laundry room

How to Buy the Best Washer and Dryer

If experience is the best teacher, surely I have achieved expert status in the field of buying clothes washers and dryers.

Laundry room

Twenty-five years ago we bought our first brand new washer and dryer—a traditional Whirlpool matching—from a warehouse club. The price came to $1,100 with tax, out the door. Nothing fancy, just a couple of workhorses. After 16 years of constant use, the washer finally failed beyond repair.

After a great deal of research and contemplation, we settled on the LG Waveform Ultra Capacity High Efficiency Top Loading washer and companion steam dryer which I wrote about in more detail HERE for why we made that decision and how I got that brand new matching set for half that price!

I loved my LG appliances until we moved into a tiny apartment with space for only the washer or dryer or both if we could stack them. Can’t stack a top-loading washer, so we gifted the LG set to our son and bought a stackable GE front loading washer and dryer. Fabulous decision. Front-loading washers have been so greatly improved over the years. I had no problems at all with nasty smells or moldy build-up. And I really enjoyed the steam feature on the dryer. 

The GE set sits in storage now because the laundry room in our new home is not properly configured for a gas dryer. That will change one day soon, but in the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the 12-year-old Whirlpool washer and dryer set that came with this house. Talk about de javu! I’m right back where I started so many years ago with a couple of  workhorses that have only basic settings—no digital displays.

With that background in mind, together with a long conversation I had with a repairman who works on all brands of washers and dryers except Samsung (he absolutely refuses to work on Samsung products which I found interesting)—and in response to so many readers wanting to know the best inexpensive washer/dryer—here is my advice:

SET A BUDGET. Determine the price you’re willing to pay for the appliance(s). Lock eyeballs with that number and commit to finding the best option without going over budget.

MUST HAVE FEATURES. Write down the top three features you need in this appliance. Traditional basic top-load washers will offer temperature management and load size options and that’s about it. From there, determine what you must have. Or do you really need more than the basics?

TAKE A TOUR. Go to a Sears store (or similar), which now carries the top brands of appliances (you can also shop online at Sears retail or the Sears Outlet), with your three requirements. Then listen and pay close attention to what you learn.

In the store, the salesman will try to steer you into a higher-end model with lots of bells and whistles you’ll probably never use (which I know from experience). Keep going back to your three “must-haves.” Personally, I would lean toward a traditional Whirlpool or General Electric appliance. Once they become ancient they’ll still be working well. Parts and service for these two brands are considerably less expensive than for brands like Samsung and LG.

MAKE THE DECISION. Once you narrow your choices to the one that fits with your budget and meets your needs, make the decision find the best price, arrange for delivery and installation and don’t look back. Hint: Check Sears Outlet online every day, as the scratch-and-dent inventory changes very often.

Finally, if you hold out to find the absolute perfect washer/dryer at the perfect price, you’ll still be looking next year this time—and driving yourself nuts with indecision.

Boxer dog tearing through clothes in laundry room hamper
woman and child using fabric softener in laundry room
laundry day with clean clothes on hanging rack and dryer in the background
A kitchen with a sink and a window
blue jeans hanging by their ankles from a clothesline in a wooded grassy area
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  1. Ron Booker says:

    I liked what you sad about what features you what the appliances to have to determine what you are looking for. My aunt wants to buy some washers and driers because she plans on opening a laundromat business. If she does, these tips will help her buy the appliances she needs to begin her business.

  2. Zachary Tomlinson says:

    I’ve moved into another apartment but I don’t have all necessary household appliances. I’ve decided to start from the dryer. So, your tips are very helpful and I like especially the one about writing down the top three features I need in this appliance.Now I feel prepared for checking different stores.

  3. LSH says:

    Just a note on what I found out recently while looking for a new Freezer. Sears Surplus is no longer owned by SEARS, it is now owned by a separate company. Price for my freezer @ was cheaper than the dented one. Sears products sold, but!!!

  4. Lolly says:

    This was so timely! I’ve spent the last 2 weeks looking at/reading reviews of washers & dryers. Our 3 year old Whirlpool washing machine has developed a suspension problem and the laundry load is continually off balance. The machine is in the garage & I could hear the drum banging against the sides of the machine when I’m back in the bedroom. With our old machine we could put a load in & leave. Not with this one!

    So two of my top 3 must-haves are top loading (leaving a front-loader door open in our garage wouldn’t work) and shallow enough that I can actually reach the bottom. (I’m 5’3″) CR gives certain machines high marks but many of the reviews are awful! I don’t know who or what I can trust. Feel like I need to go back to my childhood decision-making skills & do “eeny, meeny, miney, moe”!

    Our 20 yo Maytag dryer is still going strong! BTW, isn’t Whirlpool made by the Maytag company?

  5. Gehugh says:

    Here is a bit of advice we have learned fron the School of Hard Knocks:

    Before you buy, find out what/who the service provider is in your area for ‘under warrenty’ work. Out of warrenty work is a whole different story. Not all brands can be repaired by all service companies and it is something to be aware of. Not all manufacturers will play fair with you, either.
    Our most recent troubles began whe we bought our K brand refrigerator-freezer and separate stand alone upright freezer. When the upright freezer started ‘leaking’ excessively a few months after we bought and had it installed, we were met with a wall of obstacles. The K brand people didn’t want to hear about the problem, much less come out and take a look after we went through the ‘troubleshooting’ actions. It still leaks excessively, but we live with it. As for the refer-freezer combo, 3 months into that purchase the cheap plastic upright support for the storage bins broke. To replace it required a visit from a repair person, and not only was the one support available, the whole shelf and support has to be replaced.

    The trouble with living in a semi-rural area is that the ONE repair person for the brand appliance you own can be totally inept and unreliable. I had to beg the customer service person on the phone to just send me the whole shelf and support, explaining what our local repair person is like. He came over once to ‘repair’ our 2000 Maytag Neptune (the major problems that almost sank the Maytag company) washer, under the influence of alcohol in the early afternoon and forgot all about us and the part he was supposed to order when I called a week later. Maytag was no help. Maytag didn’t acknowledge our ownership. We purchased a new machine. Needless to say, once burned, twice shy. After treatment like that I just wonder if this is the same world I grew up in. NOT! So we finally got the part, made a few modifications with Titebond III and a few plastic sheets for reinforcements (seeing where the design flaws were) and we’re happy now.
    I purchased a new dishwasher last winter. A highly rated brand I’ve had experience with and have trusted for generations. Found out in a few weeks it wasn’t cleaning properly. I found what I think is the problem. Called the 800 number to find who can come out to repair. Guess who? Not for us, thank you. So every week or so I pick minute food particles out of the sprayer arm orifices. Amazing! I am currently so disgusted with appliances and appliance repair. Hoping one of the kids will marry a decent one and bring them home for good! So if I need to purchase a new appliance in my current home, I will shop around, find out what the repair options are and pray real hard!

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