are available in several configurations today. The most common is known as a top-load washer
, as the clothes are loaded from the top of the machine. Front-load washers
are just that: loaded from the front of the machine. Laundry centers
are a one-piece washer and dryer. The dryer will always be positioned on the top. They're available in both electric or gas dryer types. Then, there are combo washer/dryers
. This is a one-piece unit that will wash the clothes and then enter into a drying mode without ever needing to transfer the clothes from one machine to the other. Now, let's look at the benefits of each of these designs:
Top load washers are available in two different design types. Standard top load washers use an agitator, which pulls the clothes through the water in order to clean them. Standard top load washers are usually less expensive than comparable front load washers or high-efficiency top load washers. Top load washers are easy to load and unload as everything is accessible from the top. Top load washers will, however, use more water and electricity than front load or HE models, increasing both your utility bills and your carbon footprint.
High-efficiency top load washers are accessed through the top just like standard top load washers. HE top load washers do not have an agitator. Instead, they use a wash plate located at the bottom of the wash basket to move the clothes against one another to help in the wash process. The concentrated soapy water is moved through the clothes rather than pulling the clothes through the water. This design is gentler on clothes and provides larger capacity, all while using only 20 to 66% of the water and energy used on a standard top load washer.
HE washers will spin out faster than a standard top load washer, extracting more water, thereby reducing drying time. Keep in mind that since you're using less water, you should use high-efficiency detergent. HE detergent is designed for use with high-efficiency washers and to effectively clean your clothes and reduce sudsing.
Front load washers are the most energy-efficient washers available today. They use less water and energy than a standard top load washer. They do, however, come at a higher cost. Front load washers are gentle on clothes, as they don't use an agitator to move the clothes. Instead, the clothes are tumbled in different directions moving the water through and over the clothes to perform the washing function. This results in less wear and tear on the clothing, so that your clothes look new longer.
The large capacity of a front load washer allows you to fit more, which means fewer wash loads. If floor space is limited, then front load is the way to go. You can stack the matching dryer on top of the washer, taking up only half the space than if they were side by side. Another great option for front load washers is the pedestal. Pedestals can be placed under the washer and dryer lifting it up for easier access. Most pedestals also provide a storage solution for your frequently used laundry supplies.
Laundry centers combine a washer and a dryer in 1 stacked unit. Compared with high-end washers and dryers, laundry centers have fewer bells and whistles. The washer will have fewer wash cycles and options but often simpler controls. In the dryer, you'll find the basic settings. Most laundry centers require standard venting and a 240-volt electrical supply, the same as a standard washer and dryer. It's also possible to get a laundry center that runs on gas for the dryer. You'll find that gas and electric dryer performance is similar, but a gas dryer should save you money and fuel cost over the long run.
A combo washer/dryer can be used virtually anywhere. There's no need for a designated laundry area. You could use the unit by a bathroom or a kitchen sink, and with a portability kit, roll it away and store it when not in use. All that is needed to install a combo are a 110-volt plug and access to a cold water faucet or sink to use as the water source and drain. Since no laundry hookup or venting is required, the ease of installation makes combo washers ideal not only for tight spaces but homes and apartments that lack traditional laundry connections.
Portable washing machines are ideal appliances if you live in an apartment or a small house and a full size washer is not an option. These units are designed to move from a storage area, such as a closet, to a kitchen or bathroom where you can hook one up to a faucet and start washing clothes. However, portable washing machines are small in capacity; therefore, they should be used only when you don't have space for a full size machine.
A few things to consider when you look for a portable washing machine is its design, and of course, it's portability. You don't want to be lugging off with heavy machine around the house every time you need to do a load of washer, do you? Of course not, so look for a unit that's lightweight but also includes casters that allows you to move it from room to room and cabinet handles that make it easy to carry.
Every portable washing machine comes with a faucet adapter, which allows you to connect it to a kitchen or a bathroom sink. This item is important, especially if your apartment or home doesn't have a washer hookup. I also suggest that you check your faucets to see if they have the threading, which allows you to use the included faucet adapter.
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