Have you ever stopped to think about just how far Laundry Appliances like washers and dryers have come over the last few years? Or the last few decades? Today I take a brief trip back in time to see just how far these appliances have come and to ask the question, when is it time for a washer and dryer upgrade? Join me and prepare to be thankful for all the work that these amazing machines do to make our lives easier and better. After all, it wasn’t so very long ago that most of these tasks were either done by hand or simply not at all!


Laundry Before the Washer and Dryer

One large washbasin, some really hard soap, a bit of hot water, and one of those sturdy, old-fashioned washboards was how laundry used to be done in the not too distant past. Unfortunately, this tried and true method of laundering one’s clothing called for the furious working of the dirty garment back and forth across the washboard until all of the grime was removed.

The uneven surface of the board served to agitate the fibres of the garment, and this agitation (with the help of the soap and water) would ultimately remove the stains—along with a good bit of one’s patience. It wasn’t a bad method of cleaning by any means, but it certainly was a lot of hard work.

This particular laundering system was the go-to method for most Canadians for untold decades. In fact, the washboard has been in use for over 200 years, and in all honesty there are still folks who wash their clothes on one of these boards to this very day. I myself had to use one while staying in rural Mexico just a couple of years back.


Twentieth Century Developments in Laundry Agitation

Fast forward a few decades, and many Canadians were using one of these cement-mixer-on-wheels looking contraptions. This wash machine, with rollers at the top for squeezing out excess water from your freshly laundered garments, did most of the actual cleaning work for you, but the rollers posed significant danger to the user’s fingers, so caution had to be exercised during the wringing-out process.

The machines themselves (of which there were numerous different makes and models) actually did a decent job of removing the dirt from clothing, but they didn’t do all of the work. For instance, each individual article of clothing had to be hand fed through the pair of rollers at the top of the machine—hence the danger if you didn’t let go of the fabric in time. Still, a lot less effort was required for one to do the laundry using one of these early electronic washing machines, so they definitely hold a prominent place in the history of laundry cleaning. (Image courtesy of Science & Society: Picture Library Prints).

Various other forms of laundry technology were developed, employed, improved upon, and eventually discarded during the long period of laundry machine advancements between the washboard and the electric wash machine. For example, early drum-type (non electric) washing machines that had to be hand cranked were in use during the mid nineteenth century. Such machines, while advancing on the earlier (and entirely muscle driven) laundering methods, were undoubtedly welcomed advancements for those who could afford them. However, these early technologies have been greatly surpassed by today’s modern machines…


The Modern Era of Laundry Tech

Today, both the washer and the dryer are fully automated and computerized machines that are chock-full of modern features and capabilities. Lets consider one model of each type to see what modern technology has provided us with and to consider whether or not it might time for a laundry appliance upgrade:


First let’s consider the LG 5.2 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Front Load Steam Washer – In Graphite Steel. This excellent model has steam and 6-Motion technology, which gets your clothes clean without damaging the fibres. It also has a turbo speed wash cycle (for when you’re in a hurry), load detection (for automatically adjusting water usage and preventing waste), 12 different wash cycles (and 5 water temperatures), and it even offers voice control (via Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant). An energy efficient feature called “ColdWash Technology” allows you to use exclusively cold water while still getting your clothes as clean as if you’d used hot. And, with its 5.2 cubic foot capacity, this washer can accommodate families of all sizes. Finally, with its modern design and graphite steel construction, it’s sure to look great in any home. For a more complete picture (and to learn about several features not mentioned here), check out its Best Buy product page by clicking on the above link.


As for today’s modern dryers, there are many different machines to choose from at Best Buy, but I thought we’d look at another LG model. It’s the LG 7.4 Cu. Ft. Electric Dryer, and it has numerous advantages over hanging your clothes on a line. Aside from its generous capacity (it has 7.4 cubic feet of internal load space), this dryer features 10 drying cycles, 3 temperature options, and a great Sensor Dry feature that constantly and automatically monitors the moisture levels in your laundry and adjusts the drying time accordingly so as not to damage your clothes by over-drying them. This dryer also has a feature called Smart ThinQ Technology that provides status updates during the drying cycle (along with a variety of remote control options via your smart phone or tablet—like starting or stopping your dryer). What’s more, its SmartDiagnosis Technology allows it to self-diagnose and troubleshoot any issues or problems that occur and communicate them directly to LG’s customer service for you. I’d like to see a clothesline do that! Note that I haven’t mentioned all of the unique features of this amazing dryer, so feel free to learn more by visiting its Best Buy product page for yourself.


So, when exactly is it the right time to upgrade to a new set of laundry appliances? If your current setup lacks some of the unique advantages discussed above, then maybe the time to upgrade is right now. If you’d like to consider other models (beyond what was covered here), Best Buy’s Washers and Dryers pages have a wide variety of options available for you to choose from, including a number of attractive and capable washer/dryer sets. Happy laundering!


Leonard Bond
Leo enjoys writing about everything from secret agents to tech toys and gadgets to professional hockey. Find his reviews and other product related commentary right here on the Best Buy Blog and his latest hockey rants at www.hockeycontroversial.com.