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.
Types of washing machines
There are two different types of washing machines you can choose from: front loading and top loading.
Top loading washing machines
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 washing machine: 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, instead using motion to move your clothes around.
Benefits of a top loading washing machine
One of the benefits of a top loading washing 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 less energy than the traditional agitator models.
Just be aware that some of the 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.
Front loading washing machines
Front loading washing machines are popular for a good reason. This type of washing machines loads and unloads through a front door to make it easy to access your clothes, and 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 and water than a top loading washing machine. Inside a front load washing machine is a horizontal drum that spins to gently clean your clothes.
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 the vibration caused from how fast they spin. Because they run at high speed, it’s important you place them 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.
What capacity washing machine do I need?
The number one thing you should consider when choosing a new washing machine is capacity. The capacity of washing machine you choose depends 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.
Larger capacity washing machines
Larger capacity washing machines are great for families in that they’ll wash large loads, but you’ll need to have enough space in your laundry room to accommodate one. 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.
What size is your laundry room?
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 6 inches behind the washing machine and 1 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 washing machine, you’ll need to know which way the door will swing so you can load and unload it.
Washing machines 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.
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 technology to save you time, water, and energy.
Steam will penetrate your fabric to remove dirt and soil, and some models of washing machine have a steam cycle that will remove up to 95% of common allergens including dander and dust mites.
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 washing machine, turbo wash uses high pressure nozzles to spray, clean, and rinse your clothes faster.
You don’t have to use hot water to wash your clothes. Cold wash technology utilizes enhanced washing motions so cold water washes just as thoroughly as warm.
Anti-vibration and quiet operation
A front loading washing machine will spin at top speeds to get your clothes clean, and that can mean it vibrates or sound loud when running. You can find models of washing machine with anti-vibration systems and quiet operation technology built in to minimize the noise and movement.
Smart washing machines
A smart washing machine has 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.
How often do you forget to throw in a stray sock? Some models of washing machine have a small, extra door you can open mid-wash, letting you add in last minute items you might have forgotten.
A washing machine with twin wash lets you add a pedestal to your washing machine that has an additional built-in washer. You can wash a large load in your front loading washing machine while also washing a smaller load in your pedestal washer.
Some models of top load washing machine have a dedicated sink built-in, and that sink lets you do a little pre-washing or hand washing.
Features on washing machines
You can use the normal cycle on any washing machine 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 ½ hour 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 takes special care of items that need to be hand washed
If you’ve ever had to run to your washing machine 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 missed it.
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 washing machine cycle decide what the best temperature is.
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 ensure it has all been removed.
Stainless steel tubs
Not only do they look great, stainless steel tubs can handle speedy spins and work to remove the most amount of water from your clothes.
If you have a top loading washing 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.
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 washing machine or laundry pair.
A stacking kit helps when you’re tight on space. You can stack a full size washer and dryer if you’ve got your pair in room with limited floor space.
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 that you can find a new model of washing machine 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.
Take the next step
For more resources on washers, check out Best Buy Canada’s major appliance help hub.