While there is some debate about how long new washers and dryers will actually last, it is safe to assume that you will have these appliances around for a long time. One study suggests that your washer, on average, should last somewhere around 10 years, while your dryer might last as long as 13 years. It is definitely worth taking the time to do your homework before you make this kind of investment.
Today’s washers and dryers can do everything except squeeze fresh orange juice. Decide how much you can really spend before doing any actual shopping. The temptation to overspend on the bells and whistles can be overpowering. Remember, flashy machine colors don’t get clothes any cleaner. Don’t even look at machines that are out of your budget!
Plan out where you will be putting your new machines. Measure your space and bring these measurements with you when you shop. This is also a good time to decide what configuration you will be using as some models will allow you to stack the machines to save space. Make sure your measurements allow space for plumbing, venting, and electric or gas hookups.
Gas or electric?
Don’t waste time falling in love with a gas dryer when you have an electric hookup. Know your existing energy system before you go shopping. (This being said, you can actually switch from electric to gas, but should pay a professional to do it.)
Average laundry needs
How many loads of laundry do you do per week? Bear in mind that you will (hopefully) have these machines for a long time, so think about how life might change over the next 6-10 years with regards to doing laundry. Will you be adding a new baby in the near future? Will you be an empty-nester soon? The amount of laundry you do makes an impact as to what sorts of options are most important to you? Steam dryer? The ability to soak heavily-soiled clothing? The option to do a small load when needed? Energy efficiency? Determine the options that you can’t live without, and then shop accordingly.
Some agencies will offer rebates if you buy machines that are energy efficient. Don’t assume, however, that just because a machine has the “energy-star” symbol, that you will get a rebate. Obtain a list of approved machines from your utility company or local government agency to bring shopping with you.
When there is a poor product on the market, people are very eager to share their thoughts and negative experiences. Use websites that provide consumer ratings and reviews.
Do your homework, and be patient. Don’t assume that you will come home with a new washer and dryer set the first day that you shop for them. Allow yourself time to do the research.