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High-Efficiency Washer vs. Regular: Everything You Need to Know

Learn the difference between a high-efficiency washer and a regular washer in this guide. We're breaking it down by size, technology, efficiency, cost and more factors to help you determine if this is the best type of washer for your needs.

What's the Difference?

When looking to upgrade your home's appliances, energy efficiency and water usage are no doubt considerations. The fact of the matter is that switching to energy-efficient appliances (those that are Energy Star certified) could save you 30 percent or nearly $600 on your energy bills throughout the year, making them a cost-conscious investment. At the same time, you'll be cutting down on nearly 5,500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions when you swap your old energy hogs for lean new ones.
Energy Efficient Washer
In no consumer appliance category is efficiency quite as impactful as washers and dryers. In fact, your washer and dryer are the third biggest energy hogs in your home, falling only behind heating and cooling and the water heater for most energy used. In many houses, the washer and dryer account for over 13 percent of energy use, costing an average of $143 per year. Switching to a high-efficiency washer and dryer set can help you save money on your energy consumption while bringing many more benefits to the table.
If you're looking to take advantage of these cost-effective, energy-efficient new technologies, start by swapping out your regular washer for a high-efficiency washer. But what's the difference between a high-efficiency (HE) washer and a regular washer? Let's take a look.
  • SIZE: High-Efficiency Washers Are Bigger—Most standard washing machines have a capacity of somewhere between three and five cubic feet, whereas the vast majority of high-efficiency styles fall somewhere between four and six cubic feet. This means you can wash more clothes less often, resulting in a more cost-effective and eco-friendly laundry room. Typically, they load from the top rather than the front and have longer wash cycles.
  • TECH: High-Efficiency Washers Are Smarter—A cutting-edge high-efficiency top load washer needs to be a lot more tech-savvy than its standard counterpart. Since they're generally larger than regular models, high-efficiency washers often have smart sensors to sense the size of the load and adjust accordingly (in other words, they won't use the same amount of water for every load). Many are also compatible with your smart home devices and can be controlled from an app on your phone.
  • EFFICIENCY: High-Efficiency Washers Are Leaner—We've already covered many of the ways that high-efficiency washers use less energy and water. They also tend to feature high-speed spin cycles that get more water out of each load, which means your clothes will require less time (and energy) to dry. Plus, they're made to clean well with less water, so you may see a bit of a dip in your water bill, too.
  • COST: High-Efficiency Washers Are More Economical—Naturally, because they bring so many advantages, high-efficiency units cost more on the outset. With that being said, they're more economical in terms of energy and water use, saving you money over time. The higher load capacity also means you'll use less detergent and fabric softener, which will save you money in the long run.
  • DETERGENT: High-Efficiency Washers Require Special Detergent—When switching to a HE washer, you'll need to purchase HE detergent. These kinds of washers use lower water levels and a tumbling washing motion to clean your clothes, and regular detergents are generally too sudsy for the job. High-efficiency detergents are low-sudsing, so they work best with large, high-efficiency machines.

Should You Buy One?

If you have a busy household and are looking for great ways to cut down on your energy and water consumption, then switching to a high-efficiency washer is definitely a smart move. As long as you're okay with a slightly longer wash cycle and using a specific kind of detergent, there's no reason not to make the switch. The appliance experts at Abt are always available to assist you with your purchase so you get the ideal washer and dryer for your household, budget and needs.

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  • Abt's customer service was one of the best experiences I've had in quite some time. They were helpful and polite. My product arrived on time, which was a quick turnaround time, and the product itself was just what I ordered. I will definitely be purchasing other items from Abt!
    May 12, 2020 - Francisco C.
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