Thursday, March 23, 2006


Buying a Washer and Dryer?

This is from Consumer Reports via the Seattle Times. I dislike that you have to subscribe to access info on Consumer Reports website but oh well.

"Roughly 30 percent of washers and dryers are now bought as a pair. Several manufacturers encourage that behavior with look-alike consoles. One, GE, adds electronic links that match dryer heat and drying time to the chosen wash cycle.

But even if you're buying both machines at once, Consumer Reports' tests demonstrate you can spend hundreds less by choosing the best-performing washer and dryer à la carte.

When it came to dryers, nearly all the tested models were competent performers. Still, the best dryer is only as good as the washer's ability to remove moisture, since less moisture means shorter drying times and lower energy costs. Thus, when buying a set, choose the washer first.

There are three basic types of washers:

Conventional top-loaders. These are best for adequate washing at a reasonable price. Yet most conventional models don't wash as thoroughly as front-loading washers and — despite short cycle times — aren't as energy-efficient. Cost: $350 to $650 for most.

High-efficiency top-loaders. Pricier than conventional top-loaders, these hybrids combine easy loading with better washing and energy efficiency. But at $800 to $1,000, high-efficiency top-loaders cost as much as some front-loading machines — typically without offering as much energy efficiency.

Front-loading washers. These machines provide maximum washing performance and top energy efficiency overall. Better moisture extraction on the spin cycle also means shorter drying times. However, front-loaders are less convenient to load and unload than top-loaders, and — at $800 to $1,500 for most — are much costlier than conventional top-loaders.

CR's tests identified three front-loaders that cost less than most others, while still delivering very good performance and efficiency. The Kenmore HE3 4586 ($1,100, from Sears) and Whirlpool Duet GHW9150P ($1,000) share a similar design. While slightly smaller than the HE3, Kenmore's HE2 4646 performed nearly as well. At $850 (from Sears), it's a CR Best Buy.

For much less, CR found three conventional top-loaders that provide fine value. The top-scoring Whirlpool Gold GST9679 ($500) offers the best blend of performance and efficiency in its class. The GE WBSR3140D ($300) and the Whirlpool LSW9700P ($380) trade some performance for an even lower price. Of the two, the Whirlpool is quieter and is a CR Best Buy.

Top-rated (and least expensive) of the three high-efficiency top-loaders tested was the Whirlpool Calypso GVW9959K ($800). Note, though, that Whirlpool's high-efficiency top-loaders have been significantly more repair-prone than the manufacturer's other washers.

Among dryers, CR likes the GE Profile DPSB62OEC (at $580, a CR Best Buy) and the Kenmore Elite 6697 ($640, from Sears). Both models performed similarly to top-scoring dryers from GE (the $800 Profile Harmony DPGT750EC), Kenmore (the $930 HE4 8586) and LG (the $850 DLE5977) but cost far less. Cheaper still — yet fine performers all — are the Kenmore Elite 6692 ($500, from Sears), the Whirlpool LEQ8000J (at $380, it's a CR Best Buy), and the Frigidaire Gallery GLER642A ($350)."


Blogger AnnMarie said...

I find my front loader *very* easy to load. I think it's harder to do top loaders because of the spindle in the middle. You have to arrange stuff, get it out of the way, make sure straps don't get caught around it. But you just stuff it into the front loader. It's also tons easier to transfer to the dryer since the dryer is a front loader. No stand, stoop, toss, stand, stoop, toss. I just crouch down and move from one side to the other.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous contrary1 said...

I just got both W & D, rebuilt and mismatched. Unbelievable price, compared to the new ones you reviewed. I feel even smarter now, and definately have more $$ in my wallet.
Also.......I'm a knitter & felter and can't do that well in a front loader, so I opted for the top load so I can continue machine felting. One of my newest addictions!

9:51 AM  

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