Best Washing Machines by Price

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Kenmore 4027

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Washing Machine Buying Guide - Posted 7/12/2010:

Washer Buying Guide Buying a washer in today’s market requires some planning and consideration given the seemingly endless choices and options. Once you’ve done your initial homework in determining which features meet your needs, the process can be quite simple. This buying guide will break down the key features to consider and main questions you should ask yourself before your buy.

Washer Noise Levels: Let’s face it, noise is never a good thing when it comes to washers and some models do a much better job than others in reducing it. If you live in an apartment or close quarters, you may want to consider purchasing a washer with sound dampening technology. This technology can come in the form of electronic sound and vibration control to extra insulation on washer panels to dampen noise. Electronic options may balance loads as not to create excess vibration or run at certain spin speeds to minimize noise. Many washers with extra quiet operating cycles will actually advertise the run-time decibel levels. You really need to shop around and read product level washer reviews to find a washer that meets your noise level requirements.

Washer Drum Capacity: How many people are in your family, do you have young children, do you own King Size bedding? These are all factors in determining washer capacity requirements and the potential wash frequency. Chances are, if you have any of the previously described situations, you’ll want to consider buying a washing machine with at least 3.5 cubic feet of volume. Larger capacity equates to less loads. Most washers now incorporate sensors to detect load size and will match water and detergent levels based on the load size, even if not every load washed is full. Realize that a well bought washer and dryer should last at least 10 years, so plan for the future and consider possible changes in your family size. Be sure to match your dryer to your washer. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a matching dryer with at least 2X the volume of your washer and follow the additional considerations found in this washing machine buying guide.

Space Requirements: Be sure to define your laundry space with actual measurements. This may seem obvious, but there can be a significant difference in washer size between manufacturers and models and more specifically between front loading and top loading machines. Be sure to measure! If space is tight consider compact appliances, washer/dryer combos or stackable front load washer/dryer systems.

Energy Star LogoWasher Efficiency: The average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year. It's a good thing families can cut their related energy costs by more than a third and the water costs by more than half - just by purchasing a clothes washer with the ENERGY STAR label. Most new front loading washers are super efficient when compared to the top loading models of yesteryear, but don’t assume the all models are efficient. The ENERGY STAR rating is an important label to look for because it means that washer uses 50% less Energy and 35% - 50% less Water than non-labeled washing machines. Many washers are beginning to incorporate sophisticated sensors that match water levels and laundry cycle times according many factors including load size, soil level and materials. Bosch washers are some of the industries most efficient machines with some models consuming only 140 kWh/year. Is your washer over 10 years old? Replace it with a new ENERGY STAR qualified washer and you could save over $135 each year on your utility bills. You can read more on the ENERGY STAR rating at

Washer Spin Speeds: Another very important figure to monitor is spin speed. High spin speeds extract more moisture from clothing before enter the relatively higher energy consuming dryer. Make sure the washer you purchase has at least 1000 RPM spin speed, the faster the better. Keep this in mind when creating your washing machine buying guide.

Water Temperatures: Many washer cycles will adjust temperature based on fabric or care level selected. Steam washers help increase water temperatures to help kill bacteria and in some cases even allergens. Higher water temperatures can also create a better clean and use less detergent per load, helping save on your annual detergent spend. Most washers today don’t offer steam technology and expect to pay a premium, generally +$200, for this feature.

Washer Safety: Front loading washer offer locking front doors to make sure the door cant be opened mid cycle. This is an important item and comes standard on most washers.

Manufacturer Quality: Make sure you take a look at the washing machine brand reviews for summaries on the major washing machine manufactures and how they compare. A little research here can prolong the life of your investment.

Washer Cycles: Many washers have cycles programmed for varying load sizes and fabrics. Fabric specific cycles help ensure long-term care of your garments and extend the color vibrancy and overall life of your favorite clothing. Some manufactures are now offering specific sanitizing cycles great for killing bacteria in soiled clothing, especially important if you have small children. Some manufactures also use high temperatures to eliminate common allergens, great for any allergy sufferer.

Washer Tubs: Most modern washer manufacturers are using highgrade stainless steel to Washing Machine Tubfabricate their drums. This material wears better than older porcelain styles and stays cleaner from wash to wash. Stainless steel tubs should really be a must have on your list. We’re also beginning see some manufactures like Samsung and others use different patterns on the drum surface to reduce friction. Thinking here is that less friction translates to longer clothing lifespan. The ruling is still out on this but the theory is interesting and very forward thinking.

Front Loading vs. Top Loading washers: Front loading washing machines are the new wave and are here to stay. They are generally said to use less water, detergent and energy then top loading models. You can also stack front loading washers, to help save on space. Spin speeds in front loading washers are also faster than top loading models, helping extract more moisture from clothing which helps reduce overall dryer cycles. The general price point of front loading washers is also higher, ranging from $450-$3,000. For more on this read our Front load vs Top loading washer article.

Washer Buying Guide Glossary:

Automatic Dispensers: Features that allow laundry products to enter the machine at the proper time. These include dispensers for bleach, fabric softener, and detergent. Each of these products can be added manually, but dispensers are a nice convenience.

Automatic Temperature Control:Mixes the hot and cold water as it enters the washer, ensuring that the proper temperature of water enters the tub.

Capacity: This refers to the size of the washer's tub. For best cleaning results, it is important that the amount of laundry placed in the tub has sufficient room to move about. A large machine is rated at roughly 2 to 2-1/2 cubic feet, an extra-large machine at 2-1/2 to 3 cubic feet, and a super-large at approximately 3 to 3-1/2 cubic feet. Unless you are washing bulky items like comforter and ski parkas, figure on a 10-12 pound maximum load for large-capacity machines and 14 pounds or so for extra-large and super-large ones. Front loaders usually handle somewhat less.

Controls: Choose from rotary controls, touch pads, and the newer touch screens. Rotary controls are the least expensive and have a long history of good performance. Other styles will add to the price of the machine, but can be useful once you understand their operation.

Cool Down: An intermittent tumbling cycle that will tumble dry clothes with or without heat in order to prevent wrinkling if clothes are not immediately removed at the end of a cycle. Damp Dry A feature that shuts off the dryer before the clothes are completely dry--useful for those who prefer to hang damp items, to limit shrinkage and wrinkling.

Drying Rack: A rack that attaches within the drum--great for drying sneakers and minimizing the noise of heavy items tumbling in the machine.

Express Dry
A feature designed to dry small loads quickly, using high heat.

Extra Rinse/Warm Rinse
Allows the operator to change the standard rinse selection. An additional rinse can be helpful for those with detergent sensitivities. A warm rinse will leave clothes warm, speeding the drying process.

Speed Combinations
Machines can offer a variety of wash and spin combinations. Wash speed, such as normal or gentle, are then paired with similar spin speeds. Three combinations are generally sufficient to serve the various needs of a typical family, although many washers offer more.

Some front loaders offer this feature, allowing the user to place a dryer on top--a great option for a small space.

Time Delay
A feature allowing you to load the machine and have it start later. This is useful to take advantage of lower utility rates or to avoid the unwanted noise of the machine at certain times in the day.

Tub material
Typically tubs are constructed of plastic, porcelain-enamel, or stainless steel. Plastic is durable and the least expensive; porcelain-enamel is very common, but may chip and rust; while stainless steel is very durable, but pricey.

Water Level Control
Front loaders match the water level to the load size automatically and are most efficient in water usage. Top-loaders typically require that you guess the proper water level. To control water usage on a top-loader, you'll want the option of four or five water levels. Some low-priced models have only one water level. It is wise to avoid these units. They will cost you lots of money in water usage.

We hope this Washer buying guide answers some of your questions and get you off the right start in selecting your new washer. If you have any questions or additions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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