The key to selecting the right washing machine is to ask yourself a series of questions about your lifestyle and needs. For large families, for example, it makes sense to invest in a large machine with a stainless-steel tub. Those with limited space and those who wash often will probably be okay with an apartment-size device made of high-grade plastic.
There are two main styles of washing machines: top-load and front-load. A top-loader is usually cheaper, but also less energy-efficient, so it may end up costing more in the long run. Compact and easier to to store, this type has a limited loading capacity of less than 11 pounds (5 kg).
A front-load washing machine is energy efficient, but more expensive at the time of purchase. It also requires the use of a special detergent, which can be more costly than the regular kind. A front-loader has the advantage of being able to accommodate a dryer on top or providing some flat work surface. This type of machine also can handle a larger load.
Another consideration when choosing a washing machine is programming. New washers typically come with a series of preset programs, such as automatic washing, delicate linens, short wash cycle, and anti-wrinkling. This added benefit takes the guesswork out of washing, as the machine estimates the necessary water temperature, washing time, and strength of spinning.
When buying a machine, it pays to consider a dual machine that combines washing and drying functions. The major disadvantage of this type is the fact that the drying function is generally not as strong or effective as with a separate tumble dryer. However, a dual machine is a great space saver and usually cheaper than buying a washer and a dryer separately.
A high-quality washing machine can be quite expensive, although cheaper models are available. Many manufacturers concentrate on quantity over quality. As a result, it is possible to buy one for just a few hundred US dollars, but it will probably only last a few years. Buying a reconditioned machine from a manufacturer known for its quality is a good alternative for those looking for a trusted brand at an affordable price.