What is a washer/dryer combo?
A combo washer dryer is a machine that you both wash and dry your clothes in. It uses one tub (also known as a drum or cabinet), which is different than the combination washer/dryers that stack on top of each other. Washer/dryer combos are known for their convenient size and popularity among apartment-dwellers.
What are the benefits of getting a combo washer/dryer?
There are two main benefits to a combo washer/dryer. The first is that they are often less expensive than purchasing a separate washer and dryer, and they save you money spent on going to the Laundromat all the time. The second benefit is that they save on space. With just one machine, you can store a washer/dryer combo in small homes and even apartments. They are usually more compact than one standard washing machine, and often have wheels for easy transport and rearranging.
How big are washer/dryer combos?
Most are very small and can weigh less than 200 pounds. Since they can be as compact as 2ft x 2ft x 3ft, they fit in tighter spaces and are ideal for small laundry rooms, apartments, and condos. Besides looking at the actual measurements of the unit, a general rule of thumb is that the more clothes the unit holds, the bigger it will be. The larger machines meant for bigger laundry loads can weigh over 200 pounds and need more space. To decide how big of a combo washer/dryer you want, think about how much laundry you need to wash at one time, and if you’re willing to do several smaller loads during a day, or want to limit your laundry sessions to 1-2 loads.
How important is the drum?
The “drum” is another word for the washer/dryer’s tub you put the clothes into. The bigger the drum, the bigger the capacity. If you want your washer/dryer to hold a lot of clothes, you’ll need to get a machine with a good-sized drum. The size is usually measured in cubic feet. One cubic feet converts into about 28 liters, which gives you an idea of how much water the machine will use. Another important feature to look for with drums is the actual construction material. Drums can be made of stainless steel, plastic, or porcelain-enamel. The most durable material that can spin very fast without wear is stainless steel. Porcelain and plastic break down faster.
Does the number of programs matter?
When you are looking at washer/dryer combos, you will notice that most brands highlight the number of wash and/or dry programs the machine has. When a machine has a lot of programs, it means it can handle a wide range of clothing types. The benefit to having access to all these programs is that you can trust your washer/dryer not to ruin a sensitive type of clothing. Without these programs, you would have to experiment with water temperature, time, and spin cycle to get it right.
What types of garments can I wash and dry with a washer/dryer combo?
If your machine has a lot of programs that are labeled clearly, there’s pretty much no limit to what you can wash. This includes towels, hand-wash delicates, silks, dresses, heavy denim, and so on.
What does RPM measure on a washer/dryer combo?
RPM measures the speed of the washer/dryer’s spin cycle. RPM stands for revolutions per minute, so the higher this number, the faster the drum spins. It is a good idea to get a machine that gives you control over the speed, so you can set a higher speed when you’re in a hurry and need your clothes washed and dried quickly. When you are washing more delicate fabrics, you will need to choose a slower cycle to avoid wrinkling. For washer/dryer combos, you’ll find a range of about 1000-1600 RPM.
What are some common concerns with these appliances?
Despite their many benefits, there are common problems you might face when you own a washer/dryer combo. One thing to note is that they are often too small for more than one person’s laundry. If you have a family, you might find yourself doing multiple loads of laundry day after day. The other problem is that washer/dryer combos are rarely very good at drying clothes, especially heavier items like jeans, towels, and bedding. You could spend several hours running the drying cycle. One solution is to try to run smaller loads and not include several heavier fabrics in one drying load.
How energy-efficient are these combos?
One of the selling points that brands push with washer/dryers is that they save energy and money. However, there are specific features to look for if you really want a more eco-friendly machine. The Energy Star certification is awarded to machines that show they use less energy and are more efficient at their tasks. Other signs that a washer/dryer unit is eco-friendly include monitors like SenseClean, which bases the wash time and water volume on laundry-load size.
What’s the difference between vented and ventless drying?
When you get a combo, you should take note of whether or not the machine is vented or ventless. The dryer part of the unit needs to get rid of the hot air it creates, and it can either do that through a traditional vented system, or a more modern ventless process. A vented dryer requires that you set up a kit so the hot air goes outside. Many apartments and condos don’t even allow this sort of system, so you’ll need to look at ventless dryers. A ventless dryer keeps hot air within the machine’s drum and uses it to help evaporate the moisture on your clothes. It then goes into a condensation chamber. Since combos are so commonly used in apartments and other living situations where there are rules, many of them are ventless and still affordable.
What’s the sound level of these appliances?
Washer/dryer combos can be loud, as you probably expect. The noise level can be obnoxious especially since it’s common to use the machines within a smaller space where you can’t escape the noise. Direct-drive motors tend to be pretty loud unless they have some kind of quiet operation system in place. Tri-phase motors are known to be quieter, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing neighbors when you use the machine.
How much do washer/dryer combo units cost?
Washer/dryer combos start at about $700-$900. If you purchase one of the more affordable options, you save a lot of money since buying a separate washer and dryer could double that. Midea is an example of a brand that makes affordable combos. The bigger ones tend to be more expensive, and certain brands are also pricier, like LG. These combos can cost more than $1500.