Quicklist: Washing Machines
- HE Top-Loading
- Washing Machine/Dryer Combo
- Stacked Laundry Center
- Table Top
- Washing Machine with Drawer
- Washer/Dryer Set
- Adaptive Fill
- Cycle Status
- Adjustable Legs
- Add Garment
- Advanced Vibration Control
- Delay Start
- Door Window
- Soft-Close Lid
- Smart (WiFi)
- Energy Star
Washing machines existed as early as the 18th century with the first version being a simple wooden box where water filled the apparatus through manual rotation.
Front-load washing machines are considerably more efficient in performance and energy consumption than their top-load counterparts “and yet only 28% of washers shipped to stores in 2020 were front-loaders, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.”
Washing Machine Types
Front-Loading Washing Machine
This is the best type of washing machine if you have a smaller area for your machine and need to be able to run a lot of loads. They can be stacked with a dryer to take up more vertical space than floor space, if necessary, and generally have a large interior that allows you to wash bulkier items or bigger loads without sacrificing the cleaning power of the machine.
While they are great for running larger loads, they are also considered to be the most efficient of all types since they need less water for a load. Additionally, they will make your clothes last a lot longer since they do not use an agitator to get the clothing clean.
There are a few problems that should be noted with front-loaders: water can get caught inside which can cause odors and they are usually more expensive than top-loaders.
Top-Loading Washing Machine
Top-loaders use shorter cycles and are less expensive than front-loaders both to buy and repair. If you have back problems or difficulty bending over, then you will want to choose a top-loading washing machine, as it is much easier to get the clothes in and out.
When too many items are put in top-loaders the machines don’t perform as well as front-loaders. This type of washing machine also can have trouble removing all the water during the spin cycle requiring longer periods of use for the dryer.
High-Efficiency Top-Loading Washing Machine
High-Efficiency (HE) top-loading washing machines don’t have agitators, use much less water to clean, and do a great job cleaning most items. They can’t be stacked and cost more than traditional top-loading washing machines, but overall you will save money each month.
The wash cycles tend to be fairly long, and you have to buy the right kind of detergent to use in this machine or you can run into problems. Only HE detergent should be used in HE models which need less water and less sudsing.
Washing Machine and Dryer Combo
This appliance is not the same as a set of stacked washers and dryers, but rather a single appliance that has one cabinet for both the washing machine and the dryer. For people who live in homes with limited space, the machines are a good option as they do not take up much room. Some models do not need an external air vent.
Stacked Laundry Center
Unlike stackable washers and dryers, when you buy a laundry center, the two appliances will come attached. They are tall but don’t take up a lot of room otherwise, making them ideal for tight spaces.
Table-Top Washing Machine
These vintage electric washing machines, which first appeared in the 1930s, plug into the wall and can sit on a table or counter. They do not have a way to add or drain water on their own, which means that the user has to do this in order to rinse the clothing.
Washing Machine Features
Portable Washing Machine
If you’re tired of washing your clothes by hand, then it’s time to invest in a portable washing machine that will do the work for you. It’s great for any dorm room or apartment where you don’t have the space for a large appliance. They include dehydration baskets to dry your clothing so that you don’t have to worry about finding a dryer to use or hanging them up to dry.
Stackable Washing Machines and Dryers
Save a lot of room in your home with a washing machine that can be stacked with a dryer. As long as they are seated correctly there should be no danger of them tipping over.
Washing Machine with Drawer
If you have room to spare then opting for a washing machine that has a storage drawer underneath is a great way to enjoy a little more storage space in your laundry room. The drawers are part of the appliance and are strong enough to withstand the heavy weight of the washing machine without any problems.
High-Efficiency Washing Machine
Source: Home Depot
In order for a washing machine to be labeled as High-Efficiency (HE), it has to meet guidelines and criteria that pertain to detergent, water, and electricity use. HE machines use as little as 20% of the water and energy used by traditional agitator washers. If they do not meet the guidelines, they can’t be legally labeled High-Efficiency.
If you want your washing machine and your dryer to match, then you will want to buy them as a set. This will ensure that they look the same, are from the same company, and will be built to the same standards.
While some people are not concerned about their washing machine and their dryer matching, if yours are going to be on display out in the open, then this may be a feature to consider as it will create a more cohesive look and ensure that the two appliances do not clash.
Steam Washing Machine
Source: Home Depot
The steam feature is available on some washing machines and allows the water to soak the fabric you are washing more thoroughly. You can also add steam while the detergent is mixed into the water, which will raise the temperature of the washing machine. Detergent dissolves more easily with steam.
After washing, you can use steam to sterilize the clothing, soften them, and remove any wrinkles that formed while the clothes were tossing and agitating.
If you have trouble gauging how full your washing machine is and what size load you are going to be washing, then you may benefit from a machine that has the Adaptive Fill feature. This allows your washing machine to sense how full it is and then add the correct amount of water. The appliance itself is in charge of determining how much water is needed.
Compact Washing Machine
If you have a small space for your washing machine but still want a traditional appliance rather than a washer/dryer combo or one that is portable, consider a compact washer. They have a much smaller profile but other than that, they are the same as their larger counterparts.
Cycle Status Indicator
Washing machines with cycle status indicators clue you in as to how much longer is needed to run the wash.
Washing machines with adjustable legs ensure that the machine is sitting the way it should so that it doesn’t rock or bounce while in operation.
Washing machines that have a pause feature to add a forgotten garment make it easy to stop the machine in the cycle and toss in the item.
Advanced Vibration Control
Vibration control technology adjusts out-of-balance loads and spin patterns.
The delay start feature allows you to put all of your clothing and detergent into the washing machine and have it start automatically later.
While it is much more common to have a door window on a front-loading washing machine, newer top-loading washing machines now offer this feature as well.
Soft-close lids use hydraulic technology to secure the machine’s door gently.
Wi-Fi Washing Machine
A Wi-Fi-enabled appliance allows you to monitor the status of your washing machine even if you are not home via an app on your tablet or smartphone.
You can monitor the cycle selections, check to see how much time is remaining on your load, and even pause or start the machine. Of course, you do have to be present to move the clothing into and out of the washing machine, but being able to control the cycle remotely appeals to a lot of people.
Energy Star Washing Machine
With an Energy Star-rated washing machine you will save about 20% on energy costs and use 35% less water. In order to have the Energy Star label, a washing machine has to meet set criteria involving water and energy factors.
Washing Machine Agitator Type
Agitator Washing Machine
Washing machines that have agitators have a spindle that comes up from the center of the machine and has some sort of fins attached to it to help move the water and the clothing around in the washing machine. Agitators twist during the cycle to help move clothing through the water and remove any dirt that is lodged in the fabric.
Different wash modes will move the agitator differently, which means that a standard wash mode will have the agitator moving much faster than a delicate wash cycle.
Impeller Washing Machine
Generally speaking, when you buy a High-Efficiency washing machine, it is going to have an impeller, not an agitator. Washing machines with impellers have cones or discs that are low profile and will actually rub your clothing against each other very gently to extract the dirt, but not cause any damage to the fabric. Washing machines that have impellers are much less likely to damage your clothing.
Traditional vs. High-Efficiency Water Usage
Where to Buy
Whether you prefer researching and shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar store, here are the best places to find and purchase washing machines.
You can expect that Amazon has a much wider selection of both high-end and affordable products than conventional retailers. The vast Amazon marketplace offers not just well-known brands but also ones that are harder to find.
The selection is excellent (particularly for Prime members), but finding what you’re looking for can be a challenge due to the site’s extensive catalog.
Due to a large number of independent vendors on Amazon, product descriptions aren’t always up to date and can be confusing. Amazon is a great site to make the final buy if you find a deal you like, but you may save time by doing your research elsewhere first.
When you’ve decided on an appliance and are ready to add it to your cart, keep in mind that you can often get free shipping.
2. The Home Depot
Find the perfect washer and dryer set at The Home Depot, a favorite of professionals everywhere thanks to their extensive selection of appliances in a wide range of prices, brands, and sizes.
The staff’s knowledge may be even more valuable than the wide selection of appliances (which includes dishwashers, washer/dryer bundles, refrigerators, and more). Many of the employees at The Home Depot are in their golden years and seasoned pros at answering customer questions on specific topics.
Shoppers may find a wide variety of common and uncommon sets at Lowe’s, with convenient removal and haul-away options added in for good measure.
Lowe’s has a wide variety of appliances ranging from high-end to low-priced, as well as customer care to help customers choose the right product for their needs and budget. When shopping for a pair of washers and dryers at Lowe’s, you can expect to find a wide selection of options in terms of model, size, and finish.
4. Best Buy
When looking for a washer and dryer set with cutting-edge technologies including Wi-Fi connectivity, Best Buy is your best bet.
In 1966, when it first opened its doors in St. Paul, Minnesota, Best Buy was an audio specialty shop known as the Sound of Music. The business was rebranded with its current name in 1983, and its primary focus shifted to selling consumer electronics and premium appliances.
Wayfair, like Amazon, is an online shop that makes it easy to search for, compare, and buy a washing machine and dryer without leaving the house.
The company, which was founded in 2002 by two friends to sell media stands as well as storeroom furniture online, has since grown tremendously in both employee count and selection. Wayfair’s user-friendliness alleviates some of the burdens typically associated with buying and installing new home equipment.
In 1976, the innovative concept of a retail warehouse club was founded under the name Costco.
The membership-only company is the fifth largest retailer in the world because of its massive high-quality inventory. You can save money on standalone washers but Costco devotes most of its sales to washer and dryer sets.
Sears has been a household name supplying appliances for more than a century. In 1892, Sears, Roebuck and Co. began as a mail-order catalog company that distributed goods in response to customers’ requests for them.
Sears markets many lines of washing machines, including its traditional in-house brand Kenmore (manufactured by Whirlpool).
8. BrandsMart USA
BrandsMart USA is not just the largest appliance store in the United States, but also a regional leader in the Southeast. Shop here for high-quality laundry appliances from names like Whirlpool and Electrolux.
High-Efficiency washers and dryers (both electric and gas) are only two examples of the cutting-edge laundry technology they provide.
9. AJ Madison
Maybe you haven’t heard of AJ Madison before, but the company is one of the best places to buy a washer and dryer set online because they offer free shipping anywhere in the continental United States.
The online appliance retailer founded in 2001 and headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, is rapidly expanding its customer base and positive reputation.
Abt started out as a little Chicago appliance shop in 1936 with a staff of three employees.
Their single-store outlet is now in Glenview, Illinois, and it’s a whopping 100,000 square feet — a huge increase from its original size. Their massive warehouse allows Abt to have an abundance of inventory on hand to serve online shoppers as well as in-store customers.
Parts of Traditional Washing Machine
Since we want to wash our clothes in style while saving on power with the expectation that our machine will last for many years, here are the top washing machine brands to choose from.
Lou Upton and his uncle Emory received a patent for an electric motor-powered wringer washer in 1911 and the Upton Machine Company was born. Whirlpool was originally a brand name for an automatic, spinner-type washer that the company began selling after World War Two. They became the Whirlpool Corporation in 1949.
This internationally renowned manufacturer of refrigerators and washing machines is loved by customers because of its quality products and reasonable prices.
The Whirlpool brand’s standout features include an inbuilt heater for eliminating odors and bacteria and a variation wash system that rotates garments through the washing process in a full circle.
The engine and prime mover are covered for 10 years by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Samsung was established in 1969, and in 1974 the South Korean firm began turning out high-quality washing machines.
Samsung products have special features such as an integrated sink and water supply and sophisticated fabric care settings for delicate garments.
Their technology is reliable and has a low power consumption rate. Its washing machines are rated globally for their high quality, dependability and reasonable prices.
In 2019, LG Electronics’ opened a $360 million manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tennessee.
LG Washing Machines are High-Efficiency washers designed with special features such as customized laundry cycles, Steam Technology, 6Motion Technology for drum movement, Direct Drive Motors, and TurboWash360 for power cleaning big loads of laundry.
Panasonic washing machines include features such as three-way water wash system, three-dimensional sensor wash, wide-drum insert, quick wash program (which cleans in just 15 minutes), and automatic restarts in the event of a power outage.
Electr0lux was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1919. Charlotte, North Carolina is home to their North American operations. Frigidaire washing machines are also manufactured by Electrolux for the American market.
Their washing machines include features such as an express drying system and a three-dimensional waterfall washing cycle.
Bosch, a German multinational corporation established in 1886 by Robert Bosch, make washing machines that are truly world-class in design.
The Bosch 800 Series washer features Home Connect technology allowing the machine to be operated from anywhere with a smartphone. Other patented features include AquaStop for protection against water damage, SpeedPerfect for faster washing time, and ActiveWater Technology for water use efficiency.
Sears and Kenmore made a big splash in 1927 when they introduced their revolutionary new agitator-type wringer washer for home use. In less than a decade they sold over a million machines to establish themselves as a leader in the home appliances market. In the 1950s, Kenmore launched the first washer/dryer combo.
Since 2017, the company has partnered with Amazon to create Alexa-enabled appliances allowing users to control select operations with simple voice commands. Kenmore’s current washing machine line-up includes both classic functioning models available with agitators or impellers and modern stackable pairs with front-load controls.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Were Washing Machines Invented?
The first washing machine came around in the mid-1800s. During this time, the United States was experiencing an industrial revolution. That meant the middle class emerged, and there was a demand for labor-saving devices. Although many people can lay claim to the invention of the washing machine, only two filed and received patents for the first true ‘modern’ washing machine.
These two Americans were James King and Hamilton Smith, who filed and received patents in 1851 and 1858, respectively. In 1874, William Blackstone built a machine that removed dirt and stains from laundry as a birthday gift for his wife. How thoughtful!
These early washing machines had a cast-iron mechanism, making them very heavy. Over the years, there has been significant improvement in technology. For instance, a computer-controlled consumer washer was introduced in 1998.
How Hot Do Washing Machines Get?
Most washing machines have 90 degrees Fahrenheit as the highest temperature setting. However, you rarely need to set your washing machine to such a high temperature. Even lines and stubborn stains only require around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Vinegar Damage Washing Machines?
Vinegar can only damage your washer if you overdo it. You can add it to your washing machine to soften the fabric or get rid of odors and stains once in a while. Frequent use could lead to leakage due to damage to rubber seals and hoses.
On days when you choose to add some vinegar, don’t mix it with your laundry detergent. Since most detergents are alkaline and vinegar is acidic, mixing the two creates a neutral solution that doesn’t do your laundry any good.
Is Fabric Softener Bad for Washing Machines?
Whether or not fabric softener is good for washing machines depends on usage. If you use it correctly, your fabric will be soft and fluffy. However, fabric softeners leave a residue in your washer. As this residue continues to build up, it poses a risk of damaging the drum.
The residue can also choke the draining system, which can cause your washing machine to break down or leak. Besides, residue build-up on various parts can make it difficult for the water and detergent to reach all parts of your clothes.
Do Washing Machines Need to Be Cleaned?
Washing machines need to be cleaned. That’s because soap, detergents and fabric softeners leave residue inside the washing machine. If left unattended, this residue creates a thin film that accumulates bacteria.
The bacteria can clog the inner parts, which compromises the efficiency of your washing machine. Besides the residue, washing machines trap bacteria on their own. Therefore, cleaning your washing machine at least once a month is important.
Why do Washing Machines Leak?
Several reasons could lead to a washing machine leak, and they can be grouped depending on the leak’s location.
Leaks at the front of the washer could be due to a clogged overflow tube or adjusted spray rinse timers. The washing machine might also leak at the front if there is too much load or the load is out of balance.
On the other hand, leaks at the back of the washer could be due to unsecured hoses, loose hose connections, or failing to remove the drain plug before installing the drain hose.
Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?
Once you load your laundry in the washing machine, dirt, body oil, hair, and scum collect in the gasket, seal, and detergent. Combined with the humidity present in the machine, these deposits lead to an unpleasant smell.
Do Washing Machines have Filters?
Most washing machines have a filter — but it’s normal to come across one without a filter. Newer models have a filter in the pump that self-cleans. Some of the places where you can find the filter include:
- At the end of the drainage hose
- Under cover of the center agitator
- Behind a small hatch at the front of the unit
- Along the top rim of the drum
Do Washing Machines Use Gas?
No. All modern washing machines are electric. That has not always been the case though. Several years ago, before widespread electricity, washing machines came with a gas engine.
However, dryers can either be electric or gas. But even gas dryers have electricity as the power source.
Do Washing Machines Come With Hoses?
All washing machines come with water supply hoses. Notably, all these hoses come in standard sizes and fittings.
You should expect three hoses: hot water, cold water, and a drain. Usually, you will find the hoses stored in the drum of your washing machine.
The hoses can either be made of black rubber or stainless steel. Whichever the material, you can wait for up to five years before replacing them. However, you can replace them before the five-year mark if you notice signs of wear.
Do Washing Machines Have Transmissions?
Washing machines have a transmission, which helps to turn the washer drum. The transmission is responsible for wash cycles. However, some washing machines, especially new ones, don’t have transmissions.
Do Washing Machines have Belts?
Yes, most washers have one or two belts. It’s worth noting that even without a belt, your washer would still fill with water. However, the basket would not spin.
The belt is usually between the motor and the drum pulley. If the belt gets worn out, you might notice signs like the spin speed being too slow or your clothes being too wet at the end of the cycle.
Do Washing Machines have Lint Traps?
Washing machines used to have lint traps. However, some newer washers don’t have one. Instead, a pump carries excess lint out of the machine. If you start noticing lint in such a washer, it could be a sign that the water pump is clogged.
In that case, you can open a small door at the bottom of most front-loading washers to drain lint or anything else stuck in the pump filter.
Do Washing Machines have a Reset Button?
Most washing machines have a reset button, which allows you to restart the machine in case of an error code or fault. Such scenarios can occur with power spikes or imbalanced loads.
For washing machines without a reset button, you would have to unplug and plug it back in. There might be a reset function with programmable washing machines but no reset button. Always ensure that your hands are dry before pressing the reset button.
Can Washing Machines Explode?
The chances of a washing machine exploding are slim, but not zero. These chances are slim because manufacturers put several measures in place to prevent explosions.
Even when all these measures fail, they disable the machines. An overload would be the primary culprit of a washing machine explosion.
That’s why you need to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight. However, most high-efficiency machines can detect an overload.
Do Washing Machines Eat Socks?
From a mechanical point of view, your washing machine can ‘eat’ socks. Both top-loading and front-loading washers can allow a sock to exit the drum. Consequently, the sock can get trapped in areas that are difficult for you to see. The sock might get stuck underneath the rubber water seal for a front-loading machine.
In a top-loading machine, the sock could find its way into the crevice between the inner and outer drums, then get snagged in the water drain or pump. Your sock could also get stuck underneath a top-loading machine’s agitator.
But there could be another explanation for your missing sock. It is possible that your sock made it to the dry cycle, then, due to static electricity, got stuck to the inside of your pant legs, so you miss it when folding your laundry.
Do Washing Machines Kill Bed Bugs?
If you use hot water, bed bugs cannot make it out of the washing machine. Ensure that you use the hottest temperature recommended for your clothes. When it’s time to dry the bed bug-infested clothes, run them in the dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Again, choose the highest possible heat cycle that cannot damage the fabric. Ideally, the heat has to be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit to get rid of adult bed bugs and their eggs.
If your bed bug-infested garments don’t require a wash, you can skip straight to the drying stage. On the same note, it’s important to wash the infested clothes separately.