compact stackable HE washer dryer

dab07August 4, 2014

We're replacing a 12-year old Bosch Axxis washer and dryer. We've had a lot of problems with them, and have paid many hundreds through the years to repair them.

I'm looking for a compact (24" wide), front loading, stackable set that's reliable, cleans well, and uses very little water. Other new or fancy features aren't important to me. That excludes cheaper brands, but I'm not looking to pay top dollar either. In an analogy to cars, I'm looking for a Toyota or other reliable Japanese car, not a BMW or Tesla. Good energy features and reliability, relatively reasonable price.

LG gets good reviews and I thought maybe I'd found a very good machine at reasonable prices, but I haven't seen reviews for the compact model.

I'd rather not pay Miele prices, but if they're ultimately going to last twice as long as any other brand I'd consider it, since we ended up paying so much in repairs to the Bosch.

Does anyone have any experience or guidance to help with my search? Thank you!

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I feel your frustration. Do you have any more space? One good option is the one-piece Speed Queen ATE50 but it is 27" wide.

The ATE50 is a simple workhorse without a lot of extra functions and with commercial grade interiors. It is American-made, and a tad expensive at about $2500. Reviews are uniformly excellent and Speed Queen is beloved on this board for its longevity and dependability. Although it is 27" wide, it is about 3" more shallow than the foreign-made 2-piece front loaders like LG or Kenmore, so it won't stick out into the room massively. But it is very plain in appearance, and it only comes in white. And if you don't have that extra 3" it would not be an option for you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:20AM
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I got a Miele set due to my limited space in my new bathroom remodel and have been happy. The loads are smaller than my 26 year Maytag in the basement, but I really like that. I like to sort my loads into fabric types and color. I also like taking the clothes out of the dryer. It isn't an endless pile of laundry to fold, lol. Those larger loads from my old school Maytag psych me out ;)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:55AM
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Thanks for the replies. Enduring, how long have you had the Miele set? Is the dryer a condenser type?

MizLizzie, I hadn't known about Speed Queen, and looked at their website. It seems their front loaders don't have a hand wash/wool cycle, which I definitely want. I'll call tomorrow and ask.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:54PM
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I've had mine for just about 9 months. I have an electric vent type dryer. They don't make those anymore.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:34AM
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I've had my Asko w/d for three years and am happy with them. Washer is model #6224. Space constraints and need for water efficiency were primary factors in selecting them. Asko doesn't get great reviews on this site but I have no complaints.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 10:37AM
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I have the Speed Queen ATE50 (since 2012). There is a "delicate" cycle I use for hand washables. I use Linen Wash for detergent with them and keep water cold/cold or sometimes warm/cold (if stained cotton).

That 3" of less depth MizLizzie speaks of allowed me to fit the stackable unit (electric dryer) in the closet and close the door when not running (you need door open for MUA when running). Also, mine cost just under $2000 including insulation.

Funny, I bought a Miele Allergy Hepa vacuum yesterday, and saw the Miele W/D stackable ($3K for the washer). I told him about my SQ ATE50 and presto, he had one for sale too. Definitely a market for the SQ: works so simply and smartly, laundry is not a chore anymore.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 5:36PM
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SQ ATE50 is not really considered "compact" but it is the best laundry stack on the market IMO. When you are putting laundry in a closet the question of service is a big one. It is going to cost big bucks for someone to unstack the dryer and remove the washer from the drain pan. It used to be most front loaders had full service access panels on the front, but nowadays you're lucky to even get a tiny access panel for the pump trap. Speed Queen has a complete removable panel for getting access to the internals. Speed Queen front loaders are designed to run 25,000 cycles over their lifetime. Yep, that's even better than Miele which are designed for 10,000 cycles. The discontinuation of models with a heater (actually I don't even know if they ever offered stack units with heaters) is a big strike against them and I don't know what Alliance was thinking. But for many the simplicity, durability, and serviceability of the SQ front loader will trump the extra capacity, cycles, and features in the other models. I'm sorry to those who have read my posts before on these machines, I know I sound like a broken record but when one manufacturer is doing things completely different from everyone else and truly showing a commitment to making something that will last, I feel like that deserves calling out. I also do it because it seems a lot of people here are obsessed with the SQ top loads, but I think their front loader is a much better washer.

To the OP: Asko is another brand to consider for a compact front loader. I believe the washer is 240V and plugs into the dryer meaning you get some of the hottest washer temps in the industry.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 11:08PM
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SPARKLINGWATER, do you think the SQ delicate cycle is gentle enough for silk blouses and the occasional wool sweater? I only have a few things I currently use that cycle for, but I'm very glad to have it. The sweaters have come out fine.

HVTECH, I appreciate your post, and agree that it's worth talking about a company that makes good products and stands by them. Unfortunately, a high temp wash is something I've become accustomed to using on sheets.

I love our Bosch washer and dryer, and don't mind the smaller capacity. I just wish they didn't require repairs every year or two! The problem with all the European dryers is they're now all condensers.

I called Bosch the other day and they don't even have a tech support person for customers to talk to. In contrast, I called about our Miele DW last week and the tech guy diagnosed the problem just by hearing it over the phone. It was a quick fix for us. I don't know how many appliance companies offer this, but a good tech support dept is a smart thing to have -- it's something I've availed myself of often with various products, and it breeds customer loyalty.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 11:33PM
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Unlike most other front loaders without heaters the ATE50 can do a tap hot wash. You need to have your water heater turned up and because of the low water usage, you need to run water at the closest sink until hot to flush residual cooled water. But it sure beats the competition who will mix in cold water even if you select hot!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:41AM
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egganddart49-yes I think certain types of sturdier silk blouse could be done on SQ delicate. On the ATE50 it's the "delicate/bulky" cycle, just so you know, which is lower max RPM's on spin cycle. My daughter is a bit of a fanatic with washing vs dry-cleaning and she has done some silk tees in the SQ on cold with Linen Wash cold detergent.

I've done a lot of my spouse and son's wool sweaters using the delicate cycle, and they did not pile nor rip. I place them on a large double folded dry towel and gently roll it to get the water out, then put them on a drying rack.

A lot of laundry techniques are one's comfort level. I'm fairly aggressive with washing clothes, as I dislike dry cleaning chemicals. I do a lot of air drying of course, as shrinkage is non-reversible.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Thanks, SparklingWater, for continuing to help us out regarding this great unit. Your input has been invaluable to me. My reno is still on hold as my contractor is overbooked. If he does not commit to a date in the next few weeks, I will have to go ahead and order the ATE50 and stick it in the garage, and hope he can get my exhaust line moved to the right place to accommodate it. Lead time for ordering it is about 8 weeks, I'm told, and Speed Queen cannot ship this unit after December as it will not meet the USA's tightening water requirements. Or maybe it was energy usage. Cannot quite recall. But I think this machine is worth the risk.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Hate to say it egganddart but if you could swing the Miele pair it sounds like you would love it. The wool and silk cycles are outstanding. I've completely renewed very old cashmere and wool sweaters. It's fantastic on silk as well.

Not sure what you think is "wrong" with a condenser dryer. I had the same Bosch pair you have but with a condenser and really liked them.

I don't know anything about Speed Queen and everyone who has one seems to love it. But having had a washer with a heater I would never, never go back.

I have a long waranty on my w/d and Miele gave me a deal on that. When my detergent drawer cover broke early on they sent all the parts and talked me through the fix. No waiting, no issues.

I'm getting to the point that I will not buy any brand that does not have tech support over the phone. Been there and, for me at least, it's not worth the hassle and the expense.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Condenser dryers are slow, use more electricity than vented, and heat up your house. Sorry you can argue that lots of European appliances are superior to ours but dryers are one of the few areas where Americans are in the lead with the upper lint filter Whirlpools being the gold standard. Of course since everyone will probably be going to heat pump dryers soon the point will be moot.

I hate condenser dryers even more than the average American because I rarely use a dryer. The few times I do use one, it is because I need something dried FAST. Otherwise I line dry. A condenser dryer would be useless to me.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 13:38

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 1:35PM
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A bunch of questions:

Hvtech, are you referring to any particular model of Whirlpool dryer? What do you mean by upper lint filter? (Do you do HVAC work, and/or work on dryers?) Are condenser dryers less efficient than electric vented dryers? Why would Europeans make them, then? My (possibly incorrect) assumption is that their appliance technologies are usually driven by energy efficiency. I share your attitude towards dryers, and I think you're the one who said the simpler the dryer the better, which I also agree with. Do you know much about heat pump dryers? I like the idea, but a Miele (which does not make one) rep told us they only last 5 years. Don't know if it's true.

Rococo, I know your name from my earliest days on GW :0). Did you find the condenser dryer slower? I called a Miele customer support guy who didn't do a convincing job of selling its virtues.

Ideally I'd like a washer with hand wash and high temp cycles and high speed spin, and a simple dryer, or an efficient one that's reliable.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 4:28PM
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I had a Bosch condenser dryer with the same model washer as egganddart. It was not especially slow. It did a very good job. It was in a closet in the kitchen and the door needed to be left open. It did make that area warm but to say it heated up the house (which was an apartment with open kitchen) is not true. It replaced an illegal vented dryer that was not vented (long story) but we did not see any increase in the electric bill after putting it in. The only nuisance was a grill that had to be cleaned periodically.

If someone doesn't have space or option for a vented dryer then condenser is the only real choice.

Miele most certainly does make a condenser dryer. And I'm told they are discontinuing their vented dryers -- enduring and I got some of the last ones it seems.

I don't see why you couldn't get a Miele washer and a different dryer -- buffalotina has that set up I believe. The only thing is can it be stacked with a different machine? If it needs to be stacked or fit into a closet then you're basically talking about pairs unless there is some super clever solution I've never read about (which there very well could be).

Why I posted about the washer is because it does exactly what the OP says she wants. Excellent on hand wash. Excellent high temp cycles (sanitize is 165F and if you want to see an example I'm attaching the Miele cheat sheet which shows espresso stained chinos before and after. ) The high speed spin is excellent. And everything is adjustable.

The Miele dryer is good to very good I would say. I didn't like the Asko dryer at all. My recollection is that I liked the Bosch condenser dryer best but it was nowhere near as adjustable as the Miele dryer which can partially dry woolens without issue. Miele's dryer has some very delicate settings I've not seen before. I par-dries woolens without shrinking. But it doesn't overdry towels or sheets. (I also have their rotary iron and it has a setting for that).

The clinker is the cost, no question. I started out wanting the Bosch as I had liked that pair a lot. But the Bosch washer lacked the high heat which is essential for stain removal and whitening.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele Fans Washer Cheat Sheet

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:06PM
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"Hvtech, are you referring to any particular model of Whirlpool dryer? What do you mean by upper lint filter?"

I am referring to the 29" ones that have the lint filter on the top of the dryer as opposed to the 27" ones that have it inside the door.

"Do you know much about heat pump dryers?"

No, because we really don't have many in the US yet. From what I do know, I dislike them for the same reasons I dislike condenser dryers. They're slow. They are much more efficient though.

"they only last 5 years"

Sounds like hogwash. Yes they are more complicated so there is more to fail and they probably won't go as long without repair as a vented or condenser dryer. But the components are pretty similar to refrigerators which last more than 5 years.

"Why would Europeans make them, then? My (possibly incorrect) assumption is that their appliance technologies are usually driven by energy efficiency."

In most cases you are correct about their appliance technologies however I believe the popularity of condenser dryers there is mainly driven by space needs not efficiency. But, the fact that they give off heat is probably a plus there as opposed to sucking out heated air as would happen with a vented dryer. But the US gets hotter on average and most don't want their dryer pumping hot air into their house.

"Ideally I'd like a washer with hand wash and high temp cycles and high speed spin, and a simple dryer"

That's the way to go! Really the best way to dry is to do what the rest of the world does: air dry. I do like to have a nice simple vented dryer though because there are those rare occasions when I need something ready to wear NOW and can't wait for it to air dry.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:07PM
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