Which stackable washer/dryer combo should I buy?
May 3, 2021 11:45 AM   Subscribe

It's so exciting! but confusing -- so many washers, so many dryers!

We're going to replace our current stackable washer and gas dryer after many years. I'm doing the research but making a decision is hard. We have stackables now and we need to replace them with stackables. Here's what I'm concerned (well, really, obsessed) with:

Top-loading vs. Front-loading Washing Machine:

We currently have front-loading and I understand the advantages. But we've now gone through TWO gasket changes on the washer because of horrible mold. I understand now that we did not dry the gasket and door every time we washed our clothes, but I am not confident that doing that will entirely prevent the dreaded mold. Ours is now disgusting. But should we opt for a top-loader so that we're assured we won't have this problem again? Given that top-loaders are less efficient (even with the "new technology," including "impellers")? I understand that, if we go with top-loading, we must buy the pretentious-sounding "Laundry Center" (the washer and dryer are really one unit). Can we get one of these that's going to be really good?

Also: I am learning about New Features they have nowadays, and I'm sort of taken with the idea of a "steam cycle" (I understand that this is for wrinkled clothing? sounds handy!), but I'm not finding a "Laundry Center" with a steam feature.

Another thing: if we go with a separate washer and dryer, does it matter whether we get a model that requires a separate "stacking kit"? Our current dryer seems to just sit on top of the washer. (we currently have Frigidaire units, 15+ years old, various things wrong with both of them)

This will be for a gas dryer, by the way.

Any strong opinions or specific recommendations? Any other issues I'm not aware of? I'm looking at GE "Laundry Centers" and at a bunch of front-loading stackables. One thing I really want is LARGE units, that can hold a quilt, etc. One good thing about our current units is that they're BIG.

Thank you!
posted by DMelanogaster to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My suggestion is to buy the Wirecutter recommendation.

I did this several years ago and the washer/dryer we have (An LG I think) have been great. It is a frontloader. I have washed quilts in it (as will the current recommendation I think).

As you say there can be mildew issues with the gasket. Here's my suggestion: always leave the washer door open. If it's not running, the door should be open. Ideally wide open, but the LG units have a little magnetic standoff that will keep it slightly ajar. I suggest just keeping it fully open.

I do this all the time, mine still has a little mildew on the gasket. It's not gross or slimy or smelly but there's definitely discolouration. Run a washing machine cleaning agent through once in a while and it will help prevent it from getting too bad.
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

We got the LG washer/dryer recommended by wirecutter a few months ago and they are great. We had to buy and install the stacking kit but it was pretty easy.
posted by unreasonable at 11:58 AM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm not finding a "Laundry Center" with a steam feature

Unfortunately, you're going to find that all of the Laundry Centers are going to be small and have little to no features to speak of. It seems that they're made with the sole goal of being as small as possible, in order to fit into small closet spaces.

if we go with a separate washer and dryer, does it matter whether we get a model that requires a separate "stacking kit"? Our current dryer seems to just sit on top of the washer.

Yes, you'll need a stacking kit. It's what keeps the dryer from falling off of the washer if the washer gets unbalanced and starts shaking/walking during its spin cycle. Hopefully the units you have currently have some kind of kit to keep the dryer from moving around.

Re: mold – I second exactly what GuyZero says above: keep the door open whenever you're not actually washing clothes, and use the tub clean cycle with cleaning tablets every so often. Using powder detergent also helps a lot. And don't let washed laundry sit in the washer for more than a couple hours. We're resolute about those points and do not have any issues with mold or stinkiness. We also have an LG washer/dryer set.
posted by zsazsa at 12:29 PM on May 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yes, if the manufacturers can't figure out how to not get mold in a front loader, you should get a top loader. They work perfectly fine, and I don't have to manage the door on the washer, which for me is a win, even if I prefer front loaders in general so you can have a folding countertop on top of them. But you have stackable, so you can't do that anyways.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:44 PM on May 3, 2021

Sorry I have no recs on the machines but

"Here's my suggestion: always leave the washer door open. If it's not running, the door should be open."

Please DO NOT DO THIS if you have small kids or pets. Super dangerous. My roommate's cat went for a spin once in the dryer. She was ok in the end but it was not a fun time.
posted by prewar lemonade at 12:52 PM on May 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

No recs here but would suggest placing a folded paper towel at bottom of door opening (front load), in order to dry the space more quickly. We’ve never had a mildew program since doing that.
posted by artdrectr at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

LG owner here. Mine has been really solid, we did lose a drain pump but $50 and half an hour of watching YouTube and I fixed it myself.

The key to preventing mold is not just wiping the gasket and keeping the door open, but keeping the drain holes in the gasket free of lint. Do that and clean the pump filter once a month and it's just fine.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:24 PM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Consider getting a speed queen. Expensive, yes. Not as many features, yes. But also built like a tank and will last literally forever.
posted by rockindata at 1:38 PM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

If your budget permits, the low end W1/T1 Miele machines (without the detergent dosing system or any kind of bluetooth nonsense) are reasonably priced for quality.

In particular, the condensing dryer is both ventless (no lint fire hazard) and uses 120v instead of 240v and thus much less energy. I won't lie by saying it's a shock to pay that much for laundry equipment but you can find sales and warranty extensions from the dealers to offset some of that. And energy star rebates can make it even less painful.

We calculated with the energy savings from the dryer intentionally not leaving clothes bone dry and not needing to clean ductwork (which is a professional fee paid in our condo), the dryer would pay for itself over a regular electric dryer in less than ten years. And also definitely not set any fires. (Tiny bonus is that the condensed water is essentially distilled and pure enough to be used in irons without leaving water marks on clothes.)

YMMV but we're happy with the product.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:46 PM on May 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

An appliance like a washing machine is on the short list of things I would sign up to Consumer Reports for, just to get their latest thinking. I'm fine with doing whatever Wirecutter recommends for a USB cable or something, maaaaaybe a printer if I'm in a rush, but they've lead me astray enough times that I would not trust them as far as I could throw a washing machine for a big purchase.

It's worth signing up to read the articles, but just for the record, the current Consumer Reports top five are all LG. There's a Miele at 6, and then it's more LGs. Their #1 recommendation is the LG WM4000HWA washer and the matching DLEX4000W dryer for $1900. They are stackable.
posted by caek at 2:34 PM on May 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

N.B. your library system may offer access to Consumer Reports as a benefit of holding a library card.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:02 AM on May 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for all these ideas -- I believe I'm going to go with the LG, but ----

Do I want the HEAT PUMP option??
posted by DMelanogaster at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2021

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