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

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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.

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