sensors should be wiped using a dry towel to keep them in proper working condition.
Wrinkle release: The wrinkle release setting does not fully replace the need for iron; it simply makes the clothes less wrinkled.
Extended tumble: The extended tumble setting helps reduce the number of wrinkles on your clothes.
Stainless steel: What is the hype about stainless steel all about? The material does not get discolored or even absorb odors. Additionally, it reduces static cling on your clothes.
Drying rack: You can use a detached drying rack inside the dryer; this means that you can dry the delicate items without having to tumble them.
Custom settings: Custom settings let you set one or more favorite options instead of having to deal with the menu each time you load your washer.
5. Installation considerations
Only compact washers and some combo units can be connected using an adapter to the faucet when required. Otherwise, most washing machines will require plumbing installation. You should consult your plumber about installation if your home is not washer ready.
For utility hookups, a washer will need about 20-amp, 120-volt electrical out, cold and hot water supply and a well-laid drain connection.
A conventional electric dryer will require a 240-volt dryer out and a vent duct leading to outside the door. A gas dryer will require a 120-volt outlet, a vent duct, and a line connection.
6. Electricity consumption
Electricity consumption of the washer you intend to buy should be a major concern. Front-load washers have better energy ratings as compared to their counterparts. Even though, it important to take time to compare the energy guides of different brands. Front-loaders have better energy ratings than they used to years ago.
Over to you
We hope that our guide on how to choose a washing machine helped you cut through the market noise. Remember an excellent washing machine is one that is within your budget and of course meets your needs.