Are you a little overwhelmed by the number of washer and dryer sets on the market? Are you nervous about missing out on modern features because of your budget? These are just some of the concerns we hear all the time when it comes to shopping for a new washer and dryer.
To make things a little easier for you, we curated a guide of everything you need to know about washers and dryers before you start shopping. From size constraints to the difference between gas and electric dryers, we’ve got you covered! We also selected our favorite washer and dryer models of 2021 to give you a head start on your search.
Let’s get started.
Important Features To Consider When Shopping for Washer and Dryer Set
Here at Designer Appliances, we represent 17 different brands and over 500 different washers and dryers (which breaks down to approximately 200 washers and 300 dryers). So when it comes to finding the right models for your home, we’ve seen it all.
Before you begin shopping for a washer & dryer set, there are several important factors you should consider. After all, the performance of these products differs when it comes to things like cleaning power, water usage, energy efficiency, capacity, noise, and vibration. However, these factors are often missing from the manufacturers’ descriptions. We broke down these factors in order to make your selection process a little easier.
Know Your Washing Machine Type
Did you know that there are different types of washing machines on the market? They’re known as front-load, top load, and apartment size. And to break things down even further, there are actually two types of top load washers with an agitator or impeller/high-efficiency (HE).
So what’s the difference between agitator and impeller/high-efficiency models? In agitator models, the agitator rubs against the clothes to get them clean. This helps to loosen soils and penetrate water and detergent into the fabrics.
In impeller (or HE) models, the washing machine utilizes drum motions to rub the clothes against each other. This is a much gentler option than an agitator machine.
Although the type you choose will depend on your overall preference, both variations will get the job done. It’s also important to note that all washing machines are electric, while dryers can be either gas or electric.
Front Load Washers (High Efficiency, HE)
Front-load washers clean better than their top-loading counterparts. Although the wash times are longer on front-load machines, they are far more gentle on clothes. These washers also use less water and spin at higher speeds.
High RPM (or revolutions per minute) spin speed, in turn, extracts more water from your laundry and cuts down on drying time (which also saves energy in the drying process). You’ll find that many HE models, whether front or top load, have a certification from Energy Star, the federal program that puts its stamp on the most efficient home appliances.
Most front-load washers and dryers are stackable. You can also place them on storage pedestals to use them side by side.
Washer dryer combos are a specialty product that belongs to the front load washer family. These products look exactly like a front load machine, however, they also incorporate drying feature. They are ideal for apartments where there is limited space for laundry.
Top Load Washers with an Old-Style Agitator:
These washers are relics of the olden days and cost less than their HE cousins. The wash cycle is substantially faster, but they use a lot of water.
Still, many people opt for traditional washing machines because of their simple controls. It’s also intuitive to think that more water might yield a better clean. However, this is not necessarily true. We ranked the best agitator top load washers in our in-depth review.
Top Load Washers without an Agitator (a.k.a. HE):
Top-load washers are still a popular choice in the US. Considering the superior cleaning performance of the front-load washers, manufacturers decided to marry these two technologies.
HE-rated top-load washers generally have a larger capacity than that of their agitator counterparts. They also use less water and spin faster for better drying performance.
If you’re still wondering which type of washer to purchase, read our front load vs top load washer comparison, where we cover the pros and cons of each type.
Compact Washer and Dryers:
This set of laundry is only 24-inches wide, making it perfect for placement in a closet or under a countertop. Although typically meant for apartment living, this type of laundry set is also great if you live in a single-family home and would like a second set of laundry.
These washers generally pair with ventless dryers. Dryers that feature a Heat-Pump system are at the pinnacle of technology and not only save energy but dry clothes faster compared to condensing dryers. We ranked and reviewed the best compact washer dryer models in our comprehensive review.
Dorm rooms and small apartments may not have space to plumb the laundry machines. If you want to save yourself the trip to the laundromat consider getting a portable washing machine. These units are versatile and can be hooked up to regular faucets (and drained to a nearby bathtub or sink).
Select the Correct Matching Dryer
When shopping for a dryer, you’ll generally have two options when it comes to the model: gas or electric. Additionally, you’ll also have to choose between a vented or ventless dryer.
Gas dryers utilize a fan and natural propane to heat and dry your laundry. Although this process is more costly than electricity, it requires less drying time. So eventually, the cost will begin to even out.
Because you need a gas hookup in order to run this type of dryer, they are typically more difficult to install. If you don’t already have a gas line in your home, one will need to be installed before you can use your dryer. However, gas dryers tend to have a longer lifespan than electric models.
Electric dryers work by activating a fan that continuously pushes hot air into the machine. Electricity is also used to keep the clothes in motion as they dry.
Electric dryers are easier to install than gas models, because all you need to do is find an outlet to plug the dryer into. However, electric dryers do not typically have as long of a lifespan as gas dryers.
Vented vs. Ventless:
With the exception of Whirlpool’s 27-inch models, most full-sized models are vented. However, small or compact dryers are predominantly ventless. Ventless dryers are easier to install, but often take longer to dry your clothes.
How To Configure: Stacked, On Pedestal, or Side-by-Side?
Another important factor to consider is the configuration of your washer and dryer set. Before you begin shopping, it’s super important to measure your available space so that you can narrow down your options. You generally have two options when it comes to configuration – stacked or side-by-side. If you are leaning towards a front load set you may also get a storage pedestal to lift your laundry for about 15-inches off the ground. This “on pedestal” configuration will ease the work as you will not need to “break your back” when bending to load/unload. In addition, pedestals act as storage drawers where you can tuck away your detergent and other laundry room items.
Please keep in mind that top-load washing machines cannot be stacked.
So why would you choose to stack your washer and dryer?
- You have a laundry closet or small laundry room
- You want more functional floor space
- You’ll have more room for storage
- You like the clutter-free appeal offered by stacked laundry
And why would you choose a side-by-side configuration?
- You have a top-load washer that cannot be stacked
- You want to install a counter over your front-load washer and dryer to fold your clothes
- You don’t love the look of a stacked laundry set
Noise and Vibration
Front-load washing machines are typically quieter than top-loaders. When shopping for a new washer dryer set look for product specifications where the manufacturer talks about noise and vibration. Samsung usually mentions this topic under the marketing name VRT which stands for vibration reduction technology (which they improved over the years). LG’s version of VRT is called “TrueBalance”. Electrolux even offers (on a seasonal basis) a “second floor guarantee” where the company refunds you fully if their machines move by more than one inches when running on leveled legs.
Let’s break down some of the reasons your washer may be too noisy or vibrate excessively.
- Your washer is on an uneven surface
- Your load is not balanced
- The legs of your washer are no longer level (which you/your installer can adjust)
Wifi and Smartphone Connectivity
Although it’s not an essential feature, wifi and smartphone connectivity can be a huge convenience. For example, many washers and dryers can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app. This allows you to check if your laundry is done and even start a cycle remotely.
As much as we want to get excited about “smart” features for washer and dryer sets, we have not seen any models that offer an immense benefit to “real-life users”.
Best Washer and Dryer Set, Our Top 8 Picks
We’ve hand-selected each of the 8 picks below based on a combination of product testing and research. Although we weren’t able to personally test every model, we conducted thorough research to make sure we recommended only the very best models.
In fact, we’ll never recommend a product to you that we wouldn’t recommend to our family members. We want you to be thrilled with your selections, because to us, you’re family.
P.S. – Our articles are crafted by our team of both appliance experts and editorial board. We’re not a news outlet. but we take great pride in providing our users with the most accurate and in-depth guides on the internet.
It’s also worth noting that as a whole, washing machines are much more advanced than dryers. That’s why the following reviews focus mainly on the washer. But not to worry – we’ll also give you some suggestions on which washers and dryers pair best.
So without further ado, let’s dive into our top picks!
1) Best Speed: LG WM4200HWA
Width: 27-inch | Height: 39-inch | Depth: 33 1/4-inch | Capacity: 5.0 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 14/13 | RPM: 1,300 | Color: White | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Yes
The LG WM4200HWA is one of the most energy-efficient washers on the market. In fact, it even earned the coveted “Most Efficient” badge from Energy Star.
Front-load washers typically take their time when it comes to cleaning your clothes. It’s not uncommon for a normal load cycle to last an hour. Thanks to the TurboWash 360 technology, which includes five powerful jets, this LG model can clean a ten-pound load in under 30 minutes.
The WM4200HWA comes in white as well as a black stainless color. You can stack it with the associated gas or electric steam dryer, or use them side-by-side. When paired with the appropriate drier, this washer can automatically select a compatible dryer setting based on your load.
LG streamlined its lineup during the year of the pandemic. If you are looking for a budget solution without compromising on the quality the WM4000HWA now comes packed with quick wash, steam in both washer and dryer, and wifi. It has 4.5 cu. ft. capacity but the shallow depth of 30-inches might fit most laundry rooms as opposed to deeper contenders that feature 5 or 5.5 cu. ft. drum.
2) Best XL Capacity: LG WM9000HVA
Width: 29-inch | Height: 41 1/4-inch | Depth: 33 3/4-inch | Capacity: 5.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 14 | RPM: 1,300 | Color: Graphite Steel | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Most Efficient CEE Tier 3
The LG WM9000HVA costs approximately $1,799 during promotional seasons. This model has excellent cleaning ability, energy, and water efficiency. It also has LG’s vibration and noise suppression technology for super-quiet operation. The WM9000HVA even incorporates all the latest wi-fi/smartphone integration.
This LG washer is a gentle giant with a 29-inch width and 5.2 cu. ft. extra large capacity. This means that king size sheets and comforters can be handled at home, instead of at the laundromat. The one downside to this machine is that you can’t stack it.
Another nice feature is that you can pair this washer with either a regular storage pedestal or a WD200CV “sidekick twin wash” pedestal, which acts as a small washer to multiply your capacity.
The trendy graphite steel color helps to make your laundry area more eye-catching.
The LG WM9000HVA pairs with either a large capacity electric or gas dryer with a steam feature.
3) Best for Saving Time: Samsung WV60M9900AV
Width: 27-inch | Height: 46 15/16-inch | Depth: 34-inch | Capacity: 6.0 cu. ft. (5.0 + 1.0) | Cycles/Options: 12 | RPM: 800 | Color: Black Stainless Steel | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: No | Energy Star: Most Efficient CEE Tier 3
The Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900AV is a truly innovative appliance. The FlexWash incorporates two washers in one body. The dryer pair, as you may have guessed, is called FlexDry and features two dryers under one roof. This means you can run two independent loads at the same time.
This Samsung has all the latest smart features and connects to both Alexa and Google Home. The “Super Speed” feature wraps up washing in 30 minutes, without sacrificing cleaning performance.
This 27-inch width Samsung washer has an impressive 6.0 cu. ft. capacity. Although keeping your front-load washer clean can be challenging, the Self-Clean+ feature keeps the drum fresh and odor-free without the use of harsh chemicals.
If you’re looking for a conventional, 27-inch 4.5 cu. ft. stackable front-load washer, consider Samsung’s WF45R6300AW. This washer also features steam so you can remove stains without pre-treatment.
The WF45T6000AW is the “doorbuster” model that Samsung is advertises occasionally at $699. This machine noe features full-size interior space at 4.5 cu. ft., and comes with rapid spin speed at 1200 RPM which helps saves you time during drying. The WF45T6000AW lacks the steam action featured in other models. However, if you’re searching for a reliable, no-frills laundry solution, this is a solid model to consider.
4) Best Fabric Care: Electrolux ELFW7637AT
27-inch 4.4 cu. ft. Electrolux Stackable Steam Washer with Steam Dryer
Width: 27-inch | Height: 38-inch | Depth: 32-inch | Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 9 | RPM: 1,300 | Color: Titanium or White | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Yes
Regarding stain removal, Electrolux gets the job done better than any other brand. The ELFW7637AT is Electrolux’s flagship product. The ELFW7637AT is stackable and comes with a large interior space. Its 15-minute express wash option is impressive and designed to handle lightly soiled clothes (which is great for when you’re in a rush!).
This season, the Electrolux washer and dryers start at $899. As you go up in the lineup, you benefit from additional features such as steam, faster spin speeds, express wash options, and more stain treatments.
5) Best Top Load with Agitator: Speed Queen TC5003WN
Width: 25 5/8-inch | Height: 42 3/4-inch | Depth: 28-inch | Capacity: 3.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 6 | RPM: 710 | Color: White | Steam Washer/Dryer: No | Stackable: No | Energy Star: No
Speed Queen washers have become a family favorite, due to the brand’s reputation for dependability. It is the only American manufacturer that still makes (not just assembles) appliances in the US. If you want a no-frills machine that fills up the tub and cleans your laundry, consider the Speed Queen TR3 a.k.a. the TR3003WN.
If You Prefer High Efficiency (HE) Top Loaders
Concerning High Efficiency (HE) Top Load laundry, LG is the market leader in terms of both technology and the breadth of products offered. In this category, the following products shine due to their price vs. performance.
The LG WT7300CW, and its sibling WT7300CV in graphite, have large interiors at 5.0 cu. ft. The spin speed, which equates to energy and dry time savings, is the fastest for a top-load washer at 950 RPM. Price points with rebates will start below $699 for this washer.
Although the WT7300 model gets a ton of press, occasionally we notice a great deal on the LG WT7800CW during promotional season. You can get the WT7800 with a small upcharge compared to WT7300. This model, however, can be loaded with features like steam, an effective internal heater, and a larger 5.5 cu. ft. capacity.
Samsung, which owns approximately 20% of the US appliance market, also has a decent solution with the WA54M8750AW. Handsome in white or black stainless steel, it comes with a built-in sink for your convenience. As usual with the Samsung pedigree, you will get a nifty wi-fi enabled app to manage your laundry.
PRO TIP – Make sure to contact our staff at (888) 714-4938 to inquire about unpublished seasonal savings on washer/dryers.
6) Best Compact Washer and Dryer: Miele WWH860WC
24-inch 2.3 cu. ft. Stackable Washer with Ventless, Heat-Pump Steam Dryer
Width: 23 1/2-inch | Height: 33 1/2-inch | Depth: 25 5/16-inch | Capacity: 2.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 12 | RPM: 1,600 | Color: White | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Yes
When it comes to space-saving, apartment-sized appliances, there are now more options than ever. However, Bosch and Miele make the best apartment size, compact washers an dryers. Miele recently edged up in this category by embracing energy efficient and fast heat pump dryer technology.
The WWH860WCS is Miele’s flagship washing machine. It pairs with the only 110/120V ventless, heat-pump dryer in the market, dubbed as the T1 dryer.
Miele washers come with price points starting at $1,199. Both the W1 and T1 are stackable and can be placed in a small laundry closet.
Earlier this year, we conducted an extenisve review of the Miele washer and dryer lineup.
7) Best Reliable Washer and Dryer: Bosch WAW285H2UC
24-inch 2.2 cu. ft. Stackable Compact Washer with Ventless Dryer
Width: 24-inch | Height: 33 1/4-inch | Depth: 25-inch | Capacity: 2.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 15 | RPM: 1,400 | Color: White | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Most Efficient CEE Tier 3
The 800 series is the way to go for Bosch. The WAW285H2UC heats water to 170F for a sanitized clean. It has been on the market for over five years, and regularly receives glowing reviews from our customers. This washer is stackable with the ventless, 220V dryer. Its shallow depth makes it an attractive choice for an urban apartment.
Bosch makes less expensive models in the compact laundry line up. You can also find the value model WAT28400UC for well under $999.
We wrote extensively on Bosch’s washer and dryer selection, including the differences between 300, 500, and 800 series in our in-depth review article.
8) Best Overall: GE GFW850SPNRS Ultrafresh
28-inch 5.0 cu. ft. Stackable SteamWasher and Dryer
Width: 28-inch | Height: 39 3/4-inch | Depth: 34-inch | Capacity: 5.0 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 12/10 | RPM: 1,300 | Color: White, Sapphire Blue, Diamond Gray | Steam Washer/Dryer: Yes/Yes | Stackable: Yes | Energy Star: Yes
After years of simply following the Korean manufacturers, GE has finally introduced innovative washer and dryers.
The most stylish and feature-rich washer from GE is the GFW850SPNRS, which includes three stunning color options: sapphire blue, diamond gray, and white. It is also one of the largest washers, with a whopping capacity of 5.0 cu. ft.
Some of the features that set this new GE washer apart from the competition include the UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock™, SmartDispense™, and 1 Step Wash + Dry.
The UltraFresh vent system gets rid of extra water and moisture on the circular door opening. This innovative feature does not give mold a chance to gain a foothold on the door area. The rubber gasket on the door is also protected with “Microban,” which eliminates unwanted odors.
You can even load the detergent dispenser once and use the washer multiple times. SmartDispense will save you time with its large deposit area. Most amazingly, if you have a a small load, you can skip the hastle of unloading the washer and moving everything to the dryer.
How to Avoid Pitfalls When Selecting a New Washer and Dryer?
- The number one mistake people make when purchasing a new washer and dryer is miscalculating the size and space. Before narrowing down your choice, it’s imperative that you measure your access to your laundry room, as well as the area intended for the washer and dryer. Unfortunately, the fact that you have an existing washer and dryer does not mean that you are covered, as the new machines tend to be wider, deeper and taller than their previous incarnations.
- As a general rule of thumb, 27″ width is considered regular size, and
29″ width is extra large. Apartment size compact laundry is 24″ wide. However, the depth of these machines is wildly different from manufacturer to manufacturer.
- Know your fuel type. Yes, all dryers need electricity to function, but all dryers need a fuel source to heat up. Make sure that you scope this out before making your purchase to determine whether the dryer requires an electric 208/240V 4-prong giant outlet or a natural gas connection.
- Know when it’s time to replace your parts. When changing a washer, it’s a good idea to upgrade your old hoses with stainless steel braided hoses. In terms of the dryer, you will need a new electric cord (if an electric dryer is selected) as well as a new vent kit for vented dryers. As for the gas dryers, by code, you will need to use a new gas flex hose.
Make sure to make a copy of our washer dryer installation checklist to protect your investment.
With so many choices on the market, we’re here to help simplify the buying process with tips and insights on the latest washers, dryers, and more. With this information handy, you’ll feel confident making the best decision for your household. If you live in New Jersey, feel free to stop by one of our stores and our sales staff will be happy to help guide you. You can also see several of these models in person.
What were some of the challenges you faced while making this decision? Let us know in the comments section below.
PRO TIP – Make sure to contact our staff at (888) 714-4938 to inquire about unpublished seasonal savings on washer/dryers.
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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on October 6, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.