Photo: Joseph Hilliard
Washers and dryers come in an array of capacity options. Capacity is measured in cubic feet and usually ranges from about 3.0 – 5.0 cu ft. If you have multiple adults and children at home, you will likely want larger-capacity machines. Is it just the two of you?
A machine on the smaller side of the capacity range will likely do (but don’t forget about bedding bulk!).
The location of your laundry room will factor into the type of units you need. Be sure to measure your space, so you know your size constraints. Some washer and dryer sets are stackable, so if you have more vertical space than floor area, this might be a solution. If you have room to spread out, machines meant to work side by side may be a good fit. Don’t forget about door swing. If your space is long and narrow, front loaders may be challenging to open.
Again, location will determine whether you need to shop for whisper-quiet models versus ones that produce higher decibels as they work. Consider how much noise you’re willing to tolerate from any appliance, and read user reviews to conclude whether manufacturer reports about sound levels tend to be true.
If your home is located where natural gas service is available, or if you already use propane for heating or cooking, you can choose whether you want an electric-powered unit or gas. Gas dryers typically cost much less to operate than their electric counterparts, and many people find they are gentler on clothes. The higher upfront cost is often the reason people skip the gas dryer, though. Gas appliances should be installed only by professionals to ensure safety.
As with nearly every home appliance
on the market, washers and dryers often come with a laundry list of new tech options. As you step up from basic models that have just a few settings and cycles, you’ll find washers with tons of convenience features, such as a steam cycle, delayed wash and WiFi connectivity, to name a few. Some features may be helpful; unnecessary ones may simply take you to the cleaners.