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7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Washing Machine

Here are seven things to think about before you go shopping for a new washing machine.


There’s more to washing machines than just how well they clean. You’ll need to consider your home, your budget, your laundry types, and your personal preferences when purchasing a new washer.

Here are seven things to think about before you go shopping.

1. Space

Before you buy, measure your space to make sure your new machine will fit. Allow at least six inches (15 cm) behind the washer for water hookups plus an inch between the washer and the dryer. Typical washers measure from 24 (60 cm) to 30 inches (76 cm) wide. Also measure your house doors to make sure the washer will fit through them. If floor space is an issue and you have vertical space, consider stacking models where the dryer fits on top of the washer.

2. Location

Consider the placement of the machine. If it will be next to a wall, you might not want to choose one with a door that opens sideways and hits the wall when it is opened. A lighted panel would be useful in a dark basement or closet. If the washer is on an upper level, make sure the floor is properly reinforced. If it will be in a high traffic area, you may want one that has reduced noise and vibrations. And consider a pretty color if it will be seen by guests.

3. Types

Top loading: can help you avoid the stooping and bending required for a front loading one. Top loading machines come in two types: agitator and high efficiency. Agitator top loaders are the least expensive models and cycle times are usually shorter. They are effective for typically soiled loads. The drawbacks to agitator top loaders are: they use a lot of water, drying times are longer, they work less well on heavily soiled loads, and they are noisier. High efficiency top loaders clean more efficiently, are quieter, use less water, and have larger capacities than agitator top loaders. The cons to high efficiency top loading machines are: longer wash cycles, tangling of laundry, and deep tubs that make it difficult to reach laundry.

Front loaders: are gentler on fabric, have short drying time, and use the least water. But they have long cycle times, some transmit vibrations, and some have issues with mold. Compact front loaders are good for small spaces and can be stacked with matching dryers. Drawbacks include long cycle times, vibrations, limited options, and expense.

4. Tub Size

Tub sizes can range from 2.3 cubic feet (.7 cubic m) to 6.2 cubic feet (1.9 cubic m). The largest tubs are in front loaders or top loaders without the center agitator. Consider the amount of laundry you will be doing when looking at tub size.

5. Budget

Buying a cheaper machine doesn’t necessarily mean it will do a worse job of cleaning than then more expensive types, but you will have fewer features. Top loading models with few features have the least expense purchase price, but they use more energy. Front loading models will cost more up front, but they use much less water and electricity, which will save you money in the long run. You will pay more for colors; stick with white and save money.

6. Features

Washers come with a wide array of features. Assess your needs and budget before you shop to avoid paying extra for options you don’t need. A quick check of this website will give you an idea of some of the latest features you will see in most modern models. Then you can be prepared for what you find in the store and not be confused by the terminology you encounter.

A cycle for delicates can simulate hand washing if you have a lot of delicate clothes that recommend hand washing. An extended spin cycle can be useful for heavy items like towels and blankets. Extra-long wash and pre soaking cycles are good for heavily soiled clothes. An extra rinse cycle removes detergent residue which can be very helpful for those with sensitivities to detergent. An end of cycle alarm lets you know when the wash is finished and ready to go in the dryer. Touchpad controls give instant feedback with readouts you can see at a distance. Wi-fi connected machines can be turned on and off remotely and alert you when the wash is finished.

7. Delivery and Installation

Before you buy a new machine, check to see whether delivery and installation is included or if there will be extra costs. Taking away an old machine and water and electricity hook up may involve extra cost. Also check the delivery dates and see whether you can be home to accept delivery or will have to take off work to be there.

A washing machine is a major investment, so you’ll want to know your stuff before you visit the appliance store. Make sure you have done your homework so you can make the best choice for your needs.



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