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Automatic washing machines have been a staple in most homes for nearly a century and they’ve come a long way since their early days. They now come in lots of different sizes and models, however, we all tend to have different preferences for our washing machines. What might be the best for one, is often impractical for another. Still, one thing that’s similar for all of the best washing machines on the market is their quality – they do their job well, offer a lot of extra features, and last decades.
Different types of washing machines
Front-loading washing machines
Front-loaders are probably the most common type of washing machine today. They are pretty much the default choice of most people who usually don’t even consider other types of washing machines at all. That’s because front-loaders have many benefits and only a few negatives worth mentioning.
- Front-washers can be stacked on top of each other and with other appliances
- Traditional front-loaders have a large capacity
- Good front-loaders are exceptionally energy- and water-efficient
- These models also extract the most moisture out of your clothes with their high-speed centrifuge
- Front-loaders can be quite expensive
- The vibrations during the high-speed spin cycle can be problematic if the machine isn’t installed well
- Even good front-loaders have one key design problem – water can sometimes get trapped inside, leading to unpleasant odors
Top-loading washing machines
The main alternative to front-loading washing machines and their more traditional counterpart is the top-loading machine. They may be a little out of favor but they do have their benefits which make them better in some situations.
- They are easier to load
- Top-loaders typically vibrate much less than front-loaders
- Top-loaders have shorter washing cycles
- They are much less likely to “trap” water and end up with an unpleasant musty odor in them
- Top-loaders offer less space for larger items such as comforters
- Top-loaders can’t have anything placed on them
- The wash cycles of these models are usually less flexible
- Top-loaders don’t extract moisture out of your clothes as well as front-loaders
High efficiency (HE) top-loading washing machines
HE top-loading machines are an alternative to the traditional top-loader which is different in enough ways to merit it’s own section. These washing machines have a different internal construction, namely the lack of an agitator, which changes a lot of their functions.
- HE top-loading washing machines can accommodate much larger pieces because of the extra space freed from the missing agitator
- HE top-loaders are more expensive than their traditional top-loading counterparts but are still relatively affordable compared to front-loaders
- They use less water than standard top-loaders
- The wash cycle of HE top-loaders is similar to that of front-loaders
- Like other top-loaders, HE models are also not stackable on top of each other
Essentially a smaller version of front-loading washing machines, compact washers deserve their own mention because they do serve a different function. Unlike their bigger counterparts which specialize in dealing with large quantities and sizes, compact washers are made to be compact. This brings its own set of pros and cons.
- They can fit much more easily in almost any space
- Their smaller size makes them a better energy-efficient option for smaller or single-person households
- The smaller size also means fewer vibrations
- These washing machines can’t accommodate larger pieces such as comforters and thy also struggle with larger quantities of clothing overall
- Compact washers usually come with fewer washing features
Washer and dryer pairs
Many washing machines of all of the above types are often offered in washer/dryer pairs. These are meant to be placed next to or on top of each other and to offer a nice-looking combination for your home
- This combination does look better than having two different washer and dryer models
- The features and functions of washer & dryer pairs are usually designed to work well together
- Having to choose a 2-in-1 pair usually leads to having to make some compromises with at least one of the two appliances
Things to consider when choosing a washing machine
One of the key factors, when choosing a washing machine, is the drum size. Large drum size will be more appropriate for families or those who like to wash their clothes rarely. A 7kg to 8kg washing machine will meet the needs of those who have quite a lot of clothes to wash, but smaller, 5kg to 6kg washing machines will be perfect for those who need to wash small amounts once in a while.
Programs and settings
Newest models come with many different programs and settings to adjust washing speed, time, and intensity to different types of clothes. Of course, it is always better to have more options, but usually models with an advanced setting are more expensive. Such settings as cottons, delicates, sportswear, woolen are “must have”, but it is not worth to waste money on appliance with many programs if they won’t be used.
As the washing machine is one of the most often used appliances in home, it is important to make sure it consumes as little energy as possible to reduce washing expenses. To show how efficient the appliance is, the energy rating is used. The highest possible rating is A+++. Nowadays the least energy efficient models are rated A, but there are still some older models with B or C ratings available on the market.
Washing machines are quite noisy which can be irritating, especially if the appliance is located near the bedroom or in an open living space. For the people who enjoy the silence, the low noise models would be more appropriate. Average noise level for a washing machine is 75-77dB. 70-74dB noise level is considered as low.
Washing machines can save you a lot of headaches when they are chosen appropriately and according to your needs. However, they can also give you quite a few headaches too if you have chosen poorly as they are both an expensive and a long-lasting appliance. Hopefully, we’ve helped you pick the best washing machine for your needs.