Washers and dryers that will make you love laundry day

Lindsey M Roberts

THE WASHINGTON POST – Homeowners can be passionate about their washers and dryers. After all, we depend on them to get kids’ clothes, work clothes and bedclothes clean so we can go about the rest of our lives. Which ones are the best?

We talked to a designer, a tester for Consumer Reports and the owner of a gadget-testing website, as well as two appliance-repair service owners.

No matter which one you choose, don’t overload your machine, said Mike Duerden, an appliance technician in North Salt Lake, Utah, because that’s one of the top causes of breakdowns. It’s OK to think about appearance, though, because you should like the way your appliances look.

Scott Dresner of Dresner Design in Chicago said the ideal laundry room should have a utility sink, counter space to fold, hanging space and storage to keep detergents and stain removers organised.

Dresner likes the Whirlpool Chrome Shadow Front Load Washer WFW9620HC and Chrome Shadow Gas Dryer WGD9620HC (USD1,499 and USD1,599, abt.com), not least because the dark grey colour is snazzy. (“They are a great colour,” he said.) It also doesn’t hurt that the washer has a load-and-go dispenser, holding up to 40 loads’ worth of detergent in a compartment, and that you can control both by a smartphone app. Large loads fit in the five-cubic-foot washer and 7.4-cubic-foot dryer, making these a good choice for families with lots of soccer-stained laundry.

After much testing, Kimberly Janeway, a home and appliances reporter for Consumer Reports in Yonkers, New York, found that performance varies widely among compact washers and dryers, and that they vibrate more than full-size machines. Two that passed the many tests were by Miele: the Front-Loading Washing Machine with QuickIntenseWash WWH860WCS and the Heat-Pump Tumble Dryer TWI180WP (USD2,199 and USD2,099, ajmadison.com).

Miele, as a brand, gets “strong marks for reliability,” Janeway said. This particular 2.26-cubic-foot washer “is good enough to remove your toughest stains,” she explained, and features include a two-phase automatic dispensing system for detergent, smartphone control and a SingleWash function for when you just need that one shirt cleaned. The 4.03-cubic-foot dryer is “a ventless dryer, so it doesn’t require you to run ductwork to the exterior of your home.” They are stackable, and both are EnergyStar qualified.

For when there’s no laundry room in an apartment building, or very little space in a house, there’s the Kuppet Compact Twin Tub Portable Mini Washing Machine (USD119.99-USD189.99, walmart.com). It’s recommended by London-based Amir Zarandouz, owner of the Gadget Nerds. At 27.4 inches wide, 16.1 inches deep and 31.9 inches tall, it’s “small enough to squeeze into the tightest space,” he said. The portable washer-and-dryer combo has a powerful motor and decent capacity, at 18 pounds for the washer and eight pounds for the dryer. Both sides can run at the same time.

After growing up with a father who owned an appliance store, Duerden set up an appliance-repair service in Utah, and he has seen it all when it comes to broken machines. That said, he thinks that Speed Queen’s machines are “excellent,” saying: “They’re not a big name, not a lot of people have heard of them,” but “they’re just good machines.” The classic TC5 Washer “fills the tub full of water like what Grandma’s machine would do.”

Whirlpool Chrome Shadow Front Load Washer WFW9620HC and Chrome Shadow Gas Dryer WGD9620HC. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST