Finding a washer and dryer that is the right size for your laundry space is essential. If you have a small laundry room or a laundry closet, many standard-size models simply won’t fit. Fortunately, manufacturers offer compact washers and dryers, including all-in-one units, to conserve space without sacrificing cleaning power.
This guide will introduce you to some of the best compact washer and dryer units. It will also highlight some important features to consider when shopping to make sure the compact washer and dryer you select satisfies your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: GE Gas Stacked Laundry Center with Washer and Dryer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GE High-Efficiency Electric All-in-One Washer Dryer
- UPGRADE PICK: Bosch 300 Series Compact Front-Load Washer & Dryer
- BEST SIDE-BY-SIDE: Samsung High Efficiency Front Load Washer and Dryer
- BEST FOR APARTMENTS: Whirlpool Electric Stacked Laundry Center
- ALSO CONSIDER: LG Compact All-in-One Front Load Washer Dryer Combo
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Compact Washer and Dryer
Keep the features outlined below in mind when searching for the best compact washer and dryer. Consider the washer and dryer type, size, capacity, and other options including wash cycles, water- and energy-efficiency ratings, smart technology, and whether an electric or gas dryer is preferred.
Compact washer and dryer units are available in a variety of styles and types. Before getting too deep into a search for the right product(s), determine which type of unit(s) is preferable.
- Front-load washers and dryers allow users to access the unit from a swinging door along the front side. Most dryers feature a front-load design, while only some washers do.
- Top-load washers have a hinged lid that opens to reveal a large interior drum. Many top-load washers clean with an agitator, but some high-efficiency models feature an impeller that is gentler on clothing items.
- Stacked washers and dryers, also called laundry centers, are a single unit with a front-load washing machine on the bottom and a dryer on the top. They are often found in apartments or laundry closets.
- Stackable washers and dryers are front-load models where the dryer stacks on top of the washer to conserve space. Unlike stacked models, stackable washers and dryers are two separate units.
- Side-by-side washer-and-dryer sets include both a washer and a dryer. Sets are available with either front-load or top-load washers.
- Washer-and-dryer combo units are an all-in-one machine that washes and then dries clothing and linens. These units offer a compact solution for individuals who are tight on space. However, completing a load of laundry can take much longer—up to 6 hours—because of the ventless dryer design.
When shopping for a compact washer and dryer, pay close attention to the size of each unit. Begin by deciding where the washer and dryer will go and determining how much room is available. Measure the space and check the dimensions of each product to ensure everything will fit.
The size of compact washers and dryers can vary depending on the specific type of model, but many units are about the same size as a dishwasher: typically about 17 to 24 inches wide, 23 inches deep, and 34 inches high (taller for stacked models).
In addition to looking at the physical dimensions of the unit to confirm it will fit in the available space, also consider the capacity of each model. Capacity, which is measured in cubic feet, refers to the amount of space inside the drum of a washer or dryer to hold laundry. Compact washers and dryers will have a smaller capacity than standard-size units. The capacity of a compact washing machine is typically somewhere around 2.2 cubic feet, while a compact dryer has a capacity closer to 4.5 cubic feet.
The number of individuals in the home and the frequency of laundry tasks will impact whether a compact washer and dryer will be appropriate. A family of four typically needs a 4- to 4.5-cubic-foot washer to accommodate their laundry needs. However, even with a large family, a compact model may suffice if doing a few extra loads of laundry each week isn’t a problem.
Electric vs. Gas
All compact washing machines are electric, but some dryers come with both electric and gas hookup options. If a home is already equipped with a gas hookup, a gas dryer may be the best purchase. These are more efficient and will keep energy bills lower over the life of the dryer. However, gas dryers are generally more expensive than electric dryers, so be prepared to spend a bit more upfront.
For an all-in-one washer-dryer combination unit, gas is not an available option. These combination units feature ventless dryers, which are only available as electric models.
Each washing machine will offer a variety of wash cycles, with each using different temperatures, spin speeds, and levels of agitation. Matching the laundering needs of each load to the correct wash cycle will help ensure that clothes come out clean and damage-free.
Choosing a washer that offers cycles to match the household’s needs and preferences is important. Check the information from each manufacturer to identify the number of wash cycles included with each model. Then, look more closely at the different cycles that are included. Most washing machines offer cycles such as normal, bulky, whites, heavy-duty, delicate, and rinse and spin. Other available cycles include sheets, hand-wash, quick wash, steam, and extra rinse.
Water and Energy Efficiency
When shopping for the best compact washer and dryer, consider water and energy efficiency. Choosing more efficient models can help reduce both the environmental footprint as well as utility bills.
Energy Star certification was developed to highlight appliances that meet specific criteria to be labeled as an efficient choice. Energy Star-certified washers only use an average of 316 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity, which can save around $35 a year in utility bills. They also use less water per load. An Energy Star-certified dryer uses about 20 percent less energy overall than standard models. Keep in mind that Energy Star ratings are only provided for washers with a capacity of at least 2.5 cubic feet.
Compact washers and dryers with smart technology are designed to simplify the process of laundering clothes. Smart washers and dryers connect to a home’s Wi-Fi, which allows users to connect to them using their smartphone or other devices. Once connected to the smart washer or dryer, the smartphone can start or stop a wash or dry cycle, check on the progress of a load, or create laundry schedules.
Some smart washers or dryers may also connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or other smart-home assistants. These models allow the use of voice commands to start or stop a load of laundry or check on the progress of a load.
Some compact washers and dryers may offer other advanced features. If any of these features are important to you, look for a washer and dryer that offer them.
- Detergent dispensers allow individuals to add laundry detergent, fabric softener, and/or bleach to the machine at the beginning of a cycle. The washer will automatically add each solution at the appropriate time.
- Self-cleaning cycles on a washer, paired with a washing machine cleaner, offer a quick and easy way to keep the machine’s interior free from detergent buildup, mold, and mildew.
- Some compact washers and dryers may come with a quiet operation option, to be quieter than average models during use. This may help limit disruptions for individuals who have a laundry space close to other rooms in the home.
Our Top Picks
Learn more about the best compact washer and dryer units below. The criteria mentioned above were used to select a variety of washer and dryer types to meet the needs of individuals with a range of preferences and budgets.
GE’s washer-and-dryer combination unit includes a 2.3-cubic-foot washer and a 4.4-cubic-foot dryer stacked together for a compact, space-saving design. The washer offers rotary controls with 11 different wash-cycle options to thoroughly clean a variety of fabric types. Six different wash and rinse temperatures, as well as a combination setting for wash and spin speed, allow for further customization. An auto-load sensing feature on the washer adds the optimal amount of water for each setting, while bleach and fabric softener dispensers allow the user to further freshen up their linens.
The gas dryer offers three-way venting: Individuals can configure the dryer vent to the rear, left, or right of the unit to allow for an easy installation with their current setup.
Rotary-electromechanical controls make it easy to quickly select the desired cycle and start the unit. Cycle status lights on both the washer and dryer help users monitor the progress of each load.
Individuals looking to conserve both space and money should consider GE’s all-in-one washer-and-dryer combo unit. This 2.4-cubic-foot model washers and dries, offering a one-step solution for laundering clothes. Since it is a single unit, rather than two separate ones, it also takes up less space than a side-by-side or even stacking washer and dryer. Wash options include 14 different wash cycles, five wash temperatures, five soil levels, and five spin speeds. Two notable cycles include the steam-wash setting to release stains with steam, and the sanitize setting that uses higher temperatures to kill bacteria commonly found in homes.
Unlike most other dryers, this electric unit does not require a vent. The dryer can be set to default to the ideal drying cycle based on the selected wash cycle. Some other features of this all-in-one unit include automatic detergent, fabric softener, and bleach dispensers, as well as a last-minute option to add a garment by unlocking the door.
Indulge a bit with this Energy Star-certified stackable washer-and-dryer set. The high-efficiency Bosch 300 series washer featured in this set is a compact 2.2-cubic-foot front-load model. ActiveWater Technology fills the unit with the optimal amount of water and uses only the electricity that is necessary to complete each load. In addition to an impressive 15 wash cycles and a delay-start option, the washer features SpeedPerfect technology, allowing some cycles to finish up to 40 percent faster than other similar units. This model also boasts a stainless steel tub with a special wave-shaped design for gentle yet powerful cleaning. Anti-vibration side walls minimize vibration and noise, and an EcoSilence motor offers quiet cleaning power at just 54 decibels.
The 4-cubic-foot Bosch 300 series dryer stacks on top of the washer for an even more compact configuration. Like the companion washer, this dryer features anti-vibration circular side walls. It offers 15 different dry cycles, a low-heat option, and a drum pattern that offers air cushions to prevent wrinkles. An illuminated control dial makes operation easy, even in low-light settings.
This compact washer-and-dryer pair from Samsung includes a 2.2-cubic-foot front-load washer and a 4-cubic-foot dryer. Place the units side by side or stack them in a laundry room to conserve even more space. The washing machine offers 12 wash cycles, including a steam-wash cycle and super-speed cycle that can complete a full load of laundry in about 36 minutes. Additional helpful features include a self-clean setting, VRT noise-reduction technology, and a special diamond-drum interior for gentle cleaning.
The electric dryer in this set offers automatic temperature-control options and a moisture sensor to make sure clothes are fully dried, without overdrying them. Like the washer, it features VRT noise-reduction technology for quieter cycles. Other key features include interior lights to help with loading or unloading the dryer, a time-remaining display for monitoring the progress of each load, and a child-safety lock.
Whirlpool’s electric stacked washer and dryer features a space-saving design for apartments or other small spaces. This set includes a 1.6-cubic-foot top-load washer with a stainless steel wash basket to prevent clothing from getting snagged. Monitor the progress of each load through the EasyView Glass Lid featuring SlowClose technology, which also allows for smooth operation and prevents accidental slamming. A bleach dispenser automatically adds bleach to the wash cycle while diluting it for optimal results.
The dryer in this set offers a 3.4-cubic-foot capacity and features four drying cycles to accommodate the demands of different fabric types. Its AutoDry Drying System uses sensors to keep clothing and linens from being overdried and prevents unnecessary energy usage.
Those looking for a minimal footprint should consider this all-in-one unit from LG. Its compact design offers a 2.3-cubic-foot capacity for washing and drying clothes and linens. Washer settings include nine wash cycles, five wash and rinse temperatures, and five spin speeds. The washer also features a SenseClean wash system that automatically adds the right amount of water and chooses the ideal cycle time for each load, based on the weight and size of the load. Other key washer features include the automatic laundry detergent and fabric softener dispensers and a delayed-start option that works for up to 19 hours prior to wash.
Once a load of laundry has been washed, the dryer will automatically begin drying it. Choose from seven different drying cycle options to meet the demands of each load. This is an electric unit that features a ventless condensing drying system; no external venting is necessary. Other notable features of this model include the LoDecibel quiet operation for reduced disturbances, a control lock, and an LED display with an easy-to-use cycle selector knob.
FAQs About Compact Washers and Dryers
Choosing the best compact washer and dryer unit can be a challenge. Consult the common questions below for additional information to help pick out the best product.
Q. Which type of washing machine gets clothes the cleanest?
Generally speaking, front-load washing machines are the most effective at cleaning. Front-load machines are often gentler on fabrics than top-load machines. High-efficiency top-load machines that use an impeller, rather than an agitator, are also gentle on clothing and linens.
Q. Can I use dryer sheets with my all-in-one combo?
No, do not use dryer sheets with all-in-one combo washer-and-dryer units or other ventless dryers.
Q. How long does it take to do a load of laundry in a washer/dryer combo?
In general, you should expect it to take between 3 and 6 hours to finish a load of laundry. Keep in mind that this will vary based on the wash and dry settings selected, as well as the specific model.
Q. Does an all-in-one unit need to be vented outside?
The majority of all-in-one washer-and-dryer combo units do not need to be vented outside. They used a closed-loop system which ensures that lint, heat, and moisture are not expelled into the air.
Q. How do I install an all-in-one washer-and-dryer unit?
Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for installing an all-in-one washer-and-dryer unit. It will need to have access to hot and cold water hookups and an electrical outlet. Those who do not feel comfortable installing the unit should consider reaching out to a certified plumber or electrician to help. Installation services may also be offered by the retailer who sold the all-in-one washer-and-dryer unit.