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Washer and Dryer Buying Guide

A washer and dryer go together like milk and cookies, bread and butter, shirts and shorts. When you’re ready to replace older machines or add new laundry appliances to your abode, it can be agitating work to figure out the best washer-dryer combo to choose. Luckily, here we deliver the key points to consider when making your buying decision.

Top-Load or Front-Loader Washers: Which Is Right for You?

First, decide whether you want a front-loading or top-loading laundry pair. Some top-loaders have an agitator column in the middle which moves back and forth, cycling clothing within the wash drum. Washers without an agitator – including all front-loaders – use a smaller, flatter impellor to clean clothes while being gentler on delicates and knits.

Have a sore back? It can be easier to load clothes into a top-oriented washer since you don't have to bend down. Top-loading washing machines also allow you to add an item you may have forgotten after the cycle has started. To give your front-loader a leg up, add a pedestal. This can make it easier to load clothes and most come with a drawer to store laundry room essentials. Some pedestals even come equipped with their own wash system, allowing you to effectively do two loads at once.

Top-load machines typically cost less than front-loaders and tend to complete a cycle faster than their front-oriented counterparts. Front-loaders, meanwhile, have been shown to clean better while using less energy and water. Since they spin faster, they eliminate more moisture from the washer and cut down on drying time – the wetter your clothes are after the wash cycle, the harder your dryer needs to work. Another advantage of a front-load washer is that you can make the most out of tight spaces by opting to stack them vertically using a stacking kit.

Washer and Dryer Capacity: How Big a Machine Do I Need?

The size of the washer and dryer you choose will have many effects on your home, from the water and power consumption, to the types of items you can fit inside and how many loads you'll need to do. Start with the washer when choosing capacity. Compact and medium-capacity washers range from around 1.7 to 2.5 cubic feet, while large-capacity washers go up to 3 cubic feet. Extra-large machines have a 3.1-cubic-foot size or greater. Smaller capacities work best for individuals and low-maintenance couples; families and those who do several loads per day will benefit from the larger-capacity washers.

Once you have chosen your washer, look for a dryer with about double the capacity of the washer. When drying, this allows your clothes to expand back to their usual size and move freely in the drum. Don't forget to keep in mind the size of the space you plan on placing your new top-load or front-load washer and dryer in. A large-capacity laundry pair will usually take up a few more inches of floor space than the standard 27-inch machines. Also, give yourself 6 inches of space behind the washer for hose installation and another inch between your washer and dryer for optimal operation. Always measure your space before you buy.

Automatic Dispensers, Wrinkle Reduction and Other Special Laundry Features

Finally, the fun part: the features that make your washer and dryer a dynamic duo.

Automatic dispensers release detergent, bleach, fabric softener and other laundry additives to the load at the proper point of the wash cycle, and some even store enough detergent to last a couple of months between refills.

If you're concerned about excessive noise, vibration reduction technology is a gift from the heavens on high. No longer relegated to damp basements, laundry machines with vibration control can be placed on wood floors, second stories and other "echoey" or easy-to-scuff surfaces.

Want to skip the ironing board? A brief cycle that refreshes clothes and releases wrinkles without the need for a full wash and dry is something to look for in your dryer. This special cycle may use steam to release creases or may tumble clothes for a certain time period after the drying cycle ends to keep wrinkles from setting in.

One of the newer additions to laundry day is steam, which can be found in the washer, dryer, or both. The powerful cleaning ability of hot steam may be used for sanitization and allergen removal, tackling strong odours or refreshing an outfit with a quick mist.

Go high-tech with Smart Home compatibility. With more and more models providing Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to start and stop your laundry using just your smartphone, this is the fastest growing segment in home appliances. Customize your wash or dry cycles, get help with stain removal, or simply control your laundry remotely when you choose a Smart washer and dryer.

Finally, though there are many great features to explore depending on your needs, automatic temperature controls are a great convenience and take the guesswork out of doing laundry. These use interior sensors to monitor the temperature needs of a certain load, and the the result is a practically perfect wash or dry. Fabrics need not fear over- or under-drying, and your favourite clothing lasts longer and looks better.

To learn more about the convenient highlights of any particular washer or dryer, see the "Unique Features" section of the product page.

Whether you’re looking for a top-load or front-load machine, the right washer-dryer combo will make your life easier and clothes more fresh and fabulous. Your laundry room will now deliver not only clean clothing, but peace of mind.