Washing Machine and Dryer
August 9, 2006 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Please give advice on a purchasing a new washing machine and dryer.

I am looking for a new washing machine and dryer. I would like to spend about $1000 or less for the pair. What brands are best? What stores have the best deals, service, and delivery prices?
posted by catseatcheese to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife and I bought a Frigidaire front-loading washer and dryer set that were just-discontinued models from a local appliance shop a few years ago for just over $1000. They've worked great and I couldn't be happier. As an added bonus, we got a rebate back from our local water district because the washer was considered "high efficiency."
posted by sbrollins at 2:12 PM on August 9, 2006

Have you tried looking at consumersearch? They aggregate reviews from other sources and seem to me to be a great resource.

One observation that I have for you: The best washer and the best dryer may be different brands. Don't be afraid to mix and match.
posted by found missing at 2:16 PM on August 9, 2006

I went to Consumer Reports and read through their list.

I ended up with their #3 or #4 pick, a Whirlpool pair of separates. I think I spent about $1200 on the pair. But I didn't really shop, I just went to Sears and bought them, so I'm sure you can get them cheaper.

I like the washer a lot. The controls are easy and straightforward, with one settable 'favorite' cycle. It also has automatic temperature regulation. I like to keep my hot water heater pretty hot, so that was an important feature for me, the biggest reason I bought up this far. I don't have to worry about messing up my clothes... it just figures out how much cold it should add to the (very) hot water.

The dryer works just fine, but it makes a strange sound of metal rubbing when it first starts, which I don't like much. It started doing that about a month after I bought it, but I never bothered calling to get it fixed.

Washing machines haven't improved like dishwashers have, so getting a used one is often a very good option. The only major 'advance' in the last ten years or so is front loaders. From what I've read, they're very expensive and not very reliable. They're easier on your clothes, but a lot more likely to break down, for whatever reason. Top loaders are pretty much the same as they've been for ages, so going with an older unit should give you clothes that are just as clean. It'll cost you a lot less up front. The downside is that you're a little more likely to have to spend money on repairs down the road.

If you buy new, you'll get a few more features and cycles, and probably somewhat improved reliability. Whirlpool is a good brand. Sears' Kenmore label is generally excellent as well. I've read that Roper can be pretty good in the low end... as I recall, they make cheap stuff, but it's still pretty good.

Oh, one other thing... not long ago, I read about a new kind of spin stabilization they were about to put into washers. It's a special kind of gearing that prevents the 'washer shake' when it gets to the harmonic point. You know how when the spin starts, the washer shakes a little, and then shakes a lot, and then shakes only a little? It's passing through its resonance point, and there's some new gearing method that prevents the resonance from getting out of hand. This means you don't have to rebalance your load as often.

On preview: mixing and matching is just fine, and you will often get a better total price (and better equipment) if you do that. I don't like my dryer that well, but the washer is good.
posted by Malor at 2:21 PM on August 9, 2006

I'm going to disagree a bit with malor and say that IMHO front-loaders are worth it, just for the reduced wear-and-tear on clothes, and less water usage. If you buy a brand new set then you may also be able to get energy efficiency rebates from your state (CA offers this, no idea where you are though) which will slightly offset the cost. Shop around, you often get the best deals from small appliance retailers rather than the big stores. Then you can either buy from them, or go to Sears and have them price-match.

I have a set of front-loader Whirlpools and love them. They're about 3 years old now, and no problems so far *crosses fingers*.
posted by Joh at 2:39 PM on August 9, 2006

Front loaders save a bundle on water. Also, many cities will give you a rebate if you buy an 'energy star' front loading washer.

We got the "GE WSXH208FWW Extra-Large Frontload Washer With Stainless Steel Basket Washer" and matching dryer set for about $1200 inc. tax and are pretty happy with it - It is a little smaller than top loaders but will do normal size loads - Except it will NOT fit a king size comforter, like the sales person claimed it would!!
posted by delladlux at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2006

Kenmore washers have stood us in good stead over the years (our current one has been chugging-along for close to 20 years now, with nary a need for service)
posted by Thorzdad at 2:48 PM on August 9, 2006

OTOH, I've heard real horror stories about the Maytag Neptune.
posted by LeisureGuy at 2:53 PM on August 9, 2006

Staber Industries is this weird company in Ohio that makes top-loading, horizontal-axis washers that are loaded through a little hatch on top. They advertise that they use like 70 percent less water and 50 percent less energy and 75 percent less detergent. My dad bought one recently and raves about it, though I suspect some of that is due to his allegiance to products from family-owned American companies. I think it's probably out of your price range, but they supposedly last indefinitely, as well, and are kind of cool in a geeky way.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 4:03 PM on August 9, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the good advice.
posted by catseatcheese at 5:22 PM on August 9, 2006

Be wary of front-loaders. Yuk.
posted by radioamy at 6:06 PM on August 9, 2006

Go front loader on the washer for sure. They
  1. Use 1/3rd the water (and detergent/fabric softner) of top loaders.
  2. use 1/3rd of the energy needed to heat the water
  3. Spin faster so more water is spun out reducing the load on your dryer
  4. Have fewer moving parts.
  5. Let you use the top as a work surface while folding/sorting

posted by Mitheral at 6:06 PM on August 9, 2006

I got a Kenmore (Frigidaire) front-loader from Sears and adored it for a couple of years until the bearings went gaflooey all over my clothes. It turns out this happens to people pretty often, and apparently the company isn't interested in fixing it.

I don't know if their newer models have solved this problem. I hope they would have by now.

On the plus side, you can stack them or have a nice folding surface, and they're very kind to clothing and they use less water and energy and soap, and they spin like mofos so your clothes get so dry in the washer that they dry in the same amount of time as a wash cycle. It's amazinly efficient when your dryer is no longer a bottleneck.
posted by bink at 6:45 PM on August 9, 2006

Be wary of front-loaders. Yuk.

posted by vetiver at 9:28 PM on August 9, 2006

Partner is an appliance repair technician. Ditto on avoiding the new Maytag models. Whirlpool would be our choice.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 1:30 AM on August 10, 2006

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