Cheap washer/dryer
May 15, 2020 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving into a new apartment with washer/dryer hookups, which is a first for me (and I'm very excited about it!). I could rent, but at $50/month for a very basic model, it doesn't seem to make sense. Still, moving is expensive so I'm looking at $500-600 for the washer and dryer separately ($1200 max together).

I'm also looking at top-load only due to space and price restrictions. If you have a relatively cheap washer/dryer, and you like or dislike it, I'd love to know about it!

I don't drive or have a friend who could transport, so not really looking at used/private sales.
posted by Aranquis to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
I can say we did a similar thing about 8 years ago, and my only real criteria was that it be a recognizable brand and otherwise we'd cheap out on features and...I mean, they're Whirlpools from Lowes and they're in the next room running right now. Dirty things go in and come out clean, washer is big enough to wash a king-size comforter, the dryer dries. Do I adore them? No. Do I wish there was a light inside the dryer? Yes. Have either of them needed any real repairs or attention? No. Am I periodically angry that there's no "soak" cycle and you just have to carefully time it to press the pause button to make things sit? Yeah, but I'm mostly over it.

Basically, I told my husband going in that we'd buy the second cheapest ones they had, and that's what we did. If you wait another week, the hardware stores will probably have Memorial Day sales.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:36 AM on May 15

I live in a fairly big city and bought secondhand metal models with dials rather than buttons. Old school. Top loading washer. They cost about $300-400 each from some guy who refurbishes and sells on Craigslist, delivers, installs, takes the old ones away, and and gives you his Cel number as a warranty for a few weeks. It was pretty easy and the units have been hassle free for 2 years now.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:17 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

Whatever you buy, buy it on sale! And not some measly 10% off sale, either.

We bought the gas version of this dryer at the Black Friday sales last year. It was $200 cheaper then than it is now. I highly recommend it; we had an older version (maybe ten years old?) that actually still worked fine but multiple squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals had crawled in through the vent hose and died. We have the older version of the washer as well and we're very happy with it.

If that model or something similar goes on sale for Memorial Day or July 4th or Labor Day or something, go for it! (We considered getting something used but with the Black Friday prices it would have only saved us maybe $50-100.)
posted by mskyle at 11:36 AM on May 15

My personal opinion is that money spent on a washer is money well spent but getting a basic dryer is fine. I have a Kenmore 70 Series Dryer (almost as basic as they get). There are, like, three things that can possibly break (an exaggeration, but not by much) and if any of them ever break, parts are ubiquitous and cheap, and there are tons of youtube videos telling you how to fix them. And I'm completely happy with the job it does drying our clothes.

For a washer, I would spring (and have sprung) for something a bit fancier.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:55 AM on May 15

Buy used from an appliance recycling place. The innards of washers and dryers aren't rocket science, and so many people throw them away when a $10 part breaks. Appliance recyclers repair and turn these around for a nice profit, but still at a price way below retail. I'd recommend the more simple models, with less circutry to worry about. There may be a local person on craigslist that is doing this business model as a side hustle for even lower prices, and they might deliver.

(And if it does break, youtube the repair and fix it yourself)
posted by Diddly at 12:21 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Dryers last a loooong time compared to washers. They have fewer moving parts and are simpler mechanically, so a used dryer, from a refurbished dealer or a private sale from someone who is moving and not taking it would be a good bargain. A washer I'd probably lean toward buying new.

Keep in mind for a dryer you'll need to choose either a gas or electric model. Gas tends to be cheaper to use in the long term, but if you don't have a gas line it may not be worth running gas to the hook-up.
posted by citygirl at 12:41 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Also budget for new hoses and dryer power cord. Maybe also a dryer vent. They're sold separately from the appliances.
posted by postel's law at 2:27 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

When my Mrs. Plinth and I first moved in together, we found a retired appliance repairman who basically picked up washers and dryers people left out, fixed them and sold them. We bought a pair of 20 year old machines from him and used them for 10 years before selling them still in fine working condition.
posted by plinth at 2:28 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

My experience has been that the old steel tub washers can be really durable and found cheaply. The newer front loader ones have their advantages ofc, but they can be finicky and may have issues with their rubber gaskets being leaky or collecting mold. So at your price point, get one of the older ones.
posted by billjings at 3:21 PM on May 15

If you want to buy new stuff look for a locally-owned appliance store that delivers and installs. I might cost a little more than the big box store but you'll get better service.
posted by mareli at 6:23 PM on May 15

Since 2001, I have had the just about lowest-end Kenmore washer and dryer, both electric. The washer has been cheerfully plugging along for the past 19 years, while I've only had to replace the dryer once. The thing about bells and whistles is that the bells stop ringing and the whistles get wheezy, whereas a good-quality lower-tech machine can also be a lower-problem machine.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:34 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

This Amana NTW4516FW washer and NED4655EW dryer are pretty solid. Every year that goes by appliance companies seem to lower their quality, so I can't speak to how well it will work now, but in my past experience these have been really great simple washer/dryer options. No fancy bells and whistles to break, good capacity, simple controls, and very affordable. Whatever you end up getting, I'd suggest you ask a great local appliance company to price match before you have a place like Home Depot or other big box handle the install (they often charge for hoses, removal, etc. and don't have the same level of service).
posted by belau at 7:06 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I would hunt down the sales. Big box stores always have major sales, sometimes over 50%, because a newer model is coming in or they’re selling the floor model. You can find better sales at the stores than in that same store’s outlet.
posted by Neekee at 2:56 PM on May 16

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