Testing washer and dryers is one of those things I’d trust Consumer Reports to do superbly. You should probably check them out.
Basically, buy for reliability and avoid the bells and whistles. The number of times that you’ll be using the setting for “White delicates that should only be tumbled when the moon is full” is pretty small. Most of the time, you use the same two or three settings.
The front-loading washers are supposed to be more efficient in water usage, but they tend to be spendy.
marym: we needed a stackable unit for a new laundry room and decided on the whirlpool duet… we had a connection at a furnature/appliance store who gave the pair to use for $1600, which is a ridiculous amount to spend on a w/d…
once we realized we needed a stackable unit, and since we do laundry about every day or two (2 kids) there was not much deciding as we wanted the larger unit…
i did not feel particularly happy about spending such money on a w/d but have been extremely pleased with the product… the clothes come out of the washer much dryer than our old unit, so drying time is considerably faster… i give the Duet highest recommendation…
A few notes from someone who has been there and done that.
Stackables give a lot more floor room if your laundry room is tight. I have a set of Maytag stackers for the last 12 years and they have been bullet proof.
Front loader are the rage right now. They use less water. They are availble in stackers.
If you are thinking of stackers not all stackers are full size (20Lb) units. Mine is rated at about 18Lbs, but as a practical matter, call it a 16. This is fine for me since my children were not in diapers when we bought it.
Some of the new front loaders have a huge footprint, much larger than a usual stacker. A tape measure is your friend.
IMHO Maytag makes the best. YMMV
The big three are Kenmore, Whirlpool, and Maytag. Don’t have a recommendation for you, but just as info, my Kenmore washer/dryer combo has worked almost flawlessly for the last 25 years. Had a few repairs when something small like a sock got stuck in the drain outlet or a belt went out on the dryer, but that’s about it.
Thanks for the advice. I don’t get Consumer Reports and can’t seem to find what they recommend without subscribing. Money us tight right now, so if anybody knows which models they recommend, I would really appreciate it if you posted it.
Also, it is pretty important that the w/d are relatively quiet.
Your local library should have CR, so check there. My experience has been that you might not find the exact models they tested in the store, especially if you go to a discount retailer–I don’t know where you live, but South Florida and Atlanta have a chain called BrandsMart that sells last year’s models for a substantial discount; look for a place like that in your area, because it’ll save you a bundle–but you can get information on similar models, and the overall reliability of brands. Decide what features you have to have, would like to have, and can live without (and the CR reviews can help you in that, too), and go from there. For example, we recently bought a w/d, and a couple of the things I was looking for were variable water level rather than just small/medium/large so I can set the right level without wasting water; a choice of more than just a couple of wash cycles, with temp setting independent of the cycle choice; several temperature settings on the dryer; things like that. Given that plus our desired price range, we were able to narrow down the models to look at in the store.
I got a Danby stackable washer and dryer from Home Depot last fall. I LOVE this set. They have worked very well for me, and I can’t recommend them enough. They look smaller than others, but they hold more than you think! Also, they are less expensive than other models, but have more features (such as the onboard water heater in the washer which gets whites blindingly white without the harshness of bleach.)
Your library should have them, and what you want is February 2005. They talk about what you’re looking for in a washer and dryer, what’s out there, long term repair costs for different brands, and then their ratings and best buys.
I have a Duet washer and dryer and I am so freakin’ happy!
One word, make the investment for the service contract.
We did for our Duet and two very minor problems occurred and one was because of the flooring it sits on ( heavy vibration during the final spin on a full load.) So really a minor problem that was one of those glitches that took a moment for the repair guy to figure out and correct.
I work as an electronics tech, a neighbor does home appliance tech support, and we’re in agreement that it’s best to avoid home appliances that have LED displays and solid state controls. Virtually all of the electronics on these units are consolidated into one unit, and most failures can be traced back to a ‘bad board.’
The cheaper appliances (the ones with knobs) use mechanical timers, which even in this day and age tend to be far more reliable. Even if a timer does go out, it’s a forty dollar part to replace, compared to the one hundred dollar-plus cost of a controller on an electronic appliance. I may be off on the actual prices, but you get the idea.
I recommend buying whatever unit meets your basic needs and doesn’t have any LED displays or soft-touch buttons, or is not advertised as being “solid state.” Personally, we have a Frigidare stackable with gas dryer (gas still costs less and dries faster) which is only three years old, but which has given us no problems. The white good store we bought it from (Conn’s, FWIW) stocked three full sized stackables, a cheap apartment-sized unit, a solid state model and the model that we bought.
BTW, lots of appliances are made under contract to the brand names by two or more manufacturers. Sears Kenmore, for example, is a classic case of branding in action. The parts under the covers can be the same for several maufacturers.
We just bought a new washer and dryer ourselves and were also price concious when shopping…
We wound up with a front loader washer from Kenmore for only $600 which will save us over $100 a year in water and electricity a year compared to a regular one.
And instead of buying the ‘matching’ dryer, we bought the cheapest one they had with the features we wanted for only $300. We decided we didn’t need a good dryer because it will get less use than normal. Front loader washers spin more water out of the clothes than a regular top loader. It used to take at least an hour for the dryer to get the clothes dry and now it takes barely 20 min!
So, yes a front loader might cost more upfront, but our research found that it’ll cost less in the long run.
It has a matching dryer and they can be stacked. Or you could probably get a different dryer and stack them as long as the dryer controls are in the front. Home Depot has some smaller models I looked at last weekend and they run about $1,200 for the set.
if you want some good info and opinions, visit the Laundry forum at www.thathomesite.com. But be warned, they are hardcore appliance geeks. (I bet you never would guess that a thread about front loaders could go to 1,000 posts.)