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Next time your washer and dryer are heading for appliance heaven…which studies show happens on average every 10-13 years…consider these factors when replacing them.
Font load washers are trending up, but top-loads still outsell front loads 2-to-1, says Karen Cobb, spokeswoman for Lowe’s. The main factors driving consumer decisions are capacity and energy savings.
Top-loads are cheaper. Prices range from $350 to $1,000. Font loads cost from $800 to $1,600. Dryers coast between $400 and $1,000. Most people choose the washer first and get the matching dryer. If yours doesn’t match be sure capacity levels do.
Top-loads finish faster, averaging 48 minutes a cycle, versus 84 minutes for a front load. However, clothes emerging from a front-load have spun off more water, so need less drying time.
Front-loads are greener. Top-loads use more water and energy. While greener is better for the planet, it will take years before you break even cost-wise if you buy a front-load.
I though top-loads would get clothes cleaner because they used more water, and I didn’t want to sacrifice cleanliness for efficiency. But Consumer Reports compared 20 front-loads and 22 top-loads, and the top 10 front-loads cleaned better on average than the top ten top-loads.
Because front-loads don’t have that center agitating piece, they’re easier on clothes. Some of today’s top-loads don’t have center agitators either, but these models cost as much as front-loads.
If you’d rather not bend over to fill your washer, get a top-load. But front-loads offer the option of stacking if space is tight.
Though today’s washer sets come in cool colors, white outsells colored machines two to one. Next hottest is red, followed by blue, then silver. I chose white because I’d rather not call attention to my appliances. Color also cost $100 more per machine.
Matching drawers that slide beneath appliances are great if you’re short enough. But if you have enough, skip the $200 per machine option. The drawers raise the machines so high you can’t use the top as a folding surface.