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 all in one 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. washer dryer combos make a good solution for tight spaces. 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?
This is key when looking for the best all in one washer dryer. Basically, 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.
Washer / Dryer Combo Main Factors
Washer/dryer combos, which are not to be confused with stacked washers and dryers, have one drum. A washer/dryer combo’s drum is where you put in all your dirty clothes. It is also known as the spin basket or tub. The size of the drum, which is usually measured in cubic-feet, determines how much water the washer/dryer can hold, and therefore how many clothes. One cubic foot equals 28 liters of water. A standard washer/dryer combo drum will be around the 2-4 cubic feet range, which is most smaller than a normal washer or dryer that are separate. Pay attention to the actual construction material of the drum, as that plays a big role in how durable the washer/dryer is. In addition stainless steel, construction materials include porcelain and plastic, which are not as reliable and have problems with hot water and speed. Over time, the heat from the combo can literally melt the plastic or porcelain so the drum becomes warped. High speeds add to the breakage, and once the drum is shot, the washer/dryer combo needs to be replaced. Stainless steel is considered the best choice because it is very durable in the face of hot water, and can spin very fast without breaking down.
Washer/dryer combos are known for their compact size, so you have to run much smaller loads than you would with a standard washer and dryer. You should also know that many washer/dryer combos have different wash and dry capacities, since drying usually takes a pretty long time. This means you have to run several small loads in one day, and run ones smaller than the maximum capacity if you want your clothes to get really dry. Most washer/dryer combos can handle a 10-15 lb load.
The speed of a washer/dryer combo determines how long you have to wait for a load of clothes to get clean and/or dry. Combos measure speed in RPMs, which stands for revolutions per minute. This is a handy measurement for washer/dryers, since the clothes literally spin around inside the drum. Faster speeds are also more effective at agitating dirt and other grime from your clothes. Many combos have variable speeds, so you can choose to run a load very quickly if you are in a hurry, or more slowly if you need to get out deep stains. Delicate fabrics should be run on a slower speed or else they get wrinkled or even damaged. For the most affordable combo, a 1200-RPM max is standard, while faster (and more expensive) machines can reach up to 1600 RPMs.
All washer/dryer combos include wash programs for specific fabrics and functions, though they do not have the same number of programs. The price on combos tends to go up with more programs, since the programs provide more versatility. With a lot of programs, you can wash anything from bulky beach towels to delicate silks and nylon. Cycles are always labeled and include names like hand wash, wool, sanitary, speed, and so on, so you do not have to guess what fabrics require what temperature or speed. You can expect between 10-12 wash programs on most washer/dryer combos, and as many as 14 on more advanced models.
One of the main selling points of all-in-one washer/dryer combos is that they take up significantly less space than standard washers and dryers. You are getting one machine instead of two, and washer/dryer combos are almost always smaller than just a single washer or dryer. Combos that have a smaller drum/capacity can take up as little as two-square feet and fit in narrow places like closets. A combo unit also weighs a lot less than even just one standard washer or dryer, so they are easier to transport during a move or around an apartment. Combos can weigh between 150-200 pounds depending on their capacity. Many of them even come with wheels for added convenience, so you do not have to concern yourself with lifting the machine when you are moving it around your place. For elderly people or people with disabilities, this is especially important.
Since washer/dryer combos are designed for smaller living spaces like condos and apartments, most brands attempt to make machines that are quieter than the average washer and dryer. This is an important distinction because standard washers and dryers can be very loud, making it impossible to use the machine at night or in the same room as a television or radio. Apartments where you have thinner walls and neighbors also require very quiet washers and dryers, or else you will get complaints. Be on the lookout for tri-phase and direct-drive motors, which tend to operate relatively quietly. Features like a LoDecibel Quiet Operation further muffles the noise, so you can use the machine pretty much any time or day or night, even in an apartment with neighbors, sensitive infants, and/or pets.
There are two ways that a washer/dryer combo can be designed for drying: vented or ventless. Vented was the standard for years, and involves setting up a window kit so the machine can vent its hot air outside. However, many apartment complexes do not even allow vented drying, so ventless drying is becoming a lot more common and popular. Ventless drying uses the hot air instead of releasing it, so it goes back into the drum and is recycled to help evaporate the moisture from the wet clothes. When the drying cycle is complete, the hot air goes into a condensation chamber. Drying clothes in a washer/dryer combo are notoriously tedious, so you should expect your clothes to take 4+ hours to get really dry. Many people speed up the process by drying smaller loads than what the machine can hold.
Best Washer / Dryer Combo Brands
Global company LG Electronics is famous for its radios and TVs, but also makes advanced washer/dryer combos. The company was established in 1958 and gradually expanded its products as the years passed. Its washer/dryer combos are known for their quiet, direct-drive motors and SenseClean, which reduces water waste. The company is also seeking out new technology and innovations to bring the best to its customers.
Ariston is an Italian-based company and has 45 years of experience in creating home appliances. They make very small and energy-efficient washer/dryer combos, many of which are labeled with an Energy Star rating. Designed for the type of small apartment found all over Europe, Ariston washer/dryer combos match the lifestyle of those who want to save on space and save on cost.
Midea has been producing household appliances like fans since 1968, though they did not officially start using the Midea name until 1981. In addition to production, they export products and have several subdivisions like Little Swan. Their products include rice cookers, washing machines, air conditioners, and washer/dryer combos. They now have offices all over South America and southeast Asia, and are especially well-established in China, where nearly everyone has some kind of Midea product in their home.
Produced by Westland Sales, the Splendide brand is known for creating washer/dryer combos for people with RVs and boats. With over 20 years of experience, Splendide’s washer/dryer combos are expertly designed and crafted compact, efficient machines that you can keep at sea or on the road. They offer both ventless and vented drying, as well as stackable and all-in-one combos, some of which are so compact they can fit into a closet. Each model is made with a stainless-steel drum.
Features of Washer / Dryer Combos
In addition to the standard wash cycles (delicates, bulky, etc), many of the more advanced washer/dryer combos include special wash cycles that more thoroughly clean your clothes. The 6Motion Technology feature means that each individual wash cycle uses six motions (instead of just more water) while cleaning your clothes, so each load gets a deep clean without using excess water.
Since washer/dryer combos are still large home appliances, efficiency is a concern. One of the reasons people get washer/dryer combos is because they want to save money, so it is crucial that the machine not waste water or energy. Many washer/dryer combos have an Energy-Star rating, which is a measurement of how efficient a machine is. Many combos are also CARB-compliant, which is required if you want to buy the combo in California. CARB-compliant means the California Air Resources Board has determined that the combo is both energy-efficient and emits less fumes that cause global warming. Another way to tell if a combo is efficient is to look for a horizontal axis wash system. These require less water and energy to operate. SenseClean monitors, which are available on LG models, sense how much water each wash load needs, so the machine only uses the water it requires and no more.
If you want your washer/dryer combo to kill bacteria and allergens, there are models out there that have special wash cycles and features just for this purpose. Look for washers that use water heated to 185-degrees. This is the temperature that kills bacteria. Many combos also include allergen wash cycles that are extra powerful and hot, so dust mites, dander, and other allergy-causing bits are destroyed. Your clothes will be fresh, clean, and thoroughly sanitized.
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