How to Shop for a Washer and Dryer: 6 Things to Keep in Mind

by Michael Franco
washing mashines in appliance store

Shopping for a new washer and dryer is a big deal, and big deals tend to bring with them some mixed emotions. Sure, it can be fun selecting shiny new appliances for your home, but it can also feel pretty overwhelming. Buying a new washer and dryer requires a significant investment of your time and money as you budget, research and shop for the appliances that best suit your needs.

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What should you look for when buying a washer and dryer? What washer and dryer style will work best for your space? And how many bells and whistles do you really need? Below is a quick overview of the different washer and dryer options currently on the market, along with some of the available features you may want to consider when making a purchase.

What to Look for in a Washing Machine


One thing you’ll need to determine when you go to buy a washer is the configuration. First, do you want your washer and dryer set to be stacked, or sit side-by-side? Second, you’ll need to consider your loading preference. Do you want a top-loading or a front-loading machine? Front-loading washers tend to use much less water (about 7000 gallons less per year than top-loading machines) and are gentler on your clothing, whereas top-load washers typically clean faster and require more energy.


Large-capacity washers can be great for tackling big wash loads, but if your laundry space is tight, your options may be limited to washers with a smaller footprint. Washers and dryers are typically measured in cubic feet, and even if your laundry space does have plenty of room to spare, it’s not a bad idea to map out the different possible dimensions using some masking tape so that you can get a loose visual idea of how they’ll fit. If space is super limited, a stacked washer-dryer combo might be your best option.


New washing machines on the market today have all sorts of fun features that make washing easier. This Samsung washer has a small door on the front that you can open after you’ve started the wash cycle to toss in any wayward piece of laundry you may have forgotten when you started the load. The LG Twin Wash has a second compact washing compartment, so you can tackle two loads at once. There are also features that boost performance and save energy. Some washers now have special steam-clean and sanitize cycles to help reduce wrinkles and kill bacteria. Many washers are now more efficient than ever and carry an Energy Star certification, meaning they use 25% less energy and 33% less water than average washing machines.

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What to Look for in a Dryer

Where’s the Door?

When shopping for a dryer, you’ll also need to decide whether you want a front-loading or a top-loading machine. Front-loading machines have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their energy efficiency, durability and drying power. Front-loading dryers also often have faster spin speeds, meaning your clothes will dry quicker. They are also space-saving, as they can be stacked. Like front-loading washers, they tend to be more expensive than top-loaders.


As with washers, you’ll need to consider dryer size in terms of what best suits your space. Most dryers range in size from 7 to 9 cubic feet, although there are extra-large capacity dryers now available that clock in above 9 cubic feet. To give some size perspective: A dryer measuring 7 cubic feet can dry around 12 towels per load, meaning that even the smaller dryers on the market today are capable of drying decent-sized loads.


When it comes to dryer features, there are lots of fancy offerings out there, but first, you’ll need to determine whether your house has a gas or electric connection so you’ll know whether you’ll be shopping for a gas dryer or an electric dryer. Some dryers now have smart capabilities with Wi-Fi connectivity that can be operated from your phone to help you adjust settings as needed. Many dryers now offer a sensor dry feature that’s helpful for ensuring that your clothes get fully dry without wasting excess energy. An inside dryer light is also very handy for finding small laundry stragglers, like baby socks, as you unload.

Time to Shop

Now that you know what to look for in a washer and dryer, you can get to the fun part: Shopping for a new set! When buying a new washer and dryer, always keep your specific needs and budget in mind to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the array of options available. Whether you choose a top-of-the-line, Wi-Fi-enabled machine with loads of features, or a much more basic set, washing and drying your clothes with a new set of appliances will certainly level up your clothes-washing experience for years to come.