Washing Machines

Get clothes clean without breaking the bank

Washing machines these days are a lot more efficient than their predecessors. They come with all sorts of different cleaning options and cycles. Not only that, but they've also moved on from plain old boring white – you can now get washing machines in cream, red, black, sea foam, blue – any color you want. You don't have to have a lot of money to buy a good washer; you just have to know exactly what you're looking for.

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Choosing a Washing Machine

Choosing a washing machine should start with reviewing your laundry needs. Do you wash a lot or a little? Can you get by with a standard cycle, or do you need special options for delicates, knits and hand-wash items? Washers are a fairly big-ticket item, starting at about $300 for the cheapest model, so make sure you choose the one that will be most useful to you.

You'll need to look at your space, as well. Make sure your new washer can fit in its assigned place, whether this is a laundry room, a closet or a corner of the kitchen. If you're an apartment dweller, check your lease to see if you can buy an apartment-sized model. And don't forget to make sure all of the necessary connections (water, electricity) are in place.

Types of Washing Machines

When you're shopping for a clothes washer, take some time to review the different options. Perhaps the biggest choice you'll make is whether to buy a front load washer or a top loader.

Front load washers are slightly wider but work better for people with space issues. They're actually made to fit under a counter in a kitchen or laundry room, and you can fit more items per load. They also tend to come with a greater variety of options, and the lack of an agitator makes them gentler on clothes.

Traditional top load washers tend to be cheaper and hold less laundry, but they last longer and give you better access to the washing drum. If you have trouble bending down, a top loader is probably a better option for you.

Whichever type you choose, make sure that washing machine parts are readily available for your model. If your washer breaks down, you won't want to spend the time and money to import replacement parts.

If a large washing machine is still beyond your budget or you don't have room for a full-sized washer, consider a portable washing machine. These units are usually on wheels are designed to attach to a kitchen or bathroom sink.

Any washer will come with an energy or efficiency rating. As with any appliance, make sure the washing machine rating is consistent with your city's bylaws so that you're not wasting energy or incurring fines.

Choosing a good washer (and a good dryer to accompany it) will save you time, energy and money when you're doing laundry. After all, the washing machine was invented so that we would no longer have to spend all day slaving over laundry!

Read our Editorial Review on Kenmore Washing Machines