OT: Washer/Dryer Choices

runninginplaceJanuary 7, 2005

Well since Sheryl started it...:), I have another OT question. I've been haunting the appliance and laundry room forums too but figured some of you helpful folks might have some insights.

It looks like I'm going to be replacing my washer and dryer. They are Whirlpool, top of the line when I bought them 7 years ago and already giving up the ghost :(. The washer has been making awful noises and broke a month or so ago. My husband fixed it but it's even noisier than before, not to mention slower and clearly it won't last much longer. Then this week the dryer quit heating. My husband doesn't want to even try fixing that thing so I guess I need a dryer immediately. And I'm thinking maybe in terms of using resources like time, shopping energy etc wisely I should just replace both units and be done with it.

My biggest question is about the new generation of front loader/high efficiency washers and dryers. Those weren't on the market when I was last shopping and I'm tempted. People seem to like them a lot, except that the negative reviews are VERY negative. And, they are so very much more expensive than the top loaders! I mean, for the price I can literally buy 2-4 pairs of the older style.

I am not averse to paying more if it means I get quality goods that will last a long time and do a better job. I do a LOT of laundry and I do a lot of different types--everything from loads of grimy greasy work clothes, to delicate hand washables. Lots of bed linens, lots of towels, lots of normal daily changes of clothes that get washed. Oh, and I'm picky about the dryer too. I have clothes I never put in the dryer. I have clothes I put in the dryer briefly, then hang dry. I have items (towels, bath mats) that take forever to dry and I wish I had more efficiency in doing those.

So I'd welcome anyone's thoughts on pros-cons of different types, or experiences if anyone has front load/high efficiency.


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I recently got front loaders, the Whirlpool duet team. I really really LOVE them. They do cost a lot more, but they use less water, are easier on your clothes, energy efficient, and you can put a LOT in them. I no longer have to take my biggest comforters to the laundry mat. They can stack on top of each other if you want, saving floor space as well.
There are many settings to choose from, so you can wash and dry the most delicate of clothes, and the dryer comes with a rack, which I haven't used yet, but I guess the clothes just sit on it while the dryer turns.
Seven years is not a lot!! I hope to get many more years than that out of my duet team!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 3:58PM
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you saw the mention of Speed Queen for the home market, didn't you? They have a double-dryer (stacked), which means you could take one load, and split it between two different drying temps. Cool!

One thing to consider: I know your DH doesn't want to fix the machines, but..would a PRO REPAIRMAN do a better job? (or be willing at all to do it, since DH won't?) Might it be more cost-effective to pay for a repair? Even if it only buys you 4 more years.

Or, maybe the washer died and is not worth saving, but the dryer can be repaired pretty easily. I think it's worth seriously considering.

I agree that 7 years is not a lot--that's recent enough that they ought to be worth repairing. Morally anyway.

Then you can do what my friend did--she set a jar on her washing machine and put 50¢ in every time she did a load. Eventually she had enough to either pay for or great offset the cost of her Neptune.

My mom has an Asko front-loader. I don't remember what it cost. It wasn't the most expensive, and it's not the hugest, but w/ a front loader (as you prob. know) you can cram the basket ALMOST COMPLETELY FULL. The drum spins, so whatever's on top HAS to go under the water. She's pretty happy with it. It's smaller, so she can put it in a hall closet on the main floor--she doesn't go downstairs to do laundry, so I think she finds it easier to do loads as the day goes by.

Here is a link that might be useful: Speed Queen home products

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 5:36PM
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I have a 2-yr old whirlpool washer and dryer and hate them both! They're top of the line. The washer is large...not in circumference, but in depth. It is hard on my clothes and my clothes get all wound up in the center wringer...badly. Not to mention, because it's deep and narrow, it's very hard to get the clothes out.

The dryer has a lint trap on top and there is always lint all over the top of my dryer after cleaning it out. It also opens down instead of from side to side, so when I throw my clothes in they get caught on the door clasp at the top. Everything gets dried, but when I take them out, everything is in a huge ball and anything inside the ball is wet.

The finishes on both are terrible. The white color is worn off on the higher spots.

Previous to this I had a top of the line regular loading MAYTAG washer and dryer and LOVED IT.. WAhhhhh I want it back! The finish was indestructable. I had it for 3-1/2 yrs and not a wear spot on the finish. The washer wasn't deep, but large around and the clothes did not get wrapped around the center piece, plus I could get them out easily. The cycles were different and didn't pound my clothes into pulp. And...they were clean.

The dryer had something in it (I didn't know what it meant at the time, but now I do) that didn't let clothes tumble into a ball w/them being wet on the inside...like sheets. The fitted sheet is always on the outside then stuff is stuck and wet on the inside...Maytag didn't do this. Plus the door opened side to side so I could switch the doors if needed to open the way I wanted and I never got my clothes caught on the catch. Also the lint screen was right inside the door. Both of my Maytags sold w/the house and I miss them terribly..sniff, sniff.

Front loading washers...can you add to it after it starts? Because I'm doing that constantly.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 6:36PM
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We got a Frigidaire front-loader probably about 5 years ago. It was affordable as we got it at a Sears scratch-and-dent outlet. I have yet to find a scratch or dent on it. ;)

I know some people don't think Frigidaire is very good compared to Maytag's Neptune, but I've been very happy with it. I decided to go ahead with it when a woman online said she successfully washed silk blouses in it on the delicate cycle. It will also handle a queen size comforter--king size if you really squoosh.

It saves water and detergent. You can see at a glance if the suds level is ok. It gives you an extra surface to work on, which can be important in a small laundry room.

And, it just looks cool. :)


    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 6:39PM
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I have a Kenmore front loader & matching dryer. They're stackable - I used them stacked before we enlarged the laundry room. I really like both of them. Mine are pretty basic - they don't have the electronic controls, just regular knobs. I was a little worried about buying the really pricey machine with the electronics & having that part die. My MIL has the Maytag Neptune set. I paid about $1,000 for my set on sale; hers was $1,600. DH & I lived with the in-laws for about six months, so I've used the Neptune quite a bit. It's very nice, but to me, not worth the difference in price.

I can wash anything from delicates to grimy jeans to linens with no problems. I used to hand wash a lot of my work clothes because they would get wound around the agitator in the top loader & stretched. I now just toss them in the washer & they're fine. I can wash a queen comforter easily, so a king would probably do fine too. Because there's no agitator, I can wash larger loads. The spin cycle seems to extract more water, because my clothes, including towels, dry a lot quicker.

Annellis was asking about adding clothes after the cycle started. I can add them to mine. The door locks on my MIL's Neptune & you can't open it until the cycle is done. Hers is several years old, though, so you may be able to do that on newer models.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 11:20AM
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Check local used appliance stores. I was looking for a dryer part, and the store had a set (w/d) of the frontloading ones for about 1/3 usual price.

They hadn't been used - they got lost in shipping and the customer ordered a new set. By the time they showed up, the dealer had been paid by the insurance company and the "used" dealer got a real bargain.

Even their used stuff was in good condition. I got a used, fairly new s-by-s for what a bottom of the line ordinary frig would have cost.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 4:54PM
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y'know, I meant that "morally" as in the MACHINE'S morals, not yours. That morally the company should have made those machines well enough that they'd be worth repairing now.

I kept wondering what I'd said, when you mentioned that I'd said it was a morally right choice to fix them. but I couldn't remember, so I just let it slide.

And by the way--according to this link, you were at the very beginning of the end of their usefulness span.

Here is a link that might be useful: how long do appliances last?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 6:28PM
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Well I'm a little prejudiced, but I absolutely LOVE my front loaders. I picked the very pricey (OUCH!) Miele pair for several reasons. Since you can't use bleach in a front loader and I'm really particular about getting whites White, I wanted a machine that heats the water internally. That allows the clothes to get wet first without setting any stains. I've learned (from the laundry forum) that getting clothes white means washing them in the hottest water possible, so with this machine you have the best of both worlds. I also moved the laundry up from the basement to a closet, so was very limited on space. There was no way I could get an American made machine into my closet, so there I am. These machines are SS on the inside, and built like TANKS. I've heard they will easily go 25 years (and more). I know the Germans have got it goin' on as far as design and build quality. These fairly small units hold every bit as much as the old top loaders, yet get my clothes twice as clean as before. Once they were installed, I have never looked back! There's a picture of my laundry closet on the Galley at the Laundry Forum.

Those commercials advertising the big models that hold 16 pair of jeans just crack me up. Who wants to wait that long to do laundry? (I can see it if you have a large family.) Also, since I tend to sort my laundry, I don't need to wash 22 towels, especially since there are only two of us...

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 7:36PM
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If you'd prefer to stick with a top loader, I've heard great things about the Fisher Paykel pair which is made in New Zealand. Very energy efficient yet not as $$ as a front loader.

Here is a link that might be useful: Luna Laundry System

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 7:43PM
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"y'know, I meant that "morally" as in the MACHINE'S morals, not yours. That morally the company should have made those machines well enough that they'd be worth repairing now. I kept wondering what I'd said, when you mentioned that I'd said it was a morally right choice to fix them"

Oh, Talley Sue, you didn't say anything wrong! What I heard reflected my own ambivalence :). As in, is it morally right to spend a lot of money on something when I *could* stretch what I had. My husband is almost like a depression baby about that stuff---he hates waste. So your thoughts were a good catalyst to make me really ponder what was worth it and what wasn't. I find that if something is said that sticks in my mind, it's usually because on some level I NEED to ponder it!

Clair, you mention not using bleach in a front loader--mine has a bleach dispense and a 'whitest whites' setting and that seems to work okay. I hope I'm not doing something wrong(?).

Anyway, as I shared on another topic, I have to say I'm really glad I took the plunge. What was a real time-swamp chore has lessened to a great extent and I'm very grateful for that. Who knew laundry could be such a breeze?!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 8:18PM
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Running, I'm assuming you're talking about your Whirpool toploader with the bleach setting? I know my old toploader wasn't getting my clothes clean any more, even with bleach and hot water. With the new frontloaders, the point is that you don't have to use bleach to get your white's white, since bleach eventually breaks down fabrics. (I keep my white clothes much longer than I used to since I quit using liquid bleach. I will use a little Oxyclean though.) That's just one of the reasons a front loader is easier on your clothes...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 12:13AM
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Claire, I just got the Whirlpool Duet front-loader and matching dryer. I understand what you mean now though; it's not that the machine can't TAKE bleach but that I don't NEED to use it. And you are so right!

What I have been doing is to put a small amount of bleach (1/3 cup) along with the liquid HE Tide when I wash the towel load. I saw one of those Primetime/20-20/Dateline shows awhile ago about household cleanliness, and they said specifically that a small shot of bleach for towels was a good idea, for killing germs.

You are spot on though about not needing it for cleaning! I really am pleasantly surprised at the noticeable difference in the laundry in that regard. I've mentioned socks. My son and husband's t-shirts too; those get grimy because both of them spend a lot of time in the backyard workshop or yard, and that plus our hot sticky weather-yuck. So nice to be able to pop a load in and voila! they come out clean. So I'm not soaking them anymore in the washer with bleach. I used to do that for hours, sometimes overnight. I'm sure it will lengthen the life of my clothes now that I have the front loaders.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 7:51AM
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