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How to Shop for Laundry Appliances

Preserve your clothes properly with a washer or dryer that is built for your needs. Learn what to look for when considering a new washing machine, what capacity clothes dryer you might need, and the benefits to upgrading an appliance. Important information on energy saving tips and budget-friendly suggestions can be found here. Consult our guide to learn more.

Buying Washers And Dryers: What To Look For

Your laundry appliances are one of the most important major home appliance purchases you will make. Including both washers and dryers, laundry appliances are available in a variety of styles and capacities for every family's needs. Making the right choice when purchasing laundry appliances will not only provide you with years of use, it will also help you save money on your electric bill.

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Washers: An Appliance Overview

Washers are available in a wide array of styles and colors. There are two main styles of washing machines available today - front load and top load models - with each style offering specific benefits for consumers. Understanding the difference will help you make a more informed decision when purchasing a new washer.

Washing Machine Styles
  • Top Loaders - Top load washers are usually less expensive than front load models initially. It is important to remember, however, that top loaders are less energy efficient and could end up costing more in higher energy bills. Many consumers still like their top load washing machines because they offer a wider variety of models, colors and more features.
  • Front Loaders - Front load washers have become more and more popular over the past few years. Similar to commercial washers, front loaders open from the front which can allow for easier access to hard to reach items. Front load washing machines generally cost more but are more energy efficient, are gentler on clothing and saves money because they spin clothes faster during the spin cycle which removes more water, meaning shorter drying times. Front loaders can also allow for a dryer to be stacked on top, which can help conserve space.

Washing Machine Features
  • Digital Controls - Washing machine controls have come a long way since the dials of older models. Many Modern washers offer digital control panels which allow you to program your specific wash cycles and temperature settings as well as one-touch controls for simplicity.
  • Child Locks - Many front load washers offer a locking system to help keep the little ones safe.
  • Water Temperature - Programmable water temperatures will help keep your clothing looking better and lasting longer. And many high-end models feature temperature sensors to help ensure your wash water remains the desired temperature throughout the wash cycle.
  • Water Levels - Adjustable water levels help conserve water by only using enough water for the size of the load being washed. While lower-end washers have programmable water levels, many high-end models use sensors to only use enough water for the load being washed.
  • Wash Cycles - Wash cycles give you more options when washing clothes - from delicate to permanent press and beyond - which offer different levels of care for all clothing styles.
  • Tub Materials - Gone are the days of porcelain-lined tubs which were prone to deterioration. Modern washers utilize plastic tubs which will help prolong your washers life and even stainless steel tubs in higher-end models.
  • Bleach & Fabric Softener Dispensers - If you use bleach and fabric softener when washing, this feature allows you to dispense the fluids into the washer at the appropriate time to help protect your load and save you time.
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Dryers: An Appliance Overview

Your dryer is another important investment, not only for your energy bill, but also for the lifespan of your clothing. Before purchasing a new dryer you will need to consider how often you will be using the laundry appliance and how large of loads you will be drying. You will also need to consider your available power source and the features which will make drying easier for your family.

Power Sources
The type of dryer you buy will have a lot to do with the available power source you have available.
  • Gas Dryers - Gas dryers require natural gas or propane hookups for operation as well as an electric outlet. Gas dryers will cost more up front than a comparable electric model, but use less energy for drying and will end up saving you money in the long run.
  • Electric Dryers - If you do not have gas hookups in your home you will likely opt for an electric dryer, which run off of a 240V outlet. Besides the higher cost to operate, which have been estimated from 3 to 30 cents per load more than gas models depending on where you live, there is virtually no difference between the two dryer types.
Dryer Features
  • Moisture Sensors - Many modern dryers use moisture sensors as opposed to timers or thermostats to sense when the humidity inside the dryer falls below a certain level and then automatically shuts off the dryer to help conserve energy and save money.
  • Touch Pad Controls - Easy to use touch pad controls allow you to set your dryer settings with the push of a button.
  • Child Locks - Like front load washers, many front load dryers have locking door to help protect children.
  • Dryer Racks - Dryer racks are available on several models and allow you to dry items without tumbling to help protect delicate clothing and the dryer from heavy items such as shoes.
  • Heat Settings - Heat settings allow you to set the dryer temperature according to the fabric being dried to help prolong the materials life.
  • Stainless Steel Drums - Stainless steel drums will last longer than standard drums and prevent odors from sticking around.
  • Drum Lights - Most dryers are equipped with drum lights to help you see socks and other items in the deep corners of the drum.
  • Lint Filter Sensors - A clogged lint filter can cause your dryer to dry slowly and wastes energy. Lint filter sensors are a great feature that alert you when the lint trap is full.
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