GE washer and dryer

There’s nothing better than a basket of freshly laundered clothes, and the right washing machine can make working your way through that pile of laundry quick, easy, and enjoyable.

Washing Machine Buying Guide Quick Reference Handout

Table of Contents

  1. Types of washing machines
  2. What to consider before choosing a new washing machine
  3. The technology available on new washing machines
  4. Features on washing machines
  5. Accessories for your laundry room

Types of washing machines

There are two different types of washing machines you can choose from – front loading and top loading.

1. Top loading laundry

top loading washing machine

A top load washing machine has a top-mounted door you can open and close to load and unload clothes. The controls are either located on a top panel like you’d find on a stove or on the front of the washing machine.

You can find two different types of top-loading machines: those that are built with an agitator and those that are high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. If you choose one with an agitator, it will spin the clothes around to clean them. A HE top-loading washing machine doesn’t have an agitator. It uses the motion of the drum to move your clothes around.

Benefits of a top-loading washing machine

One of the benefits of a top loading machine is that you don’t have to bend over to load or unload clothes. If you choose a top loading HE model, your machine will also be better at cleaning your clothes, use less water, and use less energy than the traditional agitator models.

Just be aware that some top loading models have very deep drums, so if you have trouble reaching inside to remove clothes, you may wish to choose a front loader washing machine.

2. Front loading laundry

front loading washing machine

Front loading washing machines are popular for a good reason. This type of washing machine loads and unloads through a front door, and that makes it easy to access your clothes. Inside a front load machine is a horizontal drum that spins to gently clean your clothes. Most front loaders are also high efficiency.

Front loading washing machines have convenient controls on the front of the machine to select your cycle, and they wash larger loads using less energy, less water, and less detergent than a top loading washing machine.

Benefits of a front loading washing machine

Unlike top loading washing machines, a front loading washing machine can clean your clothes without having to use a drum full of water. You can fit more clothes inside a front loader because they don’t have an agitator inside. Front loading washing machines spin your clothes until they are almost dry, and because they do that your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard or as long.

The only drawback to a front loading washing machine is vibration caused from how fast they spin. Because they run at high speed, it’s important you place them at the proper distance from your dryer.

Questions you should ask yourself before choosing a new washing machine

There are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you begin shopping for a new washing machine.

1. What capacity washing machine do I need?

capacity of washers

The number one thing you should consider when choosing a new washing machine is capacity. The capacity of washing machine you choose depends on how heavily you’ll use your new machine. You should also think about how much laundry you might do in the future because a washing machine is an appliance you could have for 5 to 10 years.

The capacity of washing machines generally ranges from a compact 3 cu. ft. to a roomy 7 cu. ft. of internal space. You can also find portable washing machines with as little as 1.6 cu. ft. of space.

Larger capacity machines

Larger capacity washing machines are great for families who wash large loads, but you’ll need to have enough space in your laundry room to accommodate this type of machine. Instead of 27 inches, they can be as large as 29.5 inches wide and 30 inches deep.

Smaller capacity washing machines

Smaller capacity 3 cu. ft. washing machines are perfect for the single person, but if you plan on adding to your family or even acquiring a roommate, you may want to choose a slighter larger capacity than you need right now.

2. What size is your laundry room?

stackable washing machine

Before you choose your washing machine, you’ll want to consider the size of the space you have dedicated to laundry. Like dryers, most washing machines are 27 inches. In order to properly connect a washing machine, you need to allow for a space of six inches behind the washing machine and one inch between the washer and the dryer.

If you’re purchasing a top loader you’ll also need to ensure you don’t have a low-lying shelf or cabinet overhead that would prevent you from opening the door all the way. With a front loader machine, you’ll need to know which way the door will swing so you can load and unload it. Just keep in mind that washers and dryers are large and heavy, so you may want to measure your doorways and plan your route to your laundry room before you order, too.

The technology available on new washing machines

A new washing machine offers you more than just a tub to wash your clothes. The latest models have the technology to save you time, water, and energy.

smart washer

1. AI laundry machines

Some of the newest laundry pairs have AI (artificial intelligence) on board to make laundry easier than you thought possible. Laundry cycles are shorter and more efficient, and your washer can learn your laundry preferences and suggest cycles for your clothing so you don’t have to scroll through the washer’s menu. It can detect how much water and detergent to use based on soil levels too. If you also have a dryer with AI, your washer will be linked to your dryer and can transmit load information so the dryer can automatically choose the most efficient cycle to dry your clothes.

2. Smart features on washers

The latest washers and dryers have smart features built-in to make laundry even easier. Some models of washer have Wi-Fi and can connect to your local network. They pair with a compatible app to let you remotely start and stop your machine, download new cycles, or receive alerts when your cycle is complete. You can also pair certain models of washer with your voice assistant to control your machine via voice commands.

A smart washing machine may also have an NFC tag so you can download cycles from your smartphone or do a little troubleshooting when something is wrong with your washing machine. All you have to do is download the app compatible with your model and you have access to a variety of cycles and options for washing or repair.

automatic laundry soap dispenser

3. Steam technology

Steam will penetrate your fabric to remove dirt and soil, and some models have a steam cycle to remove up to 95% of common allergens including dander and dust mites.

4. Turbo wash

Want to save time doing laundry? You can get squeaky clean clothes in 30 minutes or less thanks to Turbo Wash. Available on some models of washer, turbo wash uses high-pressure nozzles to spray, clean, and rinse your clothes faster.

5. Cold wash

You don’t need to use hot water to efficiently wash your clothes. Cold wash technology uses enhanced washing motions so cold water washes just as thoroughly as warm.

6. Anti-vibration and quiet operation

A front loading washer will spin at top speeds to get your clothes clean, and that can mean it vibrates or sounds loud when running. You can find models of washer with anti-vibration systems and quiet operation technology built-in to minimize the noise and movement.

7. Add wash

How often do you forget to throw in a stray sock? Some models of washer have a small, extra door you can open mid-wash, letting you add in last-minute items you might have forgotten.

8. Sink washing machine

Some models of top load machine have a dedicated sink built-in. It’s hidden under the lid and it gives you a spot to do a little pre-washing or hand washing.

Features on washing machines

features on washing machine

1. Specialized wash cycles

You can use the normal cycle on any washer and achieve good results, but the latest machines have specialized cycles to make the most of every load.

  • Quick wash can reduce your washing time to 30 minutes or less
  • A bedding cycle adds extra time and changes the water temperature during the wash cycle to thoroughly clean and sanitize your bedding
  • Active wear setting can gently launder your workout wear so it doesn’t snag, and it will ensure you don’t have any lingering gym odour
  • Prewash is great for stubborn stains
  • Delicate wash takes special care of items that need to be hand-washed

2. Laundry dispensers

If you’ve ever had to run to your washer to add fabric softener at the right time during the wash cycle, you’ll love Automatic Dispensers. They dispense detergent, bleach, and fabric softener at the proper time so you never have to worry that you forgot.

3. Temperature control

Some people want to wash in warm water and rinse in cold, but you might not switch over in time if you have to do so manually. Automatic temperature control lets you decide your water temperature before you run your cycle, or you can simply let the machine cycle decide what the best temperature is.

4. Extra rinse, extra spin

Having an extra rinse cycle and extra spin is great if you have really dirty clothes, and an extra rinse is also a must-have if you have sensitivity to detergent and want to make sure it has been removed.

5. Stainless steel tubs

stainless steel tub

Not only do they look great, but stainless steel washing tubs can also handle speedy spins and will help remove the most amount of moisture from your clothes.

6. Water levels

If you have a top loading machine, there are options to choose your water level. That way you can decide how much water is added per load, and you’ll never use more water than you have to.

7. ENERGY STAR washing machines

If you choose an ENERGY STAR washing machine you can save money and resources while doing your laundry. Any machine that’s ENERGY STAR rated will use anywhere from 35 to 50% less water, they have larger capacity so you do less loads, and they can spin more efficiently so they remove the most amount of water possible.

Accessories for your laundry room

There are a few different accessories you can use to make the most of your washer or laundry pair.

Whirlpool Stacking Kit1. Stacking kits

Laundry Pedestals

Some washers are stackable, and you can use a stacking kit when you’re tight on space. You can stack a full-size washer and dryer if you’ve got your pair in a room with limited floor space.

2. Pedestals for your washing machines

If you opt for a front loader but you’re not too keen on bending down to remove your loads, you can add a pedestal to raise it off the ground. There are different types of pedestals, and you can find some that will also have drawers to store your detergent and other items.

Brands of washing machines

You’ll be happy to know you can find a new model of washer from all your favourite brands. Washing machines from LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Bosch, GE, Electrolux, and Maytag are available with the newest features and in the latest colours.

For more resources on washers, check out Best Buy Canada’s major appliance help hub.

Take the next step

Maytag 5.5 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Front Load Steam Washer

Now that you know everything there is to know about washers take a look at all of the washing machines or washer dryer sets available on

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