Time for a new washer and dryer. Suggestions?

It looks like it is about time to replace our almost-20-year-old Kenmore washer and dryer. I’ve been checking out the snazzy new front loaders and really like the idea of being able to do a load nearly double the size of our current washer with about a third of the water. But I’ve also seen some alarming things in some on-line reviews that I wouldn’t have thought of when shopping for a washer/dryer. (Washer doesn’t drain all the way and leaves clothes smelling mildewy; washer makes a lot of noise when spinning; dryer won’t shut off and gets so hot it just about sets the clothes on fire. That kind of stuff.)

So, anybody who has bought a new washer and dryer recently - what did you buy, and what do you like or not like about it?

gas or electric? My $.02, find a cheap set on craigslist, you can get it for about the third of the price. I’ve just heard too many complaints about the front loaders. Once the cheap set dies, hopefully the front loaders will be better.

We’ve had the LG front loader washer and dryer for about two years now. No complaints at all, they just work. My wife leaves the washer door open so it dries out (supposed to prevent the mildew) but I don’t and we’ve had no problems. One nice thing about the LG is that although they offer about 5 or 6 different levels of models, they all pretty much looks the same - we ended up with the second to the top of the line dryer and a middle of the line washer. Can’t really tell by looking at them that we mixed and matched the models to best match our needs. And we bought the stacking kit, which made room for a refrigerator in our little laundry room.

One noticeable thing about the front loader washer is that the higher spin speeds really do result in quicker dryer times.

edited to add: we had to remove a cabinet to allow having the stacked units, but for us it was worth it in order to have the refrigerator. The washer and dryer are a bit taller (about 12 inches) than the 16 CF refrigerator.

We just bought a new washer and dryer - we bought a new set six years ago for our old house, and I slightly regretted getting a top loader washer for that house (just due to the water waste), so this time we went with a front loader. I’ve just finished washing two loads of clothes, and I have no complaints so far. The washer does take longer per load, but I’ll just have to adjust my expectations; I usually put a load in and go off and do something else (other than stare at my washing machine), so I’ll come back in an hour instead of half an hour. The clothes seem to be very clean - the whites load is due to come out soon. I’ll update when they come out.

In researching the High Efficiency detergent (which apparently you do need, it’s not just a scam), I ran across the mildew issue too, but I have always had the habit of leaving my washing machine open after washing to let it dry out - I don’t see why I wouldn’t do that with this new machine (and that does seem to be the fix for it). We haven’t hooked up the new dryer yet (still have to shut off the gas to the old one). We’ve gone with electric for the new dryer; it’s kind of moot for us since I dry almost everything on the line anyway, and do about one small load in the dryer every week.

My husband and I don’t have kids and don’t do very much laundry so our water bills are never very high, but I didn’t feel right about wasting water just because we can.

Front loaders are the way. I have had mine for eight years, purchased new and unused at the Sears outlet store in Santa Ana, CA. A small dent in the back of each one dropped the price by half.

The tub bearings went out on mine and I tore it apart and replaced the entire drum assembly. If they go out again, I will pull and replace the bearings only, not the entire tub assembly, for $40.

As for mildew, just leave the washer door open after you do a load. No mildew in mine.

What I don’t understand is the price matching between the washer and the paired dryer. If the washer is $1,300, so is the dryer. If the washer is $500, so is the dryer.

Clothes dryers are simple devices that should in no way match the price of the much more complex washer.

That’s why we got a new dryer that we didn’t really need, toofs - $1000 plus for just the washer, or $1000 for a washer and dryer set - our dryer was working but squeaking, so new pair it is!

Okay, the whites are done - they seem clean. I’m not seeing any major difference between the top loader and the front loader.

Bad tub bearings has been a bit of a theme with the older Kenmore FL washers, most of which were made by Frigidaire.

We’ve had an LG washer (and dryer) for about five years and are madly in love with it. It’s so efficient with water that our water bill dropped so much that the machine paid itself off within two years. If you’re used to top-load machines, you’ll find that FL machines are energy-saving marvels.

On the mildew - we’ve never had a problem. Just leave the door ajar when done with the laundry so it can dry out. Another thing that some people do is to do your whites (assuming you use bleach) as the last load.

I like the craigslist idea.

My wife and bought a washer and dryer that are a few years old from a garage sale for $50. They work perfect and we have had no problems so far. If the need is not urgent, you could probably look on CL for a while and find a decent pair of front loaders for a good deal too.

Do you have a room to put them in, or a cubby in a hallway? Ours live in the hallway, so we wouldn’t be able to close the doors to the area if we had to leave a front loading door open.

Electric. Sorry, forgot to specify.

Yeah, one of the bad things about Kenmores is trying to figure out who the actual manufacturer is.

Some of the brands I’ve been looking at are LG, Samsung, and Bosch. The Samsung washers are supposed to have some vibration control technology that reduces noise when spinning. Since our laundry room is just off the kitchen, not down in the basement, it would be nice to have something quiet. (However, some of the online reviews I’ve read on the Samsungs say they aren’t a whole lot quieter than any other front loader.)

The Bosch set I looked at was really nice. The salesman said the washer uses about a third less water than other FLs because the fins around the drum are perforated and catch water on the bottom and then release it when they spin around to the top. And I think it was the Bosch dryer where the entire back of the drum provided airflow rather than through one small vent in the back. But the Bosches are a few hundred more (each) than I was planning on spending, so I’m not sure if it’s worth it or not.

I got the super-cheap matched set from sears in february of this year. I think it was 600 for the set, which includes a front loading washer/dryer and a stacking kit.

I don’t know about complaints about noise…you can barely hear the thing unless it is spinning at TOP speed, and even then it’s much quieter than most older top-loading washing machines, with the only exception being the water filling and draining, which is about the same volume just due to the water running through the pipes.

We’ve had a Whirlpool Duet Sport set for about a year. Washing and drying performance wise they work pretty good definitely better than the cheapest toploader set I could find they replaced. Our complaint was the noise from the washer at high speeds. Lots of noise, vibration, and squeaking! I installed some some foam insulation inside to help with the general noise from the pump and motors. A 3/4 inch plywood sheet under both of them helped with the vibration (They’re on a first floor over a basement). The squeak was the worst though. After tearing it all apart I found it came from the connection between the washer and the optional pedestal. We’ve been squeak free for about a week now which has definitely improved our opinions of them.

I just bought an LG set last August, front loaders, and I likes 'em. (It’s the lower model, WM 2010CW. Got both at a $999 summer sale. Got the pedestals too.)

However, we put a 3’x4’ bath rug in the washer, and it screwed it up nicely - twisted the seal and dented the sides, put a gash in the glass and everything. My fault for telling my husband to do it - our old top loader could handle it, but you had to run the wring cycle to wring it out forever. But I called LG, and they’ll fix it under warranty, so I’m happy - repair man comes Wednesday.

Dumb part of it is that it probably could’ve handled it if we would’ve changed the spin speed. Nuts.

We heard when we were buying our new set that there is no one in Alberta that can fix a Samsung, so that took them right off the table for us.

That is exactly what I have, Kenmore made by Fridgidaire! I’ve got the bearing specs and part numbers filed away for the future.

That is my biggest concern with regards to the Samsung, LG and Bosch units: parts availability. Parts are readily available for the main American brands.

I like the front loaders for a few reasons. They are open tubs, so no center post for things to get twisted around. Since the final spin cycle is so fast, the clothes come out with less water than a top loader, which means less time in the dryer. I have noticed that the front loaders do not tear up clothes as much as a top loader. Less violent cycles, I guess. My clothes come out cleaner, too.

If you have really oily or greasy clothing, add one or two tablespoons of TSP (trisodium phosphate) with the detergent. Powdered TSP is available in the paint department of Lowe’s, Home depot and the like. Nothing works better for removing oils!

We bought a new washer and drier last year, and the salesman at the store gave us a great piece of advice.

If you don’t mind that the 2 aren’t an exact matched set, buy a front load washer, and a drier from a top load set. You won’t be able to stack them, because the controls for the drier will be on the top, not the front, but you will save a bunch of money.

If you also don’t mind surface scratches, look for a local store that sells scratch and dent, and display models. Our washer has a dent on one side. The drier has a scratch. They sit in my laundry room, already mismatched, where no one sees them. So I don’t really care.

If the washer is going on an upper floor, front load washers can get noisy on the spin cycles. I’ve never had a problem with a washer that sits on a slab. You can buy a sound insulating rubber pad that sits under the washer, which will dampen the sound of the spinning.

We bought a Bosch front-loading washer and dryer last year when our washer died and our dryer was dying. So far we have been happy with them; the washer can be moderately loud when spinning but most of its operation time it is so quiet that I don’t know it’s running unless I’m the one who started the load. It does take quite a bit longer to wash a load but the drying time is reduced by just about the same amount of time. We leave the washer door open to dry the inside and have had no mildew. And while I was a bit nervous about cost or availability of HE detergent the cost really isn’t that bad, we use less of it than we did of the regular detergent in our top-loader, and we haven’t really had any problems finding it in stock in the local supermarkets.

We paid about $1200 for the washer/dryer pair from Sears.