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From the domestic institution that brought you cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, vacuuming, and other household chores, comes laundry. We’ve all done it. And we’ve all been annoyed by the amount time it consumes and how much money it costs. The bad news is that this arduous chore isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The good news, however, is that newer machines make it a lot easier, with better results, and lower costs. Best of all, right now you have plenty to choose from.
If you haven’t replaced your washer and dryer in the last 7-plus years, you probably should. In fact, technology found in modern machines less than two years old can make the decision to replace older ones quite easy. We’ve developed this guide to help you make sense of what’s out there, understand the technology, and decide what pair will work best for you.
Gas vs. Electric
The first thing you want to determine is whether your home is set up for natural gas or electrical drying. Some homes are equipped with both types of outlets. If this is the case for your home, then you have options. Gas dryers are typically pricier than electric dryers but run more efficiently, saving you money in the long run. That said, many modern electric dryers are remarkably efficient, and more environmentally friendly.
Generally speaking, higher capacity laundry pairs cost more. If you find yourself doing many loads of laundry each week or need to wash especially large items, the extra cost could be worthwhile. Top of the line, high-capacity laundry pairs can free up time for, well, just about anything else.
Top Load vs. Front Load
Until recently, front-loading pairs were all the rage. And with good reason. They used less water. They were easier on your clothes. They could be stacked, using much less space. And, they came in an array of colours styles that allowed you to choose what you thought looked best in your home.
Traditional top-loading machines had one clear advantage: price. That made them the ideal choice if you were operating on a tight budget, or purchasing them for your summer home or a rental property. These machines are still available, and are still a worthy option for these reasons.
Thanks to the marvels of modern engineering, top-loading technology is making a big comeback. With newer models, the only real significant difference between the top- and front-loading pairs is that front-loading units can be stacked, whereas top-loading washers remove the need to bend over to remove garments. We’ll discuss newer top-loading units in the ‘What’s New’ section.
There has long been a debate on which is better: Direct drive or Belt drive machines. It has always boiled down to the fact that Direct drive tends to last longer, but is more expensive to repair, while Belt drive may need inexpensive replacement belts more frequently. While there is still some truth to this, modern machines are remarkably durable and both belt and direct drive will offer years of great performance.
It doesn’t really need to be said that technology evolves; things get smaller, better, and more efficient. Though laundry isn’t the first thing to come to mind when we think about technological advancement, it’s certainly not exempt. Below, we’ve outlined some of the latest features you’ll want to look out for.
Advanced Top Load Technology
The latest in top-loading washer technology offers newly designed wash systems that are much gentler on garments, are significantly more energy efficient, and come with great bonuses like NSF-certified Sanitary Cycles. Like front-loading machines, they use only a fraction of the water they used to, thanks to newer agitator patterns. Perhaps you don’t like bending over to get your garments out of the wash. Or, maybe you have a laundry room designed to accommodate two, side-by-side machines. In either case, the advancements in this area make top-loading, once again, a very attractive choice.
Steam is the mot-du-jour in the laundry industry. That’s no surprise given what it can do. Steam is able to penetrate fibres and remove deeply ingrained dirt better than simply soaking in water. That means tough stains come out easier. Steam also reduces the amount of water needed to wash clothes, prevents shrinkage, and even helps remove allergens. If you have children, or your profession causes you to get a little dirtier than others, steam is a feature you’ll be grateful for having. In the dryer, steam is sprayed on garments to relax the fibres and reduce wrinkles. This is a really nice feature to have if you don’t have the time for (or, like many people, really loathe) ironing. It also allows you to freshen up garments that have been worn a few times, without having to wash it again.
Laundry in the Kitchen
With the kitchen being one of the most popular and work-friendly rooms in the home, doing laundry in there is growing trend and is starting to appear more and more new home constructions. Laundry manufacturers also offer laundry pairs with stainless features to match the popularity of clean-looking stainless kitchen appliances.
In the past, washers and dryers were huge energy hogs. From using large amounts of hot water to the levels of electricity used in drying them, these beasts weren’t very environmentally friendly or easy on the monthly bills. Newer units use up to a third of the amount of cold water to wash your garments with agitator motions designed to get the most out of it. The cleaning results are as good, if not better, than previous generation technology, and you can feel good about it, too. You’ll likely need to purchase High Efficiency laundry detergent for the washer, which is manufactured by all major brands and many generic ones, for the same cost as conventional detergent.
Noise Reduction Technology
While most washers and dryers produce some level of noise, newer units often come with more insulation and technology that reduces vibration and dampens sound – even if your load is unevenly distributed. That means that you can place your laundry pair almost anywhere in the home (if you have the right connections there) – the kitchen, living room, or even the bedroom. So, go ahead – put in a load, watch a movie, or even take a nap.
Laundry has moved beyond white and bisque into a whole range of colours and finishes. Whether you’re interested in stainless steel or a cherry red lacquer, there’s a laundry pair for you. Have fun when planning your laundry space and pick an option that matches your style.
Here are a few add-ons that you may need, or that will make things a little easier.
If you plan on stacking your front-loading laundry pair, you’ll likely need a stacking kit. Speak to one of our Product Experts if you’re unsure of which one to use.
Bending over to remove garments from your washer and dryer can be tiresome and presents a potential for back injury. A pedestal raises the unit a couple of feet off the ground, reducing strain on your back. Some even come complete with storage drawers for your detergents.
Purchasing appliances from Future Shop offers a clear advantage in selection, pricing, and customer service. We carry a wide range of appliance choices from a large selection of manufacturers both in-store and online. Our 30 Day Low Price Guarantee ensures that you’ll get the lowest price both before and after your purchase - if you find a lower price on the same model at any competitor in Canada we’ll match and beat the price by 10% of the difference. Get the best in satisfaction with our 30 Day return or exchange policy and enjoy prompt delivery with our in-home delivery service.
Visit a Future Shop store near you and speak to a Product Expert for more information, or head over to our Community Forums and join in on the conversations on Laundry and other major appliances right now.
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