What to consider when buying a washing machine


The perfect washer will fit its allotted spot, hold lot […]

The perfect washer will fit its allotted spot, hold lots of dirty laundry, and have plenty of cleaning options for different fabrics and soils. Here’s what to factor into your search for the best washing machine for your space, stuff, and lifestyle.

While shopping for a washer, consider the dimensions of the laundry room or other space available for the machine. For a side-by-side washer and dryer setup, the minimum space requirement is 54 inches wide. Standard height ranges from 38 to 43 inches, and depths between 28 to 34 inches.

Compact washers measure about 24 inches wide, while standard machines are 26 inches or larger. If space is limited, a compact washing machine may be the best choice. Compact washers are about the size of a dishwasher and fit within different cabinet configurations.

Washer capacity refers to the internal volume of the drum. The size determines the amount of laundry that can wash per load. For one or two people, a small- to medium-sized washer with a capacity of 1.8 to 3.5 cubic feet is ideal. Families need the larger 3.6 to 5.1 cubic foot capacity of a large washing machine.

The washing machines with the highest capacity are front-loaders, mostly between 4.2 and 4.5 cubic feet. Some go as high as 5.0 cubic feet. Top-loaders range from 3.1 to 4.0 cubic feet. Compact washing machines have a capacity of just over 1.5 cubic feet.

Washer/dryer combinations can be configured either side-by-side or stacked. In stacked combos, the heavier washer supports the dryer. Stacked units save floor space, but require bending and reaching to access the front loading machines. Also, the swinging front doors don’t work with every floor plan.

Side-by-side washers and dryers offer the flexibility to use either front-loading or top-loading washing machines. In this configuration, front-loading washers can be placed on a pedestal for easier access without bending.