A washing machine is one of the most used appliances in a home. It can also make the biggest difference in energy bills in a home. Before purchasing a washer it's important that you consider the many new and energy-efficient features washers have to offer. Also, consider which type and size washer best meets your needs. For additional help with washers contact Abt Electronics' award-winning sales staff at 888-228-5800.
Front Load and Top Load -----Which one?
The biggest change in the past 10 years has been the large amount of
front load machines available. Every year more and more front load washing
machines are being produced and sold. These washers are very similar to
those used in commercial Laundromats, as they open from the front.
When selecting a clothes washer, keep in mind the basic differences between
a front-loading machine and top-loading machine
Capacity: Most manufacturers will define the size of the washtub differently. Common terms are "extra large" or "super capacity." When comparing capacity it is best to use the cubic foot measurement to determine the actual size.
Tub material: The three most commonly used tub materials are porcelain-coated, plastic, and stainless steel. Porcelain can deteriorate if it chips. Many of the higher-end models will use a plastic tub, which generally lasts the life of the machine. The very best models will use a stainless steel tub.
Water levels: Washing machines have water level settings. Many of the higher end models will offer many more levels to control the amount of water in a machine. A washer using the ideal level of water will be more efficient. Manufacturers recommend using only enough water to cover the clothes.
Cycles: There are many cycles available on a washing machine. Choose a machine that will offer all the cycles you will need. Choose from cycles such as permanent press, sanitize, delicate, and extra rinses. Make sure to get a unit with all the cycles your clothes will need. Different wash/spin speed combinations allow you to wash more types of clothing in ways that are safest for the fabric.
Steam Cycle: Some newer washers now offer a cycle that can remove wrinkles and odors from clothing without the use of detergent. It is similar to what a Dry Cleaner would do. This cycle can also be used for quick de-wrinkling.
Water temperature: Your garments will look better and last longer if you use the proper water temperature. Detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners require specific water temperatures to work their best. Many washers will include several wash and rinse temperature options.
A washing machine with automatic temperature regulators will make sure that the water entering the machine will be the proper temperature. For example, on a frigid day in Chicago, the water entering a standard washer set to "warm" may not reach the temperature desired. Temperature regulators will add more hot water as needed to make sure the desired temperature is met.
To kill even the toughest germs, a machine will be required to run at an even higher temperature. Look for a washer that offers a temperature boost or sanitize cycle.
Noise level: Is your washer going to be in your basement or in the garage? If so, you may not be concerned with noise level. If your washer is near a living area you may want a unit that has more insulation and reinforced frames to reduce operation noise.
Safety: While it's possible to stop a front-loading machine and add that missing sock, it does have an automatic lock feature on the unit that will prevent the door from opening while the drum is spinning.
Controls: Digital controls and displays will allow you to program different cycle settings. Just program your favorite settings and access them with the push of one button. For an easier wash process, choose a machine with a dial or push buttons.
Bleach and fabric softener dispensers: The chemicals (detergent, bleach, fabric softener) you use are a key part of garment care. Dispensers will automatically disperse them at the correct time.
Energy Star rating: The Energy Star label - conferred by the U.S.
Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency - indicates
that a washing machine uses 35 percent to 50 percent less water and 50
percent less energy than a non-labeled machine. That makes the machine
better for the environment and saves you money.
Automatic temperature control: This feature ensures the proper hot and cold water mix for the various wash temperatures.
Control type: Rotary controls are easier to use initially. But touch pad controls allow you to program settings by simply punching them in.
Extra Rinse Cycle: This feature can be useful for those with a sensitivity to detergent, and others who find one rinse insufficient.
Fabric Softener Dispenser: This feature is standard on most machines. Fabric softener dispensers release the liquid automatically at the proper point in the cycle.
Reversible Door: The door can be mounted to open from either the left or the right side depending on your needs.
Sound Insulation: Provides for quieter operation. This is important if you have the laundry set on the main floor.
Stackable: A stackable washer can save space by allowing installation under a suitable dryer. A special kit is sometimes required to mount the dryer on top of the washer. Also, please note that if you purchase a stackable washer and dryer, you will need a 220 volt line if the dryer is an electric model, along with a standard 110 volt line for the washer. If the dryer is a gas model, both the washer and dryer use a 110 volt line.
Stainless Steel Tub: Tubs constructed of stainless steel are likely to be more durable than plastic or porcelain. Plastic is the next most durable choice.
Time delay: This feature lets you set the wash to begin at another time--such as when utility rates are lower.
Water levels: In our opinion, four or five water levels are sufficient.
An automatic water-level control--standard on front-loaders--generally
improves water efficiency.
Click here to see our entire selection of Washing Machines.
to see our HE (High Efficiency) Detergent buying guide.