DEAR MARY: I love your columns that I read in our local newspaper. We need to purchase a new washing machine and would like your recommendation.  I tried to find a column you previously wrote on this subject but was unsuccessful. We need a large capacity machine for our large family.  Thank you. Monica

A big applince warehouse

DEAR MONICA: Go to EverydayCheapskate.com and you will find all of the columns including those that do not show up in your newspaper. When you get to that website, there is a search box in the upper right area, “search my blog.” Type in washing machine or some other key word(s) and you will find what you’re missing. You can always count on every Everyday Cheapskate column to be archived at this site.

I’m thinking you should head over to Sears Outlet website.  Because Sears carries so many brands of appliances and they have so many stores across the country, this outlet site consistently offers some of the best deals out there. This is where damaged and refurbished appliances go to be sold at highly discounted prices.

When you get to the site, expect to find every dented washer Sears has available for sale at the time you search, located in every Sears Outlet store in the country.

I find Sears Outlet to be a great learning site. It’s amazing just how many models each appliance manufacturer has and what the suggested retail price was before it was sent to the outlet. Outlet appliances will be new or refurbished, and at prices around 50 percent off. 

You can study each appliance’s specs and even find customer reviews for many items. I am sometimes wary of reviews at this site because, as you’ll discover, some people give an appliance a lousy review because it came dented or scratched—the very reason they got such a great deal on it. So keep your common sense handy as you research.

I love the fact that you can see and learn exactly what’s wrong with each item that has landed it in the outlet. Most of the time these exceptions are simply cosmetic, like a dent or scratch. You can learn what it means to purchase a “refurbished” appliance with a manufacturer’s warranty. Then check the store location of the item, how to pick it up if you are local, or what the shipping charge will be should you need to go that route. Check daily as things do change quickly.

I purchased a clothes dryer from the Sears Outlet online about six years ago. It came from Ohio, arrived on a big truck with no box—just packing material and plastic wrap around it. It had no owner manual. And I didn’t care. The dryer was exactly as pictured on the site with a big scratch on the side; $557 with shipping, as opposed to its regular retail price of $1,100. I downloaded the manual from the manufacturer’s website and to me it was brand new. The scratch disappeared once set next to its matching washer.

Our big move to Colorado last year, turned out to be a learning experience with Whirlpool appliances. With our new home, we inherited a gas range, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer—all Whirlpool Gold and 12 years old. I’d fully planned to replace all of these appliances, but quickly changed my mind after only a week of using them. It helps that they were so well taken care of. Still, these days, 12 years is closing in on becoming obsolete for many appliances. The washer and dryer set are fantastic workhorses. They have no digital displays, just your basic settings. I couldn’t be happier with all of the appliances.

As you are looking at washers, I would suggest you stick with heavy duty, large capacity GE, Whirlpool or Maytag. You’ll find many options and choices at the Sears Outlet an appliance store in your local area like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Do not go with Samsung appliances. You will regret that to the day you die. Samsung appliances are generally, in my opinion, notorious for failing and being very expensive to repair, if you can possibly find anyone to work on them.

Remember, the fewer electronics and digital bells and whistles on a washer, the cheaper it will be to maintain over many years, because you have fewer expensive options that could breakdown.

A top loading washer without the agitator would be my first choice. However, a front loader will give you tremendous water savings. Just have to make sure you following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully with regard to sanitizing and cleaning the front loader’s drum (or “basket”) at least monthly. The purpose is to keep mold from growing inside the gaskets, which can be a problem with some front loading washers.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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