Downsizing to a new, smaller property can be a bit of a nightmare especially in the kitchen. Your new kitchen might look great at first glance, but finding space for all your home appliances can be difficult. In this first of a series, we’ll look at narrow washing machines and see what options are available to you.
Tabletop washing machines
Many retailers stock small worktop appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers and are very simple to use. When you need to do some washing, place the tabletop washing machine next to the sink and attach the cold water pipe to the tap, and secure the waste water pipe into the sink.
These machines normally have a few settings making them suitable for small items but only have about a sixth of the capacity. This machine will be ideal for items such as shirts, blouses and underwear, but items like bedding will need to be washed another way as the capacity of this machine will be too small.
Motorhome retailers are a good place to look at smaller home appliances, and you might be surprised what you find. Washing machines are available for small kitchens and hold slightly more than the tabletop models above. They are available in single drum and twin tubs where the washing and spinning is done in two separate compartments.
They again have the cold water pipe attach to the mains tap and the soil outlet goes into the sink. These models are fairly light to pick up, but if you have back problems it might be best to carefully try them before purchase.
Narrow washing machines – the ideal solution
Many washing machine manufacturers now produce smaller home appliances with the smaller apartment in mind. Narrow washing machines are plumbed into the cold water and waste supplies and are generally 40% smaller than there larger counterparts. The capacity of the washing machine is much better than the two examples above and copes better with larger loads.
With all of these options you will think about a few things:-
- Are you going to be able to cope with a smaller washing capacity. If not a launderette may be better.
- Are you happy with the number of washing programs the machine has for most of your washing needs?
- Will your clothes dry enough with the spin speeds the machine has?
It’s often been the case that buying something smaller can actually cost you more than the full size version, but researching on the internet will find you the best price and selection. Downsizing into a smaller kitchen certainly brings unexpected challenges, but with a little thought most problems can be solved.
Washing Machine Styles and Features: Pros and Cons of Top-loading and Front-loading Washers
There are many choices when it comes to washing machines these days. There are many styles, features, and prices to choose from. Those who take the time to decide what they need before entering the store will be able to make a better long-term decision as to what works for their household.
Top-Loading Washing Machines
Many people prefer the top-loader, which has been the standard home machine for a long time. One of it’s main advantages is price, since it is one of the most economical machines you’ll find. Another convenient feature is the non-locking door so that the user can throw in forgotten or dropped pieces even after the washer has started.
Top-loaders work by filling up the wash tub with water and an agitator in the middle moves the clothes around. Because of its design, top-loaders use 40 percent more water than other high-efficiency models. The agitator can also be rough on clothes, shortening their life span. With heavy or bulky items, the washing machine may have trouble balancing the load as well.
A newer option on the market is a top-loading high efficiency washer. These washers work more like a front loader, without an agitator, so the washer is easier on clothes, and uses less water. Because these HE top-loaders are relatively new, there’s not a lot of long-term research on them.
Energy Efficient Front-Loading Washers
Fifteen years ago, the laundromat was usually the only place to find a front-loader, but now they’re readily available for home use. These washers work by spinning the clothes up, and dropping them down into the water to clean them. They use less water, less detergent, and in general, clean clothes better. It can handle a bigger load than traditional top-loaders since there is no agitator, and the spin cycle is so fast that drying time is cut down as well. All of these factors make the front-loader a very eco-friendly choice.
The main disadvantage of this washing machine is the expense. Front-loaders can cost more than twice as much as the traditional top-loader. The powerful spin cycle has also caused complaints from users who have their washer near a living area or bedroom.
Optional Washing Machine Features
The feature choices on each washer varies, so a consumer who knows what special items they want in a washer will have an easier time picking one out. Some of the newest features are:
- Automatic dispenser of detergent, fabric softener, or bleach
- A pre-wash or mid-cycle soak for extra dirty items
- Extra rinse, which is recommended for removing excess detergent for those with sensitive skin
- Stainless steel tub, to prevent rusting
- Manual dial controls vs. electronic controls
- Steam setting, which claims to sanitize laundry
- Stackable option for front-loaders
Each household has different needs and budget requirements when shopping for a new washing machine. By looking at the advantages and disadvantages of front-loaders and top-loading washers, each family will be able to find the machine that suits them best.
How to Buy Cheap Washing Machines
Home appliances are some of the most expensive purchases you make as a homeowner, especially washing machines. If you’re upgrading your laundry room, but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, you might consider cheap washing machines. While cheap washing machines might go lightly on your wallet, you might also end up with a poor quality washer if you’re not careful.
On the other hand, many cheap washing machines wash clothes as efficiently as some expensive models. Washing machines come in different sizes, styles, and options, which makes the comparison part a little confusing. Here’s some tips for comparing washing machine prices and cheap washing machines.
Determine Your Washing Needs Before Comparing Cheap Washing Machines
Before you start comparing washing machine prices, determine your washing needs. If you’re concerned about saving money on your utility bill, you might want to check out cheap washing machines in energy-efficient models. If you want to get the most benefits from these types of washers, choose one with a star rating of at least 4 1/2. If you’re washing clothes on a daily basis, you could rack up a large bill at the end of the month, using a regular machine.
The tub size determines the amount of clothes you can wash in one time. If you intend to wash clothes daily for a big family, you need the extra holding space. You can buy cheap washing machines with larger tubs, or even combos, such as the semi-automatic, which includes a washer and dryer all in one. Consider the RPM speed. If you want high-speed washing, compare washing machine prices for high-capacity models. Obviously, faster speeds and bigger tub sizes cost more money.
Options and Features for Cheap Washing Machines
Take a look at the washing machine prices for top loader models. Top loading machines cost less than front loaders, and usually have faster washing cycles. You can find a huge selection online, which means you’re sure to find cheap washing machines within your budget.
However, top loaders also consume a lot of water, which could end up costing you more money in the long run. These machines are sold in the agitator or impeller models. The impeller holds more space because it lacks the vertical pole found in the center of the agitator.
Compare cheap washing machines sold in the front loader version. Front loaders usually contain a plastic or glass door in the front. Clothes tumble during the washing cycle and supposedly clean clothes better, due to the side-ways cleaning and longer cycle. When you check washing machine prices online, you’ll notice front loading machines cost more, but they also use less water than other machines.
Compare washing machine prices for semi-automatic models. These machines require more space and contain one tub for washing, and a second tub for drying. The machine requires manual operation between cycles and you must manually transfer clothes from one tub to the other. You can find cheap washing machine prices for semi-automatic models and also save money on water expenses.
How Much Do Cheap Washing Machines Cost?
Washing machine prices range from $150 to well over $1,000 for high-end models. Don’t be fooled by manufacturers claiming other washers leave your clothes dirty. Take the time to read several reviews. Whirlpool and GE sell cheap washing machines in the $200 – $400 range. The price really depends on the type of machine, size and speed.
Washing Machine Ratings & Best Rated Washer & Dryer Combo
The ConsumerSearch website published reviews, titled “Washing Machines: Reviews.” The article reviews and recommends as “Best” five washing machines:
- Samsung WF218ANW.
- Samsung WF448AAW.
- Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940FS.
- Maytag Bravos MVWB750WQ.
- Whirlpool Cabrio WTW6200VW.
Best Washer & Dryer Combo Reviews
Three combo washer and dryers were reviewed and received a ConsumerSearch “Best” recommendation in an article titled “Washer-Dryer Combos: Reviews.” The (author unknown) article, recommends these washer and dryer brands:
- Frigidaire GLEH1642FS.
- GE Spacemaker WSM2420DWW.
- LG WM3431HW.
Consumer Search (CS) claims to be the U.K. equivalent of Consumer Reports. The organization investigates and recommends a variety of products. The company provides on-line product ratings and reviews, such as “Best” white and red wine under $12, and “Best” mattresses. Their recommendations and ratings are based on owner reviews and expert opinion.
The “Energy Star-certified” Frigidaire GLEH1642FS (estimated price $1,000) washer-dryer combo is a bottom washer and a top dryer with “excellent washing performance,” according to ConsumerSearch. The model is 27 inches wide, 3.1 cubic foot capacity, and is a front load washer.
The GLEH1642FS comes with an energy saving dryer “moisture sensor,” detecting when clothes are dry. The small size is best for those with limited available space. Owners say it’s “gentle on clothes” and has a “reliable” reputation. The downside reported is a “loud end-of-cycle buzzer.”
The GE Spacemaker WSM2420DWW (estimated price $1,100) washer-dryer combo is 24 inches wide and fits in small areas. The capacity is 1.5 cubic feet for the washer, and the dryer capacity is 4.3 cubic feet. The model is a top loader and owners report “it doesn’t skimp on washing or drying…and is reliable.” The model may be too small for some families, and it’s not Energy Star certified.
The LG WM3431HW (estimated price $1,350) washer-dryer combo is appropriate for limited space and those who do not have a dryer vent. The model dries and washes in the same tub, and is 24 inches wide with a 33 inch height. Owners “praise” the features which includes “auto wash, moisture sensor, and extra-hot sanitary cycle.” The model has a 2.44 cubic-foot capacity. The downside reported is “it takes several hours” for laundry to dry, and “wrinkles can be a problem.”
Consumer Washing Machine Reviews
The Samsung WR218ANW (estimated price $800) washing machine has 4 cubic foot capacity and loads from the front. The model is Energy Star certified. The model advantages are reliability, low energy use, 10 wash cycles, 4 spin speeds, and four temperature settings. Some owners complain about “costly and time-consuming repairs,” states ConsumerSearch,
The Samsung WF448AAW (estimated price $1,300) is a front load model with a steam cycle helping to remove stains. It has a 4.5 cubic foot capacity, 14 wash cycles, and is Energy Star certified. It may reduce bacteria with its “silver ions” release. It enjoys “few” owner complaints. The downside reported is wash “cycles can be lengthy.”
The Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940FS (estimated price $550) front load model “performs better than most.” It has a 3.5 cubic food capacity with five wash cycles and three temperature settings. The unit is Energy Star certified. “Reviewers say” the model gets high marks for efficiency, low noise operation, and “easy-to-use” controls. A few owners report “breakdowns and error codes.”
The Maytag Bravos MVWB750WQ (estimated price $900) top loading washing machine is “less energy efficient, and with lower performance” than front load models. The model gets high reviews from owners for “large capacity” (5.0 cubic feet), low noise, and efficiency. A few owners complain that the model is “rough on clothing,” compared to a “traditional agitator,” due to its laundry “somersaults through the water” (impeller fan feature).
The Whirlpool Cabrio WTW6200VW (estimated price $650) is a top load washer which is Energy Star certified. The model gets high marks for quick washing times, low noise, and high efficiency. The Cabrio model has a “traditional” agitator, and has a 4.5 cubic foot capacity. Owners and reviews give this model very high scores.
Recommended Washing Machines & Washer Dryers
ConsumerSearch provides additional information about each of the “Best” recommended models on their washing machine web page and on their washer dryer combo web page. The web pages provide links to longer reviews, and additional information from other sources, about the ConsumerSearch “Best” recommended models.
Best-Performing Laundry Detergents for Top-Loading Washers
According to the American Cleaning Institute, laundry detergents were manufactured in the United States in the 1930s, but did not enjoy widespread use until after World War II. A more detailed look at ACI’s history of detergents can be found here.
In today’s energy-conscious world, consumers expect these products to clean, brighten and remove stains. Consumer Reports rated nearly two dozen widely available varieties in its independent laboratories. They used warm water in high-efficiency (HE) machines, with heavily soiled cotton fabric swatches. The swatches were stained with blood, chocolate, grass and other common substances.
Most of the detergents tested were liquid. Only Gain, Seventh Generation, Legacy of Clean and Sears brands were powder. Here are some selected comparisons from that report.
Target and Costco Laundry Detergents
Target’s Up & Up brand and Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand both offer liquid laundry soaps that rated in the top six for performance. They both sell for reasonable prices of 13 and 12 cents per load, respectively.
Costco Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2X HE rated just a bit higher than its shelf-mate Free & Clear Ultra 2X HE, with the latter finishing tenth on the scale. Those concerned about the environment may be interested to know that the Kirkland Ultra 2X is mostly plant-based and cleaned “best among detergents with green claims”.
Tide, All and Gain Detergents
Among these three major non-store brands, there were not any major price differences. All three have excellent detergents priced from 6-24 cents a load, and Gain Original Fresh was lowest-priced at six cents per load. Tide 2X Ultra with Color Clean Bleach Alternative was the most expensive at 24 cents, but it also received the highest performance ratings.
All’s 2X with Oxy Active rated third overall in performance and had a price of 15 cents per load. By the same manufacturer, All 2X Ultra Free Clear and 3X Concentrated Small & Mighty Fresh Rain did not fare as well as the Oxy Active.
Performance Plus Economy Equals Perfect Laundry
Overall, Gain Original Fresh high-efficiency detergent is recommended for its economic combination of performance and cost. The two Tide varieties mentioned above are also excellent. Avoid Oxydol 2X Concentrated Fresh & Clean, Blokleen Cold-Water 3X, Ecos 2X Ultra Magnolia and Lily, and Martha Stewart Clean Laundry Detergent.
Today’s supermarkets are well-stocked with efficient detergents that keep our clothing, linens and other fabric items clean and fresh. By doing a little homework we can save some money and increase the quality of our weekly wash. .
High Efficiency Washers
Information about High Efficiency Washing Machines and how to choose the best appliance for your home just in time for Labor Day.
Labor Day is quickly approaching. Only one month to get in as many bar-b-ques, pool parties and beach trips as possible. The long weekend will also host many family trips, do-it-yourself projects and sale extravaganzas. Whether you are looking to replace an appliance; that is on its last leg (or dead altogether) or are just looking for something more energy efficient Labor Day sales may have just the deal you are looking for to make the purchase that much more sweet.
What Is A “HE” Appliance?
“HE” stands for high efficiency. Simply put, high efficiency appliances use less energy to operate. Appliances that also use water use less of it. Less Energy + Less Water = More Money In Your Pocket!
High efficiency appliances often earn an ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR labels are backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy and are used to identify products which help to reduce greenhouse gasses and pollutants which are formed by the inefficient use of energy. The ENERGY STAR labels make it easier to find the products that will save you money.
ENERGY STAR products can sometimes qualify for rebates, tax-exemptions or credits to encourage people to opt for products that will lower energy use. By entering your zip code and appliance purchases you will find a list of participating offers in your area.
How Are HE Washers Different From My Mom’s Old Washer?
First, let’s check out how a traditional washer works. A basin filled with clothes, water and soap are swished around by an agitator. The soapy, dirty water drains then the basin fills again with fresh water to agitate and rinse again. The automation of this process simplified one of the many responsibilities of housewives.
The amount of water and speed of the agitator is determined by the cycle that is selected at the beginning of the wash. Small load of delicate clothes requires a low level of water and a slow agitation. A large heavy load requires more water and force to swish that load around. The operator has to determine what works. There are not many options to reduce the amount of energy and water used.
New HE washers take some of the guess work out of washing and saving the planet (and wallet) at the same time. The operator only needs to choose the type of laundry that is put into the washer and the machine is set to wash the load with the correct temperature. The water level is very low and can sometimes not even be seen. Some machines can sense how much is in the load and adjust the water level accordingly.
There are two types of HE washers: front-loading and top-loading. Front-loading machines work by rotating the load of laundry through a shallow pool of water. The tumbling motion pushes the soils out of the clothes as they pass through the water. Top-loading washers work in a similar. The laundry spins, rotates and/or wobbles through a low level of water. Both types of washer can include sprayers that push water through the fabric as the load spins.
This gentle washing motion not only saves water, but can extend the life of the fabric. By constantly moving the fabric through the water, the load never sits in a basin of dirty water as it swishes back and forth.
There are two notable maintenances that will extend the life of a HE washer. First, only HE detergent should be used with HE washers. The HE detergent is low sudsing. Regular detergents create more suds which could clog the mechanisms of HE washers and prevent it from working properly or at all.
Second, due to the way the water sits in the machines a maintenance cycle must be run weekly or monthly depending on manufacture’s recommendations. The low water can pool in the machines which can cause mold or bacteria to grow (just like in traditional washers). Cleaning the machine with the maintenance cycle will keep the parts of the machine working and laundry smelling fresh.
Labor Day Sales
There is no doubt that HE washers will be included in the many price cuts offered over the holiday weekend, and if you are in the market for a new one, you may find your perfect machine is offered at a fantastic price. But, it is important to do your research ahead of time. Because the way HE washers clean laundry is basically the same, you need to know what features will work best for you. Basic models include wash cycles similar to a traditional washer (heavily soiled, delicate, normal) while higher end models offer numerous settings for many types of fabrics or situations (sportswear, children’s clothes, towels).
Browse the selection of various stores on-line and in person. Examining the features on-line will give you a good sense of what each store offers and allows for easy price comparison, but checking out how each machine is made may make or break the deal. The size of the basin of the machine can easily be compared this way as it is sometimes hard to understand exactly how much laundry can fit into a 3.5 cubic feet space and a 4.5 cubic feet space. The doors of some machines can be flipped to accommodate the space they will be located in and some have more durable handles. Each household need is different and viewing the machines in person will help determine what works for you.