By April Khan, Appliances Connection
So you’re thinking of buying a washer, but you don’t know where to start! Not to worry, we have you covered. This buyer guide is just for you. In it, we will go over everything you need to know about today’s washers, including:
- Features and Specifications
- Costs and Energy Saving Tips
By the end of this guide you should feel more confident in your purchase. But as always, if you have any questions about your purchase or about a particular brand, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our wonderful customer service staff!
Before we go over the features and specifications, we’ll go over the types of washers that are available. Currently, there are two: top-load and front-load.
Top Loaders (12 – 16 lb. capacity) The average cost of a top loader is between $399 to $1,699.
The most common style of washer is the top loader. In fact, this was the only available for many decades. These machines were operated manually with a turnstile handle that allowed the clothes to tumble. The first electric washer was advertised around 1907, but it looked nothing like the ones we have available today. It closely resembled a drum with rolling pins attached at its side – these were called wringers.
Front Loaders (12 – 20 lb. capacity) The average cost for a front loader is between $649 to $1,499.
During World War II washing machine manufacturing was forced into suspension due to a shortage in war material. In this time, manufacturers studied washing needs and decided that the washer should be reinvented. In 1937, the Bendix Corporation introduced the first front-loading automatic washing machine. This model became very popular and it was incorporated in nearly every laundrymat.
However, people weren’t too fond of this type of washer since it walked due to a lack in drum suspension.
Modern day top loaders weren’t released until 1947 by General Electric.
What are the Differences between Top and Front Loaders?
Aside from the obvious door location, there is a big difference in the way both of these washers operate. The top loader (also called a vertical loader) contains a basket within a tub. When the washer is turned on, the water pours into the tub and seeps through the holes of the basket. This allows the clothes to ‘float’ within the basket. The agitator –which pumps in the water—is located in the center of this drum. The water pushes up the sides of the basket, down towards the agitator and back out. When the cycle begins, a gearbox moves the agitator side to side or around full circle in a spin cycle.
In a front loader, the basket rotates back and forth via a pulley and the clothes are lifted up the sides of the basket by the paddles. This movement causes the clothes to follow a lift and drop pattern. Since there’s no agitator, there’s no need for the entire drum to fill up with water. The washer only pumps enough water to wet the clothes.
Both washers are designed differently, but they are equally efficient. However, each has a unique advantage over the other. Depending on your washing needs, you may lean towards one more than the other.
- Cleaning – both washers clean the same, although front loaders use less energy and detergent.
- Water usage – as mentioned above, front loaders use far less water than most top loaders. However it is possible for you to find energy efficient models in both. These naturally use less water.
- Cycle length – top loaders have a shorter cycle time since they spin faster and use less resources.
- Noise – in older models, front loaders are the least noisy since they have a lower tendency to lose balance.
- Compactness – front loaders win this battle. You can place the smallest of them under cabinets and in just about any tight space. Although, there are counter-top top loaders, but these are generally just small enough to wash one or two shirts or a very small load of baby clothes. These washers must be manually filled with water and manually emptied.
- Accessibility – you don’t have to bend to use a top loader and they have the largest capacity.
- Storage – front loaders are best for additional space since you can store things on top of them and you can add a pedestal underneath for more storage.
Before we get into costs, let’s touch on budget. It’s very easy when purchasing a new appliance to overspend. To avoid doing this, set a budget for yourself. Know what you can afford, then examine your washing needs. Ask yourself the following questions:
How many loads do you wash in a week?
Are you washing very soiled clothes on a regular basis?
Do you need steam cleaning or gentle cleaning options?
Do you wash large or small loads?
Do you need a gas washer or an electric one? (GAS washers require a special gas connection)
Answering these questions will greatly narrow down your selection.
Special Washer Types
There are special washers that have multiple functions. Some dry clothes, some steam them and others are attached to dryers.
The reason we didn’t include this under washer types is because it is literally connected to a dryer. It is a stackable (permanently fused together) top load washer and front load dryer. The height is generally 75 inches and the width is about 27 inches. Most people store these in laundry closets or alongside their cabinets. They are only capable of washing 1.5 cu ft. of clothes at once.
The average price is $1,299 -$1,599.
Washer-dryer combos (8 – 12 lb. capacity)
A washer dryer combo is capable of both washing and drying clothes within the same unit. Although they are very convenient, they are not as popular in the United States as they are in Europe.
If you’re interested in buying one, they are between $699 and $1,000.
A smart washer has all of the same functionalities as a regular top or front loader. However, these washers are voice or phone activated. Each brand has its own special feature on a smart washer, but they all share a few things in common:
- They use less water.
- They use less energy.
- They clean more efficiently.
- They can be controlled via app.
Typical smart washers can be controlled by a free phone app designed by the manufacturer. These apps allow you to start or stop the washer and to choose a wash cycle.
Smart washers cost between $1,000 and $3,000 on average.
Future Features and Controls
Here are some of the features you can find on modern washers:
- Steam – steam penetrates fabrics to loosen wrinkles and debris. This is best for gentle wash items.
- Quiet – the quiet setting keeps the clothes balanced to reduce noise.
- Touchscreens – these washers do not have the traditional knob controls. You can only control these washers by touch.
- Timers – timers allow you to delay start your clothes cycle. Although there’s a function for this on the washer, there’s also one on the phone for smart washers.
Buying a Washer from Appliances Connection
When you’ve got a budget in mind, go to Appliances Connection, click on ‘Laundry’ then select ‘Washers’. From here you’ll be taken to a page with 5 washer types: front load, top load, compact, commercial and coin operated. On the left side of this page, you’ll be given options such as style, color, features and size. Since you don’t know what kind of washer you want, click the tile that says ‘All Washers’. On the following page, tick all of the boxes that you can afford under ‘Refine by Price’. The page will change. Next, select the color, then click the appropriate options on the left. You may also choose a brand from the top.
Appliances Connection has hundreds of washers to choose from all of the top brands. Sign up for our newsletter for the heads up on deals and upcoming sales!