Keeping your clothes and linens looking and smelling great – and keeping them sanitary – requires regular washing, and with a washing machine, you can do just that. A washing machine is a staple appliance that makes one of the most mundane, yet important household chores, a whole lot easier to deal with. If you don’t have one of these appliances, you will have to wash your clothing and linens by hand, take them to a Laundromat, or have a professional wash them for you – and who wants to do that?
If you are on the market for a new washing machine, you will find that shopping for one can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different options available, which can make it difficult to choose the best one to meet your specific needs. In order to help make the task of buying a washing machine a bit easier for you, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will find a wealth of information related to washing machines that you can use to make choosing the right washing machine for your needs an easier task. This buyer’s guide highlights the different types of washing machines, the factors to consider when choosing a washing machine, the different features this appliance can offer, and the best brands available.
Types of Washing Machines
In order to choose the best washing machine for your needs, the first thing you need to do is have an understanding of the different types of washing machines that are available. There are three main types of washing machines, which include:
- The traditional top loading washing machine
- The high efficiency top loading washing machine
- The front loading washing machine
Each of these three types of washing machines offers different benefits, which is why it is important to understand the difference between each one so that you can choose the type that will best suit your needs.
The Traditional Top Loading Washing Machine
This type of washing machine is comprised of a pole that is located in the center of the wash basin. This pole is called a center post agitator. This pole serves two functions: 1) it moves the laundry around the wash basin so that all items can be washed, and 2) it agitates the laundry, loosening dirt and debris.
The traditional top loading washing machine is the most popular type of washing machine for two specific reasons: It is the least expensive of all three types of washing machines and it works fast, cleaning clothing in about a half an hour. The downside of the traditional top loading washing machine is that the center pole agitator can be rough on laundry, which can reduce the lifespan of fabric. Another con is that they aren’t very efficient; on average, this type of washing machine uses about 45 gallons of water per load. They also spin the slowest out of all washing machines, which means that they leave laundry the wettest, which translates to more drying time.
The High Efficiency Top Loading Washing Machine
This type of washing machine is more energy efficient than the traditional top loading washing machine, thanks to the sensors that they contain, which mange water usage. Instead of a center pole agitator, the high efficiency top loading washing machine uses a wash plate and a drum to clean laundry, which rotates the laundry back and forth and lifts it around the wash basin. This type of washing machine can handle larger loads of laundry than the traditional top loading washing machine because the center pole agitator doesn’t limit space. It also consumes less water, using about 22 gallons of water per load as compared to the 45 gallons that the traditional top loader uses. Less water also means less detergent is necessary to clean your laundry. This type of washer also uses less electricity than top loaders, and they spin laundry faster, wringing clothing and linens out more efficiently and reducing the amount of drying time necessary.
On the downside, the high efficiency top loading washing machine costs more than the traditional model. Also, though it spins the clothing faster, it causes more wrinkling and tangling. Lastly, less water means it takes these washers longer to clean laundry than traditional models; the average wash cycle takes between 60 and 90 minutes.
The Front Loading Washing Machine
The front loading washing machine is very energy efficient and cleans laundry the best. They do not feature a center pole agitator; instead, they rotate laundry back and forth while gravity pulls water through the laundry, which results in a more complete clean. The front loading washing machine can wash larger loads than both top loading models. They also use about 50 percent less water than traditional top loading washing machines, and about 50 percent less energy, too. Another perk is that this washing machine spins laundry super fast, which makes laundry about 10 percent dryer at the end of a wash cycle than it is at the end of a wash cycle in a top loader.
On the downside, the front loading washing machine is the most expensive of all three types. It also takes the longest to clean clothing; an average wash cycle is about 75 to 100 minutes long. Another downside is that this type of washing machine can do a lot of vibrating during the spin cycle, which can make them very noisy and can cause vibrations that can be felt in the floors and through the walls. Also, front loading washing machines require a lot of bending to load and unload laundry, which can be hard on the back and the knees.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Washing Machine
In order to choose the best washing machine for your needs, there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration before you choose one. These factors are important because they will impact how efficiently your laundry is cleaned and how much energy the appliance will use. Some of the factors that we consider the most important to take into consideration include the amount of laundry you wash and the energy efficiency of the machine, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think you should take into consideration when choosing a washing machine, please keep on reading.
The Size of the Washing Machine
This is certainly an important factor to take into consideration. The size of the washing machine will impact how much space the appliance will take up. The last thing you want to do is purchase a washing machine that won’t fit into the space that you have allocated for it. To determine what size washing machine you need, make sure you take accurate measurements of the space you plan on putting it. Measure the width, the height and the depth of the space. Take those measurements with you when you are shopping so that you can find a machine that will fit into the location.
The capacity of the machine is another important factor to take into consideration. The capacity, or drum size, will indicate how much laundry you can wash at one time when the laundry is dry. Obviously, the larger the drum size, the larger the loads of laundry the washing machine will be able to accommodate.
The Spin Speed
You should also consider the speed at which the washing machine spins the laundry. During the spin cycle, the laundry is spun about the washing machine, which removes excess water. The faster the spin cycle, the more water will be removed from the laundry, which translates to less drying time. However, it should be noted that the faster the washing machine spins, the noisier it will be and the more vibrations it can create. Also, the faster it spins, the greater the chance that your laundry will become tangled.
Your Loading Preference
You should also consider your loading preference. While a top loading washing machine requires less bending, you may not have the space to accommodate opening the machine from the top, in which case, a front loading machine would be a better option for you.
The more energy efficient a washing machine is, the less water and the less power it will use. This not only makes the machine better more environmentally friendly, but it also cuts down on your utility bills. When shopping for a washing machine, read energy efficiency ratings to determine how much energy the machine will consume.
The Washing Cycles
You should also consider the type of washing cycles that the washing machine offers. Some machines offer only a few cycles, such as delicate, normal and heavy; however, some also offer more advanced cycles, such as dry clean only. The more cycles the machine offers, the more options you will have when washing your laundry.
If looks are important to you, or if you are going to be placing your washing machine in an area where it will be visible, than the style may be an important factor for you to consider, as well. Washing machines come in a wide range of colors and can offer sleek, modern designs. You can even purchase washing machines that can be customized to match cabinetry, making them blend it with the rest of the space.
You should also factor the price of this appliance into consideration. Washing machines can vary widely in price. Standard top loading machines are the least expensive, while front loading are the most expensive. Also, those that offer more features will also have higher price tags.
Features Washing Machines Can Offer
Washing machines can boast a number of features. These features are intended to improve the machines washing efficiency and make them easier to use. As mentioned above, the more features that a washing machine offers, the more expensive it will be. To determine what type of features you want or need, it is important to have an understanding of what the different types of features provide.
Here is a look at some of the most common features that washing machines offer.
An NSF Certification
If you want to make sure your laundry is as hygienically clean as possible, look for a washing machine that is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF.) This feature indicates that the machine offers a sanitizing washing cycle that eliminates up to 99.9 percent of microorganisms, which means cleaner laundry.
A Front Load Pedestal
If you are shopping for a front load washing machine, consider one that features a front load pedestal. Though it will cost you more out of pocket, it will reduce the amount of crouching and bending you will need to do when you are loading and unloading the machine. Front load pedestals can also feature built in drawers, which you can use to store laundry accessories, like detergents and fabric softeners.
Stainless Steel Drums
Unlike a porcelain or plastic tub, a stainless steel drum is much more durable. It can stand up to the beating that metal zippers, buttons and other heavy materials can cause, which can extend the life of the washing machine.
Time Saving Wash
This feature can reduce a wash cycle by about 20 minutes, and it won’t cut down on its performance.
An LCD Control Panel
This feature will provide you with illuminated push buttons to power your washing machine. This makes it easier to select the precise load, which means more efficient cleaning power.
Automatic Detergent Dispenser
This feature eliminates the need to add detergent to each load of laundry. Simply load up the dispenser when it’s needed and the right amount of detergent will be added to each load of laundry. Most machines can hold enough detergent to last for one to two months, which others can store enough to wash up to six months worth of laundry.
The best washing machines will also feature a warranty. Should anything happen to your washing machine during the span of the warranty, you could have it repaired or replaced, or you could have your money reimbursed. Do make sure you read the details of the warranty.
Best Washing Machine Brands
There are several companies that manufacture washing machines. The following manufacturers are the best of the best.
One of the most highly regarded companies, Maytag produces outstanding and durable washing machines that offer a wide range of features and settings.
This company uses the latest innovations and the most cutting edge technologies to create highly efficient, powerful and durable washing machines.
Another top producer of washing machines is GE. This company produces some of the most high quality appliances, including state of the art washing machines.